creating scents

Items 81 to 90 of 109 total

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • hyacinth...more of it

    Welcome to a new week! Let's see where we will be at the end of the coming days. I got another bunch of hyacinths, all pink, and smelling rather differently compared to the blue ones I got two weeks ago. They are much less metallic but rather powdery sweet, with a spicy undertone and only little green tonalities. Actually, very little green here. And their scent changes. I got them on Saturday, all buds still closed. They did not smell at all. Almost. Now they are in full bloom and the scent has changed from yesterday's gourmand like sweetness to a more stingy, a bit more belligerent variant.

    No wonder, I fooled around a bit yesterday, circling the flowers so to say, squeezing in a moment with these flowers and a few fragrant raw materials, such as phenylpropanol, lilial, phenylpropanal and roses et al. Phenylpropanal is interesting as you find it naturally in hyacinth, lilac, and cinnamon bark. It smells fresh, green, metallic, aggressive and is super potent. I think I will use about 0.1% in the diluted fragrance. Much more you do not want to put in there, I think. Well, I guess it is a question of how much of metallic green you like.

    And somewhere in between, I circled the flowers with my i-pad, sketching one little flower using the drawing app, observing its symmetry, and how it is broken, the colors, the shapes.

    Thus, yesterday was very busy, in all possible ways, and it saw us getting more air du désert marocain ready for bottling today. But I managed to do the weekly jogging including some hard core brand and numbers thinking, in preparation for this week's meetings. There, at the meetings, we will try to come up with a master plan for the next 1-2 years. I need to come up with some core decisions like how many scents more do I want. And when. And in what kind of bottles. And for what price. For whom. All very good questions. Right now, I worry about the number of scents that I have not published. I have a couple of colognes ready, two three other fragrances sit in Excel, and I simply have not decided what to do with them. If I was a painter it would be simple: Just hang the paintings up, in a gallery, or another public place and share them. Scents are different. A whole factory has to be turned on in order to share a new creation. And once it is out, there is an expectation that it will always smell the same, look the same, cost the same and be available all the time.

    And while everyone seems to be interested in new fragrances, asking for more, and more new scents, everybody seems to complain about too many fragrances appearing and too little time to follow what's new. Not easy, right?

    These, and other questions such as profitability, and volumes and work load will be on the table tomorrow.

    Ultimately, the goal is to continue building an environment that allows  being creative without having to compromise too much.

    Today's picture: Another shot taken yesterday, of the hyacinth flowers. Their waxy flowers are almost translucent in bright sunlight.


  • actually it is raining

    but when I got up in the morning, I felt like sketching a foggy early morning, brisk, and under a bright moon. I did so first thing in the morning, right after the first sips of coffee and forgot to finish the coffee while doing so. This is what you call "flow", or you could call it deep immersion. I would like to do more sketches with my ipad, simple experimental drawings, exploring and training my hand. I like to immerse there.

    The same in a sense is true when it comes to perfumes. I am doing more sketches these days, with my raw material vials, exploring and training my nose. Independently of whether I can sell them or not later. Right now, I have an ambra sketch under my nose: I mixed it a few days ago. It willl go into a first experimental dilution today, later in the evening. Ambra-cocoa-patchouli and hints of cinnamon and leather. Just finest hints. I do these mostly for myself and will not share them right now. I cannot even if I wished. But I am looking into.

    The same is true for filling Cologne in sample vials and do extra "off-track" specials. I already do much too much specials. Thus, referring to a question in yesterday's comments: No, I do not fill the Cologne into sample vials, even if paid for it, as this would only distract me from my mission.  But I am looking into the Cologne du Maghreb and other scents that are either finished or in the pipeline: How can I move on there, offering them without overloading my boat.

    There is a limit of what you can do, if you do things yourself. A limit of sample vials that you fill, a limit of mails that you answer and a limit of special little extras that you can do on the side. In a sense it is a paradox: I have to distance myself in order to stay close to what I love doing-creating.

    The first meetings to address this question is scheduled and happens in 10 days.


  • Patchouli 5th avenue style

    Yesterday, I talked to my preferred supplier of essential oils, synthetics and other delights. We discussed the oh my! so expensive Champaca absolute, and they will source me some, later this or early next year. It will neatly fit into my recently acquired Osmanthus (yummieh!) treasure. And my new quality Patchouli essential oil that I got from Spain the other day: Think Patchoulol!

    Patchoulol is a molecule that is part of Patchouli essential oil and makes about 30% of it. By selective distillation you can get Patchouli oil that is enriched in Patchoulol, to about 65% for instance. How the molecule looks you see on the right side of this post.

