Natural Perfume, Music and Embroidery this Trinity weave through my life. They support and give each other inspiration. It is my lifes work and profession. I think about Natural Perfume everyday. It is my reason d'etre. It brings joy, fulfills my soul. Creating beautiful perfumes from flowers, fruits and resins is superlunary. I am besotted, obsessed, deeply in love.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

blind test

My perfume created for a client was placed on a blind test against an international fashion designer perfume, a household name.

Thrilled and astounded. The blind test was conducted with a collection of business people. My client I believe was talking about naturals and their beauty and I think they decided to do a blind test to see who would win... synths or naturals...

So this designer perfume was put out and mine..... the blind test was completed with my natural perfume winning hands down.

Goes to show never underestimate the beauty of the naturals....

I hope my skill in composing was there too..LOL..

Monday, 12 November 2007

the muse has come again and off I go

morning meditating
Originally uploaded by rhembein
I can feel the muse pulling me to another part of the trinity.

This last year has found me knee deep in books, blogs blending, tincturing, experimenting, sourcing and thinking ...... I feel the shift in my thought patterns now turning to the project.. I have decided to start in earnest in the new year.

After much thought and working out the processes in my head I know the time is right for me to settle down to some serious work on this...... the perfume and machine embroidery for the piece and wanting to and getting excited. I am pretty sure about where I am going at last with this visual but the final answers will come when I set to.... I'm excited thinking about it. Anything else I dismiss... which for me is a sure sign...that I must follow ....

Focusing and developing what's ahead , mastering all that befalls my fingertips, nose and eyes. humbly asking for divine inspiration.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

music chords, perfume accords and memory

Music and different and at the same time in union with one another.

Musical notes ie notes in a chord. C, E G , first, third or 5th notes for example...or in Piesse associated odour could be from the lowest base note of the musical scale and corresponding resinous note of Patchouli, moving to lowest of the treble notes and corresponding floral notes of Acacia and orange flower.

Moving up the treble scale on the staves of a musical manuscript we look to Piesse too associate botanicals of Camphor, Portugal and Syringa, ... Jasmin, Cedrat and Magnolia, Pineapple and Verbena.... on the bass clef including patchouli again, then Wallflower and Frangipani, Santal, Calamus and Pergaloria, Geranium, Orris and Sweetpea. Rose which is higher on the base scale... relates to other perfume terminology of middle middle to base middle to top etc.... all examples here are associated with the simple 3 note chord and associated aromatic 3 notes surrounding C, E & G according to Piesse. These will change according to the notes used and corresponding floral notes.... in any chord/accord.

These notes also can be interchanged to create different intensities.... higher and lower resonences of the same chord with music or accords with botanicals by changing positions of the notes/botanicals on the stave.

Sometimes in music the lyric gives the listener an opportunity to relate to the music on a deeper sub-conscious level.... ie personally relate to it by an experience for which the music and lyric brings up memory and emotion.....

While perfume when inhaling the aroma ... if memory recognises the odour, will transport recognition of time, space and personal emotion.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

House Martin

The room is redolent with beautiful floral bouquets. The perfume welcomes you as you enter. Julias room is 'house martin' and looks out onto freshly furrowed fields and hills beyond. There is a little balcony with a wooden seat, again full of flowers in vases and a bird feeder where the birds of sparrow and blue tit come to feed and all can be seen from Julias bed. In late afternoon the sunlight pours in filling the room with light. It is serene and calm.

From the outset Julia wanted no fuss, but just to get on with it accepting it as bad luck and part of life. No tears but to carry on (if that was possible) In front of her we maintain normality talking and joking and shed our tears in private. Just 45 and within 6 weeks, cancer of the liver, pulmonary artery, spine, bones, and now the brain is taking our beautiful, intelligent , witty, funny lovely Julia away from us. She is my daughters much loved Aunt , Headmistress of a prestigious Elementary School in Eastnor Herefordshire and loved by all who know her.

She is slowly slipping away . At St Michaels Hospice in Hereford she is so tenderly taken care of. The bouquets of flowers have poured in from the schools she has worked with, Governors, old school friends and people who hardly knew her. It is very touching. Every day brings fresh bouquets. Five one day and on and on the flowers and cards come

I sat with her yesterday. On the CD player I put on piano music, English Suites by Bach played by Murray Perahia and Grieg Lyric pieces which is calming and beautiful. A foot and hand massage with some rose lotion and drinks of milk, juice and water whenever she needs it. ....tenderly applied with a straw to her lips. The pain relief administered is effective .........the professional staff there are very very special. The environment is caring, considerate and nothing is too much trouble. Many are volunteers.

Julia said to me yesterday ' I am going to have to go.... this is all I am going to say' Today she spoke to her sister and said 'it won't be long'..... Helen says she is calm and serene and drifts in and out of consciousness.

This will be my only post.

Julia Frances Morris November 5 1962 - October 22 2007

Thursday, 20 September 2007

up close and intimate with clary sage

I am making a deeper acquaintance with botanicals that I have been a little shy of.... liked them and have applied them but held off knowing them.....

So, Clary Sage....distillation from the plant Salvia Sclarea. As per lavender the flowers distilled alone give an oil richer in ethers than a whole plant distilled on the same day...

