This story, “my love of naturals” is sort of what’s on tap today. I could say that it started in pre-school camp (yes: it was the ’70’s and we had pre-school summer camp in the woods in August) when I was four years old. Growing up in the country means that from an early age you find all kinds of flowers, from dandelions to violets to wildflowers and roses to pick and experience. So, by the the time I went “to camp”, I was a flower picker from way back. I was so engrossed in touching trees and picking flowers that I was awarded the “Mother Nature’s Little Helper” award. ( I say again: it was the ’70’s…). Nothing has really changed since I was 4 years old! I’m still out there climbing on things to smell trees, shoving my face into flowers and picking them to put in my hair where ever I go.
It’s this same spirit that attracts me to Natural Perfumery; the attraction to the lusciousness and intrinsic preciousness that natural essences impart in perfume. Plus, designing with an all botanical / all natural palate brings me close to the nature of historical perfume-making on one hand and deeper into my imagination and intellect when creating new ways to formulate with them on the other. When I first began designing perfume in the early nineties I came into a studio with a mixed palate (naturals and synthetics) and one of my first questions when learning the materials was : ” Is this the natural oil ?” I guess there was always an intuitive hit for me that the naturals bring something special but at that time I wanted to learn the base line and be able to refer to synthetic notes based on the naturals. That only seemed logical for my internal dialogue and memorization. During the two years that I was learning and working at the Essense in Boston, I am happy to say that I helped bring more naturals (pure essential oils and absolutes) into the inventory than had ever been there before. I got to help the studio grow as I got to learn more of the baselines. ( Of course, I also frequented flower shops, nurseries, botanical gardens and the like to smell the still growing plants I wanted ‘baselines’ for). It was a magical time in my life when my creative world was expanding exponentially and with it a kind of technicolor blossoming in smell.
Now, so many years later, I find that with the continued interest in green products and all botanical perfumes, I am developing more and more designs within the realm of naturals. To add to the excitement is the growth in the past decade of new botanical materials, the springing up of micro-distillers for regional materials and technologies for yielding previously impossible notes to be utilized by the perfumer. It’s a thrilling time to be a natural perfumer and I am very happy to be a part of this movement.