Gardenia Musk and other updates

I worked on the new gardenia musk Sunday.  The floral accord is a pretty gardenia/jasmine that’s had good feedback, but I’d like the scent to have just a bit more oomph. I added a touch of very light cedar and some soft salicylate to give a little more volume and it seems to help quite a bit. I tried sandal too but thought the cedar seemed fresher and more appropriate with the light floral theme.  Sometimes soft floral notes can seem stronger when set off by some contrasting backdrop notes, as long as the florals aren’t overwhelmed.   I added a couple other things too, and eliminated the soft honey note to see if that would cut sweetness.  I want this to be a soft, summery floral musk (I had a gardenia musk in the past but wanted to do a new one with some pretty new jasmine items I’ve sourced since I first did the scent). I’m doing this later in the summer than is ideal, but I’ve had it planned for a while and can’t believe it’s already late July. Anyway, making good progress! I wore this today and enjoyed it.

There’s a very nice review of the new Champagne de Bois this evening on the blog I Smell Therefore I am:

I’m really happy that quite a few people have been enjoying Champagne.  It seems to be one that works for a lot of people.

I think I may be done with Ambre Noir (#11). I’m wearing it a few more times to be sure, but this may be it. I think it’s smoother than the original version, quite dark, and with some nice incense notes. It still is quite labdanum-rich and lasts a very long time (though maybe not quite as long as the original, which was a real Energizer bunny).

I had a nice visit with family this weekend and saw a video of my older niece riding the horse she’s been leasing. She was doing cross country jumps in a lesson and it brought back memories. She’s doing very well, especially for her age (fourth grade next year).  The video was really fun to see, and her horse looks like a cutie. 

DHL did not show up today with my Dell parts so my main computer is still out of commission. Thank goodness for this old back-up computer that is still plugging away; it isn’t good enough to run PhotoShop but it can handle all my day-to-day stuff until the main one is back online. The parts have been sitting in the local DHL office since 7:30 am this morning but were never delivered even though Dell sent them “overnight” service last Friday morning. Maybe tomorrow…

Friday evening round-up

Computers are such blessings, putting us in touch with the world via internet, but they can be a headache when they fail.  My main computer is unable to receive power from the AC cord at the moment, even though the AC cord’s green light is on and it appears to work.  Dell is sending a tech Monday or Tues with a new power cord and a new motherboard.  I only have 20 minutes of battery time left on my main computer and no ability to charge it up with this cord not working, but I’ll have just enough time to back up a couple things. Meantime, I’m on my old back-up computer.  I have full access to all my orders and emails, with a little shuffling, so everything will be ok until the primary machine is fixed. 

Some of my labels are a little harder to print from the old machine, but it is doable. I’ll be switching to having the product labels printed for me before long.  My own printer can do just as nice a job, but the purchased ones will be laminated for extra durability and will be die-cut with more precision than I can do here.  I just have to get the Illustrator files ready to finish that project.

Haven’t had more time to work on the new scents, but hope to get back to it this weekend.  It’s over 100 degrees F again today and not the best day to test Ambre Noir.

There was a nice review of Opal yesterday on PerfumeShrine blog:

Happy weekend!  Hope my Dell tech shows up Monday!

A new vetiver to love, and more scent work

I’m trying Andy Tauer’s new Vetiver Dance this afternoon and am enjoying it; the lily of the valley comes out prominently on me the first few hours and makes this a very different vetiver scent than any other I’ve tried, much more floral but still unisex. I like the green notes in here too, and it wears well in warm weather. As it dries I’m starting to get more of the sweet tonka/coumarin in the base, as well the ambergis and some cedar, earthy notes, and soft animalic notes. I’ll need to see how that base plays out as the hours go by and see how much the sweet tonka emerges. I’ve had it on about 3 hours so far and have enjoyed it. Lily of the valley often does not work for me because I’m not fond of two ingredients that frequently make up the bulk of its accord (Lilial and Lyral, at least when they are very evident in the final blend), but this lotv does not venture into that laundry accord I dislike; it’s quite nice. I like the progression and intermingling of various stages as the scent changes with time. This is original and nicely done, definitely worth checking out if you like vetiver!

I made one more adjustment to Ambre today, reducing the sweetness a tad. It starts out as a very dark and woodsy amber, and then as it goes along the frankincense emerges more. I added a little hint of castoreum several days ago that has made it richer and darker, and it enhances the very soft leather note already present in it. So, this is #11 and I’ll test again in a few days. Gardenia Musk may be done, but I’ll keep testing it too.

