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Posts Tagged ‘DSH Perfumes artisan perfumes’

Last May I started thinking about an idea that I call “the retrograde files“.  It came as a little brainstorm about taking the time when Mercury is retrograde (an astrological phase that makes it look like the planet Mercury is sliding backward in its orbit when seen from Earth) to look back at projects that I haven’t completed, perfumes that I once launched but for what ever reason decided to discontinue, and the like, and to consider re-imagining.  Thus, using the ‘energy of the times’ to good advantage and taking what was good and making it better, clearer, and ultimately new again.  (Art, if nothing else, is recycling and filtering inspiration through one’s unique lens and the exact time and space it’s created in).  So as Mercury has gone into its retrograde phase I started looking through what is now a surprisingly growing section of my notebook.

 

Passionflower Perfume Poems was a small collection that I started releasing around 1999 – 2000 with a young, ‘millennial’ audience in mind.  It never quite hit the target the way I wanted it to… although a few of the perfumes have lived on in the form of special orders and requests by devoted clients who have loved the perfumes as their signatures for the past – wow – almost 20 years.   Lately the requests have come in with more frequency and something sparked: these Passionflower Perfume Poems scents seemed to be the perfect first candidates for inclusion in the retrograde files.

 

Say hello to April.

I didn’t rework this design too much, as it’s fans would be pretty bummed if I’d changed it a ton.  I did add some cool, humid notes via some molecules that I didn’t have in my studio c.2000, like cyclal-c and cucumber aldehyde.  It’s just as fresh and lively as the first design but with an additional pump up of the sweet pea and the green clover notes.  I’m really enjoying the energy of April with its clean but not soapy freshness and soft fruity-floralcy.  Fruity-florals aren’t usually of great interest to me (maybe that’s why I missed the mark with my first attempt at a ‘youth’ collection) but this one is fresh, green, and ‘unsweet’ enough for a more grown up audience and to keep me coming back for more.  I hope you like it and the other two heading your way this Spring. ❤

 

I thought I’d share one of the original stream-of-consciousness poems that went with the original launch.  I still think they’re fun:

April (poem)
green    clear    soft    white    frosty    dew  •  ethereal    morning    fresh  •  delicate    blossom    dawn    breath

emerge     enlighten     evolve  •   imagine     breezy    serenity     rain   •   shining     meadow     flowers    dream

sublime    veils    smiling   senses  •   relax    renew    refresh  •  awaken   cherish    clean    bright    light   pools

glistening    shower    sweetness  •   invite    pure    beauty    april    be    spring

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I left off in conversation about Fleuriste, and it’s cool, florist’s fridge effect as something made possible by the modern miracle of aroma molecules.  Now, in part 2, I find myself stepping back…not just in time and space (sort of)  but also taking a half step back toward classicism and warmth in the next carnation design.

With l’Opera des Rouges et des Roses, I didn’t set out to create a new carnation fragrance as if I was inspired and found the need for this fragrance.  Well, I did realize that it fulfilled a need in my range that I didn’t really have which was a garden bouquet perfume that featured carnation, roses, peonies, and jasmine.  One of the things I love about this design is that it flickers and flirts between hot and cold, fresh and lush until the final drydown stage where it just belts out an aria and dares you not to give a standing ovation.  It has PRESENCE.  At least that’s how *I* experience it…you might feel differently about it.

“l’Opera” as I refer to it in my studio was a fragrance born out an art project / installation project for Denver Art Museum’s “In Bloom” show of 2015, which ultimately was called the “scent experience”.  The idea was to create a fragrant room that would evoke the experience of walking into Monet’s garden at Giverny.  What came together was an amazing kind of aromatic sculpture that was ever shifting in the balance of the fragrance since the design was developed in three pieces that when blended together created the whole.  To make this sculpture ‘moveable’, the fragrant ‘pieces’ were sensor driven, so that as people moved through the space they would trip the sensor to send out more of the fragrance in their area.  Depending on where you walked, you would smell something somewhat different in the room, as in a real garden.  Pretty cool, right?   As I worked out the designs, it came together as a kind of timeline as well as a way to experience the actual fragrances of the flowers.  So, the initial scent was the smell of moist dirt, foliage, grass, and trees with green leaves with a faint whiff of flowers, but none you could put your finger on (Le Jardin Vert); the next was a cool, early morning/ early Spring bouquet of dewy violets, irises, and lilacs (La Danse des Bleus et des Violettes).  Lastly, came the warm, afternoon / late Spring bouquet of peonies, old roses, carnations, and jasmine (l’Opera des Rouges et des Roses).  I wanted to give the sense of time passing from morning through the afternoon as well as early Spring to late Spring.  (Monet had a LOT of flowers in his vast gardens and I wanted to showcase many of the flowers depicted in the show…so it was a tall order of many flowers).  I think that the space was a success and I haven’t heard of many other museums creating as memorable, creative, or daring additions to shows that might have come off as rather staid without it.


