Happy Halloween!

Sending wishes for a fun evening if you are celebrating! Sounds like my nieces will hang up their cat costumes after several years and be witches this year. Today is a lovely fall day here with clear blue sky so we should have good weather for tonight’s activities.

I worked on Encens Tranquille last night and made a lot of progress. I was able to incorporate the new labdanum as well as the new moss. I tried the new wood absolute but am not convinced yet. On the other hand, I added an incensy amber ingredient that is quite nice with it. The original used a green oakmoss rather than the brown one that I used in most of my other fragrances, and I’m suspicious that the old green oakmoss was doctored with a wee bit of guaiacwood because it sure smells that way when I compare. I can make the new ET more like the old by adding a bit of guaiac, but I actually like it best with less smokiness than the original. I’m also trying with and without elemi. I should have some testers for ET next week.

I’ll add the shea body cream back to the site within the next few days, and I need to get back to Bouquet Blanche….

Happy Halloween! 🙂

Encens Tranquille update

I will get back to the reformulation of ET and I have two ideas. When I worked on this before, I was trying to put in both the new moss and new labdanum, and I think I’ll keep the old labdanum instead to keep it more consistent. I also just received a sample of a new wood absolute last week that may be quite nice in ET. It has some pretty mossy nuances and very light smokiness (nothing like birch tar but just a hint of smokiness). I want to try the original ET formula with the new moss and a touch of this new wood. I won’t get my supply of this new ingredient for a couple of weeks but can work from the sample for now. I’ll say more about it after my order comes, but I’m excited about it.

I’ve had a lot of inquiries about when ET might return, so I know I need to get back to it. I’ll also have the shea cream back by early next week. And I’m getting some gift boxes and ribbon in time for the holidays. I’ll post some photos of the options on the gifts page once I have it all ready. Lots to do! I’ll write some more perfuming posts once I catch up a little more, especially as I get closer to sending out testers.

Body Cream Update

I’ve had a lot of requests for the body cream for the holiday season so I’ll get it back on the site next week. I’ll just offer it for the holidays and the lotion will stay on the site all year. The cream is thicker and heavier than the lotion, which is still moisturizing but not as thick and has a more elegant feel during application. Your preference will just depend on which style you like. I plan to do more scents for lotions but am not sure if I’ll get to it before the holidays. (The perfume scent formulas can’t be done exactly as is for lotion because some ingredients work better in alcohol base than oil base.) So, if you’ve been looking for the body cream it’ll be back next week. 🙂

We’ve had some beautiful fall days. I need to check in with my brother and hear what my nieces are planning to be for Halloween.

Is it citrus or skunk? :)

It’s been a busy week and I’ve not done much blending, but this evening I’m finally working on the woodsy amber. I plan to work on Bouquet Blanche tomorrow.

I always find it interesting to see the variation in how people perceive aroma ingredients, so I enjoyed reading Luca Turin’s October Duftnote about an aromachemical he worked on that was meant to be like dihydromyrcenol but more lasting. Dihydromyrcenol is a pleasant, fresh, citrusy topnote that is often used in men’s cologne (and in fact is so common that people may be tiring of it, at least when used in the standard ways). The idea was to try to manipulate the structure of the chemical to create a citrus note that lasts longer than a typical citrus topnote. They succeeded in making something that smelled very much like the dihydromyrcenol chemical they had altered but with excellent lasting power. The problem came when they gave it to ten perfumers to sniff and although eight of ten loved it, two thought it smelled of skunk instead of citrus! The genetic differences in how people smell things caused two of eight to smell it differently. To create the new chemical they had added sulfur to the structure and some people were able to pick up on the sulfur in the form of a sulfide and interpret it as skunky (sulfides are typically described as smelling of rotten egg or skunk). Interesting!

I’ll never forget a camping trip we took to the Mt. Lassen area when I was young. We visited Bumpass Hell and I loved seeing the rnudpots and interesting geologic activity, but I held my nose the whole time, lol, because the sulfur-rich fumes were so powerful.

Website updates and more work on the white floral scent

I’ve been working on two lines of white florals with gardenia and jasmine — the one that has stronger florals on a soft woods base and the one that has softer floral notes on a musk base. The former is a continuation of the work that led to the version “D” tester last time, and I have a tweaked version now that I like. I softened the gardenia and orange blossom (making the tuberose more prominent), added a touch of clove, removed one greenish jasmine component, added some ambergris, and adjusted the sandalwood accord. It seems to be better balanced now and has more lasting power. I’ll try it again and then it may be ready to send out to a few testers. The main thing I discovered from the previous testing round is that people either really liked the prominent gardenia note, finding it fun and realistic, or they found it to be a bit strong compared to the jasmine and tuberose. I think this version with softer gardenia will be better, but because the scent is becoming more of a mixed bouquet I’m going to change the name to Bouquet Blanche. I plan to release this scent whenever it is done and I’d hold off on the lighter floral musk until spring. I updated the “upcoming scent” gardenia page on the website to reflect the changes.

I also updated the home page to add the new purse sprays and body silk lotion, and I added a photo to illustrate the wrapped boxed purse spray sets on the Gifts page.

I’m also working on a few winter scents but will wait a little longer before posting about them. I’d really like at least one of them to be doable in lotion form too.

Thank you Liza for the sweet blog post today about Sonoma Scent Studio customer service! I try to provide the best CS I can, and I really enjoy packing up boxes with each person in mind. I’m very glad you’re enjoying your goodies!

