creating scents

Items 61 to 70 of 109 total

  • perfume, in a soap

    Today's picture shows you a quick, slightly out of angle shot of the tauerville balance, one of the tools that you end up needing when mixing and creating scents.

    "volumes are not additive", that's what we were told in our chemistry class, years ago, and it is still true. Basically, it means that mixing 100 ml  of liquid A and 100 ml of a liquid B will not always result in 200 ml of the mixture AB. That's why you need to mix grams and make weight based dilutions. 100 gram A and 100 gram B will always result in 200 gr. mixture AB.

    So we got this new balance, ordered some when in November, and it has been in heavy duty use since it arrived. For the techies: range is 420 gram. And accuracy is plus/mins 1 mgr. I could hook it up to a printer, but won't do so. I prefer to write my numbers down, on my excel print-outs.

    Today, I will mix 10 gram of a mixture consisting of 10 ingredients: A new version of a TUBEROSE SOAP scent. I will use two concrètes that I got a while ago: Rose and Jasmine concrètes. The difference to the tuberose soap scent that I did (one batch) for the holidays is not too big. But I will try to render it a touch more bloomy (flowery), a bit more radiating even, using methyl antranilate, and with Jasmonyl that comes with a special creamy, lactonic, mushroom-like effect. And, as Givaudan nicely says on their website: "  It enhances and improves the diffusion of most fragrances, particularly in perfumes designed for soap." So we hope for best....

    To be honest: I love coming up with scents for soaps. I find it very rewarding and it comes with an instantaneous gratification. Mostly.

    Soaps are difficult, from a commercial point of view:Expensive to ship from Switzerland to abroad. But if my plans to come up with a shipper in the US become reality, I could at least ship in the US and Switzerland.

    So you see: I play with my balance and think about soaps. It is a bit a distraction from my shipment worries. It is an anti-deluxe packing for handmade soaps that are very luxuriously scented. Actually, the scent in my soaps is the most expensive part. It's a perfume, in a soap.

  • mixing Le Maroc pour elle

    My stock of Le Maroc pour elle is down to some dozens bottles and hence there was an urgent need to remix another stock. As the last two weeks saw me waiting for some raw materials used in Le Maroc and as I did not want to mix it when still not feeling ok (I had sort of a cold for the last three weeks): It took a while until the circumstances were right. Yesterday they were.

    So you see: Le Maroc pour elle was my first scent that I created 8 years ago for the little bookshop in Zurich that is still exclusive for Zurich/Switzerland: Medieval art&vie. It is a debut novel, telling an epic and dramatic story of opulent roses and jasmine from Morocco, mixing bright citrus sparkles with dark and sensual patchouli, exclusive sandalwood (think: Mysore) and cedarwood from the High Atlas.

    I haven't calculated production costs since years. Yesterday, when I poured and weighted and mixed, I figured, I should. Prices for essential oils have changed drastically the last 8 years and I guess I am in for a suprise there. So besides enjoying the thick essential oils and absolutes, I was thinking "prices", and "formula": Mixing an old formula following a print-out from Excel is like a time travel. To be honest: I would never do Le Maroc pour elle the same way again. I guess, I marched quite some miles these last few years and today, le Maroc pour elle would probably be a bit less dramatic, a bit less "fifties style" but I would definitely stick to Cedarwood essential oil (Atlas variety).

    Le Maroc pour elle is the only scent from my line where I use cedarwood from the High Atlas. In other scents I use cedarwood essential oil, like in the Air du désert marocain, but there I use the Texan variety that is totally different. What is sweet and a bit clingy in the Atlas variety is dry and vibrantly woody in the Texan variety. Actually, there is one exception: the COLOGNE DU MAGHREB, there you find Atlas Cedarwood essential oil. But the cologne is not part of my regular range, thus you find it online at and First in Fragrance. (It is an all natural botanical rich cologne)

    So I mixed Le Maroc pour elle yesterday, in my mixing room, shutters half closed, into a 12.5 liter aluminum vessel, through a large funnel. The vessel looks a bit used outside, but inside it is all polished and clean. It is lot/batch 014, this means that since its launched Le Maroc I have mixed juice for about 3500 bottles. Yep: Le Maroc pour elle still comes in small batches of 12.5 liters, contrary to scents like Incense extrême or Air du désert or Orange Star that come in 50 or 60 liter batches, Le Maroc pour elle was never going big scale. That' s very fine with me. It is niche in my artisanal niche in the niche corner universe.

