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Monthly Archives: September 2011

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  • paper work

    Next week, hard to believe right now, I will be in LA and on October 7 we will all get together to officially launch Miriam at Luckyscent's scentbar, the first fragrance from the Tableau de Parfums series. Thus, it is urgent time to get things organized that need to be done beforehand.

    One of these: Finally mix an new batch of Le Maroc pour elle. For this I needed to order a lot of raw materials because I run low on a lot of ingredients: Rose absolute, Jasmine absolute, Mysore Sandalwood, Petitgrain, lavender, lemongrass, patchouli and more. Today's picture shows you what I am doing right now, in a second from now: filing certificates of analysis from Essencia, such as the rose absolute damascena, from Bulgary. It goes into one of two ever growing filing folders for future reference. I am keeping these certificates for years. And they tell me interesting things, such as: My rose absolute was produced in 2009, and it contains 0.6% Farnesol E-E-, and 1.7% Eugenol and alike. Comes in handy when coming up with EU allergen declarations.

    All amounts of what I got as new stock goes into another large excel file where I have a growing list of all raw material quantities and prices that I use for production. Thus, if done properly and if adjusted when mixing, I have the overview of my raw materials at one glance. Otherwise, I would be lost.

    What I am also doing right now: evaluating new suppliers and new raw materials for further developments. At least on paper, and email, asking for conditions etc. In a sense, I am planning there for beyond 2013, looking for new inspiration and new tools for existing ideas. The W.-factor said a few minutes ago: " Sehet die Vögel des Himmels; sie sähen nicht und sie ernten nicht, doch Ihr himmlischer Vater ernähret sie doch." (Mat. 6/26,Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. )

    I guess the message is not to worry too much and take the future as it comes. I will try. But I want those goodies....

     

     

  • not really sure

    Yesterday's post brought up another question: are the criteria for what is a "grand parfum" changing over time? And if so: What would the changes be? I answered to Marianne's comment but am not entirely sure about my answer. I feel, that the criteria may stay, but the weight we give each criteria might change. Thus Roudnitska's criteria remain intact, but their mutual importance and weight might be subject to changes. What was voluminous yesterday might be weepy  today and what is character today might be over the top tomorrow.

    Of course, this brings us right into the heart of many other questions, such as: In which direction are we heading these days? What do we find beautiful and grand and why? I am convinced that all creations of mankind have to be considered in their context. The context of today is: We live in a multiverse, although already close to 1 bio people are unified on facebook, we are fragmented like never before, physically very isolated,  we consume and appreciate things in a long tail and we live the longer the more without historical context as the new media flood all levels of our cultural palimpsest that might allow us reaching back into our past.

    In a sense, the new media, we as contributing part of the new media, flood ourselves with pseudo news allowing us not to think about where we come from and where we are heading. As a dear friend of mine mentioned the other day: We are amusing us to death, but in a different way than anticipated.

    Anyhow, while we are still amusing us:  I still wonder how to define the Roudnitska criterium "character" of a perfume today. I guess by looking back in time the question finds an answer.

    Today's picture shows you a scan of a ripe chestnut, found yesterday on the river where I had lunch. A promise for a spring with new sprouts.

  • qualités fondamentales du grand parfum

    Did you know that ivy actually blooms for a few days in the year and has a wonderful thick, green, honey like, sweet, dark perfume? It is an amazingly intense fragrance, in light of the little yellow flower and it attract bees in mass. Now, the ivy around the house lost its flowers and the picture today shows you an ivy twig with the little green berries that will turn into real fruits over the next weeks.

    This year, the ivy around the house bloomed all at once and was intense like I do not remember it from the past. The weather these days sure helped. We have the most amazing sunny warm days.  But soon, I am afraid, this period will be over and at the latest by then I will take the Jasmine bush inside. A few weeks later it will explode in little flowers. Here again, amazing little fragrant flowers, with so much bigger scent then themselves.Yet, in all the intensity of their fragrance, there remains something delicate about it, a simplicity and clarity.

