Incense Pure is on the site now

Incense Pure is now available on the site in samples and bottles. I’ll send out a newsletter soon.

I’m working on Bouquet Blanc and a couple other projects as I can fit them in. We’ve had some pretty spring weather but it will be back to rain again tomorrow and this week. I did get the first few roses blooming in the garden the last few days though — some deeply fragrant red climbing roses. Yum. 🙂

Edited to add: I sent a newsletter out late Sunday night (28th), so those who signed up after that won’t get one for a little while. I don’t send them very frequently, but I will send another when Bouquet Blanc is done and when the new bottles are available.

Drawing Winners

I made a list of the drawing entrants (leaving out the people I was already sending to as thanks for contributing advice on the blog a few days ago). Here’s the list
1. Sheryl
2. Monica
3. Ines
4. Ann C
5. Julie
6. Amy H
7. Sharon
8. Bonita Zisla
9. Nikki Sherritt
10. Narguile
11. Ceil
12. Debra de Waltoff
13. Elizabeth
14. Carrie
15. Susan B.
16. Lee
17. Holly
19. Ghassan (facebook request to join drawing)
20. Mary
21. divinemama
22. Cheryl

Then I picked 6 random numbers using and the 6 numbers that came up were 4, 18, 13, 9, 1, and 16 (actually 4 came up twice so AnnC must have had extra lucky vibes going for her tonight). That means the winners are AnnC, Sue, Elizabeth, Nikki, Sheryl, and Lee. Please send me your addresses and your two other sample choices besides the new incense. You can email me at

Thanks! I’ll get your packages right out.

I think I should go with Incense Pure. It seems to have an overall favorable response and won’t be a potential cause of confusion the way Incense Tranquil might be (or even Tranquil Incense). Thank you so much for the input and help with the decision! Names are hard!

I took a photo of the first bottle and posted it on the site. I should have samples available for purchase by Saturday and bottles a day after that.

I am back to work on Bouquet Blanc (I realized the correct spelling is blanc, not blanche, because bouquet is a masculine noun in French). I’m really close to a tester now and am obsessively working on it, lol.

Sample Drawing for the New Incense and Informal Poll

Today’s post is a drawing for free samples of the new incense fragrance, which should be on the website at the end of the week.  I’ll draw 5 winners, and each winner can pick two other SSS samples of his/her choice to go with the incense sample. The drawing is open to all countries that are on my usual shipping list (see the website Policies/Shipping page for the full list).

Just leave a comment here if you’d like to be in the drawing, and as part of your comment I’m hoping you’ll tell me which name you like best out of these four possibilities:

Incense Pure (a little softer sounding than Pure Incense)
Pure Incense (more usual English order than Incense Pure)
Incense Reverie (pretty, but perhaps more light-hearted than the scent)
Incense Tranquil (pretty too, like the old name but in English, fits the scent)

I thought I would also say thank you to the people who already posted a comment on the naming issue and helped me brainstorm a few days ago on the blog. Jo, Suzanne, Tania, Beth, Matthew, Laura, and Elena, I’d like to send you freebie samples of the new incense. Laura, you tried the 2-17-3 so I can send you the final 3-14-2, which is the same but with a tad more vanilla absolute. Thanks so much to all of you for helping me with the name! Just send me your addresses and let me know another sample you’d like to go with the incense sample.

After I receive my new bottles in a week or two, I’ll probably also offer a free bottle of the incense for a drawing, but it’d be fun to wait to do that when I have the new bottles in production and then someone can win one of the pretty new bottles.  🙂 Not sure spring is the best time to give out an incense fragrance though, lol, so we’ll see how quickly my new bottles come and then decide what to do. It might make sense to wait until fall for that and give a bottle of the new white floral instead, if it is done reasonably soon. At any rate, I’d like to do a draw for one of the pretty new bottles after I get them.

The notes for this incense are frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, cedar, labdanum, cistus, patchouli, oakmoss, elemi, angelica root, guaiacwood, orris, musk, and vanilla absolute.  A full description can be seen here: Incense. When you think about the name, it helps to know that this is purely incense, which to me includes woods and resins as well as frankincense and myrrh. It’s not a floral incense, but it has some vanilla and a small touch of musk for softening. I’d like to do a rose incense and the reverie name might be fun to save for that.

