Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pan's Midsummer Night Dream

I recently took part in a wonderful perfume competition, "A Midsummer Nights Dream" run by the lovely Amanda Feeley from  Essentual Alchemy. The idea was to create a perfume inspired by William Shakespear's play. The perfumes were then sent to a number of different perfume reviewers.
What I find really beautiful about this project, is the artwork the reviewers used to accompany their reviews! So I've reposted not only the reviews themselves, but also the paintings that accompanied them!
You can read more about my offering to this project "Pan" here:
"The Story of Pan"
and you can order samples of it in my webstore

Carol from WAFT wrote:  LOVE THIS !
Sir Joseph Noël Paton - Evening
An intoxicating patchouli scent that could fit just as easily into the summer of Patchouli love , but this was created in honor of Puck = a tamer , gentler version of Pan in our Shakespearean play....PAN the scent is wildly gorgeous - a green earthy Rosemary and Patchouli scent , deepened with oakmoss and embellished with cinnamon , nutmeg and thyme....lordy lordy this is wonderful . Long have I searched for the perfect rosemary scent ( that doesn't remind me of lamb stew )...Dominated by rosemary , PAN is my favorite scent of the summer ! Earthy , resonant , spicy and just outright sexy in the best way .

The Windesphere Witch writes:
"I can't resist a perfume that claims...."If you don't want to get laid, don't wear it". Pan

is a  perfume that I think could definitely live up to that challenge. It's very masculine, the horned God himself and the muskiness mixed into the delicious blend of rosemary, thyme, marjoram and Indian Patchouli is delightful and exquisitely sexy in a sort of "roll around naked and sweaty in the tall grass sort of way" and it smells incredible on my husband, better than it does on me and I think that this one takes a man to unleash it's potency. Pan is quite herbaceous but there's also something in it that reminds me of my horse Henry when we've been galloping around in the dense woods for a bit and he's fairly sweaty and so am I. It's that fine line between animal passion and human playfulness that I think that she's captured here and she's done it very well. At first sniff Pan seems simple and then suddenly you're enslaved by his lovely flutes. Follow him anywhere but at your own risk.....unplanned risky delightful sex in a bottle this one is:)
Donna from  Perfume Smellin'-Things wrote:

"My next adventure was a frolic with Pan, the very naughty brainchild of Ambrosia Jones, proprietor of Perfume By Nature near Sydney, Australia. Pan is a wild fellow indeed, but as with many purportedly “masculine” fragrances, many women love to wear them too and this one really won me over. Pan reminded me of the more rustic perfumes from La Via del Profumo in Italy, which is saying a lot, because those are truly excellent compositions. It’s not as heavily animalic as my beloved Tcharas or as green and exhilarating as Hindu Kush, but it has its own distinctive character. Pan (The character of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a thinly veiled version of the mythical Greek satyr) has a dry, sun-soaked halo of herbal and piney warmth wrapped around its chypre base of dark oakmoss and resins. Rosemary and thyme combined with a spicy (yet not sweet) heart make this redolent of warmer climes, and it’s not hard to picture this mischievous being frolicking in the rugged hillsides above the Aegean Sea, chasing buxom women and laughing the days away. I don’t get too much of a “night” impression from this, but surely most of the trouble Pan/Puck gets himself into occurs in the midnight hour! He is up to no good and so is his namesake perfume, a lusty and rich concoction guaranteed to turn heads. In fact, I received an unsolicited compliment from a co-worker, who urged me to come closer so she could smell my perfume. Staying power is excellent, lasting all day with no problem at all and any confident man should really enjoy wearing it. However, he will have to pry it out of my hands first!

Felicia M Hazard of Fragrance Belles-Lettres

I must confess, I am a fan of chypre. It gives me a deep feeling of completeness and wholeness that is actually indescribable.  Thank goodness for a fragrance that speaks for my indescribable feelings. PAN from Perfume by Nature leads you into a journey of a woody citrus forest that is guarded by Pan, God of Nature. You immediately notice patchouli that sings of a deep moment in the wild.   Then you are guided into a forest full of oak trees covered in moss.  The tall dark trees towering over the forest with a heavy passion for dark and intense moments that arise in PAN.  
  Quickly PAN dries on the skin into a sweet passion fruit state of mind. I really enjoyed this journey with Pan, God of Nature. It showed me that nature is better when left alone without the use of chemicals and pesticides to ruin what is really intended for its goodness.   
Now, I understand why Pan is so wild about nature. It is a wonderful place to be and thanks to Pan, Ambrosia Jones was able to compose a beautiful perfume with a beautiful message through her knowledge of the God who is passionate and respectful of all Things Living. 

