The new malibu tubes came today (shown above) and I think they’ll work out well. For now, the lotion will just come in Velvet Rose, Lavender Absolute, Femme Jolie, and Opal. I should have it on the site in about a week, sometime during the first week of October.
I haven’t had time to do much blending the last few days. I had to test the scents in the new lotion formula to make sure all was well. I’ll get back to the new scents this weekend.
I’m working on the body lotion so I can get it back on the site for fall. I’m changing the formula to be slightly lighter and will offer it in squeezable Malibu tubes (the kind that stand on their heads so the cream accumulates down near the hole and is easy to squeeze out). The advantage is that they are not as messy as jars since you don’t have to dip your fingers in. I’ll try it for a while and see how people like them. I think I figured out a nice way to label them.
I’ve only had a little feedback on gardenia, but I’ve tested it more myself now and still need to work on it. I like the jasmine notes in it but they don’t stay strong enough long enough to carry the end. People didn’t think it has gone too sweet or woody, so that’s helpful to know because it means I can strengthen the sandalwood and possibly put some musk back in to help add longevity. I’m trying more tuberose too and may soften some other parts of the floral blend.
I think I will stop worrying about how to make the gardenia part last longer because what I really want is a soft floral blend of jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, and orange blossom; it may be better to take the focus off the gardenia in the name and let it be a gentle floral blend as I’d envisioned it to be. Many scents that are called gardenia don’t really smell like gardenia for very long since the notes that distinguish gardenia are not as long-lasting. The fleeting nature of gardenia topnotes is part of the reason traditional gardenia scents are often heavy on heliotrope and vanilla even though that’s not the way the flower actually smells (the flower does have creamy lactonic aspects and some vanilla too but not in the exagerated way those aspects are sometimes portrayed).
I took time out today to get a gift for my younger niece’s birthday coming up. Was nice to get out today. It’s still hot here but the days are getting shorter and reminding us that fall is coming.
I managed to send out some gardenia testers today, so now we’ll wait and hear what people think of it at this stage. I updated the scent description on the website to reflect the current notes in the scent. I’ve removed almost all the musk and went with a soft base of sandalwood and amber instead because I’d like this fragrance to work for those who don’t do well with musks; for those reasons, I’ve renamed it just Gardenia and dropped the musk from the name (though I’m open to other name suggestions, especially from testers as they sniff it). I’d like to do another version with the musk base that I developed and release that one as a summer scent next spring.
Since I last posted I increased the basenotes just a touch because I was worried that they weren’t quite strong enough. I need to put it down for a few days now and then sniff again with a fresh nose. My main goals while working on this scent were to maximize oomph and longevity while not going too sweet and still letting the florals be the star. I think I have good strength now and the floral blend is pretty to me, so I need to wear it more after a break from it and be sure sweetness is in bounds for me. Meantime, I’ll get input from others on those issues.
I was almost caught up with orders by the end of Friday evening so I stayed up late to do some blending that night. I think I have a gardenia tester to send out — I need to get some reactions now. It opens with a true gardenia note that includes some of the earthy and green aspects gardenias have, but it’s less earthy and mushroom-intense than Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia. The gardenia note is most prominent during the first few hours, mixed with ylang topnotes and heart notes of jasmine, tuberose, and orange blossom. The base is sandalwood, musk, ambrette seed CO2, and light ambergris. It has some creamy lactonic notes and some green leafy notes and some earthy gardenia aspects. Now I just need to find time to make some testers! A bunch more orders came in Saturday so I need to get through those first.
I also worked more on the incense scent; I removed the tobacco note and added some soft smoky notes. I like where it is going now. It needs a juicier, wetter aspect though because it is a bit too powdery dry at this point.
After staying up past midnight on Friday I was awakened at 4 am to very loud thunder and flashes of lighning across the sky. We had quite a show; no rain but just a hot, muggy electric storm. Those weird late summer electric storms are scary because they can start fires in our area since we get no summer rain and are so very dry until the rain begins again in late October. Luckily, we had no fires start in this area from this storm.
And a happy surprise for me this morning! There’s a nice Review of Lieu de Reves today on the Audit Diva blog. Thanks, Liza!
(By the way, international customers can choose the international shipping option in the shopping cart to see shipping charges, but I request they email me before putting their first order through just to be sure I can ship to their country.)
I’m very busy filling orders but I’m keeping turn-around to 2-3 days so far, which is pretty good. People should start to receive packages soon. It’s nice to see the website without those red messages near the tops of the fragrance and samples pages. 🙂
No time for blending right now but I’ll get back to it. I have a sample of the new DelRae Mythique on the way and really look forward to trying it (sounds very pretty!).
I’m the world’s biggest chicken for buying unsniffed; I rarely do it myself and encourage others to sample first when they place orders. Sometimes the notes can sound perfect but something just doesn’t work for you.
Three of the most popular scents on my list have been Tabac Aurea, Winter Woods, and Champagne de Bois, but the first two of those three have some musks in them that make a big difference to the scents and make them vary a lot to different people. Sample making isn’t my favorite thing, lol, but I would much rather people get samples first and then be happy with their full bottle choices. I do limit to ten samples or less per order because otherwise I spend all my time doing them, but that’s usually enough to find a few hits and get you started.