So, just leave a comment below if you’d like to be in the drawing. If you have no opinion on the name you can still enter. I’m not using this as a formal poll but just to see if there are strong opinions on any of these (good or bad), and to see if there are issues I’d not thought about. It’s been hard for me to pick because I really like the old name of Encens Tranquille, but this is so much different that it needs a new name. I think Incense Pure and Pure Incense are my favorites at the moment. I may save Reverie for the floral incense, and Incense Tranquil may still be too similar to the old, though I like it.

I’ll leave the drawing open until at least Thursday eve and will probably do the drawing either late Thursday eve or Friday morning. You can add your name any time before then. Thanks so much!

A Note on Ingredient Restrictions and Link to Recent Articles

Tony Burford of Cropwatch gave a PowerPoint presention titled “Is excessive regulation destroying the perfumery art?” to the British Society of Perfumers at the Safety and Regulatory symposium on March 11, 2010. This link lets you download the presentation, but it’s only viewable if you have MS Office PowerPoint.  If (like me) you don’t have PowerPoint, you can view the summary by Anya McCoy of the Natural Perfumer’s Guild in her blog post here. It’s dense reading but gives you an idea of the arbitrary decisions involved in setting these standards. It is also a reference to bookmark if you want to return to look up questions you have about restrictions on ingredients. Anya gives the link to Cropwatch and provides references. I’ve not followed all the Cropwatch news over the years because it is hard to keep up, but they have been involved in this issue long before it became a popular blog topic.

Octavian also recently blogged about this topic and gave a link to an interesting article on the Beyond Beauty Blog about perfumery ingredients in two parts, part 1 and part 2. This article is partly about the new technologies for producing ingredients that have been developed in response to restrictions.

Friday update

The Name Game: I’m still deciding on the incense name. Someone who speaks French let me know that the syntax of Encens Reverie isn’t the best, and I’m not fond of Encens Rêveur or Encens Songeur. Other possible ideas are
Encens Absolu (absolute incense, maybe a nicer way to say it than Incense Pure)
Fete d’Encens (celebration of incense)
Encens Foncé (deep incense — need to check if this is more deep or dark)

Bottles: The new 1 oz bottles have been delayed and will arrive about the 29th instead of the 21st. That’s not too surprising. We received the paperwork that was missing and I think all is set for getting them through customs.

Scent Update: I need to scale up the formula for the incense and make the first batch. Once that is done I can put samples on the site, and then bottles after that. I’m working on Bouquet Blanche now and still need to make some changes but am making progress.

Misc: I need to finish taxes! Will try to work on that this weekend. Just got some of that new tobacco absolute today so I can play more with that now.

Happy weekend! 🙂

Comfort Scents — Group Blog Post

Today’s post on comfort scents is a group topic addressed on 14 perfume blogs and I’m happy to be included. Natural perfumer Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums and Smelly Blog organized the group project. Thanks, Ayala, for organizing this topic — I look forward to reading other people’s responses!

Most people define a comfort scent as something that is easy to wear and that soothes the senses like a soft, comforting wrap. Many scents nominated for this title are a bit on the sweet side and are vanilla based. Comfort scents mean different things to different people though, and I’ll share some scents that are comforting to me but are a bit out of the ordinary for the comfort scent category.

Because I rarely have skin time to wear scents other than my own that I am testing and developing, I enjoy the occasional chance to wear an old favorite just for fun. I’ll focus here on scents outside of my own line since it’s a treat to wear other things in between my testing. My first requirement for a comfort scent is one that I can count on to smell good to me rather than one that is variable on my skin.

I don’t wear many scents that are vanilla-rich or gourmand, but two that are in the vanilla category for me and that I find comforting in winter are POTL’s Luctor et Emergo and Patricia de Nicolai’s Sacrebleu. Both are sweet and luscious, but both have other things to make them much more than vanilla scents. POTL has interesting grassy/hay, woods, and incense notes along with the delicious almond vanilla, and it hits the spot sometimes on a cool winter evening. Sacrebleu has beautiful floral notes with spices and yummy fruity notes. Both are a bit too sweet for me to wear often, but I savor them when I do get them out.