It is a middle to top note in perfumery with a high odor intensity and good fixative and can give 'green' nuances to blends. The aroma is warm and relaxing, but can also be heady and uplifting. A fine odour which some say reminiscent of a mixture of ambergris, musk, neroli and lavender. which certainly is detected in the body of the notes just before the drydown.

To help with a relaxing effect add cedarwood. It has incredible tenacity and the odour intensity still imparts warmth well over 24 hours... the aroma by then assimilates itself with lavender.. The initial impression when you first smell this sweetheart is fruity and dry, complex ,cognac like with notes of hay. After 15minutes tobaccoey notes emerge with a clean top end. Within 45 minutes one perceives a sweetness and a floral tea and still cognaccy with tobaccoey undertone....After an hour there is a warm cohesiveness to the notes that lingers on well into the next day..

The plant is robust and comely with downy leaves and tall flowered spikes. The crinkly and downy heart shaped leaves when touched has the sensation of crushed velvet. The flowers give off their bitter, musky and balsamic fragrance. In Germany, flowering tops and elderflowers were infused together with the liquid and added to Rhine wine to create the muscatel wine.

It is indispensable in the creation of ambers, chypres and in eau de colognes where it imparts its mellow sweetness and persistence which cannot be duplicated even with ambergris.

Monday, 17 September 2007


Its funny how I turn to autumn and winter and where during the summer months my spirit wants to enjoy intimacy with flowers , now darker days are approaching, I am wanting to encompass the rituals and resins of incense... purifying soul searching, spirit travelling incense......

I will be embracing these deep dark. sweet , resins and listen closely to their secrets....listening to help me bring their whisp-ers together in 'fume and joy..... in peaceful creativity....

Last winter I enjoyed whisp-ering with them and it shall be like reuniting with good friends and going on another journey together. Can't wait..

These fabulously sticky for the most part ancient resins have a story to themself and with masterful blending can be applied to create a haven of inspiration, insight and beauty to its surroundings... What I love about these sometimes rare materials is the wealth of study and reading that can accompany their aroma. This I find the most exciting and rewarding.. The smelling of them and getting to know them in diffierent moods takes me on new levels of discovery.

Friday, 3 August 2007

More work to create freedom

Tony Burfield from Cropwatch has again outlined the ridiculous penpushing looking out for their own backs policies being generated over the use of certain essential oils... Please take time to read this and if you can help in any way please contact Tony to gather facts, figures and statistics to keep our rights of choice...

To read please go to:

thank you for your time


Saturday, 21 July 2007

Riverside and Anya's Garden ... Ode

Jemina on smelling Riverside this morning

"It's like a secret garden!"

This photo is from Fin Garden in Iran and represents Persia's Garden of Eden.... Riverside will no longer be available. This is an honouring of Anya McCoy's roots.

From Anya's Garden Blog early post there is another Anyas Garden, an entrancing story. Click onto url below and then Anya's Garden link in fuschia there to read.

This story beginning in India and ending in Saudi Arabia and this perfume Riverside , are linked together and form the corner stones and paths for which Anya has nurtered and gently strolled .
The perfume conjures all that is comforting happy and joyful...From the moment I poured the sample into my hand and applied to pulse points I immediately sensed a feeling of deep happiness , fulfillment and contentment.

Citrus and pink peppercorn romp to meet you in a welcoming hug. It is like being taken on a walk through your favourite garden with a dear and beloved friend. Bees and Roses encircle and surround the air as you stroll through this most magic of gardens... The sense of purpose and idealogies are represented in this building forming the canopy of wonderful intricate patterns.....symbolically expressing Anya's work at Riverside and the Citrus garden she enjoyed and the knowledge and fun that was accumulated there at the University and beyond...the river path into the Garden represents clear vision...

The dry down lasts ages and goes on and on of soft creamy vanilla as does the euphoric and relaxed feeling of wellbeing.

Pan and Fairchild both have a freshness and sharpness where.... Riverside is warm, friendly and unashamedly beautiful... It is a best companion that you could reach for time and time again..... A classic.

Au revoir till we meet again..... would be its motto:

Friday, 20 July 2007

Indigo - mysterious, meditative

Ayala Moriels' perfume samples created by perfumer Ayala Sender came with the postman today. Indigo and Tirzah...... Along with a surprise treat from Salaam it felt like it was my birthday opening packages and placing my nose into the delicious offerings and revelling in the aromatic delights that assailed my senses. Salaams Bergamot oh my... this will be in a post of its own.....

Indigo... mysterious , individual and reflective... The overall feeling is of delicious dark secret green floral. Ayalas unusual and deft touch at the top of Aniseed (spice) Tarragon(herbal) and Neroli (floral) blends together in cool symbiosis... the anise wafting gently over tarragon and neroli not in a dominent way but as a breath... beautiful Boronia, spicy warm Carnation and Orris slip quietly into the heart notes silently and without fuss , refined, unfussy , smooth, silent and silky with a drydown of warm oriental amber, hints of meditative incense and sacred cedar from the Himalayas rising like smoke through the perfumes centre.

A perfume that can be worn seamlessly in life , quietly yet full of individual deferred, reflective yet quietly making its statement. This is me, this is who I am.....

Saturday, 14 July 2007

frutti paradisi - a garden of Eden

Salaam from sent me a sample of his Frutti Paradisi when posting some raw materials of perfumery.

