End of week update

It’s been a busy week again, but I’ve managed to make a few new mods of Encens Tranquille each night and test them the following morning.  Last night I increased the leather a bit more (there has always been a soft leather note in it but it wasn’t very perceptible before), and I altered the sandalwood accord a little bit to smooth it.  I had already increased myrrh, decreased smokiness, changed the amber accord, and of course swapped to the new moss per IFRA.

Tonight I softened the frankincense a little to smooth the opening.  I may be ready to send out testers of this mod.  I will test it again in the morning.  It is smoother than the original, which I had wanted, but it is still interesting to me (previous mods had been smoother but not zippy enough).  I’m not sure about the frankincense level yet; I like the drydown when I start it out higher, but then the opening becomes harsher (that’s something that I worried about with the original, though personally I love frankincense so the potent incense opening didn’t bother me to wear myself).  Maybe I should send both versions out to some testers to see how others feel.

I’m keeping up with orders but turn-around has been a day or two this week.  I should be caught up again over the weekend.  I have all the gift wrap supplies and just need to get a moment to photograph them.  As soon as I pick the best ET mod I’ll get back to Bouquet Blanche and also the new soft sandalwood scent (a skin scent featuring soft sandalwood, amber, spices, and musk).

About Laurie E

artisan perfumer and owner of Sonoma Scent Studio
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10 Responses to End of week update

  1. Rappleyea says:

    Hi Laurie:
    I’ve been following the reformulation of Encens Tranquille with interest as I’m itching to order some winter samples (I don’t know if you remember, but I ordered several samples back in the warmer months, but was waiting for cooler weather to order the other scents). More frankincense sounds great to me!

    I’ve learned from all of my sampling that the ones I like best don’t have musk. I’ve never been a fan, and the ones with musk become cloying on me. My skin seems to amp sweetness as even your old version of Jour Ensoleille is very sweet on me! More of a lush floral than a chypre.

    I’m addicted to Champagne de Bois and always receive compliments when I wear it. Thanks for your work!

    Donna

  2. Laurie says:

    Hi Donna,

    Glad the Champagne works well for you and you’re enjoying it! There’s no musk in that one, as you probably guessed, though some people think it must have musk since the labdanum has a musky/dusky quality.

    You would be a great tester for me as a sweetness check and as a representative of the other end of the spectrum that is more sensitive to musks. I have some testers who are anosmic to musks and they can help alert me to when something won’t work for that reason, but you’d offer the opposite input. It all helps me learn!

    The original Jour had an ambery aspect to the drydown that is actually what made it special to some folks, and they miss that aspect in the new version because I switched to the newer, drier labdanum. I toned down some of the green notes in the original too, and switched to a prettier jasmine. I had to make some changes because the original formula had a lot of oakmoss and didn’t work anymore when I switched to the new moss.

    The frankincense in ET tends to get aggressive at the start if I dose it high (as in the original) but I’m trying different levels to see where the balance seems right to me. ET has a strongly woody base that emerges faster when the frankincense is toned down. The original had just a tiny bit of musk as a fixative at less than 1% (I would have to look it up but know it’s much less than 1%); I doubt many people noticed it besides me, lol. It’s a musk I am especially sensitive to and can smell at tiny fractions of a percent, but many people can’t smell it even at 10%. I bet you would be sensitive to it too. I like what it does at homeopathic doses in ET, for those who pick up on it. I’m leaving it at the same low dose as the original. The original had that sweeter labdanum, but I added more of an ambery woodsy ingredient to offset the switch to the drier labdanum in the newer version.

    I’d appreciate your input when I’m ready with testers! I’ve been scrambling to keep up with orders so blending is slow but steady. My goal is to get testers out next week for ET and the new sandalwood amber because they are both woodsy and will probably appeal to the same audience.

    Thanks very much for your input! Happy weekend!

  3. Rappleyea says:

    Hi Laurie –
    Taking a lazy Sunday morning and perusing the perfume blogs and just found this, although I have answered your email to me. But I wanted to comment on the frankincense issue – Ten or fifteen years ago, frankincense was very creamy and smooth, similar to a good sandalwood. I order from several very reputable sources, and in the last five or six years, have been unable to find the same smooth quality. I don’t know if it’s been over-sourced, cut with something else or what, but it’s not the same. I find the same sharpness that you do.

    I’m looking forward to receiving the new samples to test.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend yourself!

  4. Laurie says:

    Hi Donna,

    That’s interesting! I’m currently using a CO2 extraction and like it very much, but it is quite strong for the first few minutes after application before it settles down and smooths out. Once it settles it’s smooth, and the CO2 seems longer lasting on the skin to me. I like this particular one better than the EO and absolute forms I’ve tried.

