Povzetek: V delu 1, Marlen razmišlja o procesu svojega prvega doslej Dogovorili dišave, Washington ustvaril parfumar Christi Meshell za Hišo Matriarch; v delu 2, Marlen pregleda izhaja aromo, vonj zgleduje po Semana Božiček Seville.
A few times now I’ve tried my hand and nose at making my own scented concoctions…ne, I wouldn’t deign to suggest that they were perfumes. Na primer:, I can remember around the age of 9 ali 10 mischievously using one of my grandmother’s insulin syringes to extract and mix together sample vials of various fragrances; I discovered that this process rarely led to any kind of fragrant success but did lead me to a huge grounding from angry parents. And no, Grandma didn’t re-use the syringe after my decanting experiment.
During my middle school years I had a piano teacher who was also an aromatherapist. Upon learning about my obsession with fragrance, she lovingly shared her entire collection of all-natural perfume oils with me. “Just place a few drops in a boiling pot of water and the kitchen will be filled with aroma,” je pojasnila. Two or three weeks later, I learned that these essential oils were a bit easier to blend than completed department store fragrances but that they also offered a completely different aesthetic. After a few of the family’s cooking pots started to mysteriously make the spaghetti taste like patchouli and vetiver, my mother instructed me to politely return the oils to my teacher.
At age 16 I tried again as a dedication to a close friend who loved perfume as much as I did. That one contained a lot of Ralph Lauren Safari for women and who knows what else. Only slightly more successful than my first attempts, albeit equally awful, I learned that perfumes are complex creations that don’t necessarily just “come together” after a few drops of this and a little bit of that. Around this time I started working at a Wicks-n-Sticks in the local mall and discovered the magic of incense, candles, home fragrances, itd. My need to blend was superceded by my infatuation with lightbulb rings and scented wax chips.
A few years ago, after receiving a beautiful perfumery kit from PerfumeLab.com, I renewed my interest in self-blending and seriously created my own perfume. Zanimivo, I recreated Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue without even knowing it! Bergamot, pomarančnih cvetov, iris, sandalwood and vanilla…it was interesting how the individual notes that I had loved so much created something so iconic, so familiar and so beautiful when added together.
Recently I’ve been meaning to sit down with some perfume-making products to enjoy some experimentation, but although my artistic and creative energies are inspired by fragrance, I realize that I have sooooo much to learn when it comes to the actual processes of blending and fixing and for the time being, prefer to channel those energies into wearing and writing rather than composing.
As a thank you gift for reviewing her 2011 Brave New Scents creation, Carmine, an all-natural perfume about which I wrote…
“Wow in dvojno wow. Moje roke navzdol najljubši od desetih vzorcev poslal k meni za Brave New projekt Scent, Carmine je tudi vonj, ki je zahtevala največ pozornosti od mene; to pomeni, da sem dejansko bil oblečen! To dovoljenje za vstop uporabo verjetno največji kompliment sem lahko podelila razmišlja, kako redko kupim kaj šele uporaba naravnih parfumov.”
…perfumer Christi Meshell, founder of Washington’s Hiša Matriarch, sent me a discovery kit – some fragrance samples and incense cones. After a few years of learning about, experimenting with and reviewing natural perfumes, I can safely say that I prefer mixed media and synthetics thanks to their longevity and sillage and considering that such an aesthetic was what I grew up enjoying. Christi’s work, Vendar pa, was surprising in that although not quite similar to mass market synthetics, Carmine & her woods-focused Alpha both had personalities more similar to some of the Middle Eastern and Indian attars and oils I had discovered and loved. Not only were her compositions striking, but the entire vibe was unique.
A few months later I received a sample of Christi’s Amber življenje and another small bag of incense. First let me mention that before I even opened the cardboard shipping box I could smell something delicious emanating from the package. While Amber življenje (click to read my review) was yet another success for Meshell, it was the aroma of the shipping box that had me completely gaga. Did she spray something in there? Where was the scent coming from? And then it hit me. It had to be the incense cones. Green grass, neroli and sandalwood. Total magic!
Just a few days later while still in Finland, I phoned Christi to tell her how much I loved the incense. “Can you make me a perfume that smells like THAT?” I asked excitedly.
“It IS a perfume…I use my perfume blends to scent my incense,” je pojasnila.
“Hmmmm, dobro, I would LOVE to wear that!”
Christi then suggested that she create a fragrance for me based on the same composition as the incense aroma – cvetovi oranžno – “I’ve been planning on working with orange blossoms and this is the perfect excuse.”
Nearly giddy with excitement that someone was going to make me a perfume, I began pondering all of the different notes that I typically loved and considered just what exactly I wanted to include in my bespoke fragrance. Almond? Tonka? Labdanum? Galbanum? Sesame? The last time a perfumer created a fragrance for me based on a list of favorite notes, the result was a harsh, dis-harmonic mess. But the goal there was to playfully see what would happen if we blended my favorites rather than a methodical planning process for a well-developed perfume.
