Something is happening to me. I can’t seem to get my head (and nose) out of the woods these days. It’s a trend that seems to be popping up in all parts of my creative world: in my own (paltry at the moment) design time at the studio, in my classes with private students, and even in terms of what I am wanting to photograph right now. Of course, I have been working with conifers and fougeres in my studio for awhile now, but I think that this shift in my psyche really set in in 2011, right around the time I got pregnant (hmm…) with some more classical constructions as well as some more modern ‘abstractions’ in the making. The thing is that while I have been dancing around this concept I have had few actual launches to show for this line of exploration.
Last year’s Matsu, which was a rather abstract, Japanese influenced ‘pine’ scent expressed a humid, green woody concept with a brilliant bergamot flash at the opening (and containing no actual pine of conifers) is really the only launch that I have managed. Until (sometime close to) now. Well, I’m not ready to launch this particular design just yet but I think that it is finished. It’s a much more literal experience of a pine / spruce fragrance but it doesn’t read at all like pinesol or worse, in a way, a bad interpretation of Polo or Pino Sylvestre.
Something that may have spurred on this creative indulgence in the conifer arena has been a lovely friendship that has sprung up between myself and the micro-distiller, Eric Bresselsmith and his wonderful company that features *rocky mountain region* materials. I have been getting new materials from him for years without having the space or time to really jump in and work on crafting the perfumes I have in mind when he shows me samples. Finally, I have little by little managed to get something going with some very wonderful and rare aromatics. I want to take a quick moment to touch upon a few of my favorites that Eric has brought me: Concolor White Pine (distilled from recycled Christmas trees in Aspen, CO), Common Juniper (a shrub that I have torn out of my own yard to make way for a rose garden but yields a lovely, GREEN take on juniper oil), Engelmann Spruce (a delicious, slightly fruity, airy, clear as a bell, spruce) and Great Western Sage (a dry, spiky but gorgeous sage scent. If you like smudge sticks, this is for you!). Eric also makes some very wonderful and creative co-distills using the woods, leaves/needle and cones of the conifers sometimes mixed with shrubs and sometimes different but similar species of evergreens. I really like some of the juniper and cedar co-distills that I have tried.
One of the most incredible and very rare oils that I have gotten (and used in this new design) is an infusion of 50 year old resin crystals in pure pinion essential oil. It is magical in the extreme. It was also a labor of love as Eric told me that he was out with the ancient felled pinion armed with tweezers picking the crystals off, little by little, by hand. As soon as I smelled it I just said, I want this. I didn’t ask how much; I just knew that I needed to get as much as I could afford. Seve de Pin (Pine Sap) is based upon this beauty. There is wider story than just wanting to showcase a new material, but I had started this design years ago and it seemed to be waiting for this last ingredient to make everything fall into place.
Seve de Pin was partially inspired by the smell in the night air on my first overnight trip away from my parents when I was 4 years old and in pre-school summer camp. *The trees were speaking to me all night long* and in this construction, there is the distinctive smell that was in the air (in the drydown) that night. I would know this smell anywhere. It is mysterious and ancient and all-knowing. Like the earth itself. And that there are secrets that may be revealed to those who listen (and smell it). Along with this sense of peering into other realms, there is comfort and protection, too, inherent in this aroma. Like lying cozily on a soft bed of needles, nestled in the trees with only the night sky above; you are sure to see the shooting stars.
There is another inspiration, which was simply the incredible sensation of the first clear, oozing pine sap from the pine trees in my own back yard each Spring. Maybe the reason this scent has been so long in the making is that I can only really work on it during a few weeks in Spring; I need experience that wonder first hand. The new sap is unlike the aged sap that you find incrusted upon a more worldly tree and I wanted to really capture the airy freshness of that first exudation.
It has been interesting to construct this from almost all natural ingredients (99% botanical) with just a touch of green note accord in the top and an augmented resinous base to give the architecture something firm and stable. Naturals have their intrinsic beauty but many times it is just impossible to get the structure to hold it’s form. At least the form that I am working to sculpt or to use the former metaphor, build. The tendrils of the naturals want to collapse on themselves and rush to be together in the middle. It sometimes takes a lot of skill to get the pieces to confirm to the shape that you have in mind; something that is quite vertical as opposed to horizontal (landscape) or rounded / voluminous (a bouquet of sorts). These few synthetic structure “poles” support the flickering nuances of the different shades of green leaves and needles, the cones and most of all the sap that dries into the crusty, delicious resin. The fluidity of the design needs to be upheld. It is sap and air after all.
I’m deliriously happy about the final result, I have to say. Ask anyone who has been around me as I test it. They will tell you of a crazy woman who can’t stop huffing the blotter (I almost NEVER do this) and swooning about, rolling her eyes in ecstasy. I am that child again under the stars hearing the whispering murmurs of the trees and dreaming of the possibilities of life.
I’m not sure when I am releasing this new perfume BUT I would love to share~
So, I am offering a drawing for 3ml EdP deluxe spray samples to 3 lucky winners. Please leave a comment about your favorite conifer, or evergreen scent or better yet a favorite scent memory. The drawing is open until June 8 at midnight MST. Good Luck!
* images are all my own. you can view some and others by me at my instagram page.