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Monthly Archives: June 2012

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  • ambreine

    Today is mixing day: Lonestar Memories. Right now: Pouring Ambreine, from my 5 liter aluminum can, a sticky, brown delight. Today's picture shows you a drop or two sitting on top of the aluminum can with its wide opening. I got it from France, from Biolandes, and it is cistus ladaniferus heaven for me. Another ingredient that you find in my scents of mine, like l'air du désert marocain, Une Rose Chyprée, Incense rosé, or Miriam from Tableau de Parfums.

    Adding before: Patchouli, Texas Cedar wood,vetiverol, vanillin, coumarin

    Next: adding myrrh, birch tar, jasmin, rose, and about 20 more things. Actually, this IS fun.

     

  • delicate matters

    This post is a bit delicate, as it is a bit critical and as Switzerland is not part of the EU (European Union) and hence I am describing a view of a part of the world from the outside. Some of you might not like this post, some of you prefer to read about roses, but to get to the rose paradise you have to pass through European Union desert land. And I figured - as this blog is about making perfumes and how it feels to bring perfumes to the world- it is such an important aspect these days that I need to share.

    There we go. Yesterday, I spent all day creating certificates for the registration of Loretta from Tableau de Parfums(R) for the EU market. The picture of today shows you the headline of the "Fabrication Method Statement", wherein we have to describe how the fragrance is produced. Yes. It IS ridiculous. Other statements that need to be provided to the EU: Quantitative INCI formulations, product stability assessments, IFRA compliance statements, product specification files, certificates of analysis for all ingredients, material safety data sheets for ingredients, and many more, some of which are provided by my EU partner.

    By 2013 the EU regulation for cosmetic products changes definitely and all cosmetic products from non EU countries need to be registered in a central database and a "RESPONSIBLE PERSON" must be allocated in one of the EU countries. Thus, I start preparing beforehand, and did all the paper work for Loretta, the upcoming fragrance, according to the new law.

    The EU is becoming the most regulated cosmetic market in the whole world by 2013. To fulfill these regulations comes with a cost. A manpower, organization overhead, paperwork cost. The EU provides a central database, and I do not want to know how many people work nationally and on EU level just to make sure that the EU regulations for cosmetics products are fulfilled. Ever wondered why Europe is becoming less and less competitive? I stopped wondering.  I wish there would be more thinking about innovation instead of regulation in Europe.

    Signs for hope? No, in the contrary. It is not so important for me, as Switzerland is a bit different, but I worry about Europe. Thus, actually, this is a sad post.

    To finish it with a smile: As you can also see in today's picture I am working on getting an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for my tauerperfumes.com site. I learned that many of my clients wish to enter their private information such as address or telephone number on a secured site, which makes totally sense. Thus,  https.... there we go!

  • strawberries but no roses

    Today, I am talking about one aspect that is a constant menace when working with naturals: Their availability. Today's picture shows you a strawberry, scanned. I actually scanned it in 10500x10000 pixels and reduced the size later. Thus, you can see a lot of details when looking at the original picture and one of my insights: Strawberries consist of a lot of nothing. Like us: Most of us is empty space between atoms and molecules. The strawberry is a Swiss one, from the region, not because Swiss do it better, but just because strawberries are the better the fresher and the less transported.

    If rainy and cold weather destroys our harvest here, there is not really a strawberry problem. You can get them from half the globe.

    Unfortunately, this is not true for Bulgarian rose absolute, R. damascena absolue. Over the year, I guess I use about 2-3 kg in my mixes as you find a bit of rose absolute  in almost every tauer scent, and a lot in some like Incense rosé or ZETA- a linden blossom theme, and others. There are alternatives to my preferred quality, Bulgarian absolute, such as Moroccan, or Turkish rose absolute. However, for most applications I prefer the rose from Bulgaria. I get it from my Swiss lab, where I source most of my raw materials: They do the quality control, check conformity with EU laws and make sure that what I get is the best.

