110211

2 Nov

 I have a number of new perfumes of which I’m quite proud. In addition to Hermes EDP, which is a green (linden-blossom absolute and flouve), boozy (cognac), mossy scent with a bright citrusy top (along with linden-blossom essential oil) [14 notes altogether], I also have Anthea EDC. At first we made a 7% eau de toilette, but that was too strong compared to the solid, so we made a 5% cologne; it smells equally as delightful as the solid does, soft, not overpowering the way that first EDT was. We also worked on a cologne, Artemis, which I hope will be my first successful lavender perfume; I tried for several years to make a lavender perfume, and they always turned out stinky (there’s something particular about lavender which makes it so that you must choose exactly the right complements for it). Now that I have a superior knowledge of how to construct professional perfumes, I’m hoping this latest try will be successful.
 Also I’m pleased I now have eau de parfum versions of two which had been eau de colognes only, Ares and Chronos. Ares eau de parfum is without a doubt my favorite perfume from my entire collection. Others are close, but I feel Ares EDP is the essence of me, my spirit, my ego, my self-confidence. At least that’s what I like to think when I wear it. It’s also the first successful perfume I ever made. At the time, in 2006, I called it Adam’s Amber. One other successful one I was making was what eventually became Phoebe; I called it Oz simply because it has osmanthus in it. Chronos EDP is exactly what I was going for: it’s sweet, maple-like, and mysterious, a fitting homage to Annick Goutal’s Sables. Now I have to see if I can create a cologne version based on this same basic theme.
 I’m also pleased to introduce Aphelia; where Anthea is a seven-note ode to jasmine, Aphelia is a 12-note ode to rose. I called it for the Greek name for the personification of simplicity; it may have 12 notes, but they’re all basically rose-type aromas. Rose absolute to me is a little cold, so I added things to warm it up a bit: it’ based on orris concrete and vanilla in the base, araucaria (a complex and rosy aromatic) and rose gallica in the heart, and cedar and palmarosa on top, all of which are warmer than rose absolute. As far as I’m concerned it’s every bit as pleasing as Anthea, but with the difference of Aphelia being a rose-type perfume where Anthea is a simple jasmine-type perfume. Along with Anthea (jasmine), Aphelia (rose), and Artemis (lavender), I think we’ll have all the basic scents that people want–every other person at Fashion Week Tampa Bay asked what I had that smells like lavender. I had quietly to say I had nothing.

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103011

30 Oct

 We bought quick-drying clay from which to make cones. Tami made a few nice cones–which is tough to do: you want it to be very narrow at the top, but big enough that a cone will have a good long burn time. Then I made the mistake of buying liquid _silicone_ instead of liquid _latex_. The liquid latex actually says “mold builder” on it; I think I used the same substance, same brand, back when I tried this task five years ago. Silicone is used for waterproofing leather; I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it. Latex will harden, and we’ll be able to peel it off the cone/wood combination once it’s dried. The idea is you glue an ideal cone to a piece of wood (I’m using 1.5″x1.5″ pieces); then you paint latex over the whole thing.
 When I tried this for the first time, this part of the process was the most difficult: after you stuff the incense dough into the mold, you need a way to remove the cone from the mold. The idea is to cut a slit up the side of the mold, and keep it together with a little bit of tape; then once you’ve stuffed the dough in, it’s simply a matter of taking the tape off, and gently popping the cone out. That part of it was difficult for me, partly because it was difficult for to make a straight slit (the tremor in my right hand was just beginning). With Tami and Pop, I can trust they’ll be able to make a straight slit. I won’t give up this time–trying to extrude joss sticks was a complete failure.
 The manual gun extruder and the pasta maker both failed miserably. I don’t feel liking paying a machinist to make an extruder just for incense joss sticks (as a professional incense maker told me I had to do); that process might be prohibitively expensive. If the first cone mold doesn’t work, we’ll try again. I plan to make at least four molds, but one might be all we need. It would be nice if we could make three or four cones at once; I could work on one or two, while Tami also works on one or two. The first necessary step is to come with some fine formulas–my benchmark is Mother’s Fragrances’ Nagchampas from India. Would that I could come up with some formulas which come close to the high-calibre of Mother’s incense.