    While mixing, I took the picture of today, against the light, contours faded, with the sun breaking into sparkles through the essential oil of Cedarwood from Morocco. It felt like the sun was inside the liquid.

  • being scentric

    It has become, without me realizing really, sort of a ritual that I cook Asian on Monday evening. You know: Light, spicy, with lots of vegetable, always trying new twists and additions, with rice, and depending on the mood more inspired by Chinese or by Thai ideas. Also, a very constant pattern: In the house of tauer, usually, we are a bit perfume and perfume business and online shop orders and retailer orders and new scents (s)centric. Allow me a side note to yesterday's post: As the sun in my little universe circles mostly new perfume planets and from time to time a business comet passes by (yes, I am living in a pre-Copernican world), I have quite a different perspective than, let's say, most of my perfume loving friends. I guess, in this perspective, a scent like "Eau d'épices" is a thing of the past, and as it is far from the sun right now, it is a bit in the shadow. As the sun shine on NOONTIDE petals these days, I do not worry too much about the eau d'épices in the dark. And hence, the idea of telling the world that Eau d'épices is not available for a some time did not even came near me. Ah well. I hope you get the picture. NOONTIDE petals is the next scent, forseen for Q2 2013. A bright woody floral. More on this later, as this post is actually about something else.

    So I cook Asian. Last Monday, I used a lot of Basil, Thai Basil that is spicier, greener with a different twist than the "standard" basil. The W.-factor, thought that I put Anise into the curry. And indeed, Wikipedia, the gold standard of collaborative intelligence, says "Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell." So there we go. Basil is great in the kitchen as it adds a twist, brings in a green spicy, slightly pungent note. But you must add it right before serving.

    In perfumery, it is a head note. But I have never used it so far in a scent. I got an essential oil of Basil the other day, the linalool CHEMOTYPE (ct)  type (click on CHEMOTYPE for an explanation on Wikipedia again: Basically it is differences in metabolites, chemicals, that exist in plants that look completely the same, but have a slightly different genetic make up and hence, for instance, their essential oils are very different). I think the concept of chemotypes is quite intriguing. Maybe there are chemotypes of humans, too?

    So I got a basil essential oil, rich in linalool. Think more than 50%. Linalool... you find it for instance in lavender. Or rose wood, or coriander (tons of it there). What do you do with basil? hmmm... I guess it goes well with everything where you need a green, spicy twist, and where you want to support and underline an already existing woody, spicy, green line. For instance in a Fougère. I guess it would do wonders with lavender or vetiver.  To be honest: I did not look into this essential oil in detail so far, but last Monday's dinner made me think. I guess cooking is a pretty good source for inspiration. Or, maybe, it is just making sure that there is going to be enough sugar available in the upper regions of our bodies.

    Today's picture shows you some of the stuff that went into the curry yesterday.


  • Lys du désert, Luckyscent's Decennial

    Luckyscent celebrates 10 years of existence. I know Franco and Adam since September 2005. Luckyscent was the first partner asking me for my scents. That was 7 years ago and since then I have shipped many parcels with lots of desert air and I went to LA about 10 times.

    Everytime, when I am in LA, I try to visit Joshua Tree National Park because I feel at peace there with myself and the world. Joshua Tree National Park is right in the middle of where Mojave and Colorado desert touch and it stretches over a large area with different altitudes, Joshua Tree NP is home to many different plants and species and landscapes. I love to hike there and explore the nature and I feel like I have done about all hiking trails there.

    I love to hike to an oasis like 49 Palms with its lush green, uncounted birds and butterflies, and big palms where wild bees dance in the shadow.

