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Monthly Archives: February 2012

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  • adventures coming

    Dominik Dachs comes back again: When I was a boy, I spent hours and hours watching the adventures of Dominik Dachs and his friends, including Niki Tiki, following them when they traveled their little world. To get an idea (in Swiss German) of how lovely these characters are: Click here for the video on the Swiss TV website. Enjoy!

    When I read the news today about Dominik Dachs coming back, I was instantly transported back to days where I was dreaming of getting out into the world and living an adventurous life. And guess what: Actually, in a sense, this boy dream has come pretty true. Not only that I was and am blessed to see parts of the world. I am also living quite an adventurous life. Or, like the W.-factor agreed the other day: I am actually living the life of an artist. Financially somewhat special, but with exciting projects and ideas everywhere. And happy me: I am not doing these projects myself. Like Dominik Dachs I have my friends and partners living these adventures with me, and the other way round.

    In the coming days,  another adventure starts. Maybe I am not Dominik Dachs there, but more Niki Tiki, supporting Dominik. It does not matter. I feel it is going to be a fun adventure. I will talk more about Dark Passage, the fragrance. We will talk about a soap that I find utterly interesting, featuring interesting notes, among others Tuberose, and film projects and and and.

    These adventures need some preparations. Thus, I get ready and need to pack my adventure bags. See you very, very soon again! Please stay tuned. Thank you.

  • patchouli coeur

    Patchouli coeur which means"heart of Patchouli" is basically a patchouli that is rich in patchoulol. I am using a quality that is 66% patchoulol. I use it together with "standard" patchouli in the dark fragrance that I described in the past few days. Patchoulol is also called Patchouli Camphor as the heart of patchouli  is a very camperous, in a sense it is actually close to incense, with its campherous terpene like aspects.  Maybe this is part of the fascination of patchouli. There is a woody dark side and an airy, campherous side and the two complement each other. It is like a constant discourse between these two sides.

    Patchouli coeur is even a bit more on the light, airy, musky side. Yes, there is a musky aspect that is stronger and underlined in Patchouli Coeur. I got mine from Ventos, but the description on Robertet's internet site is wonderful. It is in French and thus even more mysterious: "Odeur : le cœur de patchouli présente un aspect olfactif très propre, ambré, terreux, patchoulol, oriental."  Thus, it smells clean, of ambergris, earth, patchoulol, and oriental.

    I mentioned it before : I use a lot of cocoa in this dark fragrance. The combo Patchouli-cocoa is a great combination.  Usually the cocoa is rendered into a gourmand scent. I like my cocoa dirty. The Patchoulol helps me to balance this dark side.  The dark woody "heavy" cacao and an airy musky light patchouli talk to each other and complement each other.

    Next week, when all goes well, I will close this little series on this upcoming scent. The fragrance runs under the name Dark Passage, and I will present it in a specific context in a few days.

    But now, it is time to stop here. We got a delivery coming, 5000 pentagonal boxes, and although they are empty and it is just packed air, carrying them around takes a while.

    Enjoy your weekend!

     

     

  • notes on birch tar

    OK. Birch tar. That's an easy one. If you wish to find out how birch tar smells: Hit the next birch tree, cut it, light a fire, let the fire go out, smell the smoke and you get the idea. Of course, what I used has been rectified a few times to get rid of toxic stuff. Alternatively, you might want to smell Lonestar Memories, my third fragrance, where I sort of went to the limit of what you do with birchtar in perfumery. You may also visit Knize Ten, the original, one of the best leather scents there is and discover birch tar there, packed nicely into a chord of citrus and a yummie rose and geranium and lots of woods, just to name one of my favorite leather scents.

    Actually, birch tar is not an easy one to use. It is smoky, burnt wood like, leathery, somewhat dirty, phenolic, not really pleasant when smelled in high concentrations. A little drop changes everything in a mixture. You find this drop in the air du désert marocain, too. In the scent that I am talking about about since Monday I dosed the birch tar a bit higher than in air du désert marocain. The leathery, smoky line is more present but much less than in Lonestar Memories. It basically contrasts any gourmand aspect of cocoa.  I wanted to add a leathery burnt dry wood note to the cocoa and bring out the animalic underlining story within the scent's head and heart note.