    The sandalwood situation is tough. I had some beautiful stuff ten years ago and wish I’d stocked up on it. I recently bought some pretty nice sandal album, and I still like that better than the New Caledonian and Australian forms I’ve tried. But the album is not available much at all anymore. We have quite nice sandalwood synthetics these days, but they do not smell like the real thing (pretty, but different).

    On the downside some natural materials have been oversourced and are getting harder to obtain in good quality, but on the upside we’re developing new methods of extraction (like CO2) and making progress in those ways with nicer quality and new materials. As I’ve grown as a business, I’ve gained access to wholesale sources for finer materials and that has been exciting.

    I think the original Encens Tranquille played up the frankincense and sandalwood a lot, and I’m just balancing the new version a little differently by bringing out the myrrh, leather, and amber notes a bit more to try to make it smoother. I have a few more little adjustments to test today and hope to pick one tester version by tomorrow. Will see!

    • Rappleyea says:

      I agree that the sandalwood situation is heartbreaking. For me especially as an aromatherapist, I could do without it in perfume (wouldn’t like it though!) but in aromatherapy, it is invaluable for treating bronchial problems (especially persistant cases) and genito-urinary tract problems. The Australian sandalwood is greener, sharper, and I imagine would be harder for a perfumer to work with. I haven’t tried the New Caledonian though.

      My problem with most of the synthetics is not their smell (in most cases), which as you’ve pointed out for the sandalwood is pretty, but in how the synthetics fail to develop on the skin over time. And for some strange reason, several of the new aromachemicals bloom on my skin and take over the fragrance. And then they have the half life of uranium! YIKES!!

      Maybe you shouldn’t just pick one tester version, but an A and B sample, or even an A, B and C. See what comments and comparisons your testers come up with. Or is that getting too much like a focus group? lol!

      • Laurie says:

        Hi Donna,

        Yes, from my perspective the newer sandalwoods are just not the same. The New Caledonian I’ve tried was smoother than the Australians I’ve smelled and was quite pretty but still doesn’t smell like the old album. The synths are pretty but, yes, most are linear. I never use just a single synth sandalwood in a blend; I use combinations of them along with natural woods to try to make the scent more complex, but the wood accords are still more linear than if they were all natural. The scent as a whole can still be nonlinear though if you use top and heart notes that evolve and other basenotes that evolve (I need to be better about topnotes sometimes). Fragrance companies are working on fractions of the newer natural woods to accentuate their positive qualities, and I can’t wait to try a few of those new options.

        I think some people are more sensitive to some aromachems and then they do take over. Some of the ingredients are potent and really do need to be dosed carefully, but the ideal dose varies form one person to the next. I have a few more ET mods I made last night to test today and I may well need to send out two but I’ll see. Getting agreement can be hard though, lol. Sometimes the vote is split because different things work for different people, but usually I can learn from the comments and make adjustments to the formula.

        I don’t know much about aromatherapy and would love to learn more. That’s interesting about the use of natural sandalwood in aromatherapy! Something I’d love to learn more about is the use of topical oils for healing — do you do that too? I’ve heard for example that Helichrysum italicum is great for inflammation and bruising. It’d be fun to know more about the healing side, other than the pleasure I get from scents in general!

  5. Tara C says:

    Andy Tauer uses the CO2 frankincense in his scents and it is very nice. He let us smell the 3 different extraction types and you could really tell the difference in smoothness.

    Just received my Tabac Aurea, and thank you so much for the Fireside, Fireside Intense and Winter Woods samples. They are all lovely, but I think Fireside is emerging as my favorite. I see a bottle in my future – will wait until the Encens Tranquille is firmed up so I can get a sample of that with my order. The new ET sounds very nice, I like the idea of playing up the other ingredients. Looking forward to sniffing!

  6. Laurie says:

    Hi Tara,

    That’s interesting Andy likes the CO2 frankincense better too. I don’t always like the CO2 forms of things better than the traditional EO/absolute forms, but in some cases like the frankincense it seems to offer a clear advantage. The frankincense CO2 seems smoother to me too and longer lasting.

    Glad you liked your goodies! I’m getting close on an ET tester. My plan is to keep the frankincense and sandalwood prominent but to bring out the myrrh, leather, and amber aspects a bit more. Glad that sounds potentially interesting.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Tara C says:

    Well, I couldn’t wait! Just ordered the Fireside, and requested samples of Opal, Sienna Musk and Femme Jolie since I read a nice review of these scents. Can’t wait to try them out! Your perfumes are addictive Laurie. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Hi Tara,

      Thanks! Just got your order — glad you’re enjoying the fragrances!

      I’ll get an ET tester to you when they’re ready. I think I may be done tweaking the sandalwood and amber accords in it. I’m just trying a few things now to see if I can improve sillage because it is staying fairly close to the skin. I have tested it too many days in a row though and need to take a break from it to have better perspective. The final drydown seems yummy to me but I’d love to turn it up a notch if possible. It does seem quite a bit smoother to me than the original and more complex.

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