    Talking delicate clarity, yesterday, when finishing the interview that I had to write, I crossed the roads with Edmond Roudnitska again.  I mentioned in the interview that I wrote years ago Edmond  Roudnitska's criteria on piece of paper sitting always next to me on my desk. These criteria guide me and I check every fragrance with them and I am very often disappointed about my creations in this light.

    These are his criteria for "les qualités fondamentales du grand parfum: caractère, vigueur, pouvoir diffusant, délicatesse, clarté, volume, persistance."

     

     

  • answering interview questions

    Today is going to be a very busy day and in between boxing and packing I need to answer interview questions for one of the top magazines here in Switzerland. "What was your first scent experience?" is one of them. Hmmm... my memories there are limited. I think of the dog "LEO" in the village, and my aunt's cologne. Real Kölnisch Wasser. I have a bottle of it, sitting in my fragrance storage box, from my mother. The picture of today is a detail from the flacon.

    Smelling this cologne , for me, brings back memories of  days long  gone by. A time where ladies always had their little flacon of Kölnisch with them. At least my aunt did. She did for all kind of purposes. Refreshing, perfuming, cleaning , you name it.

     

    It is interesting: my first scent memories are not easy to find. Can you pinpoint a first scent memory?

    In this context: In case you have not watched the video interviews that Brian did on scent memories: Now is the time to watch them, there on vimeo or on the Woman's Picture blogging round.

    Fragrant greetings!

     

  • difficult waters

    I took a day off, or better: I switched Sunday for Friday and went for a two day hike. The first day was a bit strenuous, though. We did a calculation error of the kind: 6+3= 7.  This calculation error resulted in a 9 hours hike to the hotel on the Chasseron. We got there, to the hotel sitting on the top of the mountain, in time with a smile. A smile, because after 9 hours on your feet you sort of feel tired. The picture to the left, taken the next morning, after 5 minutes walking from the hotel, gives you an idea of the surroundings.

    And the picture below gives you an idea of the sunset. Absolutely stunning.

      On the way up there we passed through a most wonderful valley, with bridges and a spectacular view.

    I wanted to have a break because I felt like I need one. And there is nothing more relaxing for brain and body than moving your body and thinking while doing so. Strange, but true. Now we are in full speed mode again and shortly, I will move my body towards filtering some scents and packing scents later to prepare shipments that need to go out before I leave for the US.

    While hiking I got the confirmation that all essential oils and absolutes that I wanted to get quotes for and delivery times are on stock with my supplier of raw materials. And for reasonable prices. I asked for Mysore Sandalwood, rose absolute, lavender, patchouli, petitgrain, lemon oil, lemongrass, clary sage and a few others.

    Basically, I ordered some of the naturals for the Cologne du Maghreb (Maghreb= the area of Northwest of Africa, west of Egypt), the cologne that I made last year and gave it away in my blog and to friends and family and to clients ordering three scents at once as gift.

    Anyhow, I decided to make a bit more of it for the upcoming X-mas season.

    While hiking I was seriously thinking about it. About what to do next. The Cologne du Maghreb is an all natural and all botanical scent. It contains only essential oils, absolutes and resins. No isolated molecules of natural origin, thus it is a true botanical fragrance.  The same is true for a composition that I made a while ago, a construction between an eau frais and an eau de toilette, depending on your gusto. It is a rather masculine eau,with a distinct lavender-cologne opening,  featuring notes of marjoram, cinnamon leaves, a bit of a spicy rose, on a soft and gentle woody ambra background. Independent of how it smells: It is an all natural, all botanical scent and in order to answer the question  "WHY?": Because the addition of synthetics here was not necessary.

