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.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

gardenia tahitensis

I was sent a sample of gardenia tahitensis absolute from this georgeous flower from tahiti a while ago by my dear colleague and friend Isabelle who has been searching the globe far and wide and sent me a sample with an attachment of the GC analysis ... the safety document was in french for which Isabelle has translated into english.

Today is the first time I have been able to study its aroma and oh my goodness it packs a wow.....Conducting a dry down study on both a 10% dilution and undiluted. The oil definately benefits from a dilution to understand its aroma... the flowers intoxicating, open up readily and fills the air with its heady tropical floral perfume.... It is tropical green floral and narcotic.... in the undiluted state I would add creamy and heavy..... as its perfume dries down the green, narcotic ,attributes to also, a floriforous roundness that is in its perfume and is very tenaceous...I began the study around 9am and the scent strips are still heavy with perfume three hours later. I can't wait to create a perfume with this delicious botanical..... ideas are flowing and I am so excited by the thought. I shall begin immediately.

picture of Gardenia tahitensis by Robert Hulak

Thursday, 19 June 2008

rose musings

Rain is holding up me tincturing the alba rose much to my slight irritation , very slight .. I love this season too much to let it get me down..:-D
The threads concerning early morning picking for distillation in places like Bulgaria and Turkey and other threads from the natural perfumery group, has left me in a deep thinking and contemplative mood. The weather here is unlike the climates in the above areas. The temperature in these countries get far hotter by midday....and yet english roses abound prolifically and with great abundance in our peculiar climate... I am also aware of the certain species used for maximum odor damascenas, centifolias and their names ie kazanlik etc and have spent many happy hours studying and reading...

As for their perfume.....because of the inclement weather we have here I'm interested to experiment with species and their odours with different varieties that are grown here.

Peter Wilde along with now sadly deceased Victor Ogden and his company started exploring the english rose scents by using four different types of english roses for the phytol which I still have . this was back in 97 or even earlier....which I used in my first perfume 'Perpetually Yours' for the Hereford Cathedral. I am certainly intrigued at some point along the way to make some distillations just as I am studying bluebell in tincture to see what could be available in aroma over here for a different species of rose and what sort of perfume it may give up....
just musing.... *smile

Saturday, 7 June 2008


Originally uploaded by Janice LeBlanc
This time of year makes one busy in the garden... collecting petals , wildflowers and anything that can be put in an artisan terracotta pot for pot-pourri... Mine is made by fellowes in Hay-on-Wye and is a large terracotta earthenware lidded Jar... I love it.

I made some wet quite a few years ago with rose petals from my garden and I continue to add to it.. when I feel like it ... rose petals from our wedding anniversary ..dried rose head all goes there... the perfume is beautiful...

In Wales there is much to enjoy at this time of the year ... not just the wildflowers, cow parsley, buttercups, red campion, red and white clover, foxgloves, elderflowers and wild honeysuckle. But also, in the cultivated gardens where we love to plant, are roses, ceonothus, peonies, buddleah wil be coming out soon, lilies, bay tree, marjoram, thyme, irises and all this and more will continue through the summer... divine. Then comes the autumn to cut back and dry and more... to come... before the cold weather sets in and indoor tasks are to hand.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Roots, Roses and Recognition

Originally uploaded by

It's my birthday today. (9th).. and what better way than blog about subjects close to my heart.

I had been conversing with Anya and knew about the wonderful news that was going to be broadcast and held back my post of yesterday until it was out..... I had known about the collaboration for a long time and was delighted and excited. The long wait is over and it's public knowledge.

With all this going on, created for me, a mood of reflection and so I felt compelled to go back to the beginnings of the Natural Perfumery Group and Guild with the Group beginning in 2002 founded by Anya McCoy. That was six years ago. It's astonishing to see how far Natural Perfumery has come since those early days. Back then the roots were very much in Aromatherapy and the search for natural aromatic perfume was born on the web.

Today it is a thriving 1500 plus group with sophisticated links, files and a learning compendium on Natural Perfumery which is second to none anywhere in the blogging world.

Anya McCoy has just released this post I first started mentioning earlier in this blog. Robert Tisserand has honoured Anya's help on his Wild Rose and Lemon Leaf creation that he brought out recently. If you go to click on Roberts Space and here you will see Roberts thoughts on the creation and how Anya became involved. The Guild Logo is on his website. Here below is the Guilds release... Talking of roses ... thanks Anya for helping me send those organic roses to my mum for mothers day!