    They told me that the next harvest is delayed and we expect the next batch of rose absolute from Bulgaria not before September. I have enough rose to mix the Lonestar Memories, and then I am down to nothing. And will have to wait. But I think, I have enough stock of all scents to keep me going until November. And if not and if you have to wait for a month or two: The rose is to blame.

     

  • time for a new batch

    It is time for mixing a new batch of Lonestar Memories. Actually, it is more than time. I mentioned it a while ago that I shifted my stocking rhythm slightly towards a touch lower stock of everything. The reason: Cash flow, and instead of having money sitting on the shelves in the form of fragrance, I rather have money going in new ideas and being invested.  Of course, the world is not black and white,  and hence we still have a lot of stock, of a lot of things. How much exactly, we will find out next week when I do the mid year counting of all I have. The moment of truth.

    In order to mix a new Lonestar batch, I needed to order a few goodies. Like rose absolute, jasmine absolute, geranium absolute, iso butyl quinoline, a molecule that smells like leather, fine leather, a bit earthy, woody, animalic, mossy. It is one of the ingredients in Lonestar that bring about the leather. Other ingredients that add to the rich and rough leather aspects are: Birch tar (think smoke, animalic, dark), oakmoss, vetiver, cistus ladaniferus, myrrh.

    The birch tar is actually over dosed. Bravely overdosed.

    When I am preparing a new mixture, I have to write it down first in Excel, preparing the table, like a check list for later mixing. Then I check this file with the Excel of all raw materials that sit in the cellar or the fridge to check what I have in stock and what needs to be reordered. Today, I had a closer look at the formula and did some checks. Actually, looking at the formula: It is rather rich and heavy on the base notes side.  32 ingredients, 17 are naturals, 1/3 of the weight in the perfume is natural, 2/3 is synthetic. Compared to industry standards, this is a lot. It adds to the price of the fragrance mix. The synthetics: Almost 50% alone is vanillin, lilial and sandalore. Then things get complex (a bit of this and a bit of that) on the synthetics side, too.

    I mention these numbers to raise the awareness for the complexity on one hand and on the other hand, for the simplicity. 32 ingredients is not very complex compared to industry standards. The complexity comes through and in the naturals.

    Anyhow, I am running low now in Lonestar Memories. Lonestar Memories, the somewhat rough smoky woody leather with a soft spot in its base, is actually a constant seller. A fact that I find amazing, in light of the rough and serious leather note.  It has its fans and it was my third creation, created in 2005/2006, launched in 2006, together with a picture of a cowboy . A detail of this guy you see on today's photo: And no, this for sure is not a box with snuff in his left shirt pocket. My guess is: Cherry flavored sweet and sour drops.  Your guess?

     

     

  • sowing the seeds

    I couldn't resist picking today's title for today's post, shooting the right picture, and downloading the right tune on itunes...
    Yesterday, the W.-factor and me (finally!!!) were sowing some basil seeds. It is summer, and we decided that we need basil leaves with tomatoes later this summer and that Andy should make a pesto, again later in summer.
    And it is fruit time. All the fruits in the grocery market invite in yummie colors to grab them and eat them, immediately.
    Thus, today's picture illustrates this summer feeling a bit. When writing the post, I remembered a couple of things: My apricot essential oil that I got a while ago from Robertet, that resulted in trial version 3, a soft, fruity floral rosy edp on an ambergris background. I did it, liked it, did not know what to do, thought it did not last like all my other scents and moved on, all enthusiastically working on a hyacinth-lily-theme. This one, by chance, landed on my wrist before going to bed. It was there this morning, it was there this noon, surviving the fear sweat attack at the dentist office, the gym work out and the 45 minutes running, and to some extend the shower. I need to discuss this scent with a professional. It is spicy, floral, green, heady, and I do not know yet why it has a staying power that compares easily to the half life of plutonium.
    Anyhow. I remembered the apricot-floral-rosy-ambergris scent, and I remembered that I need to label the 200+ Zeta bottles, and I remembered that I always wanted to try to do a limited (seasonal) offering. It is summer, and I am thinking about offering ZETA- a linden blossom theme- with something special, for a week or two, like for instance free shipping. To celebrate summer, sort of, and as an experiment, to see what happens. Sort of. I need to think about this one, while I smell the apricots.