For me, rose is a main comfort note. Rose notes soothe me more than vanilla notes, so for comfort I often reach for something rosy. In spring and summer, Creed’s Fleur de The Rose Bulgare is a comfort scent because it is a happy rose soliflore that I can count on to put a smile on my face.  In winter, Guerlain’s Nahema or Annick Goutal’s Rose Absolue are standbys to give me my rose comfort. I find natural rose absolute to be a wonderful, uplifting, comforting scent.

Another category of comfort scent for me are scents that I can reach for when I want something that feels like me and always works.  Chanel 22 and Parfum Sacre fit that bill.  I’ve only worn it a handful of times so far, but I think the new Francis Kurkdjian Lumière Noire pour femme might be added to that list because it feels so comfortable to me and has the rose note that always hits the spot for me.

In the heat, comfort scents for most of us tend to be green or citrusy for their cooling effects.  Hermes Rose Ikebana works for me, as do Chanel 19 and several vetiver scents. I’d love to find some other refreshing scent favorites for summer, or create one. Although I love these scents and they feel good in summer, I wouldn’t classify them as high on my comfort scent list as the others I’ve listed.

Sandalwood is another note that, like rose, is especially soothing to me. I find combinations of frankincense, sandalwood, and labdanum to be comforting, and that feeling has been reinforced the last few months as I’ve worked on my new incense blend. This fragrance is a comfort scent for me.  (You might want to stop by the blog next week because I hope to have a drawing for free samples of this new incense scent.) The new incense still awaits a final name decision, but I think it is narrowed down to Encens Rêverie or Incense Pure — the former seems prettier but either would fit. I’m not sure if the syntax is right on the reverie name so I need to check that.

Ayala Sender has a scent called Espionage that makes a great comfort scent — it’s soft and close to the skin, just sweet enough to be comforting but not at all a sweet scent, with very pretty but subtle floral notes, a musk/vanilla/woods base, and a touch of leather. However, her Palas Atena is my favorite comfort scent choice from her line because I find the exotic blend of woods, florals, and spices to be soothing as well as interesting. (Her Razala is another beautiful exotic favorite of mine.)

For non-perfume sources of comfort, the garden and the natural environment always soothe me. The hills and oaks work their magic on me and I’m lucky they are a part of my daily life. Family, friends, and pets of course offer comfort, both to share the good things in life and to know they are there when you need some support.

As winter ends and spring emerges, comfort scents will change, but it’s fun to reflect back on the scents that helped get us through another winter. What are your comfort scents and notes? Do some people have other notes besides vanilla that bring comfort, as rose, sandalwood, and incense do for me?

You can visit all the blogs participating in this group post:

Roxana’s Illuminated Journal
BitterGrace Notes 
Perfume Shrine
Notes from the Ledge 
Scent Hive
The Non Blonde 
Perfume in Progress 
Katie Puckrik Smells
Rose Beyond the Thames
Smell Therefore I Am 
All I Am A Redhead
Savvy Thinker   

Edited to add: Although I used the blog title Comfort Scents, the title most bloggers used for this group post was Comforting Scents for Uncomfortable Times. Ayala suggested that all of us add the following note to acknowledge where that title originated.

“This article’s title is an homage to Michelyn Camen’s original article of this same name on Sniffapalooza Magazine in 2008, in which she interviewed several perfumers to comment on what botanical elements make their perfumes comforting.”

Michelyn Camen is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of and the Editor-at- Large for She was formerly an Editor for Fragrantica, the Fragrance Editor for Uptown Social, a Senior Contributor for Sniffapalooza Magazine, the New in Niche Columnist for Basenotes, the Managing Director for BeautynewsNYC and the former publicist for and Scent Bar, Los Angeles. She has been awarded Brandweek Magazine Marketer of the Year, Ad Age Magazine 100 and is a two time recipient of License Magazine’s 40 under 40 and recipient. She slipped off her corporate power suit to pursue her passion for fragrance.