    This Patchouli, rich in Patchoulol, smells like Patchouli, but 5th avenue style. Think rich and expensive patchouli instead of amusement park patchouli. More on the woody side. Just wonderful.

    Thus, like every year towards the end of the year I venture into new molecules and new natural delights that will keep me busy in the next year. Now, this does not really translate directly into new fragrances. I have launched enough recently, and even if I come up with new fragrances, it might well be that they will never go into production. I am learning these days that I can also create fragrances for myself and a few: Folks who care and do not need the full blown fragrance launch thing with flacons, labels etc.

    But for sure these delights translate directly into fun for the perfumer, learning and exploring uncharted territory. Exploring new raw materials is one of the most exciting ventures you can get as a perfumer. Following the material during its development on paper strips, learn how it behaves in combination with others, see how it disappears and comes back is thrilling and inspiring.

    These natural raw materials are like a primordial soup, a pool where new ideas are born and let out to pass the survival test.


  • frangipani twist

    I managed to hang myself through a series of busy days into Friday: fragrantly creative Friday and photo taking Friday and texting Friday. I will -finally!- touch the composition for INGRID again, one of the portraits of Woman's Picture, and inspiration for a fragrance that we will launch 2013, and add a twist. A frangipani twist.

    I have been thinking on the Ingrid composition for a long time now. I had it one for weeks now, in the night, during the day. The base of the fragrance is finished. It lasts and evolves wonderfully. The core axis are fine, too. It fits with what I want it to be, but there is something rotten and wrong there. I have a trial version that is call Version 2nd of August. Since then I tried about 6 or so different routes but none brought me there where I see the scent, in perfection, for Ingrid. It took me a while to find a good source for the frangipani absolute, but now I got it, a first 50 gr sample to work with and do a pre-batch if needed. I will use the frangipani absolute to sooth and correct one line in the scent that was odd. It was not sexy enough. And a bit odd. Hard to describe. The notes of the composition, that is quite complex, are: a citrus chord of Bergamot, sweet orange and lemon, with complementing notes of cinnamon, clove, lavender. The flower heart is now a super complex hyacinth, jasmine, rose.  This will change to hyacinth, frangipani, rose, the base is a rich oriental resinous base of tolu, vanilla, sandalwood, styrax and hints of cistus balms. Thus, today's  photo shows you what I will smell and mix in an hour: frangipani. I actually took the picture a couple of years ago in Kenya.

    Photos: I will try to make a nice photo of the Cologne du Maghreb flacon, using all I know and a bit more of Photoshop, too. The Cologne du Magreb is packed and shipped to  I will talk about this venture a bit more in detail over the weekend, I guess. Bottom line: I need a photo and PR text for this all natural and all botanical baby of mine that I love so much.

    And yes, I have never in my entire life shipped so many perfumes out like during the last 3 weeks. And I have never packed so many perfume bottles and I actually never filled so many perfume bottles. So this was good. But, there is a but. We face a stock issue (again) and I think 2012 will see some changes on how we do things here.  This is good, I think.

  • All botanical citrus rush while mixing cologne

    So I am back in Switzerland since last Friday, trying to convince my day-night brain cycle that I am here and not there in LA anymore. Quite a useless venture it seems. Thus, I have an e-mail inbox that is all empty with almost all mails answered because I am there 24 hours.

    Thus, I have some time during the day to move on with fragrant stuff. Yesterday, after doing all the necessary calculations I mixed the Cologne du Maghreb, a little batch for 200 flacons of 50 ml. The picture to the left shows you what goes into it. I took it yesterday before pouring all raw materials one after the other into the 12 liter aluminum can. Last year's advent calendar treat was based on this cologne. You find it reviewed for instance here on Sorcery of Scent by Dimitri.

    It is 19 ingredients. All of them are all natural. All botanical. Just essential oils and resins and absolutes. Not less not more. Why all botanical? I answered this  a while ago in a comment on my blog: Because I feel there is no need to add anything else here. It is good enough as is.

    In a sense it is an ultra complex mixture and yet ultra simple: Just mixing the right citrus oils together with a few raw materials that last a bit longer. In this sense, I could label the Cologne also Eau Fraiche. But then: I guess Cologne fits its quality better, with the lemon bergamot neroli rush.

    I will give you more details on the construction in the coming days and why and what  and when. For the time being: I enjoy the citrus signature that yesterday's venture added to the house.


  • 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."



  • 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!


Items 81 to 90 of 109 total