The design for “l’Opera” has become a perfume with many lovers in its own right; not just as a piece in the design that became “Giverny in Bloom” which is the ‘complete’ experience.  As a carnation perfume it has some references to Bellodgia de Caron as its focal is the carnation and rose duet.  As it is meant to be a garden perfume, l’Opera seems fresh when compared side to side with Bellodgia (extrait).  The required aldehydes and more powdery drydown of Bellodgia make it seem more ‘constructed’ than l’Opera.  But I can see how Bellodgia is the great-aunt of l’Opera, with the need to be dramatic, and still a love interest.  Bellodgia is the belle of the ball waltzing about in crinoline and pearls, whereas l’Opera may have a wilder heart; a love child made of the garden of eden and the theatre.

At first, I hadn’t planned on more than one carnation fragrance but you know how it goes… the creative urge knows no bounds, and so another idea begat another, etc.  While “l’Opera” is a bouquet and not a soliflore, I still think of it as a carnation and rose affair.  What ultimately completed my needs (and my clients’, I think) was last year’s duskier and darker addition to the lineup.  But that’s for the next post.

* the images used were taken by me at the Denver Art Museum’s “In Bloom” show in 2015.

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Something interesting is happening…  it’s not the first time that I’ve experienced this phenomenon of having some fascination or inspiration from my past circle around and make its way into relevant, “in the now” creative endeavors and projects.  Last Summer, when I started the design and development of Onycha, it was the coming to fruition of a perfume that I began contemplating way back in 1993 when I first read about it in some esoteric book on Kabbalah and aromatics.  (I was crazy interested in Kabbalah back then, before it became trendy, but that’s a story for another day).   I had just graduated from Art School and had begun my first perfumery with Sarah Horowitz-Tran (Gaia Perfumers – since we were both earth signs – known to everyone else as Essense on Newbury Street), and I was into reading anything that I could get my hands on about aromatics, essential oils, wacky New Age whatnot, Aromatherapy, Perfumery, Incense… I mean ANYTHING that had any info to be had about fragrance, I was into it.  So, this Kabbalah ‘perfume’ book was (and is) dog-eared all over the place.  The only thing that has stayed with me and commanded my imagination long-term was Onycha.

First off, I was just blown away at how the word LOOKED and how do you say it anyway?  In the days before the internet you’d either have to screw it up, make it up, or find a scholar who could tell you for sure.  Now, you can just go online to see (and hear) it.   Amazing.   I also loved how the book spoke about some rare mollusc from the Sea of Galilee being used as an aromatic in…perfume?  WHAT???? Hold on, I love the ocean and sea air and Calvin Klein’s now infamous Escape had just launched to great success, but seashells?  Um, that sounded fishy to me (bad pun intended).  I really had to push the boundaries of what I thought perfume must have been in the ancient world, and what it could be, to imagine it.  ( I still couldn’t … which is part of why it stuck with me.  I really wanted to create a fantasy that fit how I was trying to imagine it ).

 

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Yet another piece to this story is that during 1992 – 1994 I was painting lots of still life images with seashells.  Kind of like ‘family’ units.  I was into Sacred Geometry and the spiral was a big influence.  Ammonites, and seashells from the beaches of Cape Cod, found their way into my visual art and was moving, oddly, into my perfumery art.  At that time, there were WAY fewer materials to work with; especially as an indie perfumer.  The artisan / indie perfumery movement hadn’t really begun yet (that was later in the nineties) and there were essential oils, some absolutes, and perfume compounds to work with, if you were small-scale.  Now, there are more wonderful boutique distillers, distributors, and specialty molecule purveyors than you can imagine and it’s an INCREDIBLE GALAXY of nuanced ‘colors’ and textures to create olfactory art with.  It took over twenty years of ruminating around the idea (and waiting for the right materials to arrive) for “Onycha” to come.

