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.
I couldn't resist picking today's title for today's post, shooting the right picture, and downloading the right tune on itunes...
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.
I could not resist writing today's title for this post: Right now I am listening to "Beautiful Otherness by Bent, on Everlasting Blink". So today's post is about skin. And a piece of thought that kind of struck me while in Portland and discussing what makes a tauer scent a tauer scent. I realized that my skin sort of burns a lot of fragrances in a blink. Nothing everlasting for many fragrances on tauer's outside bag, holding my internal things together.
So, I discussed and I realized that one reason why my scents are a bit on the strong side and a bit different to what you get on the market might actually be my skin, besides my nose. And then I started wondering what my fragrances would smell like if I had a different gender, and a different skin. And then I stopped, as there is no saying anyhow. But it is interesting to think about it: What can you tell about a particular perfumer's nose and his or her skin, looking at his or her creations, assuming that the perfumers are testing the fragrances by themselves and judge them by how they develop on them?
Skin is a fantastic material. And quite difficult to paint, actually. Today's picture shows you a skin detail, a cut out of a drawing I did on the ipad, being bored and drawing Mr. anonymous.
If you want to a perfect copy of reality in 2D, then use "mindless photography", or better even: a scanner. That's reality pure, with a twist, though as it is focused in a very narrow range. Drawing is about reflection and painting how YOU see things. Actually, if you take photos and if you do it with your mind in mode SET ON, and if you reflect and think about the photography before taking it: Photography is also how you see things.
Yesterday, I spent another 2, 3 hours with the banana peel. Unfortunately, the original turned into brown nothingness. Thus, I have to finish it using the images that I have in mind. I got the peel mostly done now, and now it misses some inside structures in the upper peel part and it misses the shadows in the lower peel part and the grey background that I want to add with some structure to make it more interesting. So we are getting there. And when done with it, then I want to do another sharp pencil emulated sketch. I love to do digital pencil sketches.
Anyhow: I write this text, sitting next to a little paper strip, that I dipped into my gardenia base trial yesterday afternoon. And it is quite amazing how powerful and intense the gardenia actually blooms on this paper strip. The first hour or two is not perfectly right, as mentioned before. But then, around 10-20 hours on the paper, I really love the spicy mushroom lactonic sweet gardenia perfume.
But like with the banana: The point is actually not to copy paste the gardenia scent. The point is more to reflect how I see gardenia and what I want to do with it. To be frank: I haven't really figured that one out. I guess, I better get the gardenia BASE version 2 done and start thinking about gardenia from there. The thinking, well, I can do so while packing Kickstarter goodies. .... I printed all labels for the international Non US shipments and start writing little cards and putting all things into envelops.
Actually, this is a nice job. Shipping a lot of dark passages and soaps in the coming days :-)
Today is Friday again, and as almost Friday this means that I try to spare some time to be "creative", whatever this might mean. Today, the plan is to head first into the factory, in order to finish the soaps packaging, and pour some Tableau de Parfums Loretta purse sprays, pack them and then head back home again. Jumping into the "messy atelier room", where we pack our online shop orders, where I draw and where I mix fragrance trials. I feel it is another gardenia thinking day/afternoon.
Although: as it is "creative Friday", there are not really any rules what happens and the plans might change. That's the think with creativity. It is a fluid world when you start playing, and you have to go with the flow.
I have a trial done for what could be/should be a gardenia base, that I might later want to use to build a scent around it. It is ok, but there are two or three mistakes in it. There is too much Methyl Benzoate in it and this error makes it a touch too sharp. There is a hint too much of methyl tuberate (tuberolide, a wonder molecule) and I think it misses a hint of green, such as geraniol, geranium, and maybe a hint of rose absolute to soften things. As it is a base, it does not really need to be fine and elegant. This can be fixed by creating the perfume around it. But it should be sort of close to the original, or at least to the aspects that you might find interesting, such as green spicy white floral lines.
We will see how that goes.
Enjoy your Friday!
