Saturday, June 23, 2007

Botanical Perfumery

The process that I go through to create a natural perfume is one of mystery, even to me.
I may wake up with an idea or dream of a blend when I have been stuck in the light of day. I sometimes make amazing mistakes that are fabulous.
Some of the most well thought out processes make the most terrible scents.
I love to explore and experiment with the gads of essential oils, absolutes, concretes, resins, waxes and butters that I have on hand.
People who walk by my store often assume it is a spa. I understand, it's modern, beautiful and there is a curtain to who knows where. This is where it is assumed you can get a facial or a massage. Brilliant really. It was a hope I had while looking for a space, to have it big enough for both a store and a spa, but no. The back room is part office and part blending studio. I make a fair number of my products right here in the shop. Talk about local.
The only service I offer is custom perfumery. This is a before or after hours service that is one on one. I ask a lot of questions and you (we'll pretend I am making it for you) get to smell tons of scents. Some blends but mostly single notes.

It takes about 90 minutes, we drink tea and get into the scents and I take a lot of notes.
It used to be closer to 60 minutes, but I keep getting more oils and I want to have a chance to step outside and get fresh air every now and then. It has been overwhelming for a couple of folks.

After our initial meeting I will go over my pages of notes and create some ideas for recipes and work on them for a week or so. Letting them rest, tweaking, going back over my notes and so on.
When I feel I have captured the perfect essence of what you are looking for and what will match you, taking into consideration any things that need treating on an aromatherapeutic level. Anxiety, depression etc
This takes (for me) being in a particularly good and even space.
I am re-membering our time together, re-creating a feeling that is the intention of the scent and crafting out of botanical materials.
I generally can have 3 folks at a time that I am working on, but I had a very busy week a couple of months ago and I had 5 appointments in one week.
I had a pretty open following weeks so I thought it would all be fine.
Sadly there became a pressing family issue for me to attend to and I became very behind with my perfumery.
My perfumery clients have been incredibly patient & kind and I am finally in a space to begin this work again.
My assistant, julia the beautiful, keeps reminding me of the other products in the store that we are low on or out of. Yes, I know but this is where I'm at. I'm working on these scents and it's nice.
I have sets of initial scents for 2 of the 5 clients and a good direction with the 3rd, so I feel good about that.
I have one client who was worried that I couldn't make something for her because about 75% of what she smelled she didn't like. I think she was worried that she was being "difficult", I hope not, I found her charming and hilarious.
I had another client who liked the scents that I do not.
I can't say it isn't challenging, but I do enjoy the process.
We'll see how they like them.

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