    I am thinking since months about what to do with them. I would love to present the colognes and the eaux fraîches , but I cannot in my pentagonal 50 ml flacon. The volume is too small and the flacon too expensive. To get another 100 ml pentagonal flacon is sort of super expensive. I am considering getting a standard 75- 100 ml flacon for these, branded by print but not by their form.  And putting these eau de colognes and eaux fraîches into a different line within tauerville. To make sure that they are special. Sort of.

    Even after 9 hours hiking, I have still no solution yet. Time will tell, I guess. What would you do?

    Anyhow: First things first: I will order some lemon oils etc. to make sure that I have my gifts for the advent season.

    Enjoy your Sunday!

     

  • words on perfumes

    I find it utterly difficult to describe perfumes and admire every blogger who can and does. Thus, before digging deeper: Please visit Perfume Smelling Things today and see what Tom made of Miriam and make sure you take your chance to win samples. Click here for his post. Love it!

    Here, in Tauerville (if you are on Facebook, the last uploaded picture shows you serious we take tauerville...) we are utterly busy preparing orders before I leave for a week to the states. Right now, we are getting flacons for the PENTACHORDS White labelled and ready. The picture to the left shows you the labels that we folded and that will go around the flacon, that needs to be polished before and that needs a lot label on the back.

    Now we are on this state: 150 flacons with the labels and the ribbon on. Ready to be filled with parfum and sealed with the crimping machine. We look at the backside of the white flacon, where a label holds all together.

     

    You get an idea what we are doing these days. In between I am trying to answer mails. Like the W.-factor said yesterday: " You must spend about 40% on your time mailing". - "Yes", I replied, "because perfumes is a communication business".

    "I thought it is about smelling", he wisely came back, and I fear he is wrong.

    I feel it is utterly important to talk to you, be it by mail or by blog posts about what I do and why I do it. Perfume business is a communication business, but unfortunately I most often miss the proper words to describe my scents. Thus, we all stick to notes and pictures. And memories. On PerfumeSmellinThings you can watch Wendy today, sharing memories of her grandmother and perfume. This interview with Wendy is just amazing. You can also watch it on Vimeo. It was done by Brian Pera and is part of a series of interviews, supported by Luckyscent.

    "Big Personality": Wendy from brian pera on Vimeo.

    Anyhow, I got this mail from a customer who invited me to reply by posting here, in order to have a larger audience. There we go....

    The question was: ".... One of the things I like In L'air du desert is the way it breathes. Of course I also like the scent and the way it evolves but what impresses me most is it's breathing.
    What is the secret?.... "

    The answer is difficult. Let me try nevertheless:

    If there was a secret: I for sure would not tell you. Perfumers tend to be discreet about their perfumes and what they put in there, why and for what effect. There is actually not a secret to it. It is the construction, the way I create perfumes. I so far never used the term "breath", I usually use the term "light". Perfumes need to shine from the inside, you must be able to see right into their hearts. They must, in order to use other words, breath, from the inside to the outside and back. How do you get there: By composing your perfumes in a way that renders them to some extend translucent, transparent, breathing in a way. It is the construction that makes the difference. Construction means: Putting the ingredients in a proper way together.

    This is not easy. And one of the most often heard complaints about experimental compositions from my side is: " Oh my, it is so flat, there is no light inside, it is dull, it is like covered with a suffocating layer. " From now on I might also say "It does not breath". This dullness is one of the aspects that I find on a regular basis. It is annoying and needs a lot of creative work and experiments to get over it.

    Of course, there is another aspect: it is what you put inside. And here, trust me dear client, the quality and choice of the material makes a difference. It is about how much money you put into a construction, too.

    By the way, on a side note: Miriam is the most expensive perfume I created so far. The natural rose, the Mysore sandalwood, the violet leaves extracted in France add up. Actually, it is prohibitively expensive, but I do not care, as long as it breathes and shines.