Ok, I’m going to end there…with more to come of course.  Soooooon.  Have a great rest of your weekend ❤

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Mercury has just gone direct.  (woo hoo!)  I’m sure that a bunch of you have heard of the astrological term “Mercury Retrograde” which basically means that the appearance of Mercury, as it moves in its orbit when seen from earth, looks like its moving backwards.  Symbolically, it means that everything you are trying to do to get ahead on projects, move through traffic, deal with communication of any kind, etc, will also be moving (or feel like it’s moving) backwards, too.  Travel goes haywire, electronics get goofy, and the basic gist is to stop working on moving forward as it’s time to do a re-wind so you can reexamine old ideas, old projects, and or older works to see if they can or should be updated, made more perfect, or reworked in some way or just tossed on the heap.  It’s great for clearing out and making room for the new as well.  So while now is the time for getting back to the *new* stuff, as this phase passes I’m still working on something I’m calling the “retrograde files”.  Its actually kind of exciting.

 

movingbackward

 

I’ve been slowly compiling a list of materials, oils, single notes, and older designs that I used to sell on my website that people still write in and ask for.  Usually clients can get these items by special order or what have you but I’ve been attempting to create some “Archives” pages for the site so as to make the process easier.  And instead of getting annoyed at the apparent cosmic slowdown, it’s been a wonderful journey, like taking some extra quiet time to look at a scrap book or an old photo album.  It’s the scented equivalent of “This is your Life”.

 

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As I’ve looked around in my notebooks and dug out some old bottles I’ve rediscovered some very interesting ideas and lovely perfume names (you know I love that) that I had sort of forgotten about.  Some of these designs are from very early in my body of work and I see now that had I had some of the materials available now, the concepts might have been realized very differently.  So, my big idea is this: when Mercury goes retrograde I’m going to set myself down to re-imagine some of these older works.  It’s a go with the flow and artistically grow kind of thing.  I don’t know if I will release the new visions or not but I know that I will enjoy the process.  I like this looking back / looking forward notion.  We’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you posted. ❤

ps: here’s the next retrograde phases for 2016: August 30 – September 22; and Dec 19 2016 – Jan 8, 2017.

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image credits: I found these images on the web: beautiful mercury planet image found here; moving backward image here; berlin 1994 photo album here.

 

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rainy_spring1

Once again it’s been a pretty cool and rainy Spring.  Last year we had a similar vibe with days at a time of mountain in fog and mist; and real rainy days (which don’t happen like they do in New York or Boston, my two locales before making Boulder my home).  It produces a wildly vivid greenness in the grass and the new leaves just starting to come in full as we get ready to move to Summer.

I absolutely love the moist earth smells, the freshness of the lawn with its sweet apple-y watermelon rind mixed with hay, the cool mineral-y vaporous atmosphere that resides around the irises as they open to the world.  Since creating last year’s “big project”, Giverny in Bloom for Denver Art Museum, I seem to re-connect with the green perfumes that I have created over the years all the more.  Maybe it’s because the real garden I was using to model the gardens at Giverny was my own.  I am so familiar with that violet / violet leaf / misty cool greenness meets powdery sweetness mixing in the air with the slightly fruity anisic nectar of the iris all mingling with the fuzzy spicy woody glue-like lilacs around and in my yard.  I don’t have nearly the explosive volume or variety of Giverny but the pieces are there for me to puzzle together again and again.

 

 

viridian_colorfieldceladon_colorfield

 

Recently at the AIX fair in LA I got to do a soft re-launch of my “CHROMA” collection and in preparation I was filling lots of sample vials and mini flasks of Celadon: A Velvet Green and Viridian.  Again, the experience was filled with remembrance of Springs past.  The deep, almost dark forest-y quality of Viridian juxtapose the soft, almost frosted stillness of Celadon seemed completely in step with this current spring, a rather misty and dark mood.  It occurs to me just how much I love the green fragrance in all of its forms.  Even the muguet in my neighbor’s garden returns me to the roots, as it were, of my love affair with green.  This Spring, once again, I’m feeling inspired by the bounty and intensely joyful rebirth, even with its dark, rather cool, and drizzly days, to explore the “green”.  Two new designs are tapping on the shoulder of my creative psyche asking to be put down to paper in the notebooks and maybe sketched sometime soon.  I’ll leave you to wonder what they are and what will come up next. 😉

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I’m so thrilled that rose season is in full swing!  I was right when I assumed that the roses would be spectacular this year from all of the Spring rains.  Such blooms!  And although some of my plants had some pretty severe die-off from a deep November frost (and thus they won’t bloom this year) some came back so splendidly that I am just smitten all over again.   How could I possibly resist their charms?

