Sunday, September 08, 2013


So I got some new materials the other day, in addition to the bazillions of ones that I got and never wrote about, so I thought I'd flerp a post up.

One at least is a "natural" ingredient (natural in quotes because the demarcation between natural and synthetic is so much fuzzier than it may seem initially): fir balsam absolute.  Wow--where has it been all my life?? It smells kinda like that Yankee Candle that was discontinued because it smelled too good, the Balsam Fir one. It has the very green conifer notes (nothing camphory, thankfully), and the balsamic-woody tone with the fruity tone that always comes up in descriptors for it. It's very, very thick and sticky, but it's worth getting it to dissolve in alcohol, because it's such a lovely, natural note.  And rather unlike the steam-distilled conifer notes I've smelled. It's fuller than the Himalayan fir oil and much more complex than scotch pine essential oil.  Very nice. I think I shall have to get more of it.

Two other materials I got are good examples of the blurriness between the idea of naturals and synthetics: One is Patchouli Coeur, which is a patchouli oil high in patchoulol. It's a very nice oil, not as harsh as the young, steam-distilled (?) patchouli oils you often come across in health food stores and what not. It's almost like a composition.  Recognizably patchouli, not too green, a bit of that 'round' note that patchouli can have that I've never been able to describe. I think it might be a fruity note, but I've always for some reason thought of it as having a cola nuance.  Unfortunately I don't get any of a cocoa feel from this oil, but nevertheless it's a great patchouli. I'd love to compare it with patchouli CO2 and patchouli absolute, which I don't have.  And patchoulyl acetate, which I'd quite like to smell, especially since I find interesting the olfactive differences between various alcohols and acetates (linalool and linalyl acetate, eugenol and eugenyl acetate, etc....)  The reason why I'm not sure whether this oil is a natural or not is that I'm not sure how they get the patchoulol content higher than typical oils.  I guess it's some kind of fractionation, but I'll stop any speculation there, since I don't understand those processes. The takeaway here is that if you like patchouli, you'll probably like the patchouli coeur.

And the other material is Labdasur. It's from labdanum (hence the name), and I think it's considered a synthetic. But I'm not sure if it's a fractionated version of labdanum or something extracted out of it (like alpha irone from orris?). The company that manufactures it also makes Cistasur (a synthetic) and eclat de ciste. I don't have either of those, but I do love my labdanums. The Labdasur is supposed to be leathery and animalic--I suppose the leathery part of labdanum.  To me it smells very ambery, and maybe leathery in the sense that Bel Ami is (or rather, was) leathery.  In that ambery way.  So it's a warm brown leather note like in Cuir de Russie, not a smoky leather note like cade or a black leather like Safraleine. I diluted some and put it on my skin, and it got a bit of a powdery thing going on too.  Very nice. I like this one a lot. I'd love to try the cistasur, which is supposed to be ambery and powdery, I think, and the eclat de ciste, which I think is a 'sparkling' cistus note.

I do have to reiterate that I love my labdanum. There's an absolute that I can actually buy in a store here in the Frozen North (there aren't many places to get essential oils/absolutes here), and it has a smell similar to a light oakmoss.  Speaking of which, I have some oakmoss coming, along with Timbersilk and Fixateur 505, which I'm pretty excited to meet. I just love the name, and it's supposed to smell a bit like Ambrarome, which I think is supposed to smell a bit like labdanum.  So the labdanum journey continues.

And that's my beep for today.

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