    I love to visit Pinto bassin, with the creosote bushes glittering in the air, home to many animals as their base provides one of the few shadow spots  in the hot sand, smelling of smoke and leather, and once I was lucky enough in April to smell the desert lily blooming there, close to the dunes at the foot of Pinto Mountain's.

    And I love to hike to Pine city, up in the center of the park, at high altitude, where a few pines rest around big brown boulders. Last year, I did some backcountry camping close by, in the area that is open to backcountry camping, and there, leaning on an old pine tree, I was watching the brightest stars under a dark blue sky, enjoying the dry and coolish air after a strenuous day in the heat.

    For me, after many hikes and visits, Joshua Tree comes with the scent of dry and soft amber of sun-beaten pine trees, of polished warm boulders in the evening sun, it is a scent with little green gems,  lush spots where birds and bees dance in the air, with thin lines of smokey sand, and with the perfume of most delicate flowers, blooming for a day and sending their perfume into an arid land.

    When asked by Franco and Adam, the two founders of Luckyscent, whether I could imagine creating a scent, for the decennial celebration of Luckyscent, I knew immediately what to do: I wanted to create a fragrance inspired by what I have seen and smelled  in Joshua Tree. For me, this scent was a bit like a gift for two brave guys who started a great story and who invited me to be part of it, a little bit. So there you go: Basically, that's the story behind Lys du Désert. It is a scent, an edp, created by me, for them, a decennial celebration scent, exclusively available at Luckyscent as part of their decennial scents.

    I am the creator and as always: I do not see my creation as clearly as you do. Thus, for a comparison of Lys du désert with Air du désert marocain, and notes and a bit more: Please visit Gaia's TheNonBlonde Blog post on Lys du désert.

    And please visit my blog tomorrow again. I will make a draw tomorrow, for a full bottle of Lys du désert: thus, not this post, the next one.
    Thank you for stopping by.

    today's picture: Box and flacon of Lys du Désert, taken this morning in Zurich.

  • mushrooms and zen

    uiuiui... a few days only until I get out of town in order to travel to the US. There seems to be a mountain of things to get done before that.

    Today, I will pour some air du désert marocain into bottles. Actually, I am not really pouring it, but more pushing it out  of a 10 liter dispenser. I was thinking about getting an air pressure operated liquid dispenser for a while, but the cost/benefit ratio did not really make sense (yet). Putting the labels on takes much more time than pushing the liquid in. So I will push some desert air into bottles and crimp them with the manual crimping tool. This is pretty repetitive and I have friends who tell me to outsource this to free resources  for more creative endeavors:Spend a bit money, to safe time that I can then use to come up with new things.

    Yesterday, when walking through warm October rain in the woods and enjoying the sights and smells of Fall, I figured that I need to make sure not to have enough time for creative endeavors. I sometimes feel that I have too many ideas already now and that it might better focusing a bit more on each of them, in detail and depth.  And, looking at me filling bottles and putting labels onto bottles, there is another aspect.

    It is total meditation. zen like sinking into another world. Sort of.

    And there is yet another aspect: By doing it myself, I can really keep costs down and be super flexible. Be it just a few $ in the end: I prefer to put these coins into the flacon, or offering the flacon for a better price, than paying someone pushing the juice into the flacon. But, of course, one fine day, this will change, simply because there will be too many bottles to fill.

    Anyhow: Filling bottles is zen.

    Thus, today, I will sit mostly in the factory and meditate. Things to grind and put into perspectives in my head these days: I need to come up with an idea what I want inside a leporello that I want to get done by  spring next year, going with every product.( a leporello is like a folded brochure, kind of zigzag folded.) And I will think about a few "latest" trials. Like the gardenia version 8.1.1 that needs to mature but nevertheless ends up on my skin and under my nose on a daily basis. There, in version 8.1.1 is a hint of a mushroom note, but not cheesy, more like a real subtle little mushroom sitting innocently inside an immaculate flower. The other night, I got the biggest compliment for this trial, but it was not related to any little mushrooms sitting there. So this little fellow is hiding. Which is good. This is one of the oddities in perfumery: You add notes in a way that hides them, but you need to make sure that the notes are there.