  • world in red

    today's picture shows you the Rhine Falls (Europe's largest plain water fall near Schaffhausen, Switzerland), seen through a piece of red glass in the window of one of the observation desks. (the picture is proof of my 80 km biking trip yesterday) The world in red. But not seen in red through some sort of digital filter but for real, through real red glass. Red glass, by the way, is pretty rare and I cannot get a red flacon due to restrictions in the use of heavy metals that render glass dark red. Anyhow: The world seen through a red glass makes it look quite different.

    The blue sky and the green pastures and trees all look red or dark reddish spots which actually makes the tree stand out a bit. Actually, a red filter would help a lot to find the important shapes when trying to paint a natural scenery. At least the way I look at it. The same experience you would make, I am convinced, when applying a new interest filter to your life. Start painting or doing illustrations: The world will break out in light, in colors, in shapes and contrasts and textures. Start creating perfumes and the world will develop in front of your nose in scents. Start writing and the world will be words describing it. I am convinced that for most of us, there are a lot of parallel universes out there, ready to get explored by us, if we dare.

    Right now, after meeting with my designer, Donovan Gregory from the Designer's Club, my world is packaging. We met on Friday, and Donovan presented details about all the major items I want to get changed: The tin box, some labels, a little product brochure and we both realized how complex the map of tauerville got in the last three years.  We are trying to simplify a few things, or better said: Simplify the handling  for Andy. But things look very promising. Here 's the plan for the next weeks: We will continue working on some details of an alternative tin box that -as explained earlier- is a bit smaller, rectangular, and easier to stock and pack and handle. We will get another model of it and then, in late summer, we will start production of it, with delivery in winter 2012. As soon as the box is "out of our way" we will need to decide on labels and paper.

    Thus, the world around me is packaging, with a hint of gardenia, where I am trying to come up with a starting point how and in which combination to use my gardenia base that I built. Ah and yes, the world is filling perfume bottles. But that's nothing new.  ZETA - a linden blossom theme- today.

  • vanilla and Zeta

    today's image is a vanilla pod, scanned at super high res and back fitted again to allow presentation on the right side of this page. A lot of these, concentrated by carbon dioxide (CO2), are in Zeta, a linden blossom theme. We all know the taste and scent of vanillin, from ready made pudding, ice cream and other chemically enhanced vanilla goodies. But vanillin is only part of the story. Vanilla pods CO2 extracts come pretty close the original. You can get them in varying degree of vanillin content, and I use an extract, Bourbon, with 12% vanillin in it. Thus, you get a lot of other aromatic components with the extract. Parts of the woody notes, the amber creamy notes, the animalic side that plays hide and seek in vanilla pods.

    In the ZETA fragrance the vanilla extract is not pumped up with vanillin or other vanillin derivates. Together with the natural sandalwood extract (here I am using an Australian quality, double distilled and super fine), and some vetiverol it brings a lovely, gentle woody creamy sweetness with a twist into the base.

    What you also get when you buy the CO2 extracts:  you get a lot of natural waxes; this is one reason why I am still filtering the newest batch of ZETA, lot zetalb002: The waxes tend to block the filter and slow the process down. Thus, I have time to scan long pods (I love the color in this scan picture!), and do other totally useless things that I enjoy so much.

     

  • fir cone again and filling level in Tauer Perfumes

    Yesterday, a bit longer into the night than actually expected, I "finished" the fir cone illustration. While doing so and putting thousands of little lines on the screen, I thought about the tasks of today. Today sees me putting Une Rose Vermeille into flacons. I am in a sense looking forward to it, as it will allow me to continue thinking about a few of ideas we have these days. It is a meditative task, and, as long as the bottles don't break or fall other other scented disasters happen, a calming down, easy going job.

