Checking in

Thought I’d check in briefly. I’ve not been able to work on business things the last few days (which sure feels weird), but all orders have shipped. We’ve been having a heat wave — it was well over 100 degrees over the weekend, but back into the 90s today. I should be able to post more later in the week.

Shopping Cart Down Temporarily

I have taken the shopping cart down temporarily to deal with a situation that requires all of my attention. All orders currently in progress will ship within a few days. You can still browse the website in the meantime (all pages remain up). Thank you for your interest, support, and concern. I’m ok, but it will take all my effort to attend to this.


Baby birds on porch, it must be summer

A pair of small birds built a nest in my porch rafters and are now taking turns feeding a chirping batch of babies; this happens each summer but is always fun to see. The male has pretty red markings on his head, throat, and base of tail feathers. The female is plainer without red. They take turns feeding the chicks and sitting on them to keep them warm, and the chicks will be too big to all fit in the nest before long. They’re just starting to try to flutter their wings a bit. On a day like today when bad news is in the air (some personal bad news for me today as well, not related to the business), small miracles of nature offer some bright spots.

I’ve been working hard on an influx of orders since last Saturday, but am just caught up now and hope to get back to blending tomorrow. I could really use a creative day to recharge my batteries. I received three interesting ingredient samples that I’m anxious to test; they all could be very useful in florals. I’ve also been revisiting some vintage perfume samples to remind myself how wonderful the old parfums can be, and I can post about some of those when time. How can it be Friday again tomorrow, lol?

Cameo is Back

I just added Cameo back to the website. It was originally released in 2007 but I took it off the list in May 2008 when I added Vintage Rose because it seemed like I had enough rose scents. I received quite a few requests for it to return though, so I worked on a slight tweak and have just added it back to the site. I made the base a bit more complex than the original and incorporated a very nice new musk that I have acquired since the original formulation.

I’ve been busy with orders this weekend and didn’t get to work on gardenia, but that is first on my To Do list as soon as I catch up.  I also plan to send out a newsletter later this week to announce Cameo’s return.

Happy Father’s Day!

Wishing a happy father’s day to the Dads, and to my own Dad of course. My brother didn’t make it up this weekend after all, but they’ll probably come another weekend soon. My brother is a great Dad to his two young girls, but he has a tough act to follow with our Dad. 🙂

I’m getting Cameo onto the site (I hope by Monday) and then I’ll go back to gardenia for a few days because it is high priority with summer upon us. I’m hoping to do two scents based on the work I’ve done for this project: one a more traditional gardenia musk with a musk base, and one that has less musk but is more floral with a light woodsy base. We’ll see…

Happy father’s day weekend!

Summer Arrived Today!

We’ve been having unseasonably cool weather, but today it suddenly warmed up to the upper 90s and feels like summer has hit. I’m working on the first batch of Cameo and will add it to the site when done. I need to photograph a bottle of Cameo for the site too.

Still had some workmen here today and hope this little project will be done soon because it’s taking time away from my work, but it’ll be great to have this done. I’ll have to hit The Container Store to find some closet organizer goodies now that I can access the whole interior of this closet; I already found some shelf risers there that work well for smaller bottles.

Need to test the latest tabac tweak and get to gardenia and fireside intense (not exactly the right weather for fireside, lol). I’m expecting some ingredient samples next week that I’m really looking forward to. Can’t believe it is Friday again already.

Checking in

I’m busy with orders and working on new scents as I can. Still waiting for the drywall man to come back and make the final repair so I can put everything away again. I love the new closet doors though! I try to squeak out all the storage space I can.

I’m trying the new musk-free tabac without the hay and think it’ll be better. I’d thought the hay would enhance the tobacco note, but in this particular combination it seems to compete more than enhance. I’d hoped to start reformulating Fireside Intense over the weekend and didn’t get to it, but I’ll start any day now.

My brother’s birthday is Friday so they will probably come up for the weekend to celebrate that plus father’s day. Always nice to see them.

