I’d like to put the cart up at the end of this week so I’m busy making batches of scents to restock before opening. I’m also finishing Jour Ensoleille because I’d like it on the list when the cart goes up. I have an appointment Wed that will keep me away much of the day and that will prevent me from getting much done Wed, so I’ll shoot for Friday instead of Thursday to put the cart up as long as everything is relatively under control by then.  I’ll post updates here and will do my best to hurry this along.

There’s a very interesting interview on Grain de Musc today with Celine Ellena, the perfumer for The Different Company (and Jean-Claude Ellena’s daughter). The new scent, Oriental Lounge, is described as an oriental without vanilla, which has me interested!  She explains that they listed one note as “satinwood” rather than sandalwood to denote that it was a synthetic blend of wood and powdery notes.   She seems like someone who would be fun to converse with, and the interview makes interesting reading.

Striking a chord

I’ve been diluting new batches of moss, labdanum, and birch tar and making a batch of Fireside Intense.  It smelled smoky in here today, lol.  We have weird hot, muggy weather from a tropical storm south of us, so it’s not exactly fireside appropriate, but that’s ok. 

Still lots to do.  I put the new blends away for now so  I can spend time stocking up on things before opening. 

Nathan recently reviewed Mark Buxton’s new Black Angel, and while reading the review to see what the scent is like I found some things in the review that struck a chord with me.  Nathan writes about Buxton’s journey on his own with this line of scents and comments how different it must be to work independently that way.  He writes, “It’s not just anyone who can wear all those hats (plus the Creator of the Juice hat, too) without completely toppling over into bankruptcy, madness or both.” 

Nathan is more accurate than he might know, lol.  It’s certainly different for someone like Buxton who has a very large and impressive list of major hit fragrances (making some things easier for him but riskier too at the same time).  Still, everyone who does this on any scale has to juggle many hats.  There are advantages to it too, of course, like the freedom to create according to your own preferences, and that makes everything worthwhile.  I think most people who do this love working with the ingredients so much and love creating so much that it makes up for the challenging parts.  Anyway, I thought Nathan’s comments were perceptive, and his review was well-written (he is good with words as well as with his camera).

I just sampled Black Angel yesterday and agree it’s a very easy fragrance to wear with a yummy spice accord that doesn’t go too sweet. I also tried my Liasons Dangereuses sample and although it’s a pretty rose scent it won’t go to the top of my rose favorites list. It does have a nice rose accord with fruity notes and some soft musk and woodsy basenotes, and it has good lasting power for me.

I should get back to the stocking up project….

More sniff testing…

I’m still testing various mods and trying to get as many scents as I can back on the list before opening.  I think Fireside Intense can go back up on the list with the new moss and Jour Ensoleille can be finalized after I hear back from some more testers.  I will not be done with the new incense or with gardenia before I open, but gardenia is very close. I haven’t worn or worked on gardenia in a couple weeks so when I get back to it in a few days it will be a good fresh test.  The incense doesn’t seem done to me now that I’ve tested it more; I think it needs more work.

I gave a quick try to the new By Kilian Back to Black Aphrodisiac yesterday.  I was surprised by how gourmand it is; it reminded me much more of Serge Lutens Rahat Loukoum or Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum than any tabac scent I’ve sniffed.  It has a very strong honey note with some almond, cherry, and powder the way those Loukhoums scents do.  It also has some soft tabac, but for me it is more about the honey.  It’s not quite as powdery as the KM but the honey is quite strong and there’s plenty of almond and powder too.  It’s yummy but I think it may appeal more to fans of gourmands than to fans of dry, woodsy tobacco scents (though some people have broad enough likes to encompass both categories).

I also took a quick whiff of Mark Buxton’s new Hot Leather and it seemed very promising.  I’ll give it a full wear when I have time.  Not enough skin, lol!

Quick Update on Fireside Intense

I think I’ll leave Fireside Intense as is and just put in the new moss for the old, which seems to work fine.  I tried leaving out the choya, but I really missed the quirky, smoky animalic note it adds so I’ll leave it in.  I’ll run this past a few people who love the original but I think I can get this back on the list before I put the cart up.

Edited to add: More naming thoughts.  If I’m using a Buddhist name (from the Indian Pali language) for the amber incense I should probably make it more of an Indian incense scent, or if I keep it similar to the current notes I may need a different name…  So, I may use a different name for this frankincense-dominant incense and save Passaddhi for a scent with my new Indian attar.

More naming and back to blending

I may have a name for the new amber incense scent.  I’d wanted it to be something that would fit the meditative theme since it is an incense, and I thought it might be nice to keep to the tranquil theme since it came from working on Encens Tranquille.  I’m thinking of naming it Passaddhi, which is a Buddhist (Pali) word for tranquility, serenity, calm, peace. 

I started working on putting the new moss into Fireside Intense today and the moss switch will be fine.  I had used a brown moss in the original, and the new low atranol moss substitutes well for it.  With ET, I had used a green moss that was a bit different and I can’t get it anymore even if I wanted to use it; the low atranol moss makes more of a difference in ET and combined with the new labdanum I’m struggling with that one. 

While I’m putting the new moss into Fireside Intense, I’m trying a few other things just to see if any other changes improve it.  I’m trying a touch of angelica root, which has a dark and slightly animalic, smoky scent.  I’m also trying a bit more dry amber and bit less cedar.  This scent is fairly easy to tweak in various directions depending on preference, but I need to keep it campfire-like because it is the intense version, after all.

On a happy note, I finished the big paperwork project I’ve been working on and now can focus on restocking the scents that are almost out, as well as finishing these four formulas (the new amber/incense, Fireside Intense, Jour Ensoleille, and gardenia).  I’ll wait a bit longer and then pick a date to put the cart up, somewhere between Aug 30 and Sept 2.