101611

16 Oct

 Back when I still didn’t fully understand the concept of natural perfume, Chris Tsefalas, owner of The Perfume House in Portland, Oregon, used to spin me literal fairy tales on the origins of certain perfumes. Perhaps best of all was the legend of the “Snow Rose.” As Chris told the story, 300 years ago (maybe 400 now?), a European nobleman was hiking in the Himalayas (as only the wealthy could afford to do); one day he fell into a ravine without anyone noticing. He was trapped in the ravine for at least three days, and everyone was sure he was dead. Miraculously, he lived, and he swore that at certain times while he was trapped in the ravine, he could smell roses. This was so high up, there were no plants, and the few trees barely survived. None of the locals believed the man, but being from a noble european family, a perfumer was hired to come all the way to the very top of the Himalayas.
 Sure enough, the perfumer found that every morning, little tiny roses would poke their way through the snow and ice; they apparently lived for only a day. So the perfumer took a syringe-needle and sucked the aromatic principle from the plant; it took some time, because the roses were very small and there were many of them that sprouted up for a day. Then I found something about the basics of extracting an aromatic principle from given plants; roses are typically distilled. I called Chris back, and asked him outright, “Tell me again how snow rose was extracted?” He stuck to his fairy tale, and emphasized that the stuff was very rare because the perfumer 300-400 years ago had only been able to get a small amount. He was trying to sell me synthetic swill for $200 per ounce. That’s when the idea came to me of “liquid grifters,” whose aim was simply to separate a given mark from his hard-earned (or otherwise) sizable amount of money–expecting us, in blissful ignorance, to pay big money for what we’re told is rare and precious when in fact it’s nothing more than synthetic fragrance chemicals.
 That clinched it for me. From that moment on I dedicated myself to becoming one of the best natural perfumers the modern world has yet known. I literally felt wronged by the entire perfume industry. Here I’d come to think of certain perfumes as precious, when in fact, in the main, they’re all fakes. I thought when people talked about particular notes in particular perfumes, they were talking about actual essential oils. I didn’t know that after Chanel No. 5 was released in 1921, all perfume became synthetic; I bet most perfume lovers don’t know that either. That’s why most people generally abhor the perfume counter in a department store; you can’t help but be exposed to offensive, overwhelming, and literally toxic fragrances. I decided to become the best natural perfumer because, to be honest, that’s just the way I roll. I’d say I’m on my way, but work needs to be done on my business, my web site, my choice of perfumes, PR stuff, getting my perfumes into stores, etc.
 I wish I could say there’s time but, unfortunately, there’s just not. It’s not just because of my poor health, which is getting worse by the day. It’s because there’s simply not enough time for me to become a household name, as my heart desires. Unless something big happens soon (I know I should be _responsible_ for making things happen), I just don’t know much longer I can continue sinking money into a business which is not even making any sort of profit yet. I have some money, many thanks to my mother, but it’s not limitless, the way that it is for many people I grew up with in New York. The truth is, the time will come when I have to say no more money into the business, which basically means I’ll stop making perfume altogether. First I have to make my web site universally accessible; right now, you can’t use it at all with Internet Explorer (which, therefore, is the enemy). Once I update things, I suspect business will start pouring in. Let’s hope so!

100111

1 Oct

 This Brave New Scents Natural-Perfumers-Guild project involves 11 Professional Perfumers making perfumes out of a list of under-used or only-recently available extracts, available for perfumers in the past 10 years or so. I myself made something I’m very proud of, Hermes eau de parfum, 15%. Unfortunately, I used a couple of extracts which are suddenly unavailable: rosa bourbonia and jasmine auriculatum. Rosa bourbonia I could swear I’ve seen commonly at most natural-perfume suppliers; I was wrong, and now I have to be in touch with an original supplier in India. They have both rosa bourbonia and jasmine auriculatum, but not at the moment; I’m waiting, because those two aromatics are essential to making Hermes. I have enough of those two aromatics to make maybe two more cups of Hermes, which is not what I hoped for.
 It’s been quite an intense journey to get where I’ve gotten in natural perfume. I started by spending hours at the Perfume House in Portland, Oregon; back then I wanted to become a perfumer, but I was under the mistaken impression that to become a perfumer, you had to get an entry-level job at one of the big perfume houses. Then I read Mandy Aftel’s Essence & Alchemy; I hadn’t yet realized that the mainstream perfumes, many of which I’d come to think of as precious, were in fact a collection of the lowest grade fragrance chemicals–not the essential oils I’d heard so much talk of, just a collection of synthetic fragrance chemicals. At some point she writes, “Your task for now…,” and I hadn’t yet realized if you wanted to become a natural perfumer, you simply had to jump in and start making natural perfume.
 I quickly started making perfumes good enough to write home about, and which my friends immediately loved (I learned quickly to discern a person’s true feelings about a given perfume composition). I started out by taking Mandy Aftel’s Level I natural-perfumery workbook; a year after I passed with a solid composition (about which she wrote, “You thought out the essences for your perfume in a very considered and thorough manner, and the final perfume shows a lot of attention to evolution and structure;” that perfume eventually became Selene solid (Selene was titan of the moon, and I think of Selene solid as very nocturnal, sort of like moonlight itself)), I applied to be a Professional Perfumer with the Natural Perfumers Guild; I was quite confident I would easily be accepted into the ranks of other Professional natural Perfumers. Once I got there, I dedicated myself to becoming one of the best natural perfumers the modern world has yet known.

