Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Update:"a kiss from an old flame" now tres exotic! "the giving tree" now for the inner child?

Wow, the perfume, "A kiss..." has taken a whole new turn. I was a bit dismayed when my in house tester had a whiff and thought it smelled medicinal and incensey. I knew I wanted to add more depth and felt it too sweet. I noticed on my note card I had forgotten the galbanum. I love how it can lift a whole perfume adding a green leafy quality, mixing well with florals and spices.
I picture and wanted to create a scent that was exotic, sensual, floral and spicy. I had been waiting patiently for an order of oils to come in I just knew the scent called for some Davana and Tagetes. Davana smells like fresh, sweet apricots to me. I can see how woman would want to wear the flower in their hair in India. The hypnotic, very sexy fragrance must attract who ever is around like bears to honey.
The Tagetes is helpful in that it tones down some of the overwhelming sweetness I was fighting and complements the davana perfectly. You need a light hand with tagetes oil as it is very herbaceous, ripe and green.
This is the most strongly scented and complex perfume I have produced thus far.

In other news my fir balsam absolute laden, "the giving tree" has turned child-like in scent. It is like a kid wanders into a make-believe, ultra viridian green forest and sits to read his/ her favorite book chewing grape bubble gum. Sounds unwearable but it is actually an adorable scent. Something for revisiting innocence, pretend play and daydreams as a child. It would be especially effecting on someone who grew up near or played in forests as a kid.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"The giving tree" and the girl that is chewing grape bubble gum

Well, I guess "The Giving Tree" may be the name of the fir balsam absolute based scent. It got a thumbs up from the house tester/ guinea pig.

Boy, I was swimming in orris today as I was filtering my infusions of it. Orris is soft, violet-like, woody, rooty and a powdery scent in a comforting way, not a "gag! I am being strangled by great grandma's closet!" way. If you want to buy the real concrete on line from a supplier, an arm and leg may be lost in the process. I have a sample of the real deal and it is no wonder it is so costly. Luckily, I am still able to infuse a much lighter version that can be used in perfumes.

I used a nice amount of orris and citrus in this new "The Giving Tree" scent. In a strange turn of events my guinea pig noticed that just the two notes of orris and a citrus(they were on my right arm at the time) smelled like grape bubble gum! He was right! Now, I am huffing "The Giving Tree" with a whole new nose!
In a little science note, Fir Balsam has been used as a vanilla substitute.
This perfume is now slightly candied, with the already jam-like vanillic quality of the fir balsam, it has turned my picturesque walk in the woods perfume into me as a child turning the pages of the actual, "The Giving Tree" book.

So, the perfume journey/story goes on. I aged in reverse in this tale though, if that makes any sense. I started the scent as a worn out adult suddenly strolling through the pristine woods looking for comfort, escape and a sense of joy. What I ended up with is a girl in the the forest playing, wide-eyed and free, chewing grape bubble gum.
I am going to go put some vetiver in this composition this minute!
Bye bye bubble gum!
ok... The little girl can stay..just for a while though.

Back in a heaven of sorts.

I am back in heaven as my supplier finally got in their Fir balsam absolute and my order finally arrived.
When I first smelled the absolute many months ago from a tiny sample I purchased, I was almost moved to tears.

Some might think it a wintery-holiday scent but it is more to me as with a whiff, I was knocked unconscious by a velvet hammer and awoke with my life's pain erased, walking through the most peaceful, ideal imaginary forest setting. It seems a little dramatic I know, but it is an example of the power of scent.

I finished the blend I have been eagerly awaiting to compose with the fir. I feel so happy and at peace...ok, and a little excited.
I have few names but "The giving tree" selfishly invites because this fragrance note gives so much to me: serenity, sense of peace, happiness, forgiveness, purity, clearing of mind, it's refreshing, calming, introspective, meditative, joyful and a mini pristine forestry vacation in a bottle. I also like something with the idea to do with "Serene" or being an asleep, forest walker?
I could call it "Fir-giving" yuk, yuk,yuk. hmmm "Firgiving"? Both not very glamorous.
I better take some time with this one, fir-sure!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The three or 4 about go to the Etsy store and absurdism

"A Street Car Named Bananas" natural perfume oil has a quizzical name but I like that it reflects my sense of humor and nature that is part absurdest mixed with Bugs Bunny. In my previous blog I paint the rather silly vision behind the "Street car.."scent.
"A Street Car..." smells good enough to eat. It has notes of my own toasted banana infusion, cocoa absolute, florals and sandalwood. I like that the banana is subtle and on the green side. Overripe bananas...ewwww.

