Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thoughts on Natural Perfume Design

The Mystery of Musk project has given me much food for thought...especially about the challenges we face designing with naturals.
So I thought I'd share a few of them with you....

Botanical or Natural Perfumery is very different from conventional perfumery.
There is the more obvious point that we use natural ingredients as opposed to the artificial chemicals used in modern perfumer laboratories of course. And this tends to lend a depth and beauty to natural perfumes that simply can't ever be fully recreated by artificial ingredients....
But it also has a number of unique challenges that many newcomers to the art don't realize are there at first.  Keep in mind that these are my own observations from over 20 years of fiddling with natural scent ingredients...and they are my own opinions, which may differ greatly from what you will read in some of the books out there. There are many different approaches, and different things work for different people. Hopefully this will inspire some more discussion on the various perfumeing lists!

One of the biggest ones is that each ingredient used in botanical perfumery, is actually already a complete scent all in itself.
Each essential oil or absolute, is an extract of an incredibly complex botanical scent creation, custom designed by Ma Nature to entice and delight the senses of an incredible array of insects and mammals.
Modern perfume chemistry started by attempting to copy Mother Natures ingenious complexity, primarily for money reasons. It is far cheaper to create an artificial copy made with individual chemical components, than to obtain say rose otto by the time honoured process of growing the flowers, harvesting them, useing the time and tons of flower petal consuming process of enfleurage to then obtain only a few kilos of the precious substance....
But the chemical version is never as good. Ma Natures masterpiece is simply to complex and clever to be fully re-created.
But the challenge in natural perfumery comes from this very complexity.
In the over 20 years I've been playing with natural perfumes, I've mixed so many blends that looked lovely on paper...but that turned out to be muddy, unpleasant or even downright nasty messes once I'd actually combined the ingredients! And there's very good reasons for this:
When you start to blend say rose otto and jasmine absolute, you are combining not one or two scent molecules, but what amounts to two incredibly complex and complete perfumes!
Think about this for a minute......
Each time you add another natural ingredient to the mix, you add not one note, but a complete complex array of hundreds of scent layers, each with the potential to harmonise or clash with any of the other hundreds of scent layers already at play in the mix!
It's a bit like playing ultra-multi dimensional chess.
You have to understand and somehow keep in your mind, each of the many many scent layers each indivisual oil or extract is made up of, and see how they will combine and work with each other.
Add to that that once the ingredients are combined, they go through a further chemical combining process, and often change quite substantially as they interact with each other.
I've lost count of how many times I'd created something that smelled lovely...only to come back to it after a week or so to find that it had somehow morphed into something 'orrible!
The reverse can sometimes also be true of course, and sometimes you accidentaly create a beautiful scent that was not at all what you originally had in mind...But usually it's the lovely turning into crap that happens.

Top Middle and Base Note classification
This is one of the primary ways that scents are classified and designed nowadays. You will find mention of the concept in most perfume reviews and technical perfumery handbooks. and even the books on I have found on Natural perfumery contain lists that attempt to place all of the imany essential oils and absolutes we use in one of these three categories.

The problem with this (in my experience), is that it simply doesn't work.
As I said before, each and every ingredient we use in botanical perfumery, is in itself a complete perfume creation, with top base and middle notes all of it's own.
Some of course contain predominantly top notes, others more base notes, but this in itself is not enough information to be able to work with it. Realistically you need to understand and know the various top middle and base notes that each ingredients contains so you can marry them to the appropriate combination of top, middle and base notes that make up the other essential oils or absolutes you are useing.

Designing with Accords
This is another concept that is basic to conventional perfume design. The idea is to first create perfume notes or "accords", such as "Green grass", "Oriental" or "White Flowers" and then combine them to create a Smokey, Oriental perfume with a White Flower heart.
Sounds good eh? Trouble is, it often doesn't work. Once you have combined the three accords, you suddenly end up with either a muddy mess, or completely new sharp nasty notes sticking out at various layers which don't seem to have been present in the original individual accords!