The Guild goes from strength to strength with people like the Fragrance Foundation and Albert Vieille well known and respected french supplier joining the ranks of the Guilds membership. Anya's aim to create a haven for meticulous standards concerning Natural Perfumery is evident with each new member. Mandy is the advisor of the Guild and together with Anya make decisions for the direction of the Guild. The Guild wishes to educate the public and mass media as to what true, pure and natural aromatics are (Mandy's role) and protect access to and use of aromatics (Anya's role) which makes for a dynamic team.

Mandy Aftel knew what she was doing when she handed the Guild over to Anya McCoy and her decision is faultless. It's not easy running a group and guild of over 1500 people and finding time to still make room for her own work. Anya is also a true friend which not many realise. Her visions are clear and always for the good of the Guild and its future. I trust her and know that her timing on issues are right and on the button. I have worked with her a few times including sending information out to people here in the UK about the 40th amendment and know of her faultless attention to detail in getting the correct meaning to the written word. Very important when using the web.

Her online Courses are a success. Her maiden course offered at reduced price, as all people involved knew they would be the first ones trying out this pioneering module of learning, which would set the foundation for subsequent courses. With four dozen intellectual enjoyed students..... Her next course is full and she incorporated the two groups just recently for a one off , so they could all enjoy David Mark Covill's wonderful words on early Egyptian aromatics.

Natural Perfumery on the web has come a long way from those early days in 1992. In just six years the face of Natural Perfumery has become public domain

love Janita

ps... since I have written this.... I am overjoyed to see the collaberation of two blogs about Dominique Dubrana or Salaam Attar from from Italy honoured by perfume shrine and Guild blog... their secret working title was/is Double Dubrana... this is the best birthday ever!

Monday, 5 May 2008


Originally uploaded by KathyAAdams

We strive in this life to make some meaning to what we do.....

As I was unable to sleep tonight I followed a few blogs and read some interesting articles....

words that reach out ... words that have empty promises... words that desperately try to say look at me ...look at me..... and sadly fall short of the reality. Some words full of beauty, life, vivacity and joie de vivre in all they do... other words obviously manipulated to get attention...

It is the footprints that we leave that will bear the mark of time.

My thoughts turn to the beautiful botanics and their sparkling resonating depths that call to me to play ..... I have ideas running round my head for a perfume ... and I am excited to where it will take me....

Photo from Flickr... called 'footprints' originally uploaded by Kathy AAdams... for some reason it sometimes doesn't print up... the last one did... go figure. :-)

Friday, 2 May 2008


Originally uploaded by
Amanda L McCracken
Tony Burfield at Cropwatch and his crew are coming to a crossroad. Please find below his letter to all of us.. do take the time to read it and respond if you can... you can reach the cropwatch team Also, The Natural Perfumers Guild is taking an active role with cropwatch in pursuing this important issue. Anya is working very closely with Tony and Cropwatch

For my part a risk/ benefit studies programme would greatly enhance a fair and stable look at the natural aromatics today. In fact if there was a financing in this area this would help the big players in the industry realise that we (natural aromatics ) are not just puff and wind but real players .. making a serious contribution to these regulatory procedures and having a voice.
thanks Janita

Cropwatch Statement.

After 4 or 5 years of continuous activity, Cropwatch has some choices to make. Do we go on the way that we have been, snapping at the ankles of those who run & regulate the aroma industry so badly, or should we 'old dogs' learn some new tricks? Cropwatch supporters, and organisations sympathetic to our aims, regularly offer us donations and advise us of potential sources of grants, to which we have always said 'no thanks, we're non-financed'. Our current thinking is that this might be a mistake, since we are limiting our potential effectiveness. .

We are certainly not asking everyone for money, but we are asking you to help us with some feedback on how a financial input could potentially help the aroma world to become a better & fairer place, so please mail us if you have any thoughts or ideas.

