Sunday, February 28, 2016


So I have this musk blend that I often use as a base on which to layer things. It's a sort of ever-evolving blend that I add to when I have new musk odorants. It's mainly ethylene brassylate at this point, but it also contains Zenolide, l-muscone, Exaltolide, some musk ketone, Habanolide, Velvione, Exaltenone and at least one musk base.  No Cashmeran.

At first I wanted to keep it only musk odorants, but after a while it's grown a little in complexity. Benzyl salicylate is in there, both because I love the smell of it (I perceive it, but it's very faint to me) and because it's easy to dissolve the ketone in it. There's some vanillin in there too, because I love vanillin in all its forms.  Just traces in my musk blend, though

What has not really been in there are any more traditional animalics, like civet or castoreum (although I do love castoreum, but I think I prefer a reconstruction to the natural material). I've always thought I would like the more animalic musks, and filthy smells in general; sort of in the same way that I thought I would like things like red wine, dark chocolate and whiskey--things that are always described as rich and bold. I've never smelled musk tincture (who has?), but I've smelled some of the more 'dirty' musk bases, and to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. I think Shangralide smells awful--like a ugly mixture of clean musk with something, I dunno, musty or dusty or something. I wish I could smell some now, because I can't remember what exactly it brought to mind for me; for some reason I keep thinking it made me think of dolls (sort of like how a plasticky apple scent might make you think of a Strawberry Shortcake doll), but that can't be right. Maybe it smelled like something girly but old, like a soft scent stored for a long time in a dank cupboard.  Anyway, yeah.

I've also smelled Tonquitone, which is more appealing than Shangralide by miles, but doesn't make me swoon. It smells like underwear that I've worn for a week straight. Not altogether bad, but not as interesting as it seemingly smells to others.

As for dirty musk fragrances like Musc Koublai Kahn, well, I've never really found one that I thought was particularly dirty. MKK starts out with a dirtyish note but clams down pretty quickly. I've not smelled Secretions Magnifique, so maybe that's more offensive.

I guess I should mention that I've also smelled civet bases (but not the natural material), which smell unpleasant but not hellaciously so. They smell like bad teeth to me. And I've smelled Africa Stone, which is actually quite pleasant.

But I've never put anything like that into my musk blend. After smelling a bunch of musk materials, I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that I prefer the cleaner musks. I think my favorite is Habanolide (or maybe Globanone, which I haven't experienced much but seems to be even more of what I like about Habanolide--a sort of metallic note), which is clean, not too fruity or powdery, and gets even better as it dries down. Ethylene brassylate is really growing on me too. I do quite love juniper lactone, but it's very pricey. Still haven't smelled civettone (talk about pricey!!).

But this weekend I got it in my head to see what Costausol did to my musk blend. Costausol is an animalic-type that I sort of like. To me it smells sort of nutty, and with other materials it gives an impression of hair. Actually, alone it reminds me of the first "vetiver type"oil I ever smelled. It was from some super cheap brand sold at a place called Scents n Suds, and I remember it smelled sort of like old wood but with a tone of chewed peanuts and a floor wax connotation. Since then I've smelled several vetiver essential oils and a couple isolates, and nothing has ever smelled like that particular oil. I wonder what they were going for when they created it. And I also wonder whether it had costausol in it, as costausol gives part of the oily, peanutty note that was in it.  So anyway, I tried a little costausol in my musk blend, putting a tiny bit in a smaller bottle and seeing what happened. Because that's how I roll.

Now, the tiny bit in the smaller bottle still amounts to much, much more of a Costausol influence than I would end up with. When I'm trying something new like that, I'll often put it in a li'l sample at a much higher concentration than I would use it, just to see what it does. And you know what? I like the effect that the Costausol has. Granted, it's too nutty and forward in the small sample, but it's much more diluted in the blend proper. I like how it gives a background to the musk, making them a bit more oily. It also works very well for layering. I think it will work well once it integrates fully into the blend. And if not, I can always add more of the musk materials I prefer to the blend to bring it back into balance. There's so little Costausol there that it shouldn't have a massive effect.

And that's floop!

Friday, February 19, 2016


First of all: Oh fer Chrissakes, now the EU demands that blogs have informed consent??? WHAAAAAA?????

And now that's out of the way (I hope), let's talk about lactones.

It's been forever since I posted, and I've smelled about a million (probably closer to 30) aromachemicals since then, so I'm finna speak about my most recent acquirescences, which aren't many.

So..... lactones.  What does the word mean to you? If you're not a fumehead (my preferred term) (and if you're not, well, how did you get here?), then you have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe you're lactones intolerant.

If you ARE a fumehead, then you're probably thinking, "Oh yeah, lactones! Buttery, peachy, coconutty.... white floral accents.. yes, I know those."

So yeah, lactones.

I'm finna talk about my most recent acquirals in the world of lactones. And they all revolve around tonka.

So since I was gonna be in the States over xmas, I finally made another order from I haven't ordered since I've been abroad, because their shipping is, like, $20, and compared to perfumersapprentice's circa $10, that seems like a lot to me. Until I type it, and then it's like all, duh, that's only a few more dollars, but hey, no one ever claimed I was rational. But anyway, so for the visit, I made a quick order that included whiskey lactone and gamma valerolactone.