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a wedding. I have been helping Kath and her daughter, Laura for the last six months with singing lessons, as both wanted to surprise Sean with a song that would mean something to them and celebrate their feelings. They chose 'These words' by Natasha Bedingfield .... I thought what a wonderful way to exalt their wedding by wearing a natural perfume. It seemed fitting to choose Frutti Paradisi. It was an amazing day, poured with rain but it didn't matter. The service included a Male Voice Welsh Choir. 'Love is like a rose' was beautifully emotive. The bride and maids looked stunning and Sean ( former Sandhurst man) was resplendent in a Kilt. My daughter took pictures which I am wanting too add but she is still to upload them to the computer... so here are the words for now.

I literally poured most of the sample into my hand and applied to pulse points, wrist, behind ears, back of neck and hair. By anointing this perfumed nectar in my palm gave a feeling of pure unequivical pampered indulgence...

The first instant is a delicious explosion of fruit black currants... this perfume gives a cohesive scent of its own and the blend of the fruity and delicate apricot tea osmanthus, creamy sultry jasmine and vanilla is sublime.... as I entered the church and was greeted with a murmur of what a lovely perfume .......a compliment to Monsieur Dubrana. The perfume lasted well into the afternoon where I applied again to last the rest of the evening. There was not one jarring note... Beautifully balanced as if stepping into the Garden of Eden. Exotic, fabulously fruity and with a touch of sensuality without it being crude or decadent. the drydown smooth and multilayered is without any complexity. In fact an elegance that would quite easily move from Theatre, Ballet or Concert to the bedroom... not cloying or narcotic, too sweet or hedonistic but elegant, full bodied and refined..... with a touch of suggestiveness that draws you in..

Sunday, 8 July 2007

great day in london friday 6th july

This is my second year at New Designers in London and once again this proved to be both exhilirating and inspiring exhibition full of new and exciting ideas from some of the new up and coming, rising talent in the UK.

Designers from all the major universities come together to exhibit the very best from their degree final shows. Textiles, jewelry, print, fashion, ceramics,. This is their 22nd year and was opened by our now very own Mr Brown ( our new prime minister) who stamped his approval on the future for UK design.

Lots of 60's retro, ruching, pleating, knotting and knitting.... the jewelry was fantastic .... embroidery on net. I chose this photo from flickr as there was one piece that used photo fingerprints as part of the dress and this reminded me of it and also combined with the netting that I saw.

The building itself is very modern and beautiful to look at and I had a very intensive 2 hours going round everything collecting makers postcards and details to peruse at a later date and gather information for us girls in Bowie & Hulbert, Hay-on-Wye. The glass work was also very beautiful

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Independence Day 4th July celebrate

Happy 4th July.........Many of you will be celebrating with fireworks picnics, water fun.......

Here in Wales I celebrated in a different fashion ... Today Ed our drummer from Babe Ruth bought the first test download from our site and it was a joyous exaltant feeling that what we had accomplished all by ourselves. Record companies have alot of power over artists who sometimes end up with a ball and chain around their necks beholden to a company and losing all their artistic freedom... with the evolution of computer downloads , you tube and such , individuals, now, have their say in how to make their music.... so record company roles will drastically change in the future on how they will perform in the music industry..... I think we still need expertise help to get the music out there....but how it is done that is truly changing. There are some great people in the music industry and it is good to see it evolving so positively.

Happy Independence Day.... Happy 4th July. and a big thanks to Tom Paine.......

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Red, Yellow and Green Mandarin

It seems that Aniba has at last been able to send out her wonderful oils from Brazil to members of the Guild and Group .... for which in my package of goodies is the mandarins amongst others....I purchased Red and also received yellow sample from her and I recently replenished my green from another source.... I think it will be fun to open these oils and get my immediate reaction .... I will leave space for drydown notes later when I have a bit more time... I have just trotted to the organ and desk and retrieved my carving set to open the green seals that were protecting the cap.... okay which one first.... well I am curious about the red mandarin

Red Mandarin: - whoosh before I had barely taken off the tape a mouthwateringly rich aroma comes to greet me.... ripe luscious mandarin this seems to remind me of juice running down your chin when sinking teeth in to draw the soft pliable flesh and suck its sweet nectared juices.

Yellow Mandarin:- oooh this is different subtler mellow sharpness with an intense top note... delicious I am excited about this one.

Green Mandarin:- I love this one and have used it alot in nose now picks up the familiar unripe sharpness and clean hespiridic note of the green unripe fruit.....

off to do some drydown tests on these now....which won't take long LOL will post up later..

Saturday, 12 May 2007

rose /rosa damascena

Rosa Trigintipetala
Originally uploaded by multiflora.

'Look to the Rose that blows about us - ' Lo,

Laughing ', she says 'into the World I blow:

At once the silken Tassel of my Purse Tear, and its

Treasure on the Garden throw.'

- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam-

A true rose odour is unique and incomparable, undefinable and best represented by the Rosa Damascena, cultivated in Bulgaria. One of the principal varieties grown in this area is Rosa damascena 'Miller' . The perfume is most powerful when the flowers open. Both single and double varieties are grown. The Damascena Roses with the Gallica roses are some of the oldest varieties known today.