There's two reasons for this:
Firstly with creating an accord. If you go back to what I wrote further up about complexity, you can see the difficulty this presents. Of course it's not impossible, but it can be a very involved and trial and error process.
And there are many "notes" that are close to impossible to create, simply becuase the individual ingredients are so complex that you cannot create anything "pure". For instance, I crave "Green Grass", which was a perfume oil favourite of mine as a teenager. You cannot buy "Grass" essential oil, and tincturing it doesn't seem to give you a real "grass" scent". And I have not been able to find a combination of other naturals that gets anywhere near the fresh cut grass scent I'm searching for. (At this point of course any number of other natural perfumers may chime in and tell me I'm wrong...I'm hoping they do! And that they will be nice enough to tell me how!!)
But it's a good example of the problem.
Realistically, you have to work with interesting notes, that do not fit clearly in any simple category because they are simply too complex to resemble any one clear note or accord. Your "White Flowers" may have many other subnotes to it that are neither white, nor very flowery...but still really pretty overall.

The second stage of the problem comes when you start to combine the accords you have created.

 Taking the White Flowers accord idea, once you combine it with another accord, you may well find that the woody acrid note that was originally just barely perceptabley in the the background, has suddenly become a totally in your face blast of burnt plastic. This will have happened because it ganged up with another sweet plastic note from the oriental blend that you didnt even know was there! Or maybe the slightly decomposing background note in the Green Grass accord that just added that touch of "natural" when you created it!
Often it would be just one oil or absolute that was destroying the plan...but the sheer number and complexity of the ingredients would make it almost impossible to track down which one it was.
I started out working with accords, but in the end I took a few steps back, and nowadays will usually add ingredients one by one, and take detailed notes on the effect they have on the overall mix. Which means I end up with a whole collection of trial blends of the various layers and stages of each perfume in tiny bottles!
My latest creation for the Mystery of Musk project is a perfect example! It's various stages fill up a whole shelf all on their own, not to mention the myriad of tables, notes and scribblings I wrote in the process.
(If you're interested in hearing more about this,  Monica Miller of Skye Botanicals will be writing more about the trials and errors in the botanical perfumeing adventure soon!)

Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading a bit about how I approach botanical perfumery....(And yes, I am writing a book on the subject...I'll be posting more bits and thoughts as it grows!)

Happy Sniffing!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mystery of Musk-Thoughts and other Perfumes

Well, the Mystery of Musk project is coming to a close...though there's still the odd review trickling in. Seems it's been a tad overwhelming for some of the reviewers to work through all of the 12 entries in the originally planned time!
As for me, I'm exhausted! It's been such an adventure...
And it has taught me so much....
First of all of course, it was wonderful to get so many positive reviews, and it blew me away how many other artistic projects in form of poetry and visual art it stimulated!
You've all read about my own trials and tribulations in creating my own contribution to the project, "Craving" in previous posts....
So you can imagine how fascinating it was for me to then get to smell what all of my collegues had come up with! And a few of you have written asking me about my impressions of the other perfumes

So here's a few of my thoughts and observations:

First of all, I was fascinated with how diverse the 12 perfumes are!
We all seem to have taken different paths in our creations, and have ended up with completely different scents! What really surprised me, is that all, except for mine and Adams, are florals!
This really surprised me, as I don't really associate the idea of musk with florals at all....

My own experience of musk perfumes has been things like Kiehl's Musk oil, "Merely Musk" by Coty and others along similar lines, all of which are very linear, dry woody, well, "Musk" scents.

