Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Perfumery

When I make perfume I like to listen to Joanna Newsom. She's odd & quirky and her singing makes me get into a zone that is perfect for listening to the essence of smell. That probably doesn't make sense but it works for me.
However, Joanna Newsom is not the most appropriate retail background music and we are retail even if I am geeking out in the back room.

Today, Sunday, I went in with the intention of working on a blend that I have been thinking about and tinkering with for a good long time, something along the lines of two years, in fits and starts.
In all that time, it has been with me, all of the scents that I dream up live with me. I carry them around like so many small children.
Perhaps that's why Joanna Newsom is so right for the work. She is the perfect serenade for so many small aromatic and at times slightly vexing children.

Today the store's computer crashed and the computer guy (my guy) was fixing that up and Sadie was covering my shift so that I could try to get this blend made up and even with all of the chaos I just gathered my ingredients and started blending. And figuring.
As I always say: "it's mostly math". Don't fool yourself. The magic of perfumery is totally there, but if you don't keep very diligent track of every tiny detail, it's a one time thing.
If you want to recreate something, even if it is just to change it, you have to mark down the measurements and the source of each oil and so on and so forth.
As I was dropping aromatics into tiny beakers, there was a moment in which I was questioning Sadie's choice of music and a split second later I was reminded as I often am of the perfect match of all the lovely people who work and help at Flora and how amazing it all is and how it always works out. Sadie had chosen for this Sunday at high noon none other than Joanna Newsome. Perfect.

The perfume, you ask? Yes, of course.
The blend is in two at this point or it is two separate scents. I am not quite sure.
They are similar and have a kindred nature, but they are each their own distinct selves.

I was going for a masculine scent. One that is warm and rich, that will give comfort and be sexy all at the same time.
I love the femmy scents of rose and jasmine but I also love the earthy and deep vetivert and oak moss.

One of the images for the scent is of campfires, open sky and dusk falling.

I was imagining what an iconic masculine scent would be and I thought of my dad.
The scents that I remember most about him are cigarettes, sawdust and coffee.
My dad was a man's man, whatever that means and the scent I am going for evokes a past that is reminiscent of an ideal.
This is the scent of the Marlboro Man or Don Draper or the dream of being a little more manly than you really are, or of bringing out something hidden in you.
Cicero wrote "A man's chief quality is courage."

The scent has dignity and strength and it smells great on women as well.

One of the scents is a bit sweeter than the other and we are tentatively calling it "bandito nights"
The second is darker and moodier and tentatively named "Middle Earth"

My brother and sister-in-law came into the store later in the day and my sis-in-law asked about the scent on the counter. I let her smell it and she swooned. She had my brother smell it and he seemed surprised by how much he liked it.
She wanted to buy some for him. It was just the in-store tester that we were playing with and trying to set a name to. But what could I say? I poured half of it into a bottle for her to take home.
Even though I didn't give them the story behind the scent, it seems fitting that my brother is gifted in a magical way with a scent inspired, at least in part, by our dad.