There are ten districts in Bulgaria of which the most important are Kazanlik, Karlova, Brezova, Tchirpan, Nova Zagora and Stara Zagora. The flowers are cultivated in this famous Valley of the Roses, 200 kilometres east of Sofia accessible by road over the Klissoura Pass. The harvest takes place during May and the early part of June, but this depends on atmospheric conditions. Ideal conditions are gentle rain occasionally with a little sun. The roses are collected before they begin to open and while they are covered in dew. Roses gathered later in the day although emitting a more powerful perfume in distilling does not creat such a sweetness in the essence.

Kazanlik another Damascena Rose, originating in the middle east, is a vigorous rose and also grown in the rose fields of Bulgaria as another variety used in the manufacture of 'attar of roses.' The soft pink petals are very fragrant with a colour of warm pink. A dark green foliage and shaggy, double blooms. Height reaches 5' x 4' .

Other varieties of Damascena include...'Belle Amour' , 'Blush Damask' 'Botzaris''Celsiana'. 'Coralie', 'Gloire de Guilan,' 'Ispahan', 'La Ville de Bruxelles,' 'Leda,' 'Marie Louise', ' Mme Hardy', 'Mme Zoetmans', 'Omar khayyam' another rose of antiquity with seeds propogated on plants gathered from Omar Khayyam's tomb. 'Quatre Saisons both the 'Autumn Damask and Blanc Mousseux, 'Rose d' Hivers, 'St Nicholas... Triginpetala also called Kazanlik and described above and picture here and 'York and Lancaster.

Portland Roses including varieties such as 'Jacques Cartier'. 'Rose du Roi' and 'Rose de Rescht among others are included under the heading of Damasks although they have a shorter growing habit.

Different varieties of Rose and different cultivars of the same species can produce quite diverse characteristics and compositions. Below is a table comparing the main components of Bulgarian Rose (R damascena) or 'attar' to the French rose absolute (R centifolia ) from Julia Lawless Rose oil book. The Rose/Rosa Centifolia I shall write about in another post.

citronellol R. damascena 34-55% R.centifolia 18-22%
phenylethanol R. damascena 1.5 - 3% R.centifolia c.63%
geraniol and nerol R. damascena3--40% R. centifolia 10-15%
farnesol R. damascena 0.2 -2% R. centifolia 0.2-2%
stearopten R. damascena 16-22% R. centifolia c.8%

plus traces of: nonanon, linalool, nonanal, phehylacetaldehyde, citral, carvone, citronellyl acetat, 2-phenylmethyl acetate, eugenol, rose oxide.2.

In Persia and Damascus people used to bury jars of unopened rosebuds in the garden and dig them up on special occasions, when exposed to warmth their delicious perfume would suffuse the air.

Today, the perfume of the Bulgarian rose 'attar' is still considered to be the highest quality available.

In future posts I will look at the various methods of extracting the rose perfume , taking a look at Rosa centifolia, its uses in the various categories of perfume, Mythology and its benefits in healing.


Classic Roses by Peter Beales

Perfumes Cosmetics and Soaps Vol 2 by Poucher 8th edition

Rose oil by Julia Lawless

some good places to visit about Rosa damascena miller

Monday, 30 April 2007

alot has happened this month

This has been a month of only 2 posts yet alot has happened.

I have begun tincturing the bluebells in the wood ( s'okay wood well we bought it but I consider myself custodian) I started early as I wasn't sure how it would develop. I finally solved my organic alcohol dilemma and although costing me an arm and a leg in custom duties I at least have what I need. I shall dedicate a complete post with pictures that my beautiful daughter took as I feel it deserves this.. I think Iam pioneering this as if it has been done before it was many many many years ago.

I have been buying and sourcing lots of raw material and buying old books....... one came today a historical reprint from 1857... 'The art of perfumery, and the methods of obtaining the odours of plants; with instructions for the manufacture of..... dentifuces, pomatums, cosmetiques, perfumed soap etc by G.W. Septimus Piesse.

I am so excited to read and browse through this.. I am saving it to the last this evening when I slip between the sheets and savour the cover and its contents. I thought it may have been reprinted in french but it has been translated.

I will be going to the Botanic Gardens tomorrow .. More over on Flowers of Myddfai ... the blog dedicated to this project... I must try and post more next month

Coming up with a few glitches on a perfume I am working on for a client in London....... there is something in there that she finds too sweet...... so I am sending blotters down to see if we can define who the culprit(s) are......

The Natural Perfumery Group is alive and full of interesting information and exchanging of ideas......

Lilacs are blooming, hawthorn blossom, apple blossom, bluebells, milk maids, daisies, roses budding, peonies coming up , hydrangea petiolaris flowers starting to bud up, Wisteria starting to flower.... such a beautiful time of year.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

viola odorata - sweet violet

Viola odorata - Sweet Violet
Originally uploaded by ceterach.
I have transferred this story of the viola odorata to Janita's Attar as it was the riviniana ( wood or dog violet) that the physicians used and not the odorata (sweet violet).... I have removed the non-pertaining material about the project now. I am delighted to have identified it with the help of Andrine Olson-Kirschenman. The thread originally came from the NP group.