Scent Update

I’ve been distracted this week with the repair work going on at the studio and the week sped by all too quickly. I’m just now getting back to the new scents, though we still have a few more days of painting to go. Cameo and Tobacco Amber testers are starting to go out. I’m playing with the sandalwood and musk levels in Cameo to assess staying power. On the tabac, I’m trying it without one ionone and with one woodsy ingredient from the original that I’d removed but may include after all.

I’ll also be starting the reformulation of Fireside Intense this weekend; I just wrote the formula that I’ll try first with the new moss. After that I’ll do the reformulation for Encens Tranquille.

I need to get back to gardenia. In his paper “Fragrance Creation: Gardenia in Perfumery” in Perfumer and Flavorist Vol 33 April 2008, Arcadi Boix Camps states, “Gardenia comprises one of the most complicated chemical structures I have studied — by far more complicated than magnolia or frangipani.” He goes on to discuss his efforts over the years to develop several gardenia bases. He says, “I do not believe there is a single chemical smelling of gardenia or magnolia in the way there are chemicals that smell of jasmine. To use gardenia is to reproduce the flower with the technology and art as I have tried to do.” In addition to there being no single aroma chemical that smells of gardenia, there has been no natural extract product of gardenia, so perfumers have developed their own interpretations of the flower.

One of the challenges with any floral accord for perfume is that the real flower is a little fragrance factory that can keep pumping out the most volatile chemicals, whereas in perfume those most volatile items dissipate quickly and can’t be replaced (unless you spritz again). Sometimes some of those fleeting topnotes are quite important to the scent of the flower and the perfumer has to figure out how else to give the floral impression after those topnotes fade. Often there’s nothing quite like nature, but perfumers can put different twists on the flower to create something that’s not an exact match to nature but beautiful in its own way.

Construction ahead

The studio will be taken over today by a team of contractors to replace some closet doors and open up the bathroom wall to remove a piece of wood that’s catching on the pocket door, scraping it up and making it hard to slide. I’ll have the scents of plaster and paint for a couple days, unfortunately, but the end result will be worthwhile.

All orders up to now are shipping this morning, but orders coming in today won’t ship until Friday since I’ll be unable to use the studio today. The ingredients are safely stored away for the day.

I think I may be almost done with the new musk-free tabac version. I’m thinking of the name Tobacco Amber. To create it, I removed the two musks from Tabac Aurea and added hay absolute, myrrh, and oakmoss, and I rebalanced a few things. I’m just starting to send a couple testers out. To me, it seems more unisex this way, but I need to do a side-by-side comparison and get some feedback too. It has a soft ambered base (I increased some of the dry amber ingredients) and the same tabac accord but with the hay to accentuate the tobacco. I’m finding this quite yummy and different enough to be a separate scent though still related to the original. I suspect people will split on which they prefer, with many of those who are anosmic to the musks in the original prefering the new one.

I’d better get going now, but I’ll still be checking email later in the day.

Busy Week Ahead

This Wednesday I will be kicked out of the studio while a contractor replaces a couple closet doors for me and repairs the bathroom pocket door. I’ll take my computer over to my parents’ house for the day and try to get some paperwork done, but I will fall a day behind in orders, especially because I need to partially empty the closet shelves before the work and then put the stuff back afterwards (an opportunity for reorganization). The current doors don’t give me full access to the inside of this deep closet and I need all the storage space I can get, so this will be a big help to fix. And the pocket door doesn’t slide right on its track and needs repair.

I want to get the studio organized to the point where I can have some open studio hours, so I’m trying to work on these tasks a little at a time. The workroom will need to double as a scent testing area, with a group of fragrance testers available. The porch could be a nice spot to sit and sniff too, looking out on the garden. Anyway, this is one step in the process but it’ll slow me down a bit this week.

I worked on the musk-free tabac option yesterday. I cut back a few things to reduce sweetness and added a dry orris note. I’m testing it today, and it’s getting that dry, dusty amber nuance going in the base but still with a bit of the sweet boozy part and the spices and plenty of tabac — it’s getting better balanced, I think. This is an interesting exercise to remove the musks and make it work.

I hope to get back to gardenia this afternoon. I have a new item I want to try in it. I’m off to a morning appointment and will be back around noon…