"Lovers Patchouli" is a version of my "Dbl Patchouli" solid but now in oil form, romanticized with a 2 dozen roses ala a big heart of 2 rose ottos and the pricey flower golden champaca. This version seems almost to shimmer and feels like a layer of scented silk against the skin. There are other jewels in the mix ala extremely rare real amber resin and Agarwood. I believe it has a 29.6% chance of winning over a patchouli, "Poo-pooer".

"A Kiss From An Old Flame" is a rich and spicy floral oriental, natural oil perfume. It was inspired by a sweet Mercury Rev song (link is to itunes sample of song) and 2 custom perfumes I made. I had a kiss from an old flame that ended up as my current relationship of 4 years. It is quite the romantic tale...
The full name of the song is : "A Kiss From An Old Flame (A Trip To The Moon)"
The perfume's base note is the highly underrated Amyris. The oil is often used to adulterate sandalwood. Excellent quality Amyris is warm, smooth and slightly spicy. It reminds me of Vanuatu Sandalwood (my favorite sandalwood it's very rich and creamy) and Caledonia sandalwood, which smells peppery and masculine to me.
I use cinnamon bark and cardamom to represent the hot, "flame" other exotic floral notes are to induce the reminiscing.

"Ramos Holiday" will soon be released, but I may call the first version I have been composing, "Nerola Verde". "Nerola Verde" is a vision of fresh, clean citrus and light woods with a heavy heart of orange blossom. Because of a delay receiving an order of orange blossom water absolute. My idealized version of "Ramos Holiday" will have to wait. This may be for the best as I may just want to have a Ramos Gin Fizz perfume.

With a wink from a starlet's eye a string of pearls come to life
Who knows what black and crazy thoughts swim inside a girlfriend's heart
No brighter jewel is there above than the gem of a girl still in love
Below the horizon the last crown jewel pales among the stars at noon
When out of the blue a rainbow rockets thru
A kiss from an old flame A trip to the moon
Endlessly falling my way downtown someone to throw both arms around
Who knows what black and crazy names swim around inside her brain
adrift across the silver screen just imagine you and me
Our strolling make-believe ballroom glides set the rainbow room afire
Off into the starlit night two fools rush in you and I
Feel the rough hand close behind above the Heaven's Open wide...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Street Car Named Bananas. or... it could be me going...

I warned a while back about my toasted banana infusion...well..
This child of Frankenstein is alive! Alive I tell you!
and with this abomination I made something so decadent, so WRONG but so right.
It is like a chocolate banana cream pie but you can hardly tell the banana is there. The banana is more like a flower.. and it is mixed with... mimosa blossoms and Jasmine sambac!
The scent picture is as if you are wearing a gorgeous gown highlighted with jewels with a tropical flower in your hair while eating chocolate pudding with a wooden spoon!
Maybe you decided to ditch a date that was going to fly you to Monaco. Why would you do that? Who knows? Maybe you wanted to watch your favorite tv show, but... there you are on your couch looking fabulous ..eating pudding.

So again.. a name? I need a name A name for this pudding, banana, sandalwood, mimosa devil-may care scent.
I bet Vivien Leigh would have liked this in her, "Blanche DuBois" days.
Oh, how I loved her as a kid.

needing a name for the "Ramos" perfume

Oy, This Ramos Fizz, citrus, floral perfume is about ready to be thrown into the world. It needs a name to express it's cheery, escapist, bright, sunny nature and hint of Ramos Gin Fizzes.(I love this bio link for a bit of it's fabulous history)
This morning I thought of:
"Ramos Holiday". A play on the words after after the movie "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn.
My boyfriend thought of, "Ramosa". There is a tiny it of mimosa in it. But I don't think enough to qualify for the name.
It had a strong runner up of, "Monteray Bay Fizz"
Others included:"Ramos Fizz at the Lemon Bar" (donated by a helpful customer)
I contemplated, "The fizz" sounds a little too much like to many other rhymes of a obscene nature.