Nice Tabac Aurea Review (and a blog update)…

There’s a great review of Tabac Aurea today on Fragrantica by Somerville Metro Man from basenotes, Mark Behnke. Thank you Mark, and thank you Elena at Fragrantica too (she always works wonders with photos for the articles there).

Tabac Aurea Review on Fragrantica

In the process of working on the reformulation of Encens Tranquille with new moss and labdanum, I’ve developed a new amber incense scent.  It is too different to be a replacement for ET, but I like this and want to add it as a new fall scent.  The predominate notes are frankincense, amber, and sandalwood, and other supporting notes are myrrh, cedar, orris, patchouli, oakmoss, elemi, and tiny hints of tabac and leather.  It’s softer than ET, smoother, and less green because of less oakmoss.  I think it has a yummy quality from the amber, with both dry aspects and touches of sweetness.  There’s no musk in this one so musk anosmia won’t be a factor.

I need a name for it.  I’m still testing and may tweak a bit more, but it’s basically an amber incense.  Since this has been a hectic crazy time for me the last few months I was thinking of something that means harmony out of entropy, lol, if there is a meditative word or phrase that encompasses that concept.  Anyone have any ideas?  The soft amber, incense, and sandalwood would fit that sort of name.

Still working on Jour Ensoleille too and am very close.  I really want to get the shopping cart up by the end of August so I’m trying to finish a few of these formulas first.

Another Thursday

I received a shipment today that has something I need for Jour Ensoleille, so I’ll be able to make testers as soon as I have the first mod. I worked on Encens Tranquille more, cutting back a bit on the moss and adding orris to the heart and a bit of elemi to the top. I’m working up two versions to get opinions: one version closer to the original and one a bit gentler with more emphasis on sandalwood in the drydown.

I’m winding down on the large paperwork project I’ve been working on so I want to get a couple of these reformulations done, if possible, before I put the cart up. I’ll see how it goes over the next week.

I’m trying small amounts of two sandalwood album oils, the album as opposed to Australian or New Caledonian sandalwood. One is from India and one from Sri Lanka. I like sandal album best and hope we’ll have more sources in the future as renewable resources are developed — it’s so beautiful.

We’ve been having very hot, windy weather here and that means the fire danger is high. Always a worry here in CA in late summer. My brother and family are heading to Lake Tahoe for a week’s vacation before the school year begins again. Hard to believe it’s almost back to school time…

Quick Monday Update

I worked on Encens Tranquille today; I added a light orris note that softens the sandal/incense/labdanum and I like it this way. The new labdanum is drier than the old so it feels less heavy, and I wanted to add a few other things to the base to offset that effect and stand up to the woods and incense. I’m trying to just soften the edges a bit around that strong sandal/incense/labdanum heart.

I also tested the Jour Ensoleille reformulation that I’d started a few weeks ago and was really happy at how good it smelled. I tried layering a little beeswax on my skin over Jour and think it might be a pretty addition. I’ll work on that so I can get testers out. The floral notes in the first hour are especially nice, which is heartening. It’ll go much faster than gardenia, thankfully. 🙂

Encens Tranquille

I took some time today to do the first couple trials for putting the new moss and labdanum into Encens Tranquille. I want to leave this scent the same, though it would be easy to soften just a tad, which is tempting. I’ll make a couple mods and see. The level of new moss seems fine, and the new labdanum is drier than the old so there are no sweetness issues to cause trouble here.

I have a few volunteer testers already who love the original, and I want to be sure they still like the reformulation. I’d also be curious to find a couple testers who liked the original but were on the fence about it, perhaps finding it a little strong. You do need to like natural frankincense and sandalwood to like this one. It opens with a very strong frankincense note, and the drydown has prominent sandalwood and labdanum with the incense. I can’t send out too many testers right now because I’m still quite busy trying to finish the things that need to be done so I can put the cart back up, but I’d like to send a few testers out to incense lovers to get feedback. I’d like to get Encens Tranquille and Fireside Intense back on the site since they won’t take long to reformulate.

We’re in a heat wave again with temps over 100! Should cool in a few days though.

Gardenia Update

I haven’t had much time to blend the last few days, but I did make a few more adjustments to gardenia. I decided against the additional balsamic ingredient I tried in it, and instead I increased the sandalwood to give the extra oomph in the base that it needed. I may take out the beeswax after all to cut sweetness, but the beeswax should be nice in Jour Ensoleille. I increased the ambrette seed a little more in gardenia because it helps bring out the little nutty sandalwood aspect in the base and because it’s relatively dry. I really like this mod — it has much more oomph, which solves the problem that had been worrying me. I’ll test it the next few days and see if it is ready to share and if the sandal is optimized now (I’m comparing a couple little variations on the sandal accord in it).

The gardenia opens with a true gardenia and gradually the jasmine and tuberose come out more, and then as time goes on the orange blossom lasts the longest, but the gardenia notes do persist at a softer level. It has a little stronger woodsy base than I’d envisioned, but I think that helps make it more substantial and I prefer that to a vanillic base or a balsamic salicylate-rich base. I’ll have to decide if Gardenia Musk is still the best name for it when it’s done. I’m also still waiting on a kilo I need for this formula.

I have a little trial pot of some tobacco flowers in bloom on my porch, grown from seed as an experiment. Their scent is strongest in the evening and they’re interesting since I’ve never tried them before.

Making progress on things and hope to have the paperwork project under control before too much longer. We’ll have to have a party on the blog when gardenia is done, lol. 🙂