And originally, this was the kind of Scent I was trying to re-create useing natural ingredients.
I very quickly came to the conclusion that this was impossible, and the varied "Mystery of Musk" creations of my collegues seem to back me up in this.
Modern day "musk" scents are created useing isolated chemicals that immitate parts of the infamous musk scent originally obtained from musk deers private parts. They don't actually smell much like the far more complex and "dirty" natural musk...they are really more of a gentler, cleaned up and far more unobtrusive echo of the idea of musk......
And being made of isolated chemicals, there is no way you can recreate them useing the incredibly complex ingredients we use in natural perfumery.
The closest to modern day musk scents, is Ambrette seed absolute or Co2 extract. This lovely ingredient, when applied to the skin has just that soft, gently pheromonal warmth that we have come to associate with the idea of "musk".
But in itself it is not a perfume. It simply isn't intense enough to carry a scent all on it's own.
Which meant that I, like all of my collegues, ended up creating perfumes that have musky notes, but were in themselves not pure musks.
And this is where it got interesting.

Anya McCoy, head of the Natural Perfumers Guild had listed a variety of natural plants that have musk notes in them. And all of us MoM perfumers used ingredients from this list.
But which ones we chose, and what other ingredients we added led to the incredible degree of variety we ended up with.
As I wrote in the beginning, most of my collegues ended up creating floral perfumes, with varying degrees of musky base notes to them. In a number of cases, I get the impression that the perfumer became more inspired by the non-musk ingredients and ended up conentrating on the floral or fruit notes, so that the musk became more of an afterthought than the central theme.
(Some of the reviewers admittedly seemed to think I had done the same with the chocolate and gourmand notes in "Craving" too...)
On the other hand, it is also very obvious that this taste for florals is shared by a large number of perfume lovers out there! The comments by readers echoed the reviewers love and interest for each floral dominated MoM entry!

Adam's "Dionysius" is the only other MoM scent that to me wasn't either floral or fruit dominated.

The other thing I learnt from from reviewing the scents-and also from conversations with one of the reviewers, Denyse Beaulieu from "Grain de Musc", is the concept of linear versus multi faceted, changing design in the various layers of a perfume.

My own taste I now realize, runs to linear design. I prefer simple scents that follow a specific theme, and I tend to design perfumes with matching or at least closely echoing and complimentary layers.
Whereas others of my collegues seem to favour multi faceted scents that change considerably as they wear.
This doesn't mean that I didn't like them mind you...some of the multi faceted MoM scents had a multitude of pretty facets that, while different, were like a multi coloured caliedoscope of varying but harmonious changing chords...
but there were a few where the facets were too varied for me to find a common tune, and the overall effect for me was a tad clashing.

This concept finally explained why so many famous perfumes irritate the hell out of me instead of enchanting my senses.

Many of the classics, like Madame Rochas and Estee Lauders Aromatics Elixir, have what to my nose are intensely clashing notes that create a nasty clamour of scent that I really dislike.
Whereas mens colognes like "Grey Flannel" and Eau Savage and the simple musks I mentioned in the beginning have simpler, far more linear and less cluttered scent characters that I am far more comfortable with.

And I stress here that I am talking merely of my own taste in scent. As the so widely varying reviews of the various perfumes have clearly shown, perfume really is a matter of taste, not something you can easily give an objective judgement of.

The other thing I learnt is how difficult it actually is to write a review about a perfume!
Once you get beyond the like/dislike mark, it's really difficult to find the language to adequately describe what you are smelling. I've always disliked traditional perfumery language, and have often, if not usually found that conventional perfume reviews seem to talk about notes that I simply don't smell in the perfumes at all. To the point that I have often wondered if my nose works differently to other peoples. And to be honest, I found the same thing reading some of the reviews from the mystery of musk project!
But when I sat down to write my own impressions, I had to admit that writing a decent perfume review is bloody difficult! So I would like to extend my admiration to the dedication and effort that the reviewers for the Mystery of Musk project put in!
It's been a great experience, and has given me much delightful food for thought and inspiration for some future projects as well!

To finish off, I'd like to share a bit about some of the ones that caught my interest most from the Mystery of Musk project. (They are also not necessarily the ones the critics raved about the most, which I found interesting too).