There is a bit more floral to the mix which ups the complexities of the name.
My brain hurts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Mother stands for comfort.."

"Mother stands for comfort.." That is from a Kate Bush song.
I created a perfume blend this morning dedicated to mothers and the support and comfort they can bring. I was pretty heavy with emotions I have been feeling a bit blue. I could use one of those hugs that only a mom can give.
My mom passed Christmas Eve 2004. Her hugs were smothering..actually I couldn't breathe and would try to squirm out of them but when I was sick I wanted and received her full attention. She would buy me a book and sign it, there would be a treat and a little gift. this was always a great surprise as we were poor as mud.
She was a mom that would always let me know she loved me. She would always say, " I love you to pieces!"
That was kind of funny because it made me think of an axe murderer as she said it in her chipmunk-like high voice.

In creating this scent I wanted a big comforting, reassuring hug. The kind when you are at your lowest and feel the most vulnerable and damn, you just admit you could use a mom's love at that moment..
We all have complicated relationships with our parents but this is a scent celebrating history, nurturing and safety. I used all of the notes that give me the most relaxed of feelings. I became emotional making it, but felt wrapped in a blanket as well.

I used vegetable musk for the mamma element, sweet balsams, my infused vanilla for feeling like you could use a blanket. Myrrh (my home infused) and frankincense for a mom's wisdom. Labdanum, organic patchouli and vetiver for when I was born. (1969 my mom was a free spirit and had bone straight hair black hair and looked great in a mini skirt.)
I didn't hold back using my my favorite sandalwoods, rose otto and ylang 1, It represents the heart and that the notes speak of how she always believed I could do anything, told me I was beautiful and encouraged the arts. She also always called me, "rose bud lips" She would coo that I had that shape of mouth as a baby.
The single top note is in tribute my mom's cinnamon rolls that I wish I learned to make in a tin dab of delicious cinnamon bark. Her homemade rolls were the most gooey, soft carmel dessert I have ever had. We would stand around for hours waiting for those suckers. She also would make those round Mexican Christmas cookies with the powdered sugar and the walnuts all the time. YUUUCCKK I hated walnuts!

Anyway, I think I am going to put the blend on Etsy as the blend is a hug for everyone. I am trying to figure out a name for this big hug.
Hugs to you all!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

customer inspiration and the thrilling aspect of making perfume

Excuse my sloppy writing as I texted this on my iphone..
Still no sun here in Portland. Anyone feel like sending some our way it might banish some grey skies and a cloud raining doubts upon me. "Hogwash!" I know. I should have more confidence in my intuitive compositions. I have the nose and skill as well. It just becomes a bit intimidating out here in this big world of perfumery. I must just stay true to myself!
ANYWAY... On to brighter pastures. The other day a kind of beautiful turn had occurred in my Ramos Gin Fizz, lemon bar, escape (no name yet obviously) perfume composition.
I had shared a bit of the story to a customer on Etsy, how i imagined the vacation- like patio setting on a beautiful, sunny afternoon with friends drinking Ramos Gin fizzes. She wrote me back saying that she used to live in California. She would go to brunch at this restaurant with an incredible back, brick patio with hanging flowers and cypress trees and have....Ramos Gin Fizzes! She said I could make the memory come alive again for her. She lived my vision. How wild is that!
The fact she added her experience made the story of the scent much more alive and meaningful. So, instead of my simple vacation escape with sweets, booze in an idealized imaginary setting, I have a real sense of a place, memory and feelings to go along with it.
The only way I can explain the full excitement of this addition of her story is explaining the roots of my over active imagination. When I was very young growing up on the island of Juneau Alaska it was cold, wet and isolated. My idea of the whole world was through the two channels of tv we received or the many books I devoured. Fresh fruit was impossible to get. I don't think I ate a mango until I was in my 20's. The first fresh fruit I ate off a tree (a mandarin) was in the middle of a pool in Palm Springs while on a paid vacation from my boss. (This mandarin, mind blowing experience happened in a condo complex full of old people who never used the pool. I was 26.)
I have a hunger for learning and information. One of the many things I cherish about people is that we all have a story and history to share. You can learn something new from anyone you meet. People are extraordinary!
Now this perfume has taken on a whole new life and vision also new fragrant notes.
I added cypress from her story of going to the restaurant which blends well with the juniper and other notes.
I feel/would like this perfume to express a sense of real inner happiness, confidence and peace, a person taking a break for an hour, a day or on vacation with a bit of libation and a gorgeous view of nature.