    Anyhow, I will also need to come up with some ideas how to deal with Europe's deepening crisis. I guess it is time to really look for other markets outside of the Euro zone. But that's another issue. And I guess I will meditate on this one when flying over the Atlantic.

    So that's been a lot of topics for one post: Time to get busy....And with that I would like to made a link to today's picture: a cluster of unknown mushrooms, sitting innocently in the woods these days.

  • quack

    this week was a communication week. For sure. Maybe it was almost a bit too much. Thus, when jogging yesterday, I was thinking that most of the stuff that I talk all day long is not really important. And that if I could only communicate 500 words a day I would for sure come up with more relevant things to say. The ease and speed of our communication does not really add quality to what comes out. Thus, today will be a day with limited communcation. Just a few words.

    Instead, I am looking forward to doing the real thing: Mixing fragrant trials. I think I mentioned "gardenia" a couple of times. Here, things are on hold as I need to wait to the last trial's maturation. I should give it another week or so. On my way to this last version, I sort of cheated, not giving the various versions enough time: I was confident to see and feel the mistakes in the formula before maturation... But the last version demands my patience now.

    Thus, no gardenia mixing today, but .... I think I will head forward and put my hand on the tuberose absolute and see what I can get done there.

    I wish you a lovely October weekend. Enjoy!

    Quack !


  • complexity

    Another post on gardenia, accompanied by a sketch of the flower, as seen this morning in the house of tauer, on the little bush, still blooming from time to time in the living room. Actually, it is a sketch done again on the wacom tablet, using an H2 pen emulation. Quite funny, how accurate the painter software together with the wacom simulates a pencil on rough paper. I did todays sketch this morning, smelling the latest version of my many gardenia trials.  Smelling and trying to sketch another flower on 2 dimensions is meditative, and I am the longer the more convinced that painting the illustration and painting the scent are different manifestations of what  happens somewhere inside.

    Inside me, that is to say.

    Contrary to the sketch, however, the scent got quite complex. A bit non-transparent for sure. Kal brought this up in the comment section of yesterday's post. The longer I work on a scent the more imminent the danger that I get too complex and try to get too many things into the scent. So, already yesterday, when looking at the formula, I figured that I need to write it out today and have a look at it. "Write it out" means: Instead of writing so and so much of my base x and so and so much of my base y  rather write how much of each ingredient that is in the base. Thus, a formula that still looks sort of neat and sharp ( 20 ingredients) will finally show its complexity.

    I am using 2 bases in my gardenia trial(s): A gardenia base that is quite rough and spicy. And a white flower base (green, heady, and heavy, somewhere between lily of the valley, lily and a non indolic jasmine). Both are created with around 10-15 ingredients, and they share some of the ingredients. Thus, in order to have a clearer look at the formula, and where I actually stand in terms of complexity and number of ingredients: Time to write the formula out. Ingredient by ingredient. And maybe I will see a few ingredients that might not be necessary, allowing me to reduce complexity, a bit at least.

    On a side note: I love the waxy, dark, shiny leaves of gardenia, with their 3 dimensional structure, and this wonderful obscure green.

  • on never ending trials

    today's picture shows you a sketch, 300x400 pixels, of a gardenia, an ideal illustration, created from an archetypical memory of what a gardenia might look like. Next to the screen on which I painted it sits a formula, version 8.1, printed on paper from excel that waits to get mixed today.

    Hopefully, I will find the time to do so before my interviewer comes over after noon: A visitor from Hongkong, a writer for a magazine there. A visit to which I am totally looking forward to and I am keen to show my place where I actually mix trials. A chaotic place, organized by an line of thoughts that an outsider does not get, probably.

    Anyhow: I am going to mix another version. The trouble, my trouble, to find the right form for the gardenia centric scent are actually quite typical for me. It is pretty rare that a few trials are enough to come to a pleasing solution. Usually, I work for a year or more on an idea. So.... where's the trouble with the versions I have so far?