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first eglantine bloom of 2015

The eglantine that I mentioned in my last post is just popping with the most lovely foliage (the scented part) and delicate single petal pink roses.  I get the same feeling every time I rub those leaves between my fingers and sniff the scented air that I must make another perfume with an eglantine leaf note just to have the pleasure of working with it again.  I created an eglantine leaf accord for the CHROMA scent, Umber: Bois de Rose, mixed with a moody aldehydic violet – dark rose heart that may not be to everyone’s taste but I really love it.

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chapeau de napoleon moss centifolia

All of this has been just in time to give me a great boost of energy for the talk I gave on Wednesday to the Rose Society of Denver at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  What incredible fun it was to show isolated rose alcohols and some of the minor constituents that give various roses their unique character.  Of course, I also shared examples of natural rose oils: Rosa Gallica Otto, Rosa Centifolia Abs., and Rosa Damascena Abs.  The best part was having everyone hold the cards pre-scented with selected isolates in one hand and smell for them on the card with the natural rose oil in the other.  Everyone’s favorite of the natural rose oils was the Centifolia and with little wonder, it’s incredibly complex with the most fabulous mildly spicy, deep rose scent with honey, berry, and violet nuances.    Among all of the roses in my garden, I have to admit an immense weakness for the moss Centifolia, “Chapeau de Napoleon”, that’s looming right now.   Not only is it so very beautiful, but the moss hybrid gives it a deep resinous, rose oxide kind of hit mixed with the luscious old rose scent complete with berry, honey, spice and violet nuances.

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penelope blush musk rose

Another absolutely wonderful rose that’s stolen my heart is a blush, musk rose that’s just begun to bloom.  The scent of the petals are quite subtle, no surprise there, as like the eglantine it”s not the flower that gives the fragrant impact, it’s the stamen.  There’s a milky, ambrettolide-ish aroma that I just love.  It’s pale and soft, which reflects the petals so perfectly.  Needless to say, I’ve been truly inspired by these beauties; even more than in previous years.  Maybe it’s because my work in general has been completely immersed (well, nearly completely) in flowers since last Autumn and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  😃. Awesome.

I hadn’t planned on making these rose posts into a “3-parter” but I think that’s where I’m headed with it.  I still want to share some more roses (Ispahan and New Dawn, in particular) before the season is over and we’ll be onto other things as the Summer progresses.  Plus this gives me a chance to do another little drawing /giveaway for three more lucky winners.  Just post a comment about your favorite color or genus to be entered to win a rose discovery set 2: American Beauty, Saving Grace, and Umber: Bois de Rose; all in 3ml spray samples of EdP.  Entries will be allowed until June 19 at midnight.  Winners will be chosen at random and prizes will be mailed out on June 30 (since I’m headed back east to see my eldest nephew graduate from High School. )  Good luck and don’t forget to get out there and smell the roses.    ox

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austrian copper – yellow roses

 

June is right around the corner and so with it brings the big blooming season of my cherished roses in the garden.  The yellow roses are in bloom now as they start early but the others are just beginning to bud.  This may be in reaction to a long, cold but very wet snap we’ve had since mid-April.  The roses are loving the extra moisture and I’m expecting an incredible show in about a week.

It actually couldn’t be better timing as I’m preparing a talk for the Denver Rose Society at the Denver Botanic Gardens on June 10th.  The talk will be all about roses, rose molecules that give the aromatic signature of ‘rosey’ and how this applies to the creation of rose perfumes.  I’m really excited!  I LOVE talking about roses and rose fragrances; especially how they might seem easy to create because there are so many of them and the rose scent is so recognizable.  Of course, it’s really deceptive.  There are a gazillion different roses with as many varying scents and if you’ve started to *smell the roses* you know this is true.  It’s actually true of lots of flowers: we think we know them but if we start to examine them more closely they show many ‘faces’ and many fragrances.