The fragrance notes are too many to mention yet the composition doesn't seem cluttered. Right now I have three kinds of petitgrain an orange blossom, hesperidic notes, florals, black currant, ginger lilly angelica, light woods and styrax. So far it is a bright, clean scent with impressive staying power.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ohh excited to release my Sweetgrass oil

I just listed this on Etsy:

Hierochloe odorata.
I have sweetgrass growing around the outside of house and have been infusing it.
The smell is reminiscent of new mown hay, with a touch of vanilla and soft lavender. It is also known by the name "Vanilla Grass".
It is a scent that is deeply relaxing and can be used to help enter a meditative state.

I made "Sweetgrass" keeping true to the infusion. I used over 2/3rd of my sweetgrass infused oil as the base. The rest is fractionated coconut oil and vitamin e. Other added notes are just barely audible hints to accentuate sweetgrass's beauty. *This scent becomes stronger as it warms to your skin. It especially likes sunshine warmed skin. Do not be dismayed if it seems very shy at first.*
The accent notes are all diluted absolutes except for my own infused vanilla. I added only one tiny drop of each in the whole composition. They are: carrot seed, galbanum, hay, lavender and clary sage and vanilla.
This scent is also in memory of my little 10 year old house bunny named, "Fairbanks" who recently passed away. He is now joined with his departed mate Stella. I like to think of them dancing (Yes, bunnies do dance.) among peaceful fields full of their favorite herbs, strawberries and grass.

I am selling "Sweetgrass" in little only 5/8 dram bottles because I have so little of the blend and I would like to share it with as many people as possible. Please view the photo to the side for a size example.
To learn more about the plant please visit:

PLEASE NOTE: I cannot attest for allergen content of sweetgrass. It is a wild grass. Please do a small skin patch test first before using. I personally have had no problem but you never know. You may open the bottle and sneeze.. then be tickled and delighted! I never understood those people who have those "feel good sneezes", I am missing out!

Wikipedia says: "Sweet grass was, and is, very widely used by North American indigenous peoples. As a sacred plant, it is used in peace and healing rituals.."

It makes me want to hug people and then take a long nap.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is a-brewing: A Ramos Gin Fizz Lemon Bar oil..

I was asked on Etsy if I planned to make any oils out of my solids.
It is funny because I was almost thinking the other way around because sending glass through the mail always gives me the oogies.
But not so much after a understanding customer told me of a southern heat exposure that melted one of my expensive solids I sent her full of Agarwood...weep.

So, the weather has been unusually more fall like than late Spring headed to Summer in Portland Oregon.(understatement!)
There was one break this weekend after a 50 plus day rain spell. Egads!

My Ramos Gin perfume story started with an adaptation of a solid I made in tribute to friends who love lemon and lemon bars. At some music rehearsals (I am a musician as well) my very sweet band mate would bring some of her homemade lemon bars. Yum! I gave her a lemon bar nickname to suit her perfectly made treats. Sweets are always a must have at every practice, without there might be a mutiny! Anyhoo...For this oil I have started:
I have this fantasy picture in my head of an idealic patio. I'm with joyous friends on a warm sunny afternoon. We are being served rounds of the most perfectly made Ramos Gin Fizz This cocktail has a fascinating history and is most tedious and complicated to make. I could inhale about 10 in a sitting. It took me weeks to prefect the sweet angel kisses, fluffy, light as air, delicate, pie in a glass. It is hands down my favorite cocktail and about impossible to find except in New Orleans.
Oh, I was talking inspiration. Now I am plain thirsty.
In the perfume there are notes of everything in a Ramos gin fizz except the egg white and soda. Other top and middle notes are expressed by the idea of the scent of lemon bars mingling with the summer afternoon rising temperatures. The middle notes express a lightly-scented garden patio, trellised in flowers. Friendship warms the body of the fragrance with three different kinds of sandalwood and styrax.
Sounds like a little vacation. One I wish I could go on right now....sigh.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sweet grass and Fairbanks passing