    One issue was fixation, making things stay, for a while at least. I did a version 8 that addressed this issue rather effectively, and I loved the dry down that is a bit dark and not too sweet, but I hated the opening, and I will use what was good there, in a version that I labelled 8.1 , which is basically a hybrid between version 5.6 and 8.0. I brought in a new player: Coumarin (think Tonka beans) , and will shift some proportions and then I will see where we are heading. In the mean time, things got rather complicated in this formula and I am optimistic, as always: Before mixing and smelling the result the world is all bright.




  • on petals and names

    Rose essential oil and the rose absolute from Bulgary, Jasmine absolute from Egypt, Comoran Ylang essential oil, Tuberose absolute from India: These are the natural flowers extracts in the scent that had the running title "aldehydic rose" in the excel file where I store all formulas. Some of them are higher concentrated than others. Tuberose is at 1% not a main note, but supportive.

    Yet, with all the petals inside, the fragrance is not a typical floral. It has a rich aldehydic core that is balanced by a body that is airy, woody, and very rich. The main chord in the base is a chord of soft woods, such as Sandalwood (I am using a S. spicatum from Australia in this scent). There is an orris root line, complementing a dry incense (Boswellia serrata, CO2 extract), an elegant patchouli and vanilla combo and some styrax that adds to the oriental sub-context. I am using the resinoid of liquidamber orientalis that is sweet, balsamic and slightly smoky. A perfect complement to the incense line.

    So you see: It is not only about petals. In my nose it is going to be a fragrance that is pretty unisex. An aldehydic woody floral if you so want.

    I am thinking about a name since eternities.

    Here's what I think about naming perfumes these days: I do not want any rose in the name. (It repells 75 % of all men.) I do not want it to be too clichés. There are so many cliché names for fragrances out there. Rose d'Isfahan would be sort of cliché, and it would bring in the rose again. I was thinking "petals" , in combinations, but again: so cliché and focusing on the floral aspect too much.

    So I came up with No-14 which is not really evocative and sort of Chanel like. Nope.

    So I tried to come up with a fantasy name and failed so far.

    So I went back and wondered what I wanted when I created it. So there we go: I wanted to create an aldehydic, elegant, rich fragrance that circles the heady perfume of rose petals, I wanted a classic scent, with a rich, luxurious base that I would love to wear myself. A brillant fragrance, radiating floral and yet a classic unisex. You know: Petals in bright sunlight.


    Noontide came to my mind when I was playing with sun and midday. At least it is easy memorizable and there is no danger of confusions when people order or try to remember: Was it intense rose, or rose extreme, or rose memories ...

    One of the bigger obstacles when coming up with names for scents: Most of them have been invented and used at least once. And many of them are protected by brands. Noontide isn't.

    That's a big plus. Ah well...



  • another gardenia

    today's picture shows you work in progress, an illustration of a gardenia flower, still missing some details on the flower side, and most of the leaves and background. The scene of the "making of" you find below. Gardenia in pot, Cintiq on the side. The scent, when sitting there, watching close and moving with the electronic paint brush forth and back, is intoxicating.

    When publishing this picture, I used the header gardenia deep immersion.

    Gardenia flower and cintiq: deep immersion

    Thus, this is what I did yesterday, more or less. Today, I want to continue and I want to think a bit more about the fragrance counterpart. I was told the other day that my gardenia base, created with the goal to capture the flower's head space scent, is pretty close to the real thing.

    But this is only the first part of the story, and maybe it is the easier part. The trials so far to integrate this base in to a nice fragrance that leaves room for the gardenia, and lasts and blooms were quite a failure.  Thus, I need to continue there, playing and more importantly: Thinking.

    Creating perfumes, for me, is a creative process that start primarily in my mind.

    The same is true, by the way for painting the gardenia. Before drawing one line, I start by thinking about what I see. Then I start painting, until I come up with a base . This is the state where I am roughly right now. Then I look at the motive again, thinking what I really see. Or how I could see it. And then I start moving on.

    Now, this is the ultimate nice feature of painting digitally. I can simply add another layer and try and play. I wish there was the same thing in perfumery.

Items 61 to 70 of 109 total