It’s begun! The Summer of Peace, Love and Patchouli is on and I have to say that I have had a great time playing with this concept; contemplating ideas, moving with the flow and narrowing the designs down to one.
It took a bit of deliberating, but I finally made my choice. It was quite the journey. I brainstormed a number of concepts before one showed up as a strong feeling but wait… that path sent me in two more directions before I settled on a winner. It seemed that the big question was: are we, with this project, hiding the patchouli or making true patchouli perfumes, in the same way that one would think about a soliflore (which is to create a unique setting upon which the ‘gem’ note is placed to SHINE)? Or are we attempting to create perfumes with patchouli that ‘hide’ it in a way to try and get non-patchouli lovers to say: “Oh, there’s patchouli in that?” Patchouli is such a versatile perfumery material and depending on the origin, whether it’s light , dark or aged (my favorite! I age all of my patchouli) the patchouli feels and acts differently in a composition. I knew that I had to first answer this essential question and the answer was: let’s go for a PATCHOULI perfume, first and foremost. Another thing I also knew from the beginning was that this was a Summer patchouli project. So, I decided that I would attempt a bit of a trick, which is to make a LIGHT, soliflore patchouli perfume. (Patchouli is not exactly known for its “lightness”, you know. But you also know how I love a challenge).
I contemplated a woody / chypre style all elegance; chic and smooth. I also thought about a fruity / wood melange (oh yes: delish!) but while having a mango lassi at one of my favorite Indian restaurants I had this idea of something supremely spiritual and euphoric (but in a new concept… so many times euphoric patchouli designs in the naturals / aromatherpay world are ylang / patch based, as so many Aveda pure-fumes will attest to). While floating in this creamy orange-colored bliss I thought of it as a warm, rich, luscious orange…burnt orange-red orange floating clouds billowing over deep earth all brown, rust, and chocolate-y (not a chocolate aroma, just the color and texture). As well, a Thangka painting came immediately to mind for added inspiration. I thought: Yes! this is where I want to go. To the Himalayas to trek above the clouds and traverse to Shangri-La.
Over the coming weeks I spent time exploring this feeling and ‘color palette’ (you know, more and more I seem to be designing solely in this kind of abstracted short hand of color tonalities and texture to get to the feel of the perfume I want. No more describing in terms of the materials themselves….anyway, I digress) then something happened. A new influence started to come to the studio from everywhere at once it seemed and this influence was a note that EVERYONE seemed to want to explore with me. This ‘note’ got me thinking about another design concept.
But things usually come to me in threes, at least… yes really they do. And this project was no different. Concept 3 came about 3 weeks before the deadline and I have to tell you that it’s given the first two a run for their money in terms of fierceness : a grungy, truly earthy, no hiding the fact that it’s PATCHOULI and maybe it’s the scent of that no washin’ hippie you knew back in 1967. And yes, this one smells like the summer of LOVE, if you know what I mean. I’m talking inspired by the original HAIR play. (A very dear friend of mine was in that original Broadway cast so it’s kinds close to my heart). YEAH! I have to say I love this one. But I really love them all. 🙂
Here’s the facebook page for PLAP so you can follow the excitement. Plus, my patchouli project designs will be up on my site tomorrow (June 13). You should know that I have changed the series numbers so, my choice for the project is now No.1: BodhiSativa. And the other two are: No.2: Aquarius (our animalic patchouli scent) and No.3: Bodhisattva (a smooth floral patchouli). I’ve had a blast creating my Summer Patchoulis and I hope that everyone will have some fun following the project and maybe becoming your very own patch test bunnies.
*image credits: PLAP image is copyright perfume pharmer.com
Thangka Painting image here
Shangri-La image here (and if you haven’t seen the classic movie “Lost Horizon”, do! It’s terrific.
HAIR original cast image found here (plus you could take a listen while you’re there 🙂 )