After months of grieving the loss of his beloved mate Fairbanks passed away last night in my arms.
Fairbanks was my 10 year old Dutch bunny. He loved and insisted on giving me nose kisses. After Stella died the nose kisses went up about 90% along with him asking for loves which he wasn't prone to do with Stella around. He went from a strapping 7 pound bunny who had never once been sick to under 4 pounds quickly after Stella left. It was terrible and painful to wittness. I know now he isn't sufffering without his mate anymore.
He is buried next to her now under a pine in a strawberry patch. Rabbits love strawberries.

I checked my sweet grass infusion and it seems ready. I will put it up on Etsy. With Fairbanks on my mind for inspiration, I am imagining some sweet grass, lav, hay and clary sage absolute, carrot seed with vanilla with it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Finding out, "less is less"

Well, I had been nail biting and nervous, awaiting feedback from Etsy. Feedback now rolling in, it has been all positive but there is a theme going on which I feared. The staying power of some of my scents is not quite up to snuff.. or sniff. I am the kind of sort that is mortified, wants to apologize and is flogging my self but knows I just need to fix it in the future. One of the scents is a really lovely floral solids that is a bit too light. Do I put them on sale? I shrink knowing people spent money on them. If I could fly I would wisk my way around the country and replace them. Oy.
"Hedone" a new fragrance is out. Too light again I fear. Only 2 are on the market as one sold today.
I guess I need to learn that working with wax in a solid perfume is the fragrance eater.

"When in doubt, leave it out." has always been a motto of mine. " "Less is more" I have always strived for. In this case less is just.. less.
Now I will think, "When in doubt, don't put it out!"

Monday, June 7, 2010

getting crafty

oy... packaging.... not my strong point especially on a budget. I was never born for crafts. I always admired people who had an eye for color could turn a piece of paper into a two story mansion.
As I just posted on FB...(yes I am back on..sigh..maybe for just a week) I am like a drunk driver with a pair of scissors.
I think I expressed it another way, but you get the gist.

I am discovering that balancing to get the internet series soundtrack completed each month and putting out the Etsy orders is a major challenge. I am sure it will get easier once I have a system and I am not running round like a newly decapitated Chicken Little. It doesn't help that my car is out of commission. Oh no! I have to walk to the post. Forced exercise!
I have met some new folks in the perfume community and feel less of a loner in the world bordering on olfactory fetishism. I mean, when you smell something good or bad and it gives you get a a rush as if you are jumping out of an airplane, that kind of intensity doesn't fall into the usual category of your everyday, scent-stunned, numbed or just don't care, fragrant unaware fellow.
I think the first step to start becoming awake to the world of scents is to read: Patrick Suskind's "Perfume". Even if you read just the first page or second paragraph especially. There was a move adaptation made as well.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Etsy store scents

Ii thought I would post my new scents on Etsy for the record.
Some time soon I will get back on FB and let my fiends and family know I even have a shop and am selling. I am the worst self promoter.

"Le Sortil├Ęge" or "The Spell" is a dreamy, hypnotic and airy solid perfume. It's faint floral starts as a shy whisper than warms up to your skin making it's presence know.

"Le Sortil├Ęge" features a green, very slight, spicy top note and a heart of sensual florals of absolutes: linden, mimosa and orange blossoms, tuberose, jasmine, ylang ylang 1st, and my own heavenly infused organic Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla oil. The base has a hint of organic vetiver and Australian sandalwood carried in fragrant oregon honeybee and light soy wax.

This is a sensual, narcotic fragrance for moments when you want to be to be seduced by flowers or create a romantic atmosphere. I imagine some Charles Baudelaire poetry would compliment the perfume well.

Smoke Follows Beauty. Smoky And Sensual Inspired Natural Perfume.