I’m keeping up with orders and trying to catch up on some paperwork. My brother and his family will be visiting this weekend and I’d like to spend a little time with them.

I’ve been hearing about the two new Lutens scents coming out soon and am looking forward to trying them! You’ve probably caught this blog review already, but if not this may tempt you:


Quick Update

Ambre Noir is getting closer. I put the frankincense and myrrh back in, removed one cedary component, enhanced the sandalwood, and added a touch of castoreum. It’s dark and rich but has the touch of incense back. I need to live with it for a bit and make sure I’m happy with it, but I like this best so far (version 10A for anyone with samples).

I love the gourmand heart of Reves and am just experimenting with the assessory notes. Yesterday I tried beefing up the orris, both the floral iris notes and the woodsy orris notes. Also tried a smidge of fennel. I need to wear these versions more too.

Gardenia Musk is getting good feedback as is and I’m just trying a few more things to see if I’m missing any other options. It helps to work on two or three scents at once like this on alternate days to keep my nose fresh to them (Ambre, Reves, and Gardenia), but it also means it takes longer to give each one “skin time” to make final decisions.

I realized my comment last time on civette might be misconstrued; I hate making dilutions of the stuff because it smells so foul by itself (even the synthetic), but I do know that very tiny amounts can benefit blends. It’s funny how you can keep something just below the level of detection and still have it improve the blend. Castoreum is easier for me to work with, but civette can have positive effects too.

Tried a bit of Divine’s L’Ame Soeur over the weekend to remind myself what it’s like; it’s a beautiful aldehydic floral in the style of Chanel 22. I think I prefer Chanel 22, but I’d have to do a side-by-side to determine why. The Divine line seems very consistent in being high quality (their two men’s scents are very nice too).

The Skanky Notes

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to try a sample of Onda from a very generous person, and it got me thinking about some of the leathery skanky notes I like in very small amounts: castoreum and the para cresyls. Onda is very bold and probably the most animalic scent I’ve ever tried, including SL MKK. The skanky leather notes took the lead on me much more than the vetiver in Onda.

Castoreum is all about animal and leather to me, but the para cresyls also add outdoorsy notes (for many people they have connotations of horses and barnyards) and add some floral nuances (they are part of narcissus accords). Para cresyl phenyl acetate has a honey note too, whereas para cresyl acetate does not.

I recently fell for PdN Le Temps d’Un Fete; it’s a pretty green floral scent with hay notes and a lovely narcissus note that has just a bit of that narcissus skank in the base. It’s subtle skank and fun to have it just peek out at you. The hay notes make it very outdoorsy and spring-like to me. I also recently tried the Patou scent Chaldee and enjoyed the subtle skanky note in the base that again reminded me of slightly dirty narcissus.

Castoreum is more leathery and dark without the floral and outdoorsy aspects I get from the para cresyls, but I like it. I prefer all these notes in moderation. Indole is perhaps a better-known skanky note because people are familiar with it in jasmine. It is more fecal rather than leather, but when highly diluted it has a jasmine effect. Civette is another skanky note; this one is tough for me and a molecule is about all I can take (it’s useful in trace amounts in blends but sure is obnoxious to make the dilutions from the raw material). Costus is another tough one, smelling of wet dirty hair. I’m a nut about keeping my hair daily washed and costus is not a smell I like, lol. Cumin is another note that many feel is skanky, smelling of sweat. I like subtle amounts of cumin but don’t use it much because so many people dislike it.

I do like castoreum and the para cresyls in small amounts and have used these in leather accords. The para cresyls can be added in very small amounts to impart animalic character to synthetic musks, which for the most part are not very animalic compared to real musk.

Cutting Garden, and a thank you to testers :)

My Mom’s cutting garden did well this year; here’s a section of it with larkspur, hollyhock, sunflowers, and nigella.  The sun was too harsh for getting a good picture, but the larkspur is so pretty!

I worked more on Ambre Noir today.  My two contenders had been #5 and #7.  Both are nice dark ambers, but #5 has more incense.  I’d been leaning to #7 because it focuses more on the amber/labdanum accord, but something has been holding me back.  A tester today said she missed the incense in it and I think I do too.  So I’m back to #5, but I’m decreasing the rose as I had done for #7.  Will test again tomorrow but that should be closer.

I really appreciate tester comments; everyone is so helpful and even though sometimes the sugestions are contradictory because of differences in taste and skin, the feedback really helps.  I don’t have local friends or family who are into fragrance, so testers are very important to me and I want to say thank you.:)

I need to get a new batch of Vintage Rose going and test a few new ingredient samples that came in today.  Always more to do than fits in the day, lol.