Walking home yesterday from adjudicating an Eisteddfod at Gwernyfed High School . ...I live halfway up a mountain and it was beautiful day, ..... The banks are full of celandine , I also noted swathes of tiny white flowers dotted alongside and amongst the celandine .... my curiosity to draw nearer... I realised they were tiny white violets. I delicately picked one and held it up and sniffed lightly...... very faintly almost imperceptibly the most exquisite violet aroma became apparent...... just lovely..... when I reached home I came to flickr to see If they had a photo to identify the type but I can't see it. checked white violet in google too and welsh field violet and nothing..... I will get Mina to take a photo and perhaps one of you may recognise the variety. there is no veining of colour at all. very tiny and pert with just a yellow orange centre......

the daffodils are abundant as the primroses, celandine....everywhere on the banks at the sides of the country roads...... the daisies are beginning .... the lambs are frolicking ...........eau to be in the marches......

Hi Janita,Funny you should write this -- I was just reading about violets yesterday in Roy Genders' Scented Flora of the World. Your white violet could be one of two that I read of there:(Originally from "Pansies and Violas", published in 1892 by Messrs Dobbie and Co, in words by one Dr. Stuart)

"It was... ten years before I succeeded in finding a really rayless viola. In Queen Victoria's Jubilee Year whilst walking round a seed bed, I found what I had long been seeking -- a pure white rayless self. It was a warm night and the perfume from the blooms attracted my attention."...A box of bloom was sent to William Robinson, editor of The Garden, who at once recognized a new strain. It was given the name of Violetta, and quickly became a favourite in the cottage garden... 'No family has given our gardens anything more precious'. Almost a century later, the same may be said of it and yet it is known to few gardeners."V. odorata. The Sweet Violet, is distributed from the British Isles, across northern and southern Europe to the Himalayas and northern Asia... The flowers are borne from January to June, depending on the locality and are violet-blue, white or purple, the side petals with or without a tuft of hair, whilst the spur is short."

So, you could have Violetta, or it could be Viola odorata. Or it could be something else that is still a mystery to me. But given that Roy Genders was writing specifically about flora in the British Isles, it could very likely be one of those two.Whatever they are, I would gather some if you can, and try an enfleurage. I have a Viola odorata enfleurage going right now. It's amazing how those little teeny flowers pack such a wallop of scent! And they don't break down into mush in the enfleurage -- they dry up and still smell good! I may even put them into something else after I pull them from the enfleurage -- maybe I'll attempt a little tincture... The only current drawback is that I'm using crisco, and so will need to store it in the fridge or freezer until I can wash the fat with alcohol so it doesn't go bad

Sunday, 25 March 2007

lavender pays

25 March 2007

This lavender from pays or country lavender is fresh and clean yet rich, not too sharp and with and excellent soft top note dropping down to a warm green undergrowth. There is a sweetness there in the middle that is not too overpowering and a lightness that is enchanting....I seem to have collected lavenders since starting my blueprint perfumery in 1998 and I have quite a few. I have my favourites and for a long time The English Hampshire lavender Co was number one . That is until Salaam from send me a sample of his lavender pays.....This lavender transported my back to my childhood. It is the exact note I remember of the lavender I used to smell in colognes that my mother used to bring home. As a child I was brought up by my grandmother , a Tambour Beader who worked for Norman Hartnell(Couturier to the Queen Mother and other members of the Royal family) and my mother was one of the first air-line stewardesses working for TWA and travelling the world.... she always brought me back perfume samples....... and the obsession was born !Yes, my top three lavenders now stand as Profumo.its lavender Pays, English hampshire lavender and Seville lavender(the Seville Anya sent to me and I just love it so different from other lavenders)

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

taking the plunge

Well after being totally in awe of her for nearly a week now... much to humourous delight all...... I read the pamphlet oiled her up.... and paced around...

Today I took the plunge...... she is fast!!!!!! The spool was wound in seconds! The threading is a little different from what I am used to but the real fun was trying to use the automatic needle threader.... well I couldn't get it! and because I just wanted to see what she could do shelved that for another day.

It is very earlier days as at the moment I have just tried the straight stitch taking her up to the 6mm..... beautiful stitch put the pedal to the floor and she flew in my hands....... and reveresed her back up...all on painters canvas and a fairly thick cotton .....

I will continue gently now next using a thicker thread on the bottom and reversing my fabric so I shall be working from the back. and using the quilting foot as well as no foot to see how we go.... alot to try out before I start ....... this will take quite a few hours before I feel as comfortable as I do with my brother but there is no doubt she is a thoroughbred, perfect for me.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Peony the Imperial Flower

' surely there has never been such a flower among mortals' (9th century chinese writer)

A sweet and heavenly perfume, inspired by Artists and poets.

Originally uploaded by bernadettemacphersonmorris.

I have collected and specialised, delighting in old and highly perfumed roses for many years. While browsing through some old master botanical paintings a couple of years ago I realised that it was the peony that had captured my heart. This spectacularly beautiful, fragrant plant, thornless and healthy, ruffled, soft and gentle. There are so many beautiful photos of this glorious flower I could not make up my mind.... it is now late and I will write more tomorrow.... I may even change this whole piece and photo but this will suffice for of peonies are an exchange of friendship and prosperity.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Buddha revisited with Sandalwood


The photo here is a Sandalwood buddha from Mysore India-

I am sitting here swathed in the aroma of Sandalwood. This beautiful meditative wood completely assails my senses as I write this.