I have lots of friends looking for a woody campfire scent. Living in Oregon you don't have to travel far to be olfactory hypnotized by the scent of trees and then suddenly you are wistfully counting the days before vacationing by a lake or in a favorite camping spot.
I love natural scents and that memories can be instantly triggered by them. Why not bring a vacation in the woods right to you. So, for my friends and lovers of the outdoors I offer you my romantic, very smoky, "Smoke Follows Beauty"
It has seemingly odd notes that work well together. What is a camping trip with out the sweets? Smores anyone? Some of the very intriguing notes include: Fir balsam, vanilla and hay absolutes, cocoa, guaiacwood, lapsang souchong and Vanuatu sandalwood. The perfume oil is in a light, greaseless base of coconut oil and vitamin e for a longer shelf life.

Coco Violette-an almost edible natural violet perfume.

"Coco Violette" is my signature scent, an almost edible, decadent, fresh, pastille inspired take on the Violet.

Top note: Blood orange, cardamom absolute, greens, violet leaf absolute
Heart: Orris, cassie absolute
Base: cocoa absolute, vanilla bourbon absolute,Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla bean, costus

I am offering the oil exclusively on etsy.
I made it personally out of decadence for myself to wear. The ingredients are expensive jewels of the natural perfume world.

A must have for the lover of violets!

Organic Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla bean natural oil

This is a real maceration and infusion of the beans and caviar of Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans in Fractionated Coconut oil. The long lasting oil is for wearing as as a perfume or adding to your own natural perfume creations. Fractionated Coconut oil is excellent for it has a longer shelf life than jojoba, is lighter weight and dissolves in grain alcohol.

It takes many many many beans to make a bit of oil. The outcome is heady and dreamy. Instead of wearing a synthetic oil why not wear the real thing?

The difference between Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans is that Tahitian beans have a more delicate floral note and Madagascar have the more rich, edible smell that we are used to in our vanilla bourbon extracts used for baking and such.

The vanilla oils are sold in dram sized bottles.
That is about an 1/8 of a fluid ounce (3.75ml) for $8.00.
The bottle is about two inches high by a half an inch

The beauty of this oil is that the scent is rich enough to be added to your natural perfume compositions or worn alone. I enjoy in my own natural perfume creations the floral end edible notes it produces.

Lapsang Souchong Tea oil infused for perfume

I was tired of searching for lapsang oil so...I made my own! I had to make it available to other "campfire" scent lovers.
If you are a lover of this aroma please read on.

Lapsang Souchong
is a black tea from the Fujian province in China and is traditionally dried over pine or cypress wood then placed in barrels to ferment. The leaves are then fried and placed over smoking pine to absorb the smoke flavor.

At Vireo we macerate and infuse the Lapsang in fractionated coconut oil with a touch of vitamin E. We use fractionated coconut oil instead of jojoba oil because of its lighter base, better absorption, shelf-life, and its ability to handle higher temperatures.

An oil maceration requires large amounts of raw material, and for best results, low heat, a lot of stirring over weeks and patience over multiple slow filterings. The end results are worth the wait. The color of Lapsang oil is a magnificent bejeweled green. The odor is rich with smoke, leather, fruits, flowers and history. There is a minute bit of smooth sedimentation that exists at the very bottom of a bottle of a thrice filtered batch. I call it the, “charm of the green dragon”.

A note on... notes:
Lapsang’s gorgeous, smokey, plum-like aroma blends with a boggling number of notes. A few may surprise you, such as a beautiful blend we suggest featuring cedarwood, violet leaf and a small amount of cocoa. Other suggested blends could include:
citrus, resins, incenses, balsams, chaii spices, florals..(Jasmine yum!), woods, herbs, roots, vetiver(of course!) patchouli, cassia absolute, guaiacwood, cade and juniper.
Because it is made with fractionated coconut oil you can add it to your grain alcohol perfume creations and no separation should occur.
This Lapsang is strong enough to be added to your natural perfume creations or worn alone.


This is a super fragrant perfumed salve or long lasting perfume. Its notes consist of a gorgeous iron free, spicy, warm organic patchouli from Sri Lanka and a deep, mellow, dark patchouli from Indonesia. Adding to it's gorgeousness are very subtle nuances of bay and frankincense, organic vetiver, amyris and hay absolute. The oils are held in a creamy base of fractionated coconut oil, vitamin e, jojoba oil and soy wax.

Take a roll in the ze hay!