The first one I will write about, is  from one of the  new comers to the Natural Perfumers Guild:

"Tallulah B2" by Jane Kate of  "A Wing and a Prayer Perfumes" 
is what I can best describe as a "baby powder rose musk". It surprised me with it's gentle softness, a truly delightful scent and by far the softest and lightest of all the MoM entries.
It very cleverly uses a combination of ingredients to create a sweet, powdery note that to me smells the way Orris root based perfumes are supposed to smell but rarely do. The citrus top notes are subtley enough applied to merely lend a touch of brightness to the composition without being obvious or subtracting from the gentle powdery lady-like musk itself. 

"Musk Nouveau" by Charna Either of Providence Perfumes. This one reminded me of a sweet, boozy coctail! It's warm a deep and fruity, with tightly woven accords of yummy wicked things! It's sweetness deepens on my skin and a deep fig liqour with interesting's a lovely, slightly evil scent this one!

The third one is "Musk No5" by Roberto Dupetit
When I first smelt this one it struck me as more of a floral aldehyde than anything else. And it fascinated me because I had absolutely no idea how he had created it! Turns out I wasn't far off the mark.  Alfredo uses natural isolates in his perfume, which has definitely piqued my curiosity. After a more floral opening, it actually reminds me of the original No5 by Chanel, which I wore and loved in my youth. I was fascinated to find this in a natural scent, as No5 was one of the first perfumes to use artificial aldehydes in high quantities. The floral notes follow the aldehydes into the dry down, where the scent becomes drier and warmer and a sweetish by note.

I'll be posting the last missing reviews for "Craving" as they turn up....

And thanks to you all for sharing my journey into the world Wild Creation and of Public Reviews!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mystery of Musk-Craving Reviews part two

Here' some more of the reviews gathered from the many blogs and sites involved in the project...
This is such fun! It's the ultimate kick for a perfumer to hear how her child she so carefully nurtured to maturity, and then nervously set sail into the wide wide world is faring....
Craving has visited all over the world....the US, France, Germany....and now I'm getting the postcards home....

"Hi Mama, I'm doing fine! This professionally trained reviewer from "Grain Du Musc" is complaining that I am tempting her to add too many calories to her diet and threatening to blame me for the destruction of her bikini figure, but I think she means it as a compliment! One of the others has decided I'm full of coffee, but she likes me too!
Alfred and I went to Paris together, where he told me stories about his youth where we drank congnac in one of those quaint little bars and he muttered something about "Desire for Desire" while looking deeply into my eyes....OK, so I'm not a virgin any more...figure you didn't expect me to be, what with all the pheromones and stuff you filled me up with right from the start...
I'm having a great time out here in the world, playing with noses and wreaking a little bit of havoc everywhere I go!
Hope your having a good time too, and give my love to my little Brother growing in the workshop! 

Love Always, your baby Craving"

Denyse Beaulieu from "Grain du Musc" writes:

"Ambrosia from Perfume by Nature looks like a perfectly lovely, kind and charming lady… But I suspect she’s just a wee bit evil. Her perfume is called Craving. It should be renamed Gluttony, in the fullest, Nigella Lawson, chops-and-finger-licking meaning of the term. And gluttony, you know, is one of the seven deadly sins… Unlike many of the natural perfumes I’ve been sampling, Craving doesn’t fall apart on the blotter. In fact, it might inspire you to chew up that blotter – so imagine the effect on skin. It was all I could do not to sprinkle the contents of the vial on anything soft and creamy that could actually be devoured without running foul of the law, or not to rush out to the corner patisserie, which is unhelpfully open on Sundays. Ambrosia, think of my hips!
With its roasted nut accents and sandalwood adding a milky-smoky touch, Craving is too much of a gourmand to actually rate as a musk in my book, but Ambrosia has well understood the profoundly animalic nature of its core material, cocoa absolute. Some musks actually do have chocolate facets, and castoreum definitely carries more than a whiff of dark chocolate. She’s also sussed out the common facets between dark chocolate and vetiver (also expressed in Lalique Encre Noire), and has used the latter to tug the formula out of purely foody territory, adding another layer of darkness to the chocolate and caramelized nuts.
The actual animal note in Craving is hyraceum, the stuff I though was driving my Siamese girl wild. It isn’t, since she didn’t turn into a wanton minx when she took a sniff of Craving. I can’t say as much for her mama, though my libido was distinctly more attuned to getting a sugar high than mauling the friend who was with me (thank God: I doubt our friendship would’ve survived it). Whether you find that the Craving in question veers more towards sex or chocolate (good substitute, never have to worry whether it’ll still respect you in the morning, and call you back the next day) is a matter of personal settings.
Meanwhile, Ambrosia, if that bikini makes me look like a muffin, I’ll take it up with you."