A few weeks ago Salaam from kindly sent me some samples of raw materials .This first one is Sandalwood Mysore. I have a few other samples of Sandalwood oil and I have decided to compare this one with the agmarked (Indian government stamp of approval) Sandalwood from Nishan oils, a gift from Bernie and Sandie, Butterbur & Sage and have now had for some years.

Of course today this particular Sandalwood is endangered so thus for ecology it may be prudent to look for alternatives in managed woodlands and alternative type for this most special of oils.... I am writing about this, as this particular type has been used in rites incense religious festivals for centuries and I love its aroma. It is a great benchmark for other more ecological sandalwoods that are now offered.

Both penetrate and surround the air with its woody meditative ambience. Salaams has a greener note than the fuller and rounded ag-marked sample. Poucher describes the true oil as pale yellow and viscose which indeed sample is.. I am amazed at how the aroma penetrates deeply into my senses and through to the third eye. The agmarked sample is also pale yellow and viscose. So it looks as if these are both true for which I am delighted as adulteration can occur by using castor oil and cedarwood oil. The agmarked seems sweeter and fuller as if one has put a minor third in it than's greener higher note which may have something to do with the age. I would have no hesitation in recommending Salaam's beautiful calming Sandalwood. You can find Salaams site on my places to visit link. I have also some very fine sandalwood chips given by Dorian Schneidman which also pervays its calm aroma when warmed.

Monday, 26 February 2007


The Perfumery Group was enquiring after broom. It is honey scented (spartium junceum) or spanish broom and is also called Weaver's Broom and Genista. In France it is known as Genet and was used in perfumes as early as the 16th century by maceration. The odour has been described as sweet, floral, and hay-like. In commercial perfumes it has been used in Madame Rochas , Boucheron and Safari. So, haylike/honey....other similar oils would be flouve, beeswax abs, Linden Blossom abs, honey absolute. It would be wonderful in combination of a summer kissed perfume... warm sunny days......picnics, canoes down the river watching the swans, kingfishers, otters, herons......or lying on a beach near dried grasses and the smell of the ocean salty exalting watching the clouds scudding by.......... a tiny touch of ambergris.and seaweed diluted....perhaps for the sea one....perhaps some orange blossom water absolute for the river..... then tweaks with some others...... that will come....

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Hibiscus Flower

Seeing as I have used this flower recently...... I thought I would look at it in more detail.

In some hotels in Bali this exotic and tropical flower is used instead of the Frangipani (another favourite) I had no idea that there are many species and colours (all.georgeous)Some like the chinese split petal hibiscus has beautiful design like petals and quite extraordinary to look at.

The perfume certainly when used as a tisane is fruity and for dyeing produces old faded rose colours...... when I tried to tincture I didn't get much scent..... I may try again and just leave and forget about it. Maybe then I will get a fruity surprise...If one plucks a hibiscus petal and blows it from the plucked end, the lobed capsules of the petal can blow up like a balloon. :-)

The plant belongs to the Malva family (mallow) for which the wild flower species in the UK was used by the Physicians of Myddfai.

May 14 2007 tincture update...

The tincture is now a beautiful red colour with a delicious fruity aroma. I may add some more to create a strong mother tincture..

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

cropwatch vote re-opened IS IT FAIR GAME

Dear Friends..... I really can't believe what I am reading!!!! Is this acceptable this ethically correct? Does anyone have a grip on the official and correct procedure about re-oponing a poll that had already closed......??? What is the legislative procedure..... does this allow for re-voting????

14.2.07 After consultation with various people seeing as this is an not technically an official poll..... they can do what they like......fair enough.... the vote has been carried over but it is not adviseable to revote.... but pass the word that it is still going and get others to vote for this important issue.... thanks so much janita

Cropwatch vs. IFRA: A Note from the Editor[February 12, 2007]

Our mission at P&F magazine, the P&Fnow newsletter and is to provide a venue for the latest news, research and ideas in the flavor and fragrance industry. We seek neither to inflate the position of nor act as an advocate for any particular industry interests. Few topics have more keenly required our forum or been more controversial than the recent Cropwatch boycott of IFRA’s 40th Amendment to its Code of Practice. We’ve reported each step of the story as it has it has unfolded and recently posted an unscientific online poll. While the results of that poll have skewed heavily toward the Cropwatch point of view, we’ve received many passionate e-mails in support of both positions. We do not intend to misrepresent the attitude of the industry as a whole, but rather seek to take the temperature of our readers. With that in mind, we will keep the poll voting open until March 5, after which we will report the new results in P&Fnow (subscribe here). Vote now on our homepage! And we will continue to cover this story as it unfolds, reporting the various facts and divergent positions as accurately as is possible. We thank all of our readers for making P&F a dynamic, if sometimes contentious, industry platform. As always, we welcome your feedback at Best regards, Jeb Gleason-Allured Editor

Thursday, 1 February 2007


"Muhuhu is a hard to find essential oil that is used as a base note, similar to Sandalwood, Amyris and Tolu Balsam. It has an interesting Oud-like aroma on dry-out" This is Eden Botanicals description of the oil. I have sent some to the group as a sample. Mine was a gift from a supplier here in the UK and is now 12 years old and it is deep, deep, deep.

I have been smelling both. Muhuhu is black and dark ......sandalwood lighter and sweet spicy almost in comparison.... I combined muhuhu and hyraceum and they got on very well together, cavernous and will be interesting to see how they dry down together.