Bloggers:

Feminine Things
The Examiner
Perfume Critic
Perfume Shrine
All I Am A Redhead
Ca Fleure Bon
Bloggers for Ca Fleure Bon include: Michelyn Camen, Neil Sternberg, Ida Meister, Mark Behnke, and Leslie Robinson

Perfumers:

Perfume by Nature, Ambrosia Jones
Anya’s Garden Perfumes, Anya McCoy
Providence Perfume Co., Charna Ethier
House of Matriarch, Christi Meshell
Belly Flowers, Elise Pearlstine
A Wing and a Prayer Perfumes, Jane Cate
JoAnne Basset
One Seed Perfume, Liz Cook
Ascent Natural Perfumes, Rohanna Goodwin Smith
Lord’s Jester Inc., Adam Gottschalk

092611

26 Sep

 Fashion Week Tampa Bay went very well. At least one reporter from a local periodical wants to write an article about my company. And I was invited to contribute to the bag for the Annual Creative Artists Agency’s Young Hollywood Party, which last year featured Colin Farrell, Renee Zellweger, and Eva Longoria, among others. The lady who helped Tami at our table, Alyssa, pointed out that I should take the various literature I have, history of the company, reviews, descriptions of perfumes, and make an actual catalog. I had already been thinking the very same thing; the main problem with the idea of a catalog is that it’s very likely some, or all, of my perfumes will change over time. I suppose we can print another catalog if (when) they change; for now, I’m sure I can pick several I will always sell. I’m hoping this catalog will become a hot item in the fashion world. I can talk about the relatively complex process of making custom perfume, at which not enough people are aware I’m excellent.
 The first real break I got in natural perfume was at a crafts fair at Tiga Bar on NE Killingsworth in Portland, Oregon (http://tigabar.com/); they have great food (helped in part by my friend Melanie, who absolutely _loves_ Anthea solid (she told me that during her pregnancy, she would wear it and constantly be smelling the place where she applied it)), and it’s one of the first places I’ve known to make and sell their own house-infused liquors, infused with everything from vanilla, to cinnamon, to rosemary, etc. One of my friends knew that I’d been making natural perfume for some time, knew that I consider natural perfumery to be an art, and invited me to attend the fair as a vendor. So came my first sales experience, and my first experience making literature for my perfumes, and the first time I bought cards for the business (I still use the same place, vistaprint.com). The night before the fair, it snowed heavily–which never happens in Portland! That snowfall didn’t stop a single person, however; the fair was full of people, of both sexes and all ages.

At the time of that fair, I was calling the company Eros Aromatics. A fine name, but I made the mistake of trying to trademark it. I thought I was good for nearly three years, but then the lawyers came out of the woodwork in opposition. I still think that was incredibly cruel–to leave me to think I had the trademark in the bag, and wait until the very last minute to object. I would rather be calling the company Eros Aromatics; the first objection I had to Eros Aromatics was that I had the trademark in a retail class; a company called Eros objected to that classification. They wanted me to do it in the perfume class, but then other objections appeared; I decided since I’d already paid a lawyer extra money to work out the details of fixing the objection, I’d better leave well enough alone. My last name means “God’s jester” in German; I realized that I had to make that work, so Lord’s Jester Inc. it became.