More incense…

I have my favorite version of the incense scent picked and am just waiting for a few more feedbacks to make that a final decision. I do think it ought to have a new name to avoid confusion because it’s quite different than the original ET. I’m leaning to Incense Pure at the moment — that name feels comfortable to me because I spent a lot of time working to make the formula as natural as I could and to make it very high in frankincense. I used only vanilla absolute for the vanilla fraction (removing the vanillin to keep it natural and removing the natural benzoin because I liked the smell of the pure absolute better in this). I also decided not to use floral notes in this to make it a pure incense scent, but I plan to do a floral incense later.

Some other name options I considered are Incense Tranquil (but maybe it is better to go with something entirely new) or Incense Serene (but a number of scents already use the word serene) or Encens Profond (but this may imply more than I want to) or Incense 2010 (but that may get more complicated than I want) or Encens Naturel (but I may save that for an all-natural version of this I’d like to do someday). Edited to add: someone just suggested Encens Reverie and that does seem very pretty!

I’m hoping to have samples on the website next week and do a drawing here on the blog for some free samples next week as well. My new bottles arrive next week too, though we still need one piece of paperwork to get them through customs and I’m waiting anxiously for that paperwork to arrive.

We have beautiful spring weather this week and it’s such a treat! I hope places back east that have been hammered by rain will get a chance to dry out.

I’ll keep posting on the release of the incense but I’m shooting for the beginning of next week. Emails with comments on names under consideration and/or name suggestions are always welcome. 🙂 I’ll send a newsletter out too when it is on the site.

Naming Quandary on a Sunny Pre-Spring Weekend…

As I get close to putting ET back on the scent list, I’m wondering if I should give it a new name. Like the original ET, this new formula has main notes of frankincense, labdanum (plus cistus this time), and sandalwood. This new scent is quite different, however, so I wonder if I should retire the old name and start fresh. I’m considering simply calling this one Incense. I do like the name Encens Tranquille though and think it fits this scent even better than the original since this one is gentler. Both versions are dry and fit the contemplative theme. I had to reformulate ET because I could no longer buy the old oakmoss I had used in the original formula, and I may never be able to do something exactly the same as old ET again. I could either look at that as a reason to re-use the name since I like it, or I could see it as a reason to retire the name since this scent is significantly different. I’d love any feedback anyone has on the name quandary (the naming issue is always hard for me!).

I’ve just started to hear back from a few people about my latest tweak to make the new ET formula a tad less dry, and so far feedback is good. I’ll see if that continues.

I made some more changes to the base of BB (Bouquet Blanche) and am much happier with it as of today. I want the tail end to be something that I still find interesting, rather than having a nice floral blend the first few hours with a ho-hum final drydown. I added some beeswax to the heart and some orris, vetiver, and oakmoss to the base. The base is a little more in the classical direction now, and I like that. The beeswax adds a pretty, but subtle, hint of pollen/honey and hasn’t gone too sweet as of my testing so far.

I apologize that Opal is out of stock for a while. I’m having an issue with an ingredient and may need to reformulate, but I won’t have time to dig into that project until I finish ET and BB.

It was a beautiful spring-like sunny day today, which was very welcome after rain all day yesterday. The garden is so wet that we have a bumper crop of frogs, lol, and they are singing constantly. I bet they are beneficial for the garden though. The roses are leafing out and it won’t be long before we’ll have a few of the first spring roses.

Checking in…

I’ve been trying a few minor adjustments to the last mod of ET to make it a bit less dry, and I have something I like. I’ll need to get a few opinions but this seems to help. I’m also working on BB. I’m working on paperwork too — I really need to finish my taxes. I started them a month ago when I took that 10 days off but haven’t gotten back to them since. Just getting back to it now.

I also received an interesting tobacco absolute sample. It has less of a green/herbal nuance than some I’ve smelled and less fruity hints, but it has an interesting animalic nature to it. I’m looking forward to trying this as a basenote in something with moss and labdanum.

Just thought I’d poke my head up to check in, and I’ll post again soon…

Interesting Link About Allergen Laws in EU

Robert Tisserand, a well-respected expert in the field of natural essential oils and absolutes, has a blog post today about the way the EU decided which ingredients should be considered as potential allergens and thus disclosed on product packaging for items sold in the EU. It’s an eye-opening post, and I think you’ll find other articles of interest on his blog too. Thanks to Anya of Anya’s Garden and Anya’s Garden Natural Perfumes blog for the link.