Monica Miller from "Perfume Pharmer"
" Earthy, wild and spicy, I would say Pan would make a great men’s fragrance…but hey, PAN can go both ways, and often does. Definitely evergreen forest like, there is a camphor herbal lift and a playful, botanical and animalic, spiced apple cider- musky undertone. I say “try it!….if you dare….”

And this beautiful poem: 

"Ah the Oft maligned and scorned God Pan! What has he done to deserve your wrath, O Christians, that you turn him into the Evil One? How strange to take a Pagan God, a nature spirit, and pit your hate against him, why?

Is it his sexuality you fear? His sweet pan pipe music that turns your heart to gold?

Do you fear to feel yourself as part of nature, as natural as the grass and the trees, as natural as life itself?
Fear not the divine spirit we call PAN. He is NOT the devil as you say. he is not dressed in red, nor does he live in a fiery abode. Unless the passion we call desire that drives the human race generation by generation is evil?
We ride towards our future on the back of PAN

We express joy, laughter, giggles and all things fun and good with PAN

We eat drink and make merry on our holidays with PAN

We revel, we intoxicate like drunken monkeys on fermented fruit, in a natural way..with PAN

We forget our troubles for a moment lifted by the music of PAN"

Carol from Waft is also selling sample collections from "The Midsummer Nights Dream" project through her online store The Niche Place , contact her directly to ask about this!

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Happiness" for the "Summer of Patchouli Love"

My own Offering to the "Summer of Patchouli Love" is a perfume named "Happiness".
Why did I choose it for the patchouli challenge?
Originally I was going to start from scratch and create a totally new patchouli perfume...I was thinking I'd go for a floral patchouli, maybe Rose and patch with a touch of jasmine...something deep and sensual that would evoke the 60's indian headshop oils the way most of us remember them....(and also because previous perfume competitions seem to have shown that most women love floral perfumes over everything else!).
I started working on a few variations and they seemed quite promising...but I got talking to a few friends about the project, and one in particular remarked "I really HATE patchouli!". I almost fell on the floor laughing, as she is also a loyal customer of mine who has been buying and wearing my "Happiness" for a number of years now...and it's really heavy on patchouli!! "No way!" she said when I told her this, "I KNOW patchouli and there is definitley NONE of that nasty heavy moldy stuff in "Happiness", I'd KNOW!
So I dug out the recipe and showed her....but it got me thinking....
"Happiness" is actually one of my oldest started it's journey many years ago when I first discovered essential oils. I was suffering through a dark depressing winter in Berlin and looking for oils to use in my oil burner that would cheer me up a bit...I had just been reading about the anti-depressant effects of Patchouli and decided to try it out. I carefully dripped a few drops of the thick dark brown liquid into the buner and was enveloped by a sense of woody warmth....dark, comforting, woody/ definitely made me feel safer and less dejected...I then added a few drops of lemon oil, as the same trusty book had just told me that this was a good antiseptic to use to ward off colds...and as the two scents mingled, I sat back in amazement! Suddenly there was a beautiful, cheerful scent that was somehow something totally new in the air! These two completely different oils complemented each other amazingly well, and not only that, I found myself suddenly feeling hopeful, almost joyful and well, Happy!
10 years and a whole continent later, I found myself living on a hippie community in Nimbin, Australia. We were flat broke, and I was making up my first ever batch of annointing oils to try and sell at the local markets. And one of these was a blend I'd made based on my experience with patchouli and citrus in Berlin which I'd named "Happiness" which was meant to cheer people up!
I'd added sandalwood to the blend which is another soothing oil from therapeutic point of view, and it was pretty bloody yummy! (note for non Australians: "bloody" is a word commonly used by us Ozzies to describe everything good bad and otherwise. We do not regard it as a swear word, but as normal everyday language usage to replace the word "very".)
The hippie customers at the market seemed to think so too, and my career in scent was born!
As the years went by and the business grew, I played with the recipe and made "Happiness" into bath and massage oils and eventually into an alcohol based eau de parfum version. And it went on selling. My perfumes became more sophisticated as time went by, as I added more exotic flower absolutes, and clever gourmand notes and Chypres to my designs, but "Happiness" remained one of the most popular scents, wherever I went. Men and women both bought and wore it, and even those that went for the deeper sexy florals would often by a small bottle of "Happiness" to wear to work or as a "pick me up" perfume too.
And I think this is one of the things that makes it special.
"Happiness" was one of the first ever "Aromatherapy" perfumes out there. If you read some of the posts that conventional perfume critics have written on the subject of Natural Perfumery, they will use this term in a derogatory manner, as if somehow, the fact that a perfume designed to have positive effect on the body automatically makes it somehow dilletantish and crude. Personally I think they couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a hippie green revolutionary at heart, and Natural Perfumery to me is in essence a form of Cosmetic Permaculture. The art of making a perfume beautiful, organic, sustainable and healthy makes into an even more beautiful work of art in my books. And if the perfumer is skilled enough to make a scent therapeutic as well as delightful in smell....
And as I went on thinking about the concept of designing a perfume to embody the spirit of the 60's, I began to wonder if maybe "Happiness" might be just perfect...
After all the 60's were all about changing the world. Bringing back a sense of harmony between Nature and Humans, and also about Love, Peace, caring for one another and well, spreading a little Happiness!
So in the end I decided to submit the very perfume that I had been inspired to make by my own quest for inner Peace.
It's a slightly more sophisticated version of my original annointing oil nowadays... the patchouli is a particularly fine aged one...the sandalwood is a more eco-freindly Australian version from sustainable plantations....the lemon is a soft, fresh green lemon from unripe fruits, with a touch of lime to give it a fresh tang...and theres a tad of spice and a nuance of vetiver to give it body and depth.
But it's still based around Patchouli and Lemon, same as the first drops in my oil burner in Berlin, all those many years ago.
The 60's were all about hope, and humanities adolescant dreams of Peace and Love...
And "Happiness" grew from mine!

