5 Sep

 I’ve worked on two custom perfumes lately. One for the wife of a friend of mine, Ericka and Paul Tullis, one for my girlfriend, Mary. The former is a delightful, refreshing eau de cologne, called Gaia (personification of Mother Earth), the other a deeper, richer eau de toilette, called Hemera (goddess of the daylight). With Gaia (which I have permission to sell to the public), it took only one try to get the aroma I wanted, and the aroma that Ericka sincerely liked. With Hemera it took two or three tries; the first two were indistinct, not full of a clear enough character. Finally, I looked at the formula, and I realized that while frangipani may be nice on its own, I needed to add orange-flower to the heart and neroli on top. That was exactly what the brew needed; what was somewhat indistinct became what I think of as tighter, clearer of character. This is is the first time I’ve witnessed the combination of orange-flower/neroli actually appear to tighten up a composition. Gaia is based on the combination of linden-blossom absolute in the base and linden-blossom essential oil on the top, along with a couple of citrus notes also on top (15 notes altogether); Hemera is based on New-Caledonian sandalwood in the base, honeysuckle in the heart, and a touch of ginger on top (16 notes altogether).
 I’ve also perfected Chronos and Phoebe; I will remove the “limited edition” notices from the web site (with Phoebe, ylang ylang was unnecessary). I also came up with a full strength, eau de parfum version of Ares; it goes well with eau de cologne version, just as Selene eau de parfum is a nice combination with the solid version–one can choose which they’d prefer to apply, as the experience of an eau de parfum is less intimate than the experience of a solid. I also have another secret, soon-to-be-revealed eau de parfum, one I’m extremely proud of. And I’m planning to have Tana at the Beck Gallery, where they reframed the Rockwell Jester, take photos of my perfume bottles again; this time, instead of having a drop down button with a choice of sizes (and a photo of all four sizes, or, in the case of solids, all three sizes), one will be able to link to a page only for the size one wants, with a photo of the exact product one is to get. While the old bottle photographs are perfectly nice, it’ll be better to have it so one can link to the exact size one wants. The other somewhat bad thing about the old photos was there was/is only one bottle in focus, the smallest one (I didn’t know any better when I talked to Meredith Zinner).
 I’ve decided I’m not satisfied with simple formulas for incense; the old recipes I thought I liked turn out to be, now that Tami and I have made a few of them, not so great after all. Maybe it’s the change from a somewhat humid place (Portland Oregon) to a more massively humid and extremely hot place that makes the difference. Regardless, I want incense that smells great no matter who you are or where in the world you are. I’ve also decided I won’t dip incense in essential oils; that process makes incense that almost smells fake–it smells fake and “cold,” or so I say. I can think of no better way to describe my sense when I smell incense which is dipped in essential oils. For example, Fred Soll has an incense called Joyous Rose; at first it smells nice, then the overabundance of rose essential oil begins to wear on your olfactory senses. On the other hand, I have some incense from Mother’s Fragrances in India; because none of them are dipped in essential oil (it’s all just a combination of aromatic powders, binders, and probably some sort of aromatic water), I greatly prefer them to Fred Soll’s Joyous Rose, for example.
 Yesterday, my father and step-mother were over here, and we got on the subject of incense dipped in essential oils as compared to incense which is just a combination of aromatic powders. I burned some of Mother’s Ananda Nagchampa; Carol said she’d never smelled anything like it before. As she was a serious hippie in the 60s, I’d imagine she’s smelled a fair amount of incense. If I can make incense anywhere near as good as Mother’s array of Nagchampas, I’ll be extremely happy–overjoyed, I should say.


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