    Today's picture shows you three aluminum bottles, from left to right the already discussed beeswax, a little aluminum tube with Bourbon vetiver and birch tar. Vetiver and birch tar go wonderful together and work sort of hand in hand. Actually, vetiver is much more smoky and dirty leathery tobacco than you would expect. Most vetiver fragrances that we see these days on the perfumery shelves are cleaned to a point where the soul of vetiver is actually gone. However, I do not need a lot of vetiver here, just a hint to fix things, add volume and a bit earth.

    You also see the formula, printed from excel (and gloves, as I always mix with gloves on). The right side column of the excel is actually empty and there I fill in the lot numbers of each ingredient. Later, I  transfer the numbers into the Excel file again.  Each raw material that I use comes with a certificate of analysis and with a specific batch number. The mixture that I make will also get a batch /lot number. Thus, I can basically trace back for every lot of every fragrance that I ever made which ingredients of what batch with what specifications I actually used.  Right now, I have three large folders filled up with certificates.

    One fine day, 10 years after production, I am allowed to destroy the certificates. They will burn and hopefully smell smoky and dirty.

  • cocoa brightened up

    There is a thing with extracts of cocoa that makes them sometimes difficult to use in perfumes. They are mostly dark. But there are qualities that are different. I would like to continue exploring a fragrance that I created a while ago and that sits in the fridge waiting to be put into some flacons, and to be shipped in a while; in the framework of a special set of activities.  More details will unfold in the coming days. Today, let us just focus on another ingredient: natural cocoa.

    Actually, this scent has a lot of it in it.

    I got a quality that is colorless. I got it from Ventos. It is a creamy, quite viscous liquid at 20C and although it lost its dark color, it did not loose its soul. It is bitter sweet, with this unique cacao vibe. Again, there is something mysterious in this ingredient, a "noir" quality. Thus, do not get me wrong: The cocoa extract maybe colorless, but the fragrance where I put it in is a dark scent. Cocoa is in its heart, central and present, adding a roasted heart of bitterness with hints of tobacco: In my nose, there is a line of tobacco in cocoa. Expensive cigar tobacco. Add this to the fine line of birchtar and you get a leathery smoky line that reaches out from the head into the heart.

    And then, of course, cocoa is quite gourmand. Here, again no mistakes: I did not want the scent to enter into yummie territory. But its natural sweetness softens harsher components, airy woody rooty ingredients that we will discuss in the coming days.

    Today's picture with its newspaper aesthetics  brings us one step closer to the inspiration and base of this fragrance: dark films of the past.

     

  • beeswax

    sweet tobacco, honey, flowery, powdery that's what it says how beeswax absolute smells. I would add "dark", animalic and musky. It is a waxy, hard material at room temperature and you have to melt it in a water bath (gently) in order to be able to pour it. That's what the bottle label you see in today's picture looks a bit worn. You can get it for instance from Biolandes. I got mine from Essencia, 100 gr, with certificate of analysis, confirming that except for 0.01% Benzyl alcohol it does not contain any components that need to be declared in accordance with the EU 76/768/EWG, attachement III/1 (allergens) regulations. Thus, it is a very safe to use product.

    But not easy to use. First it is rather strongly colored, reddish almost. Then it needs careful dosage, I  think, as the tobacco honey animalic note becomes very easily overpowering. I would say it is somewhere in the middle between a heart and a head note. Some of the sweetness may even expand into the fragrance body. In a sense, I think, it should be used like an animalic extract, a modifier in a sense, in low dosage, adding a musky sweetness.

    I have not used it in any fragrance so far. But I used it recently, in a context that I would describe as "noir", animalic, leathery, head notes related, and if you look closely at today's picture you can see that the 100 ml beeswax bottle is part of a larger picture. I cropped the larger part of this picture that I took when I mixed this somewhat dark fragrance. I mixed enough for a few hundred purse spray size bottles. I am doing something quite special with it.  I will continue talking about it soon: Stay tuned. Thank you.

  • going downtown- Tauer at MIN

    OK. Now it is sort of official. You find tauer from now on in the MIN Apothecary in New York. Here is the link if you want to visit virtually. And if you want to visit physically: It is quite easy to find. Just follow your nose, in NY and on Crosby street (#117) you might discover cowboys around the campfire, you might smell some desert air mixed with the perfume of spices and freshly baked cookies, or you might find yourself in a raspberry field with roses. And you will discover that Min is actually a very nice and comfortable place to be.

    And if you visit March 17, early in the evening, you might see a perfumer guy in jeans and white shirt. I am looking very much to it. And thank the team at Min already now for the cocktails. Everyone is invited.