Another gardenia picture today: With almost zero color, a bit on the underexposed side, thus highlighting structures. It is a little bit like squinting one's eyes, which is a trick when painting and looking for the right hues and shapes. Squint your eyes and you see underlying structures that help understand and illustrate, for instance a tree that is otherwise just many leaves.
When creating perfumes, arranging notes in order to create a new fragrance with a certain form and structure, you do the same thing. You squint your nose, and reduce the idea you have in your mind to a few structural components. Having arranged these central lines or structures, and having arranged them properly, with the right dimensions and proportions, you move on and arrange the details, focusing increasingly on details.
But the key is that the first few lines are right. If not, the entire composition will be false.
I will leave for a week abroad in a few minutes and will get back and blog and talk in a week. I leave a little illustration of a gardenia flower, that highlights again structures and shapes. Enjoy!
This morning is sort of grey, but I hope for sun later in the afternoon, especially as we need some sun when doing the video interview this afternoon. It is a more general interview on perfumery, inspiration, memories, by a Swiss channel and I am really looking forward to look it. I was asked to bring some books on perfumes, or flowers, and I will probably bring my great perfume flacon collection book. It is by Barnard Gangler, called Parfums de Collection, Deux Siècles parfumés, with pictures taken by Brice Agnelli. In total the book contains something like a thousand pictures. Thus, this will be all exciting.
Exciting like yesterday. I had a lovely chat on flowers, gardens, perfumes, and ... gardenia. When I was in Rome, next to the hotel, right around the block, there was a lovely flower shop and they had one gardenia pot after the other. Amazing! Thus, the chat yesterday afternoon made me double check again an article about research on gardenia's head space late last night. Some of the molecules I do not know, but ordered them from SIAL right now, as I am curious. Some of the head space molecule I know. And as always, it seems as if a very large part of the flower's unique character is due to minor components. Actually, minuscule components far below 1 percent.
Main components are farnesene, ocimene, linalool, methly benzoate, some tiglates, and some lactones.
Natural head space, my nose, tells me: sweet spices, with a touch metallic green, the spices being a mixture of clove buds and peppery cinnamon, a powdery envelop, and a fruity sweetness that is creamy and reminds me of a banana - coconut combo with some vanilla. A combo that makes you go "hmmm!" when it hits your nose.
As I was in some sort of gardenia mood, I ordered a plant from my local florist. I cannot wait. The picture today shows you one of the molecules identified by head space analysis: Ocimene. It is supposed to smell "green, metallic, citrus". We will see.
As promised yesterday, I follow up on yesterday's post with a few comments on art. These are comments and reflections I made at Campomarzio at via Vittoria on Thursday night, and all this under Campomarzio 's claim "the essential culture" which I like a lot. Thus, I mused on how we see the world, during the presentation of Miriam, the fragrance, from the Tableau de Parfums series and Miriam, the movie that inspired its creation and that is an integral part of Woman's Picture, independent movie maker Brian Pera's oevre.
I made in front of my public the three drawings, asking the public what they see. You see the drawing to the left. Quick: What is it?
It is a bird. A tree. The sun.
This is code. This is the way one part of our brain sees the world. In abstract forms, simplified patterns. This simplification, this abstraction allows us, our brains, to move through this world very effectively. We do not have to identify patterns of a tree, its form and shadows, its colors and patterns, its size and relative position to other objects for half an hour in order to get the information right: Yes, it is a tree. We have learned to simplify by abstraction. We need to.
We live in our world of abstraction, every day and even in the world of scents we use these abstractions.
This is why I can ask "what is this" and get the answer "it is a bird". I did, however, not ask "what does this look like", because the code never looks like the real thing.
This abstraction does not show us how the world looks like, and it misses its beauty and the contrasts where light and shadow meet, where colors explode, where shapes and forms create new impressions, where scents recreate pictures of the past, bringing back memories.
It is the artists task and privilege, it is the art's mission to know about these abstractions, to use them, break them, transform them and to show the world around us without code and abstraction. Art allows us to the the world differently.Art can show us the beauty of the world and how the world presents itself. This is true for any form of art, for painting, for music, for movie making, for writing or for perfumery.
This is why art is important. It allows us to see the world differently and opens our minds.
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!
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.