Sugandaraja from Basenotes writes :
"Craving opens with a singularly delicious accord - coffee, chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts. Sweet but not syrupy, it's the olfactory equivalent of drinking a capuccino and eating a box of hazelnut chocolates, with none of the calories that come with that.
Coffee and me have had a rough history when it comes to fragrances. For some reason, the lightest whiff of coffee turns my stomach, even through freshly brewed coffee is a smell I find quite pleasant. This may be the first coffee fragrance that I enjoy. Whether it's due to its natural origin or not, I have no clue, but it's delicious.
In the drydown, a good deal of the sweetness retreats, becoming drier and more nutty. A delicate amber emerges, and subtle woody nuances play in the background, with a hint of something rooty - vetiver, perhaps?
Perhaps worthy of note is what I don't smell. Namely, musk. Not even a little. That being said, I'm very happy this project allowed me to sample this delightful gourmand oriental."

And Alfred Eberle, one of the reviewers from the Natural Perfumery group on yahoo gave this lovely description:

This perfume flew me straight to Paris. 
I have only been to Paris once, but I was struck by its essence when I
was there- the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and the smells. 

By some marvellous witchcraft, Ambrosia Jones of Perfume by Nature has
brought me somehow to Paris, and playfully combined a perfectly-
balanced impression of chocolate, cognac, hazelnut, longing, desire,
and perhaps a bit of café-au-lait so that one is immediately gripped
by the simultaneous desire for all these things and yet something
beyond them all - perhaps for the desire for desire itself.

I found in the case of this delectable perfume that the musk idea was
here expressed not so much by the use of musk-smelling botanicals as
much as by the suggestion of musk, the allegory of musk, the kind of
ineffably sexy musk possessed by elegant decadences such as fine
chocolate and fine wine and fine leathers; by delicate vetiver fans
and by full cruets of honey standing in the sunshine, and - blushing
behind my vetiver fan here - well, by sex!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mystery of Musk-Craving Giveaway

The wonderful incense Blog
Olfactory Rescue Service 
has published their review of "Craving" and is also running a Giveaway Competition!
So if you'd like to win a bottle for yourself, hop on over there and leave a comment telling them why!

I love the comparison to Mermade's Nefertum Kyphi incense...I love Kathlyne Breene's creations, (and also used to make and sell luxury incense myself which makes me appreciate the exquisite ingredients she sources from all over the world even more), and Kyphi is one of the most enchanting and luxurious of incenses imaginable....