OK, so some preliminaries... I love lactones. Tonka-type lactones.  Peach lactone and C18 were the first ones I ever experienced, and I didn't much like them, to be honest. Peach lactone (C14) didn't smell like peach to me in a way that I liked (it smelled buttery to Nils; I would say maybe fatty, but not buttery so much), and C18 was too dry for my taste. I don't usually like the coconut note when it's too forward. I still don't like C14 very much, but I'm sure it works better in composition than in isolation.  But I DO love coumarin. And, to some extent, octahydrocoumain. Both are lactones. Presumably so is dihyrdocoumarin, which I think I like even better than coumarin, as I perceive it as more tonka. Coumarin in isolation is more powdery to me.  But since I'm always searching for That One Perfect Tonka Note, and I know (now) that coumarin is a lactone, I've been trying tonka-type lactones.

The first couple I tried that seemed much more interesting were Koumalactone and Florex (both available from Liaison Carbone, thanks god). Now, every time I find a new lactone that's coumarinic in the way I like, I always think it's my salvation. "This is the lactone I've been looking for!!!" is the first thing I think when I smell them.  It was like that with Koumalactone.  "Finally a lactone that smells like tonka!!!!" I thought when I first smelled it. I wish I could get it at 100%. But.... then came Florex.  But wait!

Actually.... then came Coumarone, also available from Liaison Carbone.  I forgot about this one.  A powder, just like coumarin.  BUT it has an orangeflower facet.  I read about this (of course) on The Good Scents Company before ordering, but to be honest, I couldn't really get my head around it. "And orangeflower facet in a coumarinic material? How could it be so..." I thought to myself. But it's true. A coumarin theme with a significant orangeflower side note, not unlike.... oranger crystals!!! Of course, it makes total sense. I mean, it's a ketone, right? Just like oranger crystals.  Seems like it could be very useful.  But anyway...

Florex. Amazing. It really does have a 'tangy' aspect. I've been interested in this idea of a tangy aspect since smelling Guess! for Women, which--for better or for worse---I will always associate with Payless Shoe Source, since I finally bought the bottle, at deep discount, the same day I visited a Payless Shoe Source in Atlanta. One whose clientele must have been mostly drag queens, because I think I bought some chunky women's heels there in an attempt to see if I could make myself even taller, something which today I think I could accomplish with simple elevator shoes. (Full disclosure: I'm not exactly tall. I'm not exactly short either, at just about 6 feet, but hell, a few inches can make a big difference. Yes, that IS what she said!) But I remember it had a tangy drydown which for whatever reason I thought had a fecal aspect.  And interesting that I should think that.

Because I got some Florex, after wanting some for quite a while. And naturally I thought, "This is the tonka note I've been looking for my whole life!" I found it tonka, coumarin, tangy, interesting and very long lasting.  Nils, on the other hand, thinks it smells like "fresh dog shit," and hates it. When I think about it now, I sort of see what he means. Its tangy note is very sharp. I find it pleasant; Nils doesn't. The tangy note isn't so forward in composition. (Full disclosure: "Composition" to me basically means "added to something I had lying around.") It's quite lovely.

So on to the creatingperfume order.  In it were whiskey lactone, gamma valerolactone, a sample of Azuril, a sample of Indolearom, a sample of Amber Xtreme and something else citrusy that was unpleasant. I think that was all.  So whiskey lactone.  Well, it's basically the tonka note that I've been looking for all my life.  Like the others. At this point I'm getting skeptical of these initial impressions.  But it did smell lovely in a tonka way. Nils thinks it smells like dill. Gamma valerolactone--well, this one is quick. Quick of the smelling strip, that is. The description intrigued me to no end--tobacco, hay, top note.... On the strip I didn't smell so much. I still haven't explored it enough, though. But I think I got some almond/hay type scent from it. I'll have to explore this one further. After googling, I noticed that it may be metabolized into some GHB type chemical.  Well, who knew! I have no intention of trying that, but I guess this type of thing is good to know, if only to anticipate the thing being restricted soon.

So that's my lactone journey for the moment. I'm always hoping to find more (convenient to acquire) tonka-type lactones, so maybe something will come along soonly that IS the lactone I've been looking for my whole life. And hopefully it will be super strong, available at 100% for cheap, and be a base note with an effect perceptible at every stage of evaporation. I've yet to explore gamma-hexa- and heptalactone--maybe those are the key.  I guess it can't be all THAT difficult to reproduce the tonka note, since there aren't many tonka bases offered in my sphere of purchase possibility dinglepoodonglevweenoodelpeedoodeloos (which makes me think that this tonka-hay note is so obviously reproduced that no one bothers to make bases for it; that said, there IS the base Coumarex, which I still have yet to experience. But then, that's a base to allow for reduced use of coumarin, methinks, which doesn't really apply to me, since I'm just a hobbyist doing ish for my own pleasure).
Be well, and be perfumed.

Much Love,

Monday, February 08, 2016

Link: LVMH Silences Monsieur Guerlain

So how can someone have a scent blog and not mention LVMH shutting down Monsieur Guerlain?  Go here to read all about it:

It's a disgrace.

10 February update: And this is how LVMH responds to the criticism on Facebook:

So this is Guerlain believing "strongly in freedom of expression"? Fuck Guerlain. Fuck LVMH.