Our initial list of ideas to use donated funding would be:

1. To finance risk/benefit studies on natural aromatic products. This research is needed because the existing major players such as IFRA/RIFM, are set up only to investigate the risks/hazards of fragrance ingredients (but not the benefits), & EFFA can only present the safety risks of essential oils, absolutes, resinoids etc in terms of the imagined hazards of the individual contained chemicals, rather than adopting a holistic approach for the aromatic ingredient as a whole. Therefore both organisations are badly positioned to defend natural aromatic ingredients against the current avalanche of restrictive legislation. The EU Commissioners have previously declined to accept safety-data based on risk/benefit considerations, although we believe this policy to be untenable in the long-term - it is the norm in virtually every other regulatory area (biocides, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals etc).

[Neither is this just a European problem. The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce have just announced draft legislation (Global Harmonisation Act 2008) intended to stimulate discussion on how to provide adequate funding and authority for the FDA to ensure the safety of the nation's food, drug, medical device and cosmetic supply in an increasingly globalised marketplace. The draft legislation already highlights several areas which will affect the fragrance industry].

2. To develop statistical data on the adverse effects of restricted & prohibited aromatic materials. This data would be a potential bombshell to blow apart the over-precautionary approaches of the cosmetic regulators and career toxicologists, who are in such a powerful position in global regulatory circles. Where this data exists (e.g. the Schnuch data on alleged allergens) it is already causing red faces. The EU Commissioner has previously indicated to Cropwatch (Brussels 2007) that this type of adverse reaction data is inadmissible as safety evidence. But if you are familiar with English history, you might recall that King Canute failed to hold back the waves and so his followers realised he was not all-powerful. So too, the regulators will not be able to ignore the fact that many restrictions on natural products are based on corporate toxicological constructs which don't manifest in the great numbers of negative health effects predicted.

3. To assist with the growing & production of useful commodities from threatened aromatic plants, for cosmetic, aromatherapeutic, flavour & medicinal outlets, in a way that benefits the poor.

4. To set up or help set up a natural aromatics products professional body, with the help of other interested parties. Already we can identify several sub-divided areas which badly need assistance: natural perfumery, the use of naturals within conventional perfumery, natural biocides, herbal drugs & medicines, aromatherapy, natural cosmetics etc.

5. The lobbying of officials & regulators. As we have seen, the more the establishment closes ranks (and its mind) to contrary & dissenting views, the more popular support we have been able to attract. In terms of numbers we are potentially a powerful force. However we have to ask ourselves whether there is any point in continuing the lobbying game. Many of the points we make go unanswered because the officials involved are not sufficiently technically adept or experienced to even understand the arguments put forward. So is it better to plough ahead with a voluntary regulatory system of our own making - at least we might have the experience, familiarity & resources to do a better job. The enormity of the task is detracting, but this is put more into perspective if sufficient funding were to be available.

6. To keep the flame of our traditional perfumery heritage alight. When we read that several major aroma corporations are training fledgling perfumers in pure synthetic perfumery, it makes us wonder if the world has gone quite mad. Once perfumers used to be creative artists with forthright temperaments, views and opinions, passionate about their art. Now, are we all to be reduced to company drones? I was related a story recently concerning a certain essential oils salesman who offered unmarked samples of real good quality Bulgarian lavender oil, and a synthetic lavender construct to a group of young perfumers at a certain megacorporation. The group preferred the artificial lavender construct because "it smelled like linalyl acetate, like its supposed to." Heaven help us! But maybe some of us 'old-timers' should organise courses & lectures to pass on the 'ancient knowledge of the art of perfumery' before it is lost forever.

OK, after 5 or so years of trying, we pretty much know what the problems facing us are - what we don't have is a consensus on the best way to solve them. Maybe you can help?

Cropwatch Team

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

My first tinctures of Spring ....Mahonia or Bluebells?

Mahonia Japonica
Originally uploaded by norwichrocks
Very hard decision. I threw open my windows to fresh air this afternoon, after receiving the first real welcomed warmth of spring sunshine. The most delicious perfume greeted and beckoned and drew me like a sirens song outside. Its creamy and honeyiest perfume is both alluring and beautiful..... I felt I wanted to tincture this .... which I shall asap.

My first priority was also to start the bluebells.... the sun had brought them out also under the canope of the woodland and the first of many thousands of the bluest flowers are beginning to open. My instincts are to begin in earnest and carry on from whence I experimented from last year....

I really was torn though and need some more jars so that I can do both... and I will...... Oh I love spring.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

people see right through

Istanbul Market
Originally uploaded by ! ! JJJJJJJ

It is astounding how quickly the market turns on a dime.