The gardens contacted me today and I will travel in latish spring and visit Kristina in the Apothecary gardens. I should by then have a few trial sampled pieces of the needle to show. I put a downpayment on a new sewing machine that will be coping with all the layering of threads I intend to do. I need speed as well as precision.. I spent months last year researching which would be right for how I work..... I think I have chosen wisely.... I will travel accross at some point and have a trial run with it.... see how she runs....

Back to read White Lotus aromatics 'fragrant harvest' newsletter 1st installment on Grasse and continue enjoying and familiarising with the samples and new notes to play with .......

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

an intriguing discovery

preparing some natural dyes today ..... I thought I would use some dried hibiscus petals. Placing them in bowl I was taken by the fruitiness of its odour.

I have enjoyed Hibiscus tea. The petals give up to various colours of soft antique rose shades and deeper depending....and this fruity perfume.

I have tinctured a small amount in a 15ml bottle with alcohol and will change petals (if I can get them out :-)) when needed and see if this fruitiness can be captured.


I have lots to do and rather than try to restrict myself in order of a list . I will try and flow.

reformulating kite is one I am looking forward to sitting and working with that, mordanting in prep for natural dyeing, embroidery testers and anything else.. will write more later.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Fifi LaRue and her bootleg balancing act..

I found this Robilee Mcintyre after contemplating further the Prohibition Era and what is happening with the IFRA and 40th amendment.

It seems to be that when governments try to impose over-regulated laws, citizens rise up and challenge authority.

Flexibility and reason is the key, we do not want to become a society like George Orwells 1984..... where everyone is frightened to move because of Big Brother. There surely must be a way for which safety and creative endeavor can walk peaceably together. I think one of the natural perfumery group members put it beautifully, describing in a nutshell, if we do not take a step back we will be living in a plastic bubble..too frightened to come in contact with anything... I certainly do not want to end up in a Michael Frayn's ' A very private life' ...... it is all about communication based on intelligent interaction and balance.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Ingredients IFRA and the 40th amendment

Pear Snaps
Originally uploaded by maasha.

Dear Perfumistas

This could affect everyone in this community naturals or synths... please take the time to read and vote for Tony at Cropwatch. Your vote is important....... and let us take a stand for balanced reason . Listed below is first the vote then IFRAs response to cropwatch and finally the 40th amendment

I am glad to be a member of the natural perfumery community group..... this is what I said...

' Today, now more than ever ......Artisans are springing up intent to uphold the past traditions of excellence that has been laid down before us..... For example: the Art world has conservationists who study and learn the ways of the old masters so that when a priceless painting needs repair they use the same methods and materials to complete the restoration to exacting standard.....The same goes for listed building.... Cathedral restoration ...Textiles, restoring a piece of the Bayeux they don't use modern dyed threads but traditionally naturally dyed threads so that it is seamless. Artisans don't just use modern techniques and materials they use the knowledge of the best materials and available knowledge of the past because they know it is quality..... that speaks for itself .... these are the standards IFRA need to look at ..... respect and attention to past perfumers and how they approached their work.alongside the best of the present....When that fabulous age of perfumery came was there any IFRA then? Was there any need? Did anyone suffer ? Maybe.... we may not know..... but because of this age of communication everything is thrown under the microscope..... We are exceptionally lucky inasmuch modern technology has given a pallette of raw material that far exceeds what the past well as our understanding..... because of this and scientific breakdowns of molecular structures of oils good and bad , we have to somehow find a way to embrace the old and new traditions of excellence .....It may not be easy ...but, if there is a will there is a way.......'

Monday, 22 January 2007

Threads and woodruff

I Have continued thoughts and plans and samples on the machine. I am still unsure of the background colouration and what weight of threads to use. I am playing with a red background today and applied the beginnings of Galium odoratum (woodruff) ... fragrant flowered herb with whorls of lanceolate leaves and creamy star shape flowers. Interesting to note is that several species of this plant are used to curdle milk in cheese-making. I am using a heavier weight cotton and threads and am unsure at present how it shall develop. I liked the way I did the digitalis sampler that is on the NP group photos but I feel I need to explore fully different techniques until something clicks. These samples are all work in progress and will define the movement of the project.

Finally back on internet so can catch up with NP group and continue working on this so I can post it up.

Havn't felt like blending today although I still think about it and work things out in my head. There is a dusting of snow on the mountains and a cold north wind....brrrr.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Earth notes, birds, insects and trees

Saturday January 13th 2007

Kristina from the NBGW emailed yesterday and had some helpful suggestions regarding the dried material for the project. I responded and have also enquired about insect and birdlife round Llyn-y-fan..Also what trees are about the lake.... I know about the silver birches but it would be good to get a topography of the area. I still need to drive up there and take some photos. I will do that in spring when the weather is milder.

Went back to my deep dark base notes and was utterly delighted with it .... cocoa, ambergris, choka loban and vetiver have moulded together in the most scrumptious earthy note...
The Incense formulae needs adjusting...... I feel paraguaan guiaccwood to offset some of the sweet and spicy notes... give a fuller smoky note.... added that before I retired.

What I had planned and what I eventually do is always different ..... I always rebel against my own list of things to do.... rather funny really...