     

  • unveiling things

    Today's picture shows you a look into the Pitti Fragranze hall from behing the decorative fabric that hung from the ceiling to cover the walls of what used to be a train coach maintenance hall of a train station. I find it always very interesting to look behind things, or from behind. Looking back to Pitti from a distance, I realize (again) how many brands there are in the world of "niche" and how many perfumes there are in this world, presented by these brands. Actually, I discussed this aspect also with Michael Edwards, the author of "Fragrances of the world", THE perfume compendium. His book gets bigger and bigger every year. In Munich, we ended discussing the never ending flow of new launches and brands, too and in a sense I came to a conclusion.

    Almost nobody, not even the professionals, can fully follow the tide of scents and concepts. The perfume lover is out there in this ocean of bottles and ideas, sort of lost sometimes. Thus, what do you do? You look for peers. Folks you trust, selecting and providing guidance. I feel this is where the blogs and communities come in. The longer the more. Of course, this role as peer comes with a responsibility.

    And this is where selective perfumeries and selective online shops come in. Selective in the sense: We bring you just the best. Beyond what you get everywhere. This may have different meanings in different regions, though. I wait for the day until Amazon discovers niche perfumes.

    Anyhow. Here is a little treat, in case you have not seen it yet. Me packing Miriam. And talking about why and how. It is a bit on the long side but I figured you might find it interesting.

    You can watch it here, on my vimeo channel. Actually, it is a packing video, complementing some unpacking video that you find on youtube.  Enjoy, while I pack some Tauer Perfumes in the same location.

  • I am back from Munich

    Fragrant greetings to you. Yes you!

    I am back from Munich, a bit tired because of  my not being used to being exposed to journalists. Usually, I am exposed to perfume lovers or bloggers and this different. The get together with Patrica de Nicolai and Sebastian Fischenich from Humiecki and Graef was wonderful, and I enjoyed their company a lot. We chatted about our brands, about our flacons and about our scents. I got to smell the new Eau cHic by Nicolai that I really liked a lot, because I am a big geranium fan to start with. But my favorite from Patricia's line is and remains the New York, that I got a couple of years ago in her lovely shop at Rue Grenelle. New York is an absolute classic. Think Habit Rouge, but a touch more modern.

    Anyhow. So we all met the journalists who were absolutely lovely. To be frank: I did similar events in the past, and I had visitors falling asleep over my scents. almost. Not this time. Woo hoo! I showed une  rose chyprée, ZETA - a linden blossom theme- , Pentachords VERDANT, and L'air du désert marocain, of course, telling the image of the scent, in 60 seconds. And I got some really nice comments and better even: Smart questions. I love smart questions. Such as how to balance the quest to grow and the artistic aspects of the brand.

    A good question. For all of you who have never heard the Air du désert marocain image behind the scent, there we go. The others might consider reading (and taking their chance to win a sample)  on Olfactarama about Miriam, and following the serialized interview with Brian. Enjoy, and follow this link to Pat's blog.

    And here comes the image of Air du désert marocain:

    "Imagine yourself in a hotel, in Ouarzazad, close to the desert, in the evening, you lying in bed, the door to the terrace wide open, the evening wind blows from the Saharan desert, it is dry and warm, it brings with it the spices from the souk, the smoke from the many open fires where women cook the evening food, the jasmine bush blooming at the corner of the street and the sweet hint of oriental cookies from the bakery next door. You inhale this perfume and fall asleep, dreaming of Moroccan wonders. "

    Today's picture: the first original visual going with the air du désert marocain. The moon rising over the desert.

  • Meeting the press in Munich and what samples to choose

    Sometimes I get mails like "to the attention of communications" and alike. And sometimes I wish I would have a communications department. Just sometimes. Like today, early in the morning. Today's picture shows you my desk, 6 am, making CD's for the press that I will meet tomorrow in Munich.