091511

15 Sep

 Lord’s Jester Inc. will have a booth at Fashion Week Tampa Bay, which takes place at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort at Inverness Hall, 36750 U.S. Highway 19 North, Palm Harbor, FL; my booth will be featured on the 23rd of this month, starting at 6pm (there will be a fashion runway show at about 8:30 following the boutique buying leg of the evening). This will be my first ever exposure in the Tampa-Bay area as a certified Professional Perfumer; the idea that I get to have my own booth, with all my perfumes, cotton balls for sampling, the ability to give away and/or sell samples, sell whole bottles of perfume to people who like what they smell, hand out flyers about the business, etc., makes me very excited.
 In the last installment, I wrote that Hemera is based, in part, on “New Caledonian sandalwood;” in truth, I could care less about the place of its origin. What I care about is to get a really good aromatic that suppliers like White Lotus Aromatics or Essential Oil University won’t sell out of. When I first began making professional natural perfume, intending to sell it, it didn’t take me long to figure out how important consistency was/is. The first time I made a perfume with a given ingredient, but from a different supplier, I was literally stunned to discover that changing the source of a single component is enough to ruin or change a given composition radically. I don’t care at all about the geographic origin of a given aromatic (I can’t tell the difference between (endangered) Indian sandalwood and Australian); I care about having access permanently to exactly the same aromatic from the same supplier.
 I recently got into trouble because I made a perfume, for a Guild project, which used some rare absolutes; I didn’t know that when I first made the perfume, but suddenly the place where I got the aromatics, White Lotus Aromatics, is completely out of rosa bourbonia, and they only have 6oz of jasmine auriculatum left. Both those are essential to this particular formula; I’m even finding auraucaria, also essential to this particular EDP, is suddenly hard to find. The world, as my friend and #1 fan, John Reasinger, needs much more than three cups of this perfume; I am able to make a max of two more cups, with the materials I have now.
 I spoke too soon about Chronos: it’s not in fact perfected yet. All along I intended this cologne to be an homage to Annick Goutal’s Sables–it is quite far from being of the same caliber as Sables (Sables is synthetic, so my idea is not to make an imitation, but something inspired by Sables, even better _because_ it’s natural). This is the first time I find that when I go back to the drawing board on this particular formula, I feel I should aim to make something full strength, then work back to eau de toilettes and eau de colognes from there. A perfumer cannot afford too many perfumes–it’s getting harder and harder to keep track of them all, let alone keeping track of _materials_ for each perfume, and making sure I can afford the money for each given aromatic. I dream of creating a relatively massive body of perfume work, so I need to start picking and choosing what’s my best work as of yet, and choose very carefully going forward.

090411

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.

083011

30 Aug

 Shaping incense continues to vex me. Rolling it out by hand won’t work for mass production. I have these little sticks that I got from Essence of the Ages (which sells all sorts of natural incense, including some big American names like Fred Soll, Juniper Ridge, Ancient Forest, etc. (they also have a variety of east-Asian, Indian, Nepali, Japanese, etc.); these little sticks, maybe 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick/wide/in-diameter, must have been made in a machine. The thing is I have no idea what sort of machine the company uses (these are from Ancient Forest). I found an electric pasta maker from a company called Lello; they have one disc for grissini, which are bread sticks. There are other discs too; I’d have to experiment with which disc produces an appropriate shape. Then Tami and I would have to cut the incense into correct lengths.
 These would be perfect, or I have to go back to where I started: making molds for cones. I couldn’t get that to work when I tried it about five years ago. I need to try a few more times. I’d have Pop make the molds for me. I really think the electric pasta extruder from Lello is the way to go. That’s guaranteed to produce uniform incense shapes and sizes. The only drawback is that it costs a couple of hundred dollars; if it works, it will be well worth that price. One other problem we ran into was that the joss sticks we made started developing mold! That was unheard of in the Pacific Northwest. I learned to line sticks touching each other, the idea being they wouldn’t warp, which I’d found, in the PNW anyway, they tended to do. I guess not only is that no longer necessary, it also can cause problems with mold and other unwanted effects. Nevertheless, I still need to discover the perfect way to dry any “finished” incense.
 Holly DeCarlo, who was my perfume assistant here in Florida for a short time, invited me to have a booth at Tampa Bay Fashion Week, an event she helps organize. For only $200, I can have my own booth with an eight-foot table–the possibilities of what I can do with that booth are limitless. Holly went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Manhattan, which is better respected than you might think. I’m having her help me with a bunch of PR stuff; if there’s one thing she knows about, it’s definitely PR, like how to get in touch with boutiques, magazines, and blogs, etc. The first thing we’ll do is come up with a wholesale price list based on my costs; we’ll also make a suggested-price list for retailers, which we have to be very careful with. I think we’ll have send a different suggested-retail list to each retailer, or maybe one for each kind. For example, Henri Bendel (Holly tells they’re to open a branch of Henri Bendel in Tampa) is a pricey department store, so they would get a list on the higher end; whereas, Whole Foods, should they have any interest at all in carrying my products, would get a list on the lower end.
 I recently bought an authentic Norman-Rockwell Jester from my brother-in-law, Brandon Kroll (married to my sister Leila). I had it reframed. It looks better than ever.