    Don't miss.

    And now: Back to work... mixing, in order to make sure that we have something to smell in New York.

  • complex matters

    We stay for a while in Joshua Tree: Today's picture shows you a sunset there. Yesterday, in the comment section of my blog,  Lorenzo mentioned a question and raised a discussion, referring to my post. I talked about technology changing shopping and logistics patterns. Lorenzo brought up the human factor: "When you say “where I click a button and the sample is mine, shipped within 24 hours”, nowaday, in this real world, this usually means poorly paid intensive jobs, stress, environmental consequences, etc. I feel the solution is not reverting to the good ol’ days of the shop next door, but…anyway, let’s put the human factor where it deserves to stay. Modern technology can be the key of a better world to live in, but also the source of a lot of -very old economy – pains and exploitations…"

    What I think about this is rather complex and has many facets. And has not much to do with perfumery, and yet it has a lot to do with running a perfume business and creating perfumes.

    First: My perfumes would not exist without the technological changes that we experienced the last 10 years. Without internet and changed production technology my fragrances would never have seen the world. Fragrances are a very luxurious product. In my products you find raw materials and human work from Europe, the Americas, Afrika, Australia and Asia. I try to source as much as I can from Europe, for logistics reasons, and  in order to make sure that the working conditions of the people who produce material that I need to create and assemble my scents are treated properly. This is one reason why my scents are expensive to buy.

    Second: Yes, in the real world, that we do not like to see, everybody who owns a mobile phone, a pad, a computer, a car, etc. uses natural resources that are very rare and that are produced by destroying habitats of plants, animals and human beings. The production processes of these tools that nourish further technological development involves human labor under conditions that most of us would not accept.

    Third: The use of these tools, from phone to computer to car to plane uses energy. A lot of energy. Every single facebook note uses energy. Independent of where this energy comes from, be it wind, solar, water, thermal processes, this energy comes with a price tag of natural resources being used, land being used, of natural balances being shifted. Drive from LA to Joshua Tree and see the huge wind turbines and how they destroy the beauty of a desert valley. And yes, to see it you better get a car.

    Having said this: Each of us has a choice, daily. We are free to get a phone or not. We are free to raise our voice to ask for better working conditions of our friends, family and people working for us abroad. Actually, I think it is important not to feel guilty and loaded with sin, but to take action there where we can.

    And: Ultimately, only technology will save us from the cruelties of nature and mankind. Mother nature does not care about human beings suffering. Technology allows us to create a space in a cold universe where we are warm and protected, without hunger and pain. It is up to us to make sure that we all use technology to create this cozy space.

    I use natural rose absolutes in my fragrances. Behind these absolutes are Bulgarian women picking the flowers early in the morning. There are engineers building the machinery to extract the flowers. There are truck drivers brining the rose absolute to my place. There are IT specialists allowing me to add the rose absolute to the list of ingredients in my Excel and there are Chinese workers allowing me to turn on my computer. And there are pilots flying large planes over the ocean to transport boxes with rose fragrances to Los Angeles.

  • valley of the dolls

    Having heard it on Lounge-Radio.com I downloaded Valley of the Dolls yesterday evening, by MYLO, on amazon.com, as the apple shop did not have it. Lounge radio is my favorite internet lounge station, and to use their motto: "This is how I lounge".

    While listening to the piece and a few others, I booked my flight to LA with Valentines discount on ebookers.ch, got my rental car there, my hotel for the first night in LA on booking.com, at the place where I am always staying, and the campsite for a few days afterwards; there where I really like to stay in Joshua Tree, booked at recreation.gov. Afterwards I continued painting on the ipad a bit.

    Besides the fact that I will have the chance - insha' Allah!- to hike somewhen in April in Joshua Tree again (hurray!), I simply find the way we can shop these days amazing. That's why I mentioned what I bought. Put this in context with the first flight I bought when I was twenty years old: The cheapest fare from Zurich to Miami almost 30 years ago was first by train to Brussels, not included, and then with Sabena from Brussels to Miami for a killing rate of 1380 Francs. Thus, a lot has changed. And I am sure that the way we can shop and compare prices has changed the prices, too.

    In perfumery (yes, this still IS a perfumery blog) it is not comparable yet but it is going to be. I am convinced. Even for niche, for artisanal niche. Actually, I wonder why it is not yet like on lounge-radio: you hear a (niche studio) song, click a buy it! link and are on i-tunes where you click on a button and it is yours.