An interesting gardenia post

Anya from the Natural Perfumer’s Guild and Anya’s Garden Natural Perfumes just posted about the various new gardenia extract products that are being developed — it’s an interesting post and has some beautiful photos that will help you learn the difference between the various types of gardenia.

I had posted a while ago about one of these natural gardenia products but it’s great to know other options are on the way!

Rainy Tuesday update

It poured for almost 24 hours here and just let up this evening; we need the rain but this was a big start to the wet season.

I put the new 5 ml purse sprays on the website. Prices range from $13 to $17 depending on the scent. They are listed in the drop-down menus along with the 17 ml and 34 ml bottles. If you get two I will automatically wrap and box them together, but if you get one it’ll be unboxed.

There’s an interesting interview of Francis Kurkdjian by Cristiane Goncalves in the latest issue of Sniffapalooza Magazine; he talks about his new line, his inspirations, and his motivations. His new fragrances sound truly lovely — early reviews have been very positive and they’d be fun to sample. One of my favorites of his is the beautiful Parfums MDCI Enlevement au Serail, but the entire list of fragrances he has created is very impressive.

I’m continuing to work on the new scents as I can between doing orders and I’ll have more to report on that in upcoming posts.

Kittens, horses, and white florals…

My youngest niece just had a birthday party yesterday and she got a new kitten (photo above). They ended up getting two, a brother/sister pair, to keep each other company. Very cute. My older niece competed in her first combined training event last weekend (a horseback riding competition). She did well and her horse did a good job too. I didn’t get to go watch but heard the scoop afterwards.

I made a few adjustments to the gardenia white floral; I increased the tuberose, softened the green and earthy aspects of the gardenia, and added back in a touch of musk. It opens gentler but lasts longer. I also removed one of the greener jasmine components and added a touch of clove. I’m much happier with it now. I’ll try it more and see if it is ready for round two of testing. I also want to do a second scent that will be close to one of the very early gardenia musk versions I did that many testers liked — it was more jasmine-rich, soft but lasting, with less gardenia influence and with a musk base. I need to return to that formula as well.

I put the lotion on the website and will work on putting up the 5 ml sprays over the next few days (it’ll take a couple days to make the code changes).

I may be doing a special batch of original Jour Ensoleille for a couple people; I am making a small bit first to see if the new moss translates into that formula closely enough to the original. The new reformulation has more jasmine and is a bit different — the original was probably more unisex. If you’ve already tried and loved the original and are one of the people who asked me about it when it came down from the site to be reformulated, you can send me an email and I’ll try to make enough to cover more people, but there’s a limit to how much of the original I can make. I’m thinking mainly of getting this batch of the original to some men who prefer it since it’s a bit less floral and therefore feels more unisex.

Purse Sprays

Here’s a photo of the 5 ml purse sprays I’m using to make spray testers for the studio. I thought these sprays might be nice to offer for fall and the holiday season on my website, both as unboxed singles and in boxed sets of two, in any choice of scents (two fit perfectly in my black perfume boxes). These cased purse sprays are more expensive than the clear glass kind with no surrounding case housing, but I love how the black case protects the juice from light and they look more elegant. They are refillable so if someone purchased a larger bottle after liking the 5 ml spray, the 5 ml could be refilled to carry along in a purse or pocket. These purse sprays also spray much better than any of the smaller 1-2.5 ml sprayers I’ve tried.

The 5 ml sprays of Sonoma Scent Studio perfumes sell for $16.25 at TPC so it’d make sense to offer the same price for them as unboxed singles on my site (a bit less for a couple of the less expensive scents). In boxed sets of two the price would be about the same as the 17 ml bottles. As sizes go smaller the price per ml goes up because the bottle and label costs are similar and labor is the same, so the smaller sizes cost proportionately more to make. Yet, sometimes small sizes can be economical for the perfume collector to buy no more than really needed at one time even though the cost per ml is higher.

If there is interest in these it’d be easy to offer a few this fall/winter and see how it goes. The 17 ml size that I offer already on the site is a nice size when you already know you like a scent, but the 5 ml would be more of a trial size and might make nice little gifts too.

I’m hoping to get the lotion on the site tonight. I need to do a few more things today to be ready though.

Checking in

I’ve been too busy to work on gardenia for about a week, but I left off at an interesting point and just picked it up again tonight. I’m always amazed how much good it does to put something down for a week after intensely working on it for many days — it really wakes up your nose and helps you smell it fresh.

Over the weekend I tried the lavender formula in the new lotion; I’m hoping to put the lotion on the site this weekend. I also made some 5 ml tester sprays to have here, and I’m wondering if these black 5 ml purse sprays would be a good idea for the site during the holidays. Two fit perfectly in one of the black perfume boxes, so a set of two (in different scents) might make a nice option. I’ll post a photo of them soon and will ask for some opinions.

I thought this was an interesting post on achieving harmony in fragrance:


When people are new to fragrance, they need time to learn how notes evaporate and reveal the next layer underneath, and how each phase needs to harmonize as the scent evolves, and how the phases themselves need to form a cohesive picture.  I always hope people will give scents a little time to develop and not judge by the first 10 minutes.  I was helping someone just recently and was worried because she wanted to pick a scent just by sniffing them from the vials and they change too much after wearing them to make that an effective method.  This post by Octavian brings up some interesting things to consider about the way scents evolve as you wear them and how perfumers can achieve harmonious compositions.