Friday, January 29, 2010

Raw Materials

Why am I not yammering on about all my new raw materials purchases here? Why am I boring people with all kinds of facts about my latest acquisitions??

I thought this yesterday in the tub (I get the best thinking done in the tub), and thought that maybe I should experiment with "bottling up" all my fragrance talk and putting it all here. Then I could talk all I want about it without worrying whether people are falling asleep. Because on the Internet, you can always just go to a new website if you're bored. Glorp!

You know what I realized, also, in the tub? Every since I've been getting these new aromachemicals (and I love this world we live in where you can order aromachems off the net and be sure what you're getting. I would hate it if my aroma palette had to consist only of oils I could find retail--with names like Amber, Arabian Sandalwood, Sex on the Beach and African Love. Who knows WHAT is in those things?! Not as if it's going to be dangerous what's in them, but the point is that you don't even know what you're mixing. Anyway, back to my other realization: I haven't bought any actual fragrances in forever.

OK, that's not exactly true. I've bought two very recently: Realm for Women and Fleur du Male. Both because they're very, very cheap due to having been commercial failures. But I adore them. Realm has topnotes of orange-flavored Aspirin or Triaminic and berry notes similar to cough syrup or Flintstones vitamins. That's what I treasure about the scent. Seriously. After that is a warm floral drydown that's kinda tangy at the end. And it has an "aftersmell." Spray it on a card or on your hand. Then exhale and quickly inhale again. An aftersmell. ...And then there's Fleur du Male, which really feels more like a perfume base than a proper fragrance. Just blazing, blistering powdery orangeflower. That sweet note in Joop! but filled out a bit; not so chemical. Don't get me wrong, though--jpgfdm IS pretty chemical, but not like Joop! or (thankfully) Le Male. It's supposed to have fern and hay accords in it too--I don't smell them. I only smell a floral BLAST that's strong and long-lasting. It's fantastic for layering, especially with other bright florals. And you really don't want to hear how I layer, because you would probably retch. On some occasions, I'll actually put a few drops of a base or an aromachem (like a 10% Calone solution I have) on my undershirt or in my shoes. Actually, doing that in my shoes is probably on the whole something good for humanity. On my shirt--probably not good either for me or for peeps who, for example on the subway, have to smell me up close. To those people, I have to say, "I'm sorry if my fragrance is bothering you; you're welcome to go fuck yourself." In a way, it's kinda like smoking: "Excuse me, your possibly hazardous layering of aromachemicals is bothering me." "Well, it's killing me, bitch."

So let's talk aromachems! I have to say, I've gone a bit overboard since I ordered my first ones. Since I discovered that you can order small quantities from The Perfumer's Apprentice, I've been doing so constantly. I got some for Christmas, and then got more after. I can't remember the last I mentioned, so I'll rattle off a few names, some of which I can't remember exactly: cis-3-hexanol: perfect sharp green grass fresh cut leaf; Stemone: green, vegetable, tomato leaf, excellent; coumarin: lighter than I expected, but still lovely--faint cherry almond herbaceous; Kephalis: smells to me a bit like peat, but also woody, maybe tobacco-like, quite nice; Cosmone: my first musk--HEAVENLY, smells like I don't know what--powdery, sweetish, not much of a recognizable character, but soft, velvety, I ADORE it--I'm thinking of making a perfume out of only the maximum amount of Cosmone--it's that good.

I think that was most of two orders ago. The last order was about two things, mostly: carnation and bases. I got a carnation accord. It smells wonderful, but I adore carnation. Does it smell like the carnation absolute at Enfleurage? No. That smells like some combination of carnation, honey and lots of earthy, hay like , strange smells and a powderiness. You wouldn't connect it with carnation in your mind if you smelled it. The carnation accord from PA: bright, sweet, spicy, very much what you'd expect from something called carnation. Not exactly "natural smelling." In some ways hedonically superior to the natural. And this brings me to one of the most interesting things I've ordered: The Sampaquita base from Givaudan. It's supposed to smell like jasmine sambac, I think. I have smelled the natural J. sambac abs, and I find it extremely pleasant (I had Pseu Braun smell a dilution of it, however, and she said "it smells like ass. Literally, like ass. Must've been the indole...). The base does not accurately re-create the smell of the absolute. It creates a different impression. They smell very clearly similar, but the base is brighter and more gleaming. At first there's that fertilizer-like smell that I thought was indole in the natural, but curiously, it fades. And you go through a number of synthetic floral smells, one of which is noticeable as the prominent note in oils called "pikake" and "orange blossom." Methyl anthranalate? Not sure. At points I felt like the base would work great in a shampoo or something. It's really bright. If the natural absolute is a warm 15-watt incandescent bulb, the base is a 100-watt halogen. Which is better depends on what you need. I won't really go into that, because there are lots of reasons to use bases. I guess one good question is this: if I were to create a jasmine perfume, which would I use? The answer is easy: both. The base for its radiance, freshness and economy, and a bit of the natural for its odd, animal/earth/green notes and roundness. But remember, folks: I'm not a perfumer. Don't try this at home. I also got PA's tobacco accord. I had the tobacco absolute already (stunning--fruity, hay like, earthy, with maybe even a hint of manure, heavy, versatile), so I could compare the two. The PA accord is definitely lighter and brighter, and ironically smells more like tobacco, as in the dry tobacco you'd fine in cigarettes. Safraleine is part of the accord, and I can detect it. Maybe because I know it's there, but I also have safraleine, and I really like what it does.

Back to carnation: I also ordered methyl laitone, which smells fantastic. It's definitely one of my favorite materials, up there with cis-3-hex and Cosmone. It smells to me like the floral not that you buy ylang or Stargazer lilies for. Amazing. Floral, but also spicy, somewhat like gingerbread. Someone else smelled smoky notes in it, and said it smelled like heated wood, like in a sauna. Interesting. I also got some methyl laitone, which at first started out nicely tonka-like, but then became that coconut milk smell you encounter in "Arabian sandalwood." And a bit urinous. I also got some bicyclo nonolactone, which smells spectacularly like tonka. I like it very, very much.

Oh, and I got some dyhydromyrcenol, to have as a reference chemical. It's just something you have to be familiar with it. It's not entirely pleasant. It smells "functional," like a cleaning product. Sort of citrusy in a vague, grey way, sort of lavendery, maybe a bit of wood. You can definitely smell that it's been in a lot of colognes.

In the upcoming order: Helional. I can't wait to smell this. It's supposed to be ozonic/metallic with a hay and cyclamen tone (what does a cyclamen smell like???!) and maybe an almond cream nuance. I'm not sure what to expect. Turin says it smelled like a silver spoon after its been sucked. Also, hydroxycitronellal, another reference material. Bases: Kumquat Givco and Lindenflower Givco. The Kumquat is supposed to be a headspace reconstruction--should be interesting. And isocyclocitral, which is supposed to be a green note. I've adored all the green notes I've gotten so far, so I'm excited about this one.

That's the beep for now.

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