Ross writes:

"The name pretty much says it all, most especially if you have need’s, chocolate, for one, not the normal stuff but the really hard core and high end kind, This is very potent with good sillage and is long lasting. It is also very sexy in unexpected ways.  The cocoa is there from the get go and in one way or another continues through out, yet there are so many other notes the weave their way around, through and over it. Somewhere after an hour or so the Aloeswood/Oud notes really come through. In the incense world I would compare it to ShunKohdo’s  Houshou(cocoa plus aloeswood) mixed in with Nefertum Kyphi from Mermade Magickal(deep, mysterious, musky and sacred). A very heady mix with the idea of musk pretty firmly attached throughout. Would you wear this to dinner, maybe not.  But, if you were interested in being dessert…."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mystery of Musk-Craving Reviews as Art

Well, this competition is becoming more and more interesting. First there was the incredible challenge of trying to create a decent natural musk perfume in a tight time limit, then the fascinating experience of smelling what everyone else had come up with...
And now the feedback!
What amazes me is the artwork being created by the perfume reviewers! They are writing poems, creating slide views of visual artworks they find reminiscent of the scents, and now even creating completely new paintings of their impressions! I'm just in awe!

This lovely watercolour was painted by Pat Borow
who publishes her thoughts on a lovely blog "Olfactorama"
She writes: "First impression? Chocolate. Deep, dark and rich. With incense underneath. An opium den of a scent. Well named, too: who doesn’t crave chocolate? And one or two other things?
The perfumer, Ambrosia, has created this elixir out of essences usually used in bases. She lists them as Hyraceum (a cruelty-free animal product), two kinds of vetiver, aoudh, ambrette seed and Australian sandalwood.
If made in an oil base, I think this would make the best massage oil for lovers on earth. Unisex, dark, sensual, a perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
I did this painting with cravings in mind. I thought it was just a vessel, with an incense burner heart, but when I was photographing it, my husband said, “It’s a face. A surreal face.” This is not an image for the timid. “Craving” is not a fragrance for them, either." 

Lisa BTB of "The Blossoming Tree" writes:
There's a thin line between confidence and conceit. Even the most confident person may take a step back away from Craving, giggling before finally building up enough nerve to try it. This perfume makes a bold statement and anyone wearing it better be ready to walk the walk. Craving announces "I am here! Let the fun begin!" This potent potion opened with a boozy kick that caused me to draw my head back. It teased my nose with a hint of chocolate before giving in to a delicious cocoa delight and buttery caramel. Honestly, I'm not a fan of gourmand fragrances but Craving has captured my attention. It is rich and decadent bringing out the wild side. It is warm and honey sweet demanding closeness. Craving is beyond enchanting, beyond seductive. With notes of cocoa liquor, roasted nuts, Australian sandalwood, vetyver, ambrette seed, oud and hyraceum, it is lusciously hypnotic.
one word: Lust

Mimi Gardenia from Basenotes absolutely made my day with her stunning review: 

"The name of this fragrance is very fitting …believe me. An immediate question came to my mind. "Can I stop sniffing this fragrance long enough to write something intelligent about it?"
 Occasionally, you meet and sniff a scent that you connect with because it reaches subliminal levels. Craving is one of those. (I wonder if there are any pheromones in here…………) Although this fragrance is so open, embracing, gives up many of its olfactory secrets easily and comfortably – what is the X factor that makes it undeniably addictive, attractive and compelling?  
Craving is the aroma that reminds you of all that was and is good in your world.  
As the perfumer has said…there are no top notes, no flowers, no chypre notes. This is ‘honest to God’ goodness. It strips away all the frivolities and gets down to the serious business of just smelling ‘damned good’. So there is all this gourmand love goodness playing on my skin, around me and the musk just enhances all of it. Discreet and supportive of the entire fragrance . It increases the sexiness and takes Craving to deeper levels again. Subliminal, subliminal, subliminal and delicious.
An immediately intimate gourmand the scent is rounded, chewy, warm, butter cream, amber -deliciousness and that wonderful aromatic cocoa .It’s chocolate vanilla nutty goodness – rich and complete decadence. Dense, smokey –sweet with purring musk . Quite a linear fragrance, the aroma is long, powerful and deep. It’s never overpowering but satisfyingly lasting. As time goes by, hints of smoke, honey and sweet wood liquor arise. There is allure and passion in this. The sillage from this is surely heaven-like.
“You are not the food that I need,
you are the nourishment of my soul……” A Wedding Vow
Craving is deeply good especially if you have a sweet tooth. Inhaling this perfume is like savoring an excellent piece of artisan chocolate praline or the memory of sharing an intimate evening in front of a fire with only chocolate, toffee, roasted nuts and sweet wine for sustenance.
Craving is love, warmth, embraces, passion, desire, emotion, comfort, sex, lust , good memories and the making of memories to come. I love this perfume. It has Soul."