Christi made the process much easier by first sending me a number of sample vials, single notes blended with orange blossom. Na primer:, in response to the jasmine sambac accord I wrote, “Loved it although the power of the jasmine somewhat eclipsed the neroli; but I am a huge jasmine fan so it was no surprise that I reacted so positively; heads towards “pretty drawer sachet” territory however without deeper basenotes.” She next sent me a few prototypes of full compositions but in that moment, something had been missing – an overall vision, a point of inspiration, a focus…real-world scent memory.
A quick note about orange blossoms and Marlen: I grew up in sunny south Florida, riding horses after school at ranches that bordered orange groves. Being the land of citrus fruit, it’s not uncommon for Florida’s tourists to encounter orange-blossom themed products at every gift shop…orange blossom honey, orange blossom cologne, orange blossom jelly, itd. I guess the aroma was just completely second nature to me, part of the scented landscape of my childhood. Although I can’t quite put my finger on it, I love the citrusy sweetness and creamy, almost powdery basenote of orange blossoms. Yikes, reading those words one would be hard-pressed to understand the infatuation, but an infatuation it is nevertheless. For a beautiful cultural and historical overview of orange blossom in perfumery check out this great article at CaFleureBon.
Just as we began working on the bespoke fragrance in late March/early April, I took a trip to southern Spain for a week, putting me in such famous Andalucian cities as Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla. I knew about the preponderance of orange blossom trees in this region and had my fingers crossed that my days might be filled with scented white petals falling from the sky. Na žalost, upon arrival to Granada, my first stop on a 4 city trip, I concluded that the climate was still just a bit on the cool side after peering frustratingly into blossom-less trees. But Spain is a land of contrasts and so a short bus trip west to Cordoba, with its much lower elevation and warmer climate, yielded blossom-covered sidewalks, blossom-filled trees and yes, even white petals falling from the sky. What incredible rapture to walk along a river bank in a medieval Spanish town on a moody, overcast day with orange blossom scenting the air.
My next city offered better weather, a Sunday morning bike ride and even more orange blossoms! What really impressed me in Sevilla was that not only was I greeted with perpetual blossom bliss, but as it was Semana Santa (Holy Week), many of the churches and processionals were burning incense of the traditional, kadilo, sandalovina & myrrh kind. Imagine my complete joy at finding such a sweetly-scented city! Poleg tega, after a few jaunts into local perfume shops and an emptied wallet, I had in my backpack not one, not two, but four different Spanish-made orange blossom fragrances with various characters…but none of them had any kind of smoke or wood notes. And that’s when it hit me….for my bespoke fragrance I wanted something that utilized both orange blossom AND incense. I wanted my fragrance to smell like Semana Santa in Sevilla!
As soon as I got back to Finland, I emailed Christi to tell her about my orange blossom extravaganza and new focus. We also played around with ideas for a name and Christi came up with oM – orange blossom for Marlen. Next we pondered what color to make the bottle….easy one – oranžna. Končno, Christi suggested she amp up the woods and smoke that we had both liked in one of her prototype fragrances:
I was wondering if your time in Seville would produce inspiration………so glad to hear that I am on the right track. More smoke, more woods, got it! Bouya Agarwood (sustainable) is something “novo” that I have been enjoying playing with and was thinking of adding to the blend; your feedback confirms this. Bouya is smoky, plays very well with the neroli and adds a new dimension to the base as it bonds to the sandalwood adding another layer of woodsy richness, without overriding the leathery/incense notes of the cypriol. I like the bouya since it is void of the “off” notes that other oud’s can throw off as they develop on the skin. I believe this agarwood will add complexity, depth and most importantly, the “unique signature” that will make this orange blossom creation stand out from the rest! Bouya is rarely used as it can be hard to tame so our combination of notes will be truly unique. Plus, I love featuring under-used aromatics, and bouya is sort of a “red-headed stepchild” as far as the agarwoods go. It is often used to adulterate other agars. I think we can give it a chance to shine here.
It’s funny how it all came together so quickly and how each component of the project naturally compliments the others: orange as a bottle color is a no-brainer considering the focus, but when paired with the letters “oM” it suggests Eastern spirituality, perfect for my Buddhist inclinations. Heck, “oM” itself is such a powerful idea! And that I should latch onto the idea of smoke after Spain, and that it should also pair well with oM, ideas of meditation and Buddhism…dobro, it just seems so right! The result, Mislim, da, is a serendiptious pairing of eastern and western concepts and allusions, perfect for me considering how long I’ve lived and traveled between Asia, Europe and North America.
My bespoke perfume process was fast, painless and absolutely delightful, mostly due to the guidance and enthusiasm of Christi. I consider my fragrance to be a complete success and can’t wait to tell you more about the actual aroma…stay tuned!
Leave a comment below telling us about your own bespoke experiences, or perhaps your love of orange blossoms and incense, for your chance to receive a sample of House of Matriarch’s oM, odpremljeno kjerkoli na svetu, brez!