 

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napoleon’s hat centifolia

 

Since last Fall or maybe even earlier I’ve been immersed in flowers and floral perfumes.  I’m not sure why, exactly; the inspiration as well as the work itself has brought me to the garden again and again.  With the Brilliant Collection for the Cartier exhibit a multi-facteted white floral emerged for Deco Diamonds, a lush, damp earth hyacinth for Jacinthe de Sapphir, and a deep ruby-hued rose for Rubis Rosé.   There’s a fascinating array of fruit nuances found in roses, from zesty citrus nuances, to crisp apple and juicy pear, to lush blackcurrant and berry-like notes.  Rubis Rosé has a deep tea rose in the heart and a bright red raspberry top note.  It’s a combination of influences: my neighbor’s vintage (1960’s) tea roses and the fabulous berry quality of classic red long stems.  I also wanted to create a rose design that spoke to a real classicism as well as the mid-century fruited-aldehydic-floral.

You know, speaking of aldehydics and roses, I find it very interesting that some of the roses in my garden display a sort of green aldehydic quality.  Part of it is a linalool-ish citral (citrus-y) flash and other parts are the geranium-like,  green rosey aromas of geraniol and geranyl acetate.  The yellow roses (the Austrian Copper roses especially) that are blooming right now have this incredible scent.  It has those geranium-rose notes at play with an almost metallic kick as if it were a constructed perfume with the citrus-green rosy mix of aldehyde c-8 and aldehyde c-12 Enic in the top.  I love it!

 

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harrison’s yellow

 

Years ago I created an all-botanical yellow rose scent called “en Vacances” which is based on a Harrison’s Yellow that grew in my back yard when I was a kid.  It always bloomed on the last day of school.  To me it was the scent of Summer Vacation.  Saving Grace, also in the Garden Bathe aromatherapy perfume collection, is another more woody-based, more clearly rose (I smell it as pink) design that has some of these characteristic gernium-rosey tonalities as well.

 

blooming eglantine, june 2010

blooming eglantine

 

But it’s not just the geranium-rosey aromas that are coming out of the rose garden.  One of my favorite aspects that is showing up is the characteristic peppery-green notes wafting from the leaves and stems on the centifolias and the fabulous scent coming from the green apple – aldehydic fragranced leaves of my eglantine.  It’s reminiscent of certain peonies, which for me are filed away in my mind as a subcategory of rose note flowers.  They are their own delicious, wonderful thing, of course, and they too have quite a lot of variation from dewy, ever so slightly powdery-apricot-y, to softly watery pear, to a very deep and spiced rosy-green.  Last year I created a Peony perfume after many years thinking on it.  I wanted to tell a story like a ‘day in the life’ of the peony flower kind of experience.  I could bring it from a slightly metallic-green, softly peppery – softened with dew note at the beginning, through its most ‘rosey’ phase and into a twilight shaded and darker aspect in the drydown.  I’m not sure it’s for everyone but I really like it and I feel it tells it’s story nicely.

 

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jacqueminot rose

 

I grow a fair number of “Old Roses” but I hadn’t really pushed myself to decipher their varied nuances to the point of creating a perfume to speak to their unique characters until recently.  Deeply honey – spice, almost carnation-esque, the old rose types are rich and can be a bit heavy.  It would be very easy to get involved with a perfume design around the old rose scent and end up at “granny rose” in no time.  Not that the roses themselves do the powdery note that I most associate with granny rose but the density of their scent and how you work with that quality could get you there if you weren’t very careful to avoid it.  I’ve smelled too many old rose and tea rose perfumes that, for me, smell of granny rose due to their sheer density.  (If you couldn’t tell: Granny rose is not my thing. At all. But I digress).   I can’t talk much about a recent project I’ve been involved with for Denver Art Museum just yet but I will say that it’s allowed me to delve into the old roses character some and pull it into a rose bouquet that is unlike any of my other rose designs.  First off, it’s not intended to be a rose soliflore but the rose is clearly experienced along with a couple of other focal floral notes.  There will be more on that topic, and more very soon. 😉

This seems like as good a place to stop part 1 for now.  I’m hoping that as I send this out and in the next few days, some of the other buds will pop out into full blossom.

I’m so thrilled to be talking flowers and roses in particular, that I’d like to offer a little drawing for 3 sets of 3 – mini sprayers of Rubis Rosé EdP, Peony EdP, and en Vacances EdP.  Please leave a comment about your favorite rose and/or rose perfume to enter.  The 3 winners will be chosen at random in the wee hours of June 6th so the deadline to enter is 11:59 pm on June 5th.  Winners will be announced on June 6th.  I hope that everyone will enjoy the start of Summer and good luck in the draw!   ox

 

* images are all my own.  you can see most or variations on them at my instagram page.

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