Friday, 12 January 2007

The story of The Physicians of Myddfai

January 12 2007

The Physicians of Myddfai

It was another spring morning and the farmer of Blaensawdde was watching his flocks on the shores of Llyn-y-Fan Fach on the slopes of the Black Mountain.

As the first rays of sunlight hit the shimmering waters there was a strange rippling on the surface of the lake and then he saw, sitting on a small rock the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. The farmer gave his heart ..... he could think of only to share his barley bread but with a smile she refused

Cras dy fara Hard baked is thy bread
Nid hawdd fy nala It is not easy to catch me

With that there came a gentle breeze and as the waters on the lake rippled the sun glinted. For a moment he was blinded and as he looked again there was no rock and no maiden....

Twice more he came to the lake and twice more he was refused in the same manner. The third time he waited all day until the day cooled as the sun dropped from the western sky.... One by one the stars appeared mirrored on the lake ..... he felt despair.. with a sigh he threw the bread onto the water.

" I have no gold, silver or riches to offer thee, just the bread grown by my own hands from the rich earth. It is all I have to offer , save myself which is yours forever".

and threw the last bit of bread into the water as the moon rose over the mountain tops and laid a cold light over the broken waters.
He turned to give one last look and there standing on the lakeside was the lady of Llyn-y- Fan
laughing gaily.... " Truly I will have you for you offer as much s any true man many. But, beware, if you strike me three causeless blows no matter how gentle I will return to the lake and never more be with you..."

They were married and three sons were born...........sadly, three causeless blows were struck by the husband on three occasions which on the last occasion the faerie lady returned to the lake from whence she came. Their sons grew strong and wise and it was the fairy blood still flowed through their veins for they succeeded in all that they turned their hands to. It is said that had they chosen they could have become the richest and most powerful men in all Wales, but they had other purposes and turned instead to healing. Maybe it was the fairy blood within them, and maybe their mother visited oft-times to give them advice, for their herbs and remedies were renowned. They were the first of a long line of physicians.

excerpts from Lancaster University Alan Dix
edited by Janita Haan Morris
sourced from Myths & Legends of Wales by Tony Roberts
Welsh Legends and Folk Tales by Gwen Jones

note: The 14th century manuscripts that survive show the physicians access to European medical writing of their day as well as their sophisticated use of plant medicines.

Preparing the Way

january 11 2007

Had a good day in preparation for work... A basket file for all the current research and lists for the flowers of Myddfai. We had no electricity for the best part of the day .... so the fire was lit with logs and candles burned.... rather beautiful.

Thought on and off about Natashas perfume Kite... I will collect the authentic Linden from Caroline Monday and then will reblend (yup that naughty Linden got in my current work.....) I have given it to Caroline Ingraham now for her work with animals so that is the end of that. White Thyme and( green mandarin) marry together well. I have just come back to edit as since this has been posted there has been IFRA banning mandarin or its component..... So now I will have to look at an alternative and explain to Natasha why..... great...:-( Sharp and fresh. I shall have to put my thinking cap on. Natasha liked rosewood which I love too, but with endangerment I may replace it with Quinesssences rather beautiful linaloe wood. The balance between those three will have to be examined and with linaloe and rosewood the aroma is soft woody and round and may clutter the clean sharpness to the other two.... However, I will ascertain and assess their dry down times and adjust accordingly. Recheck the safety .... I am undecided whether to add the pink grapefruit I had in earlier..... but it will unfold when next I blend... I may make up an accord first and add a small amount to the top note to augment the others but I will see and think on for a bit. I will have to sit and think for a heck of alot more thanks to these IFRA 40th amendment issues..... time to download and assess it's potentail damage.

I have sent Kristina an email at the apothecaries garden about the dried material and am waiting for her response. It is now 2.16am and time for sleep.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Flowers of Myddfai

This shall be a travelling log ..... my meanderings and journeys of a Natural Perfumer. A noted history of all that transpires as the plant hunter explores this delicious world of natural origin.

I have begun work on the project explored last year with the National Botanic Garden of Wales based on the Physicians of Myddfai, part Myth and Folk tale, part truth and the healing plants they used in the community. I think I may change the title and call it (at present) 'Flowers of Myddfai' or even 'Healing flowers of Myddfai' ...... oh I am never very good at making decisions.... will leave it like that for the present. Will bring, hopefully the visual and perfume together.
I will narrate the story here at another post.

I have Professor Turners authentic list of plants used, about 92 in all and have begun separating them into botanical art plants and perfumery plants. I can then begin the line drawings and collect the best oils I can source to be used in a perfume for the column which I loosely titled the Physicians needle. David Mark from the Guild the authentic Potpourri maker from Chicago has been very helpful in the fixative area. I had a pretty good idea what I needed but he really dotted the i's and crossed the t's. Invaluable advice.. So that is written in my book for later.....

Today I looked at the different threads I had requested samples of and am still deciding on what background colour to use for the plants. Some of my research is just for me and is secret, but I do want to share to those who have shown such support and interest. I still need to contact Kirsty from the Apothecaries Garden who sent me the list of plants to enquire about the dried material. I also have to request samples of the type of fabric for which I will eventually machine onto.

The Victoria and Albert Museums Conservation dept have been most helpful as there were pertinent questions that needed answering. I will be keeping them posted on the development of this work as others in a newsletter from time to time. I am excited, nervous about this it willcertainly be an adventure...