Weekend Update

First I wanted to say thank you to Ida for her lovely review of Ambre Noir on Fragrantica yesterday! I’ve heard from a number of people over the years that they like to use Ambre Noir as a layering fragrance, which makes sense to me.

I’m still testing the new floral scent and tinkering a little bit with the formula. I’ve not had much time to spend on it but am getting close.

A few interesting links that you may have missed recently:

I love natural perfumery ingredients and prefer fragrances that contain high percentages of them, but this post caught my eye because, even though I am a fan of naturals, I still dislike the misuse of the word “chemical.” An Australian chemistry teacher created illustrations of natural foods with accompanying ingredient lists to illustrate that even things like natural raw fruits contain chemicals and that “chemistry is everywhere.” When people say that they want a perfume without chemicals, they really mean that they want a perfume without synthetic chemicals. Or, they may mean that they want a perfume without toxic substances. There are synthetic and natural chemicals, and there are synthetic and natural toxic substances. I don’t want to get into the natural/synthetic debate, but the chemistry teacher’s illustrations do help make his point about the word “chemical.”

Here’s an article about taking the study of the genetic influence on scent perception one step further by trying to understand how some smells (like rotting meat) are genetically hard-coded from birth to be distasteful (at least to most humans!).

Jordan of The Fragrant Man is posting a series on oud on Fragrantica; his series on sandalwood on basenotes was excellent so I look forward to reading the oud series too.

New sample swapping site, and checking in…

I saw an announcement today for a new beauty product sample swap site, Edivv. Makeup Alley used to be a popular place for swapping, and then when blogs sprang up the swapping seemed to move from MUA to friendships made through interaction on blogs. This new site Edivv is aimed at beauty products in general so the fragrance samples look mostly like dept store types at this stage, but maybe it will develop over time to include more niche brands. I just thought it was interesting to see a new site dedicated to beauty product sample swaps. Edivv was inspired by the proliferation of subscription sample boxes with the idea that people can swap unwanted samples they receive via these services.

Nothing new to report on my front. I’ve been too busy with orders and other things to get much done on blending, but I should have time this weekend to get back to it. I took the 34 ml bottles of Ambre Noir down about two weeks ago because I was almost out again, but we made more so I can put it back up this weekend.

Our weather is still freakishly springlike, and I took advantage of that today to plant more lettuce in pots on the porch. We really need rain here in CA.

I recently had a chance to sniff a couple scents that are new to me and discovered that I love Aftelier’s Oud Luban solid. I’m not usually a fan of oud unless it is used gently and combined with rose, but this blend really appeals to me. I also received my Christopher Street sample and need to give that a sniff.

Checking in…

Things are settling down here after the holidays, though I’m trying to tackle the year-end paperwork. I’m also test sniffing the latest ylang/tuberose/jasmine mod. I enjoy white florals in winter because they bring a little bit of summer when the days are short.

I noticed a 60-second Science Talk audio about the genetic influence on how we smell aroma molecules. This topic seems to be getting widespread press lately. I was interested to see that one example they used was beta ionone, saying it smells to some like flowers and to others like sour vinegar. I like beta ionone and use it in a number of scents. It is woodsier and less sweet and powdery than alpha ionone or methyl ionone gamma. All of these ionones have varying amounts of sweet/powdery floral violet notes, fruity notes, orris notes, and woodsy aspects. Some people have told me that ISO E Super smells like vinegar to them, and it sounds like beta ionone can seem that way to some people too. I’ve realized that any component of a blend can be problematic to some while being great to others. It’s also interesting to note that beta ionone is a natural aroma chemical found in things like violets, osmanthus, wine, tobacco, grapes, almonds, peaches, plums, tea, and beer, so both natural and synthetic ingredients can be problematic to some people.

I’ll be away from email for most of Tuesday the 7th but will be back in the afternoon.