    This is what I want: I read a blog. Any perfume blog. About a perfume, like air du désert marocain. I click a link, I am on "i-note" where I click a button and the sample is mine, shipped within 24 hours. And when I like the fragrance, I go on "i-note" where I get the full bottle. Yes, there is a difference, it is the bottle neck of all internet shopping: The shipment logistics. And perfume is not the easiest good to shop, and it is highly regulated. These days, the EU for instance makes sure that cosmetic products in the EU are the most regulated cosmetics products in the world.  And the postal system is not fully operational everywhere.

    Contrary to an e-ticket and an mp3 download, perfumes come in boxes and glass bottles and can break. And the packaging is part of the experience.  I have a good example there: You know that I use a pentagonal box, made from tin, to pack my pentagonal fragrances? This box is pretty expensive to make, I have to pay licenses (a looooong story), it uses a lot of space and is very sensitive to dents and to pressure.  It is expensive, not easy to pack and it sometimes arrives with dents. Not ideal for "i-note".

    In the end this is not dramatic, as the box is only packaging material. But looking at it all: Time to change this. Yesterday, I finished the time plan for the redesign of my pentagonal packaging: Within a year we will see a new box for the pentagonal flacons. Today we start.

    Today's picture: a picture taken at Joshua Tree, fitting with today's post, at the art installation that I described in an earlier post on my blog here.

     

  • mandarines et al

    This weekend saw me jogging, cooking and discussing mentally and emailing. A lot of emails came in and went out and some are still in limbo space as I am not sure whether I really want to answer them. It is quite amazing what kind of emails you get, sometimes. Jogging was refreshing as it is still quite cold in Zurich, and it allowed me to think about a couple of trials I made the last few weeks and how to proceed there. The result of the thinking was another mix that I did yesterday, trying to combine the best of two worlds. A world built around ambra, and a world build around cypriol. Basically it is an idea that came up when sniffing the two trials with Vero Kern. We realized that the two trials actually smelled the most interesting when combined. Thus, looking at the two formulas, I tried to unify them into one.

    I look at it as a game. The inspiration at the end is the wonderful scent of cypriol that is quite unique. Leathery, spicy, woody, warm.

    While mixing the formula that is like a marriage of two different trials I made a while ago, I figured that maybe I want to do a second trial, but leave the citrus chord away. And instead add a bit more cacao and vanilla to soften the fragrance. This is what I will try later tonight, after putting bottles into boxes in the factory and after finishing some more mails. No citrus, just the great cypriol, accompanied by three different cistus ladaniferus extracts, some vanilla and cacao, patchouli and a hint cinnamon and a touch damascenone, for this ripe fruit and oriental spicy aspect that I love so much.

    Using citrus in a composition comes like a reflex, maybe this reflex comes sometimes a bit too fast.

    Thus, I scanned a mandarin today and leave the citrus there, on the scanner.

  • soaps and VOD and a good piece of reading

    Uff. that was quite a week. And guess what I will do tonight? Watch movies! And try to read a few things and smell a few its and bits all into the weekend.

    In case you feel like me after a long week, here a few hints, and announcements and wishes.

    Miriam, the film section from the Woman's Picture movie that inspired the fragrance with the same name is now available as Video On Demand (VOD) on Evelyn Avenue or on Luckyscent.com. I have seen Miriam about 10 times and love this movie by Brian Pera and will soon see it again. Click here for the movie on Evelyn Avenue, or here for the same on Luckyscent.

    If you wish to do some reading: Why not start with Vanessa Musson's thoughts on things to think before starting a perfume blog. Even if you do not want to start your own blog:  It is very worth reading, it is on  Now Smell This and I hope to see more from Vanessa there. Click here for the article.

    And if you want to smell a soap that you cannot buy and that I created for Brian's launch of his Evelyn Avenue shop, a rose scented soap, that is green and spicy and rosy, well then you might consider getting Miriam, the fragrance (purse spray size or the 50 ml flacon) or a DVD in Evelyn Avenue's shop. These days, any order of these products come with a complimentary soap, made by myself, as long as supply lasts. Click her for the Evelyn Avenue store.

    And now, after the commercial interruption, comes the wishes section: I wish you a lovely weekend and hope it will be fragrant.

    Enjoy!

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