Kilo lust and update on new scents

If you think it’s bad to lust after bottles of perfume, it is worse lusting after ingredients that only come in 25 kilo minimum purchases.  🙂   A 25 kilo purchase all of one ingredient is too much for me at this stage.  So when I sample an item like this and fall in love with it, I need to look for alternatives that are available in smaller amounts or go in with other perfumers on a bigger purchase than any one of us needs on our own.  I spent a lot of time today investigating alternative sources for one such item.

I made some progress on Lieu de Reves and Gardenia Musk and think both are ready for initial testing.  Lieu de Reves has orris, heliotrope, violet, sandalwood, vetiver, amber, myrrh, and musk.  It starts out dry but has an almost gourmand woodsy heliotrope drydown after the orris notes fade.  It seems like a nice comfort scent to me.  Gardenia Musk has gardenia, jasmine, and musk in a soft (not heady) floral musk scent.  Some of the lactonic components make it feel summery.  I’m not sure if it’s done yet but like this so far.

I finished some painstaking work in PhotoShop but have more to go.  I broke down and bought the latest upgrade so I’m hoping the new tools will make selections in photos easier.

The musk packages are on their way to the next people; so far not enough data to say anything except that everyone is different and maybe the safest thing to do as a perfumer is to use a blend of musks to be sure at least one is smelled by most people.  I find that strategy hard though because the musks are all different and I’d rather use the most appropriate ones for the scent. 

The weather and smoke has been much better the last few days!  I planted my new mandevilla vine and hope it will be happy.

Checking in briefly…

I’ve been working on some product photos in Photoshop to remove the backgrounds; it’s a challenge to get the edges smooth and is going slower than I’d hoped.  I’ve not done much blending this week so hope to do that this weekend.

I did get to try a sample of Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel today and enjoyed it.  Pyramus had mentioned it during the discussion the day of the sample draw on the blog.  It has a lot of violet but keeps from going too sweet, which is hard to do with that much ionone content.  The green notes help cut sweetness but it’s not overly green at all.  Glad I got to try it.

Our heat wave broke last night and we’re getting back to normal. I’ll revisit the Gardenia Musk tomorrow.  I received a sample of an even higher cis hedione than the high cis I’ve been using and it’ll be interesting to see if it makes a big difference in florals. The higher cis versions let you get more jasmine effect without the damping down that the higher trans content versions have.

Sienna Musk is on the site now

sienna muskSienna Musk is on the site and ready to go, though it’s probably nicest when the weather cools a bit more.  It’s a spiced woodsy musk scent that is warm and cozy, but not what I’d crave with the temperature reaching 110 degrees F today.  We’re having a very intense heat wave.  The smoke has become much worse again from the fires, and relief isn’t predicted until Sunday or thereabouts, so most people are spending a lot of time inside.

I worked more on Gardenia Musk today and have something new that I like.  It has a prominent jasmine note as many gardenia musks do, but it has some creaminess that gives it a gardenia character too.  If you look at formulas for gardenia in perfumery books, they contain a significant amount of heliotrope for part of that creaminess, plus jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom, lily, and even optional traces of rose and violet components.  The end result is all in how you balance them.  I took out the woods today and just tried the florals and musks and like the result; it’s lighter and fresher this way.  Will test it some more but need to switch back to working on Reves for a day.  I’m hoping to have time for some blending again tomorrow, but I’ll see how it goes.

For more info on Sienna Musk:

Gardenia in the heat

It’s been over 100 F three days in a row, and today’s peak was 106 F on my outdoor porch thermometer.  We always have a few of these heat waves each summer.

I worked a bit on Lieu de Reves yesterday and Gardenia Musk today.  I spent several months working on each of these last winter but didn’t finish.  I’ll give more details as I get closer to the end and am ready to send out some testers.  I’ve had quite a few inquiries about Reves so I want to finish that one before fall.

One of the traveling musk packages will be on its way to the third person on Wed.  The other has already stalled so if you’re in line for that one I may need to switch you over to the one that’s making progress.  Will do my best.

On the gardenia theme, I tried a squirt of Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia today.  People seem to love or hate this scent, either finding it the most accurate gardenia they’ve ever smelled or saying it’s a scrubber that smells harsh.  I’m afraid it was too harsh to my nose.  I think some people may be more sensitive to and/or just averse to some of the stronger floral chems in this.  I didn’t need to scrub it off but won’t need to retry it as it just isn’t right for me.  We’re all unique though and I’m sure it works for many people.

Back to my gardenia project, which is a softer, creamier version with gardenia, jasmine, soft creamy woods, and musk…