It seems like yesterday that Natural Perfumery was endeavoring to make the Art of creating Natural Perfume known, reaching out to make itself heard. Now, before we know it, we have every Tom, Dick and Harry marketing themselves under this new banner, without any due care and attention, jumping on the band wagon and looking for the easy buck .

True artisans and gifted perfumers will quietly ride out the hoo hah and continue on the path knowing at some point the market will shift and change onto the next 'new' thing.

Natural Perfumery of course deserves the attention, as the artisan perfumers who are creating them .... but I giggle at business people whose hearts are not pure and just in it for the money.... they are just so transparent. ...people see right through.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

no longer in the backwater

Originally uploaded by samuelbradley

I have just been musing on this last year. So much has happened in my world of natural perfumery.

When I first joined the group it was moving upwards to being a thousand members after five years I think One short year later and we are now fifteen hundred plus strong.

Same as the Guild when I was invited to join last year there were a few and since then so many illustrious fellowes have come together to help put Natural Perfumery on the Global map.

Natural Perfumery is no longer in the backwater it is being taken seriously accross the globe. I am delighted to be part of it .. at the start of it all those years ago here in the UK thinking I was one of the only people .... then along came Anya McCoy with the Guild and founder Mandy Aftel who have both contributed much in lifting the cobwebs of this most precious of Arts....

I am moving forward .... continue to source excellent ingredients and busy putting my new website together ... my old one is still up
and will be there until I go live with the new one. I will not be rushed as I have many committments at present and it will be finished when it is done... I am eager to get it out to you but at the same time I cannot just throw it together...

Of course the next really exciting news is that The Guild has joined the Blogging and is out there which is is the url for anyone who wishes to go and take a look at all the wonderful things that the members will be getting up to now and it will be constantly updated by Anya's assistant Gisele.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

the word 'natural'

With all the focus on organic and natural products which is getting enormous press and the boom that has surrounded it, legislation has decided that they want to analise the word 'natural' and omit substances like concretes and absolutes as they have small amounts of hexane left after distillation. This is a tiny tiny infinatesimal proportion.

If this went ahead it could cause considerable difficulties to many natural perfumers who like to separate themselves from other perfumers who use synthetic molecules in their pallette, by using 'natural' preceding perfumer, as well as marketing their perfumes in the same way again to separate and identify themselves in a large marketplace.

Both Anya and Steve Earl have been astute in jumping in to communication and energetically trying to resolve this potentially sticky situation. Tony Burfield from Cropwatch is also active in this.
To see Anya's blog on this just click here

Also this morning browsing through I came accross this with some thoughts on this subject... click here.

Natural to me signifies botanical essences that are derived, not from man, but found naturally in the world about us.... the residue from the hexane in concretes and absolutes is infinatesimal. It would be good to come to an appropriate workable solution to this query.

Natural has come along way.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

around the world in 80 gardens

I watched an absorbing programmed by Monty Don entitled around the world in 80 gardens and am hooked.

The one I saw was china and japanese gardens and what influenced them. Monty went deeply into what inspired these gardens and why in China.. searching within himself as to their meaning. Beautiful footage as he wandered through these ancient and very beautiful gardens.

When he visited the Yellow Mountains in China alot was revealed and the way spoke to him ... So that when he went to Japan afterwards he was able to absorb and reflect the beauty of the zen garden in the city and appreciate why they were designed in that way.

If you live in the UK you are in for a treat.

Here is Monty talking about the book and programme.... enjoy

Sunday, 24 February 2008

drops in drops

drops in drops by steve took it

So much is going on I really didn't know what photo to upload then I came accross this one and it sums up my feelings with all the news that has happened recently.

Some fantastic new members have joined the Guild and more news coming from Anya at some point Click on the urls to take you there..... Scroll down after great review of anyas perfumes to the next one to see the new members. Plus Anya has created a lovely piece about the story of Ascent between Rohanna and myself... which is just below that one.
Equipment for the project has arrived (well some) which has enabled me to start the project rolling.... getting closer to trying the small experimental piece . Finally, beginning work on the website, complimentary slips, logo which is copyrighted now for my business and finishing off a perfume commission 'kite' that has been with me for over a year now .... and at last is in the diluting, filtering and packaging phase.... yay.. samples to get out and boxes of soap , perfume to prepare for May and textile pieces.... yowza panicking a bit when I read back ... but I will do what I can... and enjoy the whole process.