    I was cordially invited and got the great opportunity to meet the press on a high level get together, called Duftsalon, organized by a great PR agency I know since years. Think "Vogue et al.", together with Patricia de Nicolai for Nicolai and Sebastian Fischenich for Humiecki and Graef. This is kind of cool and came kind of unexpected during Pitti. Thus, I am burning CD's today, after working on text yesterday. I realized that my PR text in German was almost not existing, yesterday in the evening, after having finished and shipped what needed to be shipped. It was a really busy day yesterday, but usually I am operating better under pressure.

    Thus, we are getting there. I will make discovery sets, and give them to the journalists, too. I decided to give a set with Air du désert marocain, Orange Star, Une rose vermeille, the ZETA - a linden blossom theme-, and one of the Pentachords. I haven't really decided which one. The white with its gentle vanilla -orris-ambergris -violet-woods notes is the easiest to show. But, to be frank, the verdant was the star at Pitti. It found most interest. Maybe because it is also the most impressive, with its notes of green-leather-earth-tobacco-ambergris. Hmmm... which one to take? Difficult! I have to ask my communications department.

    Anyhow:

    At 6 pm I have my train to Munich where I will get at 23 pm. And a 6 pm , 24 hours later, I have another train back, bringing me to Zurich in time for bed. Then, if all goes well, I will head for a meeting day on Friday. In this meeting, I will look into opportunities for the German market that is basically next door, but was totally neglected so far by myself.

    As Werner said the other day: You like everything else better than actually selling your fragrances. Yes, right he is. Time to change this.

    Vogue here I come!

  • post Pitti Fragranze report 2011

    We are all back, safe and healthy, from Pitti Fragranze 2011. And we are happy. Happy because nothing bad happened to anybody in the car accident on the highway yesterday that involved us, in the middle and made us worry whether and how we might get back to the land of tunnels and cheese.

    Well, actually, one guy was maybe hurt in the neck. The ambulance took him with them. He was number 1, being the first car in the standing queue that was hit by two guys in a car. Thus, his car was really hit. We were the fourth. The Saab took the energy and transformed it into scrambled metal. Hello transformers... now would be a nice time to show yourself and fix my car! Anyhow: Nobody seriously hurt which is amazing, in light of the two guys crashing into us, sort of pretty much full speed. The two guys are in deep troubles, because one might be an illegal immigrant. All crashed car owners might be in troubles because the car did not really seem to have a valid insurance. After talking to my insurance company this morning: We are in for troubles, because it all happened in Italia. Things are different there. Ah, well. At least the value of my car was more sentimental than real cash.

    On the other side of my brain, I am still trying to bring all the impressions from Pitti in order. I did not have time to smell and visit a lot. I was most of the time at the stand, talking and hugging and cheering. Which is fun, but very tiring. It really is.  Nevertheless: Here a few highlights and best of:

    - the official dinner, organized by Pitti. The best ever! No speeches, free everything and the location was absolutely stunning: The four seasons.

    - the most beautiful exhibition stand: Campomarzio's stand, with the candles. All so wonderful vintage and so beautifully integrated into the Pitti hall. Super stunning.

    - the most interesting perfume: This IS a difficult one. There were so many wonderful  fragrances. Ok...here one of the most interesting. It was not presented at Pitti, but Ineke showed me her Angels Trumpet that she did as part of the floral curiosities for Antropology. I loved it a lot. I will visit Anthropology in LA to test the rest of this line. And I loved the packaging. So thoughtful,  in every detail.

    - the most interesting scent strip card: Yosh for Sombre Negra. A black moustache formed scent strip that you would hold under your nose. So cool! And the scent: Great!

    - the most tiring and most interesting day: Saturday because of all the private perfume fans. Entire families visit. Amazing.

    - the most beautiful perfumer present: Mona di Orio, shining with her wonderful Nombre d'Or collection on our stand.

    - the perfumer with whom I talked most: Olivier Durbano, with his wonderful collection on our stand. Make sure you check out his new scent citrine.

    - the moment I looked most forward every afternoon: Getting back to the hotel and drink a beer.

    Cheers!

     

    Today's picture shows you one of these moments in the hotel.

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