And Skye Miller from Cafleurbon has written a poem that is!

It’s happening again
the craving
craving the blessed boy
it’s a chemical reaction
no one can understand
a biological impulse
that sets fire to my insides
it’s the craving
craving the blessed boy
the sweet animal musk of his hair
curling around his ear
and the hazelnut scent of his sun warmed skin
butterfly kisses
barely touching
eyelashes against his cheek
my blessed boy
yes, its happening again
the craving
I’m craving my blessed boy
his tongue that drips with honey and caramel
I could never get enough
And his penetrating eyes the color of dark chocolate
Telling of a world that I will never understand
Of Kings and Princes
Magical mountains with snow capped peaks
And a struggle for life
He cannot express
To a woman from a different world
My blessed boy
I’m craving my blessed boy
It’s happening again
The familiar fire The craving
The vetiver grass mats wafting their scent
without thought or guile
through the window breeze
the dark chocolate of his eyes
looking into mine
the honey drip of his tongue
with deep wet kisses
the sweet caramel of his lips
pressed against the softness of mine
the warm hazelnut scent of his skin
On that blessed blessed night with blessed boy…

Craving-the music

Well, my education has been widened...Michelyn Camen of Cafleurbon has introduced me to an amazing piece of music written by the legendary pianist "Jelly Roll Morton".
And guess what it's called...."The Crave"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mystery of Musk- waiting for the reviews

Well, here I sit surrounded by my collegues offerings, waiting for the rest of the world to catch up with us here on the 1st of July in Oz!
(For those of you who have landed here the first time, I'm talking about the Natural Perfumers Guild "Mystery of Musk" can read more about it on my previous blogpost)
I've emailed a better photo of my "Craving" for one of the bloggers to use, and started my own notes on the other musk submissions.....
Started only, because as soon as I'd done one initial sniffing of them all, I came down with a massive head cold AND NOW CANT SMELL THEM PROPERLY!!!!!!

Perfumers hell! At least I did get one good initial sniff.....
They are all so different!

It's been such an amazing experience....the challenge of trying to create something with a limited pallette to a very tight time schedule was....interesting. And frustrating...and amazing....and has given me ideas for a whole range of new perfumes!

And beyond that, it has now given me a glimpse into the perfumed world of my's so incredibly interesting to see what they have come up with, working with the same restricitions and the same theme!
And the perfumes we have all created are (to me as a perfumer) almost like sneaking a look into the others private diaries!
Our personalities, likes and dislikes have flavoured our creations and have produced an incredibly diverse collection of scents....
Some are bright and happy, others deep sweet and sultry...others again have an ethereal lightness and softness of touch. Earthy and masculine or interesting and quirky, it's like a musk party full of different and diverse characters, all dressed in their individual version of what a "natural musk" should be wearing this season....

Scentual Cultural Diversity, grin!

What surprised me at first sniff, is how many of them are florals. In fact, going through the ingredient lists, I think I'm the only perfumer who hasn't got at least a floral bynote or accord in there somewhere.
"Craving" is definitely the dark one of the bunch....
And it's fascinating if you look at the packaging we've all chosen, how well the colours used with each creation, actually reflect the nature of the perfumes themselves!

Once my head and nose have cleared again, I'll be writing about my impressions on each of these delightful creations...(I've got Charna's "Musk Nouveau" on my wrist at the moment...and the deep sweet sultry notes can just penetrate through the fog in my head a bit...sigh.....)

More to come in the next week!