    Talking about filling flacons: There was a question the other day, raised in Basenotes, about the filling height and the void space that seem quite a large volume when you get a brand new bottle of a scent in a blue flacon. Thus, some flacons seem actually more filled than others. I tried to provide an answer. You find it here, at the bottom of the thread: In a nutshell.... It has to do with the production process of the bottles themselves. They are hand made (semi- automatic). The nominal volume of the flacon is actually close to 60 ml. I add 53 ml (+/- 1 ml). Thus, there will remain a void volume of around 7 ml which might seem like a lot. Not every flacon has the same empty volume due to the manual production process. Thus, there will be variations from one filled flacon to the other.

    OK, having said this: I will actually continue thinking about packaging in the factory, while filling flacons. This upcoming Friday, when I will sit together with my designer, we will need to put a few bricks into the packaging wall. Decisions ahead. So far, we have decided that the metal tin box will be replaced early 2013, transforming our packing from pentagonal to a more standard sized rectangular tin box, with a sliding mechanism, like you know it from the discovery set. Now we are thinking about the cardboard/Paper that needs to wrap the metal tin box. I have some ideas there: I want the metal box to partly be visible, showing core elements of the brand visual and material world, such as the tin, the tauer logo and the pentagon. I guess on Friday we will see whether this will all be possible.

    I did a little sketch on how I see the cardboard wrapping on my digital sketching display, and I think my designer and me work on exactly the same wave length. There are of course more challenges than just coming up with the shape and style of what wraps the tin box. Other challenges are the individualization, the coding  of the packaging for each fragrance. And yes, I got myself a cintiq the other day for my sketching and painting. I decided it was x-mas somewhere in the universe and time to pamper myself with a new super gadget.

     

  • fire cones and a jogging test passed

    Today's picture shows you a fir cone that I picked up in the nearby woods, while exercising, a sketch I did this morning before writing this post. It is the layout, the matrix, sketched with an electronic pencil, and I want to add color with an electronic brush later when I find time. If you look close you see how I started drawing it: I started with a diagonal line, defined the core proportions and then added details. If you try to sketch complex objects you need to create something like anchor points that allow you to check the proportions and angles.

    And yes, actually, when sketching, you do not sketch a fir cone, you sketch angles and shapes and lines.

    The same is true in perfumery. When I sketch a gardenia base, I do not really paint a gardenia with scent, but I paint lines and shapes and angles, hoping that the sum of these will give rise to a larger picture that reminds in a gardenia, highlighting some aspects while hiding others. Thus, I continued working on the gardenia base. Base means here: A gardenia scent that is going to be used like an essential oil in a fragrance. This base, itself consisting of about 14 ingredients, will be just one component within a (hopefully) fragrance that features gardenia among other things. The shapes and angles that I used in this base are to a good extend molecules that you find when doing a head space analysis: methyl benzoate, tigliates, linalool, lactones. I added some salicylates that add powderness and make the mix bigger, some spices that add edges and brightness, some flowers such as Jasmine absolute and orange blossom absolute that add softness and white spots, some vanilla for extra sweetness and geraniol for a light greenness.

    This last version of my gardenia base trials: I like it, put it onto my skin before jogging yesterday and it survived 80 minutes sweating and ventilation. That's pretty good. Jogging test past. Next: See what I do with it. But that's another story. First things first this week: Stocking up on some homages fragrances....rose vermeille and Carillon pour un ange will need my attenttion.

  • sign on the wall

    Today, I am going to talk about a sign on the wall. Nope. Not related to banks, nor exchange rates or mene tekels. It is a shiny metal sign that you find in Zurich at Spiegelgasse 29 since a couple of days. It tells everybody passing by or cruising along Spiegelgasse that Medieval art & vie sells Tauer fragrances, exclusively in Switzerland by the way. Pascal, the shop owner, got it installed because he realized that many by-passers did not realize that he carries my brand. So there we go...

    And here is the same alleyway, from a different angle.

    And if you look closely, you see my bike there, too.

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