082011

20 Aug

 Tami (my cousin) and I made a first batch of natural incense; it’s my first in at least five years. We didn’t happen to have any rosemary, so we couldn’t make the LJ-signature incense (orris, lavender, rosemary); we made Scorpio instead (frankincense, galangal, pine resin). This was held together with laha and lavender distillate water (which will always be my trusted binders, unless sandalwood distillate water turns out to be special stuff, which I think it might prove to be). We finally got rosemary, so we were able to make the LJ-signature incense. I’m still torn about the correct form in which to make incense; we tried short sticks. We even tried using an extruder, which utterly failed. The way to go is joss sticks or cones. My father is big on the idea of dipping coated incense sticks (on bamboo skewers) into various essential oils, coated with basic “flammable” incense dough.
 I’m not so certain that would even work, because essential oils smell very different when burned than the actual powder smells when burned–even the powders themselves are unlikely to smell similar to the up-close experience of the powder. Next up, I will try a pastry extruder (a conical bag with an appropriate tip); it should be perfect for extruding nice straight joss sticks. I will make an executive decision not to use essential oils for enhancing aromatic qualities of given natural incense. It makes sense that if essential oils don’t smell similar when burned as they do up close, I should eschew the use of essential oils in making natural incense. I’m happy figuring out which aromatic powders smell the way I want; I’ll come up with certain combinations with universal appeal. The hardest part will be extruding straight joss sticks (but I’m confident a pastry extruder/decorator will work).
I have the idea that certain aromatics might be considered “perfume blood.” I wouldn’t consider making perfume without certain elements. Benzoin, labdanum, or orris (concrete or CO2) should be used in every perfume; also ambrette. Rose/rose-otto, jasmine/jasmine-sambac are more that I tend to include in every perfume–the trick is knowing how much of those particular essences one can include without all your perfumes smelling the same. Orange-blossom in the heart and corresponding neroli on top are also elements I favor. As are rosewood, petitgrain, and black or pink pepper on top.
 Mary says she thinks the tendency to include certain extracts/notes in perfumes tends to make for a sameness in odor qualities between perfumes/EDTs/EDCs. I’m confident if I use the _correct_ notes, I will weave solid perfumes, perfumes with solid perfume substance. I have enough experience to know that I have plenty of variety in perfume smells that only the most important elements smell similar; as I said certain essences/extracts might be considered perfume blood. The trick is knowing how much of a given note you can include without all your perfume smelling the same. This is all nothing more than my opinion.

080711

7 Aug

 It’s been so long since I was in China, I forgot this simple fact: most things we think are natural to the west in fact got going in China. Lillyrosegarden.com says, “Fossils seem to indicate that roses existed in prehistoric times and rose gardening probably began in China some 5,000 years ago.” Quite different from the western roots I’d imagined for rose, which I think of as being one of the essential aromatics, along with jasmine and, they used to say, for perfume, sandalwood, but now, your guess is as good as mine as to what will be the next “must-have” aromatic for a perfumer. For other heart notes, I’d have to say magnolia or boronia, the former being much more affordable; also orange-flower absolute is a necessary companion to neroli in the top. For the base, I’d vote for pine-needle absolute, the thick, dark-green, and dilution-necessary sort, but then I have a particular fondness for this aromatic. For other base notes, I’d have to say benzoin and orris root. Rosewood, petitgrain, and neroli are also distinct possibilities for must-have top notes.
 One thing I haven’t mentioned further is my desire to include natural incense in the Silk-Road project. The first question which must be answered is in what _form_ to make the incense. Joss sticks (sticks with no bamboo skewer), cones, short fat sticks, etc. All of these can be burned in a bowl of sand; one can’t use a regular incense burner with any of these (regular incense burners are designed to hold bamboo skewers). I already have what I think of as a signature LJ natural incense; it’s based on orris-root powder, lavender-leaf powder, and rosemary powder (from now on, I will eschew the word “powder”), held together with laha (a great ingredient, like dar and makko, which makes for incense which you don’t have to add saltpeter to, a highly toxic substance not found in natural incense) and lavender distillate water. That’s a nice combination, and I’ll be proud to call that my signature incense.
 Other ingredients I’ll be interested to try in finished incense include: jatamansi, nardostachys jatamansi (which I know because I sometimes use an incense called Jatamansi from Nepal). It has an intriguing aroma, very earthy and rich (I just discovered this also known as spikenard, or, less commonly, muskroot) [I’m unclear about whether the root or flowers are used to make jatamansi/spikenard powder]. Also stone flower (which is like oakmoss), pine resin (I have a recipe called Scorpio which calls for frankincense, galangal, and pine resin), hibiscus, calamus, rhododendron, patchouli, etc. The thing is these aromatic powders smell very different when burned than they do up close and personal; you never know how a given aromatic will smell like until you burn it. For example, oakmoss/stone flower, when burned, smells exactly like a head shop from the ’70s; that’s just me, but you know what I mean (I think). The possibilities are many and varied for Lord’s-Jester incense.