Most people need to sniff Fireside and Fireside Intense to choose between them (intense has some leather/animalic notes that regular does not have), and Winter Woods often ends up being the favorite of the three smoky woods scents for people who like a gentler, sweeter option.
Cameo was only on the list for a week before I had to take this break, so I hope some folks will sample that one. Jour Ensoleille is a bit different than before so it’s a good idea to sample first; the reformulated version has more prominent jasmine and sandalwood, and it has less prominent orange blossom and less of that little dirty hay note.
Just a few thoughts there before I open… 🙂
Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend!
1. When will you open? Late afternoon Monday Sept 7. It’s my bday, so I’ll spend some time with family mid-day and then will come put the cart up, most likely by 5 pm CA time.
2. Will all previous scents be back? All but Encens Tranquille, which will be a while longer; if you’ve tried and love the original you can get decants from Lisa at The Perfumed Court, who has the version with the original green oakmoss that I can no longer get. I’ll be working on a new incense and haven’t decided yet how close it’ll be to Encens Tranquille. In addition to the scents that were up when I took the cart down, Femme Jolie will be back for a limited time this fall and winter. You can see a description of Femme Jolie on the Body page, but it’ll be on the Fragrance page too when I put the cart up.
3. What are prices? I added a couple sentences on the price ranges to the red note at the top of the Fragrance page. That’s where I’ve had the note about the cart being down. I used red font to be easily noticeable.
4. When will body creams be available? Probably early October.
5. Will Jour Ensoleille be back? How about the new Gardenia Musk? Yes to Jour Ensoleille (it’s been reformulated with new moss and it came out very nicely), but not yet for Gardenia Musk.
I hope that covers most of it!
Edited to add: I used a green moss in the original ET that was a little different from the brown one I’d used in most other scents, and I found that the new low atranol moss I now have is a better match to the old brown than the old green. When I put the new moss and new labdanum into ET, it seemed more different from original ET than I’d expected. I’m still deciding what way to go with ET because of that difference. I do want to have an incense scent with a prominent frankincense note because that’s a favorite of mine, so I’ll be working on this…
I just tried to put up the product menus/prices with the payments turned off, and that won’t work anymore; that arrangement used to generate an error message but the cart now tells people the order went through even though it didn’t since no payment was collected. I’m afraid that would confuse people, so I’ll have to wait until Monday and just put the menus up at the same time that I activate payments. I’m sorry about that! The cart and menus will be up and running late afternoon on Monday.
I’ve had several requests to wait until Monday/Tuesday to put the cart up because people will be away for the long holiday weekend and that may make more sense, especially since I won’t have the first batch of Jour Ensoleille done before Saturday. I also just realized that I won’t be able to begin shipping until Tuesday anyway because Monday is a mail holiday. The best idea might be to put the regular fragrance page back up on Friday with all the pricing and all the scents that will be available but with payment processing turned off for a few more days (so if you try to put an order through you’ll get an error message, which isn’t very polite but the only way I can get the price buttons back up to view). Then Monday afternoon I can turn the payment processing on and officially open. By putting the full scent list and pricing up on Friday, people could decide about potential orders. Fireside Intense and Femme Jolie will be back on the list, and Jour Ensoleille should be there too. I really want to finish this first batch of Jour before I open the cart, and it should be done by Saturday eve.
I hope that’s agreeable for all. Turn-around time will be a bit longer than usual for the first two weeks and then the initial influx should be through and things should get back to normal.
I’ve had quite a few inquiries about the shea cream too. I won’t add the shea cream back to the site until early October after I catch up from this initial busy time. I take the shea down during the hot summer shipping months and start offering it again in fall; shea can melt in summer heat and when it re-solidifies it can be grainy, which defeats the purpose of carefully making a smooth and creamy product, so I prefer not to ship in the hottest summer months.
I tested gardenia yesterday for the first time in two weeks and am very excited about it. It has plenty of oomph in the dry-down now and I just need to smooth out the start. The opening had been beautiful but the drydown lacked enough oomph; now that the dry-down is fixed the opening needs work again. It has a great long-lasting drydown though with jasmine and gardenia on a sandalwood and musk base. I can’t wait to have a chance to finish it. I may need to release it in the wrong season, but given how long this took I won’t wait until spring if it is ready soon.
Meanwhile, Jour Ensoleille looks like it is done and it’s actually in the correct season, lol. Jour is great for fall. It’s a gentle chypre with classic chypre ingredients of real oakmoss, patchouli, and labdanum absolute combined with florals and a touch of citrus, but it’s done in a gentler way than some of the stronger classic chypres of the past. I love the classics myself, Mitsouko parfum in particular, but Jour Ensoleille is meant to be a softer type of chypre. Although it is gentler, it doesn’t fit the latest modern chypre trends of using imitation moss, or sweet fruity notes, or the new style of clean patchouli. The main floral notes are neroli, orange blossom and jasmine, with soft tuberose in the blend too. The base is mostly sandalwood and moss notes with light labdanum and patch and with accents of green leaves, hay, and beeswax.