Looking out for more equipment for the lab and trying to get out into the bedraggled garden to finish pruning...

So drops in drops indeed... *:-D

Friday, 18 January 2008

busy days ahead

These early days in January has found me at the computer sourcing new oils absolutes and attars from Christopher and Suzanne at White Lotus Aromatics. I love the anticipation of what's to come, once the order has been placed and checked. There are some new arrivals which I am excited about. I am looking forward to inhaling their perfume and character, see what story they might tell me, what friends they would like to meet and combine with.

I have also purchased a very fine weighing mechanism to accurately weigh my blends. Eventually I shall go back and recalculate some early perfume formulas from years back. I cannot believe that I am moving into my tenth year come April 5th .... what an incredible journey this has been. So much to learn still so much to explore and so many new insights for my soul to discover.

I have met albeit on cyberspace some amazing people all connected with love and passion for this world of natural perfumery from the botanical world.

When I started this journey I wanted to make friends.... and I have so been blessed. Just trying to walk the walk.... and inhale the beautiful perfumes along the way. :-)

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Say goodbye to Peace on Earth

diary of a playground bully by Zencat

Behaviour of some perfumers in the playground are incongruous considering .. the word......

Both Liz Zorn from Liz Zorn Perfumes and Anya McCoy from Anya's Garden have been subjected to not very nice bullying.

Please read below and also please take the time to read these bulletins on various blogs about this .


Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Say Goodbye To Peace On Earth
Dear Customers and Friends:
We have received a letter from the attorney George Gottlieb, of Gottlieb, Rackman & Reishman in New Your City representing, Laurice & Co. Better known as Bond No. 9. Letter dated January 2, 2008
Stating that unless we stop using the word “Peace” as in our “Peace on Earth Natural Perfume, and notify them in writing by January 15, 2008, they will sue us for infringing on their right to the word. As in their fragrance called “Scent of Peace”
Apparently they believe that they have exclusive rights to the word “Peace” . As it is used in any capacity regarding fragrance or any related product.

Here is a quote from their letter.
“Therefore unless we receive your written assurance by January 15, 2008 that your company will discontinue any use and distribution of “PEACE” in any and all capacities in connection with perfume or any other related goods, we will consider all appropriate legal remedies, including legal action against your company seeking injunctive relief, legal fees, and actual punitive damages.”

This would mean any personal care product or product containing fragrance.

I am assuming that we are not the only company getting this letter, since “Peace” is a common and universal word, used by many for many things. And is used in part as the name for several perfumes on the market today. This could end up being a very nasty venture on their part, particularly with Avon launching a new fragrance called “Wish of Peace” Are they going to sue them too.
If it had been something else like the word yellow or flower. I might have considered taking them on. But to go to war over the word “Peace” is to me an abomination. To even think such a thing, is unthinkable. And the bad, karma, Ouch! me the willies.
So I sent along to them by fax today as well as Certified Mail a letter, declining to fight with them, and advising them that we will no longer use the word “Peace” in relation to our scent. I will not raise a hand or word against peace in any fashion. So we have temporarily changed the name of our fragrance to “Solstice”

The truth is, I don’t know these folks. We live in completely different universes. I am one person. An artisan who makes perfumes by hand. I find it odd that anyone would think me a threat, and even more odd that they would want to sue my little company. What do I have that they could possibly want. A stack of bills, A small lab of supplies, A few boxes of unused bottles and caps. My work is not ego driven. I make perfume because I have a love of the art, it means something to me. More than just dollars and I guess in some cases, power.

When will the world learn. Peace cannot be achieved through war. Even if it is a war over the word “Peace”. Any kind of conflict, will only serve to bring about more conflict. So instead of being angry or, lashing out at these people I chose instead to send them (through my letter) a blessing and a wish for peace. It is the only honest thing that I could have done.

As Always, Peace. ZZ...........

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

a Happy New Year

Wishing a Happy New Year to all readers.

May the year as it develops, bring acceptance, joy, laughter and embracing to all lifes roller coasters.

I am hoping to bury into my beloved essences and project and just be a little less frenetic than I was last year.... So much occurred in 2007 which is life, of course .... a little more time for quiet moments....and fun...... for 2008?
The first hyacinths are blooming in the house and its perfume is intoxicating, heady and delicious... Snowdrops will soon be showing themselves in February... and a little snow in between...