New Scent: To Dream

The take-off from Lieu de Reves is done and I’ve named it To Dream in order to continue the dream theme. I plan to filter the first batch this week and if all goes well it will be on the website next week. Here is the descriptive web page for To Dream. This is the first new scent release since Incense Pure about a year ago so I’m excited.

The other new scent (vintage inspired) is getting closer but will be a bit longer, so I decided to release To Dream first. I will also get back to work on the white floral scent, and I will put the new amber scent away until fall.

After three weeks of rain, including hail and flooding in some areas, we finally have sunshine today and it sure is nice to see. We are supposed to have temps in the 70s by mid week. It’s feeling like spring again. 🙂

The niche explosion

Robin posted today on NST about the crazy number of new fragrance releases coming out each year. This situation is something I think about a lot, of course. When I first started SSS in 2004 the field was already overcrowded, but if I had known what was coming I would have been even more hesitant. I try to keep in mind what’s been done before and put my spin on things to produce something new, but ultimately I have to focus on my own work. I do enjoy trying other indie lines and I obviously understand and appreciate the effort that goes into a small perfume business. It’s especially inspiring to see other indie women perfumers who are basically one-person businesses. It’s also amazing to see how Andy Tauer has grown — I can’t imagine handling the huge quantities he does now. The distinction between indie/artisan and niche has become important, and when products are made by hand with love it really can make a difference. I need to find my way as I go, staying small, trying to offer things that are original and high quality. It’s a crazy world out there though, and I do think about it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Champagne de Bois is back in stock on the fragrance page.

I wish I could read these reviews, but they are fun to see: a review of Winter Woods and a review of Incense Pure on a Polish blog. Love the pictures of the tiger!

Spring is on hold here while we have lots of rain. It’s very soggy. I’m done with the Reves take-off and am still working on the other new scent. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

More on the sense of smell

Now Smell This linked to an interesting article today on Yahoo News titled Super Sense of Smell Not Innate (by Marlowe Hood on Wed March 9). The article discusses how perfumers gain much of their ability to detect and identify scents through years of training and experience rather than being born with these skills. It also mentions the ongoing theme we’ve discussed here before concerning the differences in the way people experience the same scents (for example this post and this post and this post).

An excerpt from the Yahoo News article:

“Patrick MacLeod, former head of the Laboratory for Sensorial Neurobiology, near Versailles, says that olfactory thresholds vary dramatically.

“No two people will ever smell the same thing in the same way,” he noted. “When we perceive an odour the exact nature of the sensation that is produced depends as much on the observer as the object.”

In experiments, he has shown that a small quantity of a given molecule may be imperceptible for one person and easily detected by another. For a different chemical, it may be the reverse.

These thresholds can easily vary from one person to the next by a factor of a thousand.

Mac Leod also points out that the human genome contains nearly 350 olfactory genes — far more than for vision or hearing — resulting in highly individualised odour detection.”

When I send samples out to testers, I do see these differences in sensitivities to ingredients. I try to distinguish between people’s preferences and the way they smell a scent because both will determine whether a scent works for them, and differences in people’s skin will add yet another variable. Several questions become relevant. Does the tester like the smell of some ingredient like ambroxan or cosmone musk or jasmine sambac, etc? How strongly does the tester smell it, from being very sensitive to being average to being anosmic to it? And how does it do on the tester’s skin? Of course interactions between ingredients affect the outcome too, so I need to think about both the parts and the whole. It’s a fascinating topic to me.

Email address reminder

As of today, my old personal email address, the cds one, no longer exists. Please remember to use my msn personal email or the website’s info@sonomascentstudio.com address. Thank you!

Also, if you signed up for emails of Perfume In Progress posts before Jan 27, 2011 when I changed the blog feed over to my msn email address, then you will no longer receive emails of blog updates as of today. If you want to continue to receive updates, you need to sign up again using the link at the top right area on my blog where it says “Subscribe to Perfume in Progress by Email.” I’m sorry for the inconvenience. It’s for a good cause — I switched internet providers and my service no longer goes out in bad weather, lol. 🙂

Violets are up!

I just put Voile de Violette and Wood Violet back on the scent list. Champagne de Bois and Cameo will be next, hopefully within the next few weeks. I think the Reves take-off may be done; it’s been getting great feedback from most testers. I’m still toying with the other new one, but I will have more time now to devote to the blending and testing so things should go a little faster.

Happy almost spring!