I'll be posting what the critics thought of "Happiness" in my next blogpost, and there will also be a number of giveaways you can link to if you'd like to win a bottle of "Happiness" to try for yourself!

Peace Love and Patchouli!

Peace, Love and Patchouli

The Summer of Patchouli Love is finally here...
Some months ago I was invited to take part in a fascinating perfume event.The wonderful Monica Miller from Perfume Pharmer, had come up with a really great idea: To host a double blind perfume challenge based around Patchouli.
The idea was to see what a bunch of Indie Perfumers could come up with, when faced with the following brief: The perfume had to be:

a) completely natural
b) made with at least 25% of patchouli oil

To make it even more interesting, all submissions were re-bottled by Monica herself and given a number, rendering them completely igcognito,  and then sent out to a huge cast of reviewers to be sniffed and judged purely on their scent alone.
This was a first in perfume challenge history. It was a double blind event, neither the judges, not he perfumers themselves had any idea who's perfume was who's, and the reviewers had to go by their own personal tastes, as they were not given a list of notes, or in fact anything at all about the individual perfumes to work from!
Monica also managed to orchestrate an amazingly diverse cast of judges, with two totally different groups: Firstly a more traditional group of perfume reviewers who regularly write reviews for various blogs.
And a second group of celebreties, ranging from International political activist and Witch, Starhawk, over eco clothes designer Deborah Lindquist , Cirque de Soleil members and musicians and actors the likes of Jodie Foster and Mary J. Blige!

With such a wide and stellar cast, us perfumers have been sitting there chewing our nails, wondering how our babies were going to be recieved.....I was a bit sceptical at first, as I know how a perfumes story is a huge part of it's appeal...and I wasn't sure how people would relate to a perfume without this, esp. as many of the judges were unfamiliar with natural perfumes.....
I am now a great believer! The "double blind" nature of this contest has made it far more fascinating...the judges perceptions and the descriptions they have found for the individual perfumes are absolutely wonderful! It has made the event absolutely fascinating to watch for me as a perfumer too!
And it is giving us all true feedback on the scents themselves, unbiased by stories, packaging or the perfumers reputation!

If any of you would like to be able to follow the story on an olfactory level, Monica still has a limited number of sample boxes of all of the PLAP perfumes for her for details!

(I'm now eagerly awaiting my own!)

Later today I'll introduce you all to the perfume I submitted for the event myself too!