Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lavender recipe's

The lavender is growing right now so I like to give you some recipe's. First a cream cheese pie with lavender, you have to try this one it's to die for:

Cream cheese pie with lavender honey

Tea biscuit's 250 grams
Melted butter 75 grams
3 Tables spoons fresh lavender wrapped in a cotton bag
Lavender honey 180 grams
whipped cream 300 ml
cream cheese 250 grams

And this is how you make it:
Crumble the biscuits and put the melted butter on it. Put it in a backingvorm and push it a bit flat with the back of a spoon. Place it in the refrigerator.
Mix 2 and a half tablespoons boiled water with 2 tea spoons of the lavender honey and hang the cotton bag with the lavender in it for 15 minutes.
Put in another bowl the cream cheese and the rest of the lavender honey. Mix it well until it's smooth.
whip the whipped cream and put it carefully through the cream cheese put it on the biscuits and let it stand for three to four hours in the refrigerator.

Here an old recipe of lavender water:

Lavender water

Lavender 45 drops
Rose Bulgaria 1 drop
Lemon 5 drops
Clove 5 drops
Petit Grain 5 drops
Neroli 1 drop
Alcohol 96 % 40 ml
Rosewater 10 ml.

A recipe of a lavender air freshener:

Blue wonder

Lavender 20 drops
Lemon 10 drops
Bergamot 10 drops
Lime 5 drops
Grapefruit 5 drops
Blend these oils with 10 ml alcohol 70 % and 30 ml purified water, put it in a spray bottle and shake well before use.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Natural versus synthetic

I always was fascinated by the way some plants could heal us. When I was a child we had a woman living next to us that knew a lot about the way plants could heal you, walking together trough the garden she showed me all those plants, even some plants growing on the side of the road she told me could heal us. Like the Plantain (Plantago major spp. major L.) she told me that this plant could help even when you are bitten by a snake, it's very helpful when you use the sap of it on your skin when you touched a Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and the funny thing is they mostly grow next to eighother. It could help by a gnat-bite as well. I read all the books I could find about healing herbs and when I had my own garden I planted some useful herbs in my garden and learned their Latin names, there was no use for that but reading so much about them made me remember their Latin names as well. I started to read other garden books as well and loved the idea to make a smelling garden, so I planted all kinds of wonderful smelling flowers and plants in my (little) garden. Because I loved to know everything about the healing side of plants, I started to read the books about aromatherapy and essential oils as well.

And there it started.....I was interested in the healing site of the oils but read about the aromas as well. In some books I could read about some simple recipe's to make a blend of some oils. I started to buy a lot of the essential oils and started to blend. To blend 5 different oils was not that difficult but I tried to make the recipe's more complicated, and that was not easy. I thought when I mix really nice smelling things together the outcome must be wonderful too, well it wasn't like that at all, some blends of wonderful smelling things turned out to be awful. I was fascinated by that, how do the oils react with eighother. I read about all the components of the oils and saw that some oils did have almost the same components but smell totally different. I had to find out how that worked. I did endless experiments and started to read books about perfume. Wow that was touching me, this was what I wanted, creating perfume. It's like creating your own dreamworld full of wonderful smells. I tried to find people that had the same hobby but I couldn't find them, I did find people that did aromatherapy and made some blends but that was not the same, I wanted to create perfume real perfume, not just a simple blend. Hungry as I was for all the information about how to create perfume I read everything I could find and read all the things about this craft on the internet.

I found a company that sell perfume materials right here in the Netherlands. I phoned and talked like an hour with this really friendly man, he explained to me that the smell of perfumes made of essential oils is different than the smell of other perfumes. I wanted to make a real perfume that would stay long on my skin and could be smelled by others as well. Until then the perfumes I made with the essential oils could be only detected when I put my nose close to my skin and the perfume didn't stay long enough. But using synthetics was not my dream, because I read all those books about essential oils and aromatherapy and wanted to create an all natural perfume to me it felt kind of a romantic idea. But yes it was true, I wanted to let them smell real 'perfumy' but I had to admit they didn't smell like perfume, more like a nice blend. The man explained to me that it is real difficult to use only essential oils because all those oils are perfumes on their own, they contain all kind of components and mixing them together it could be a mix of all kind of smelling components with no structure at all, it would be to much. A simple mix would work, but that was not what I had in mind, but a complex mix could be turned out as a muddy mix of all kinds of smelling components. Every essential oils has different smelling components like the rose has something like 300(that's what they found until now but there are more) the orange have his own components, the jasmin etc. In all those essential oils are some same components as well. But blending them together without control about all those smelling components is really difficult, you will have all kind of smelling components. Sometimes I want to let one component play the dominant role in a perfume but adding an essential oil that has that component will ad the other components of the oil as well, even if I don't need the other components. So talking to that man made me think, it felt really strange to let my "natural romantic" dream go. I didn't phone him again and followed my dream and did go on with my natural perfume making.

But after a while I had to admit to myself that this wasn't what I wanted, I wanted to make real perfume that smells good. So I became true to myself and let lose the boundaries I created in my head by only wanting to use naturals and started to use synthetics as well. A world opened for me, this was the real thing! It was wonderful to have control over the components and I was even be able to use scents that couldn't be found in essential oils. I tried all kind of formulas that I found in books and the Internet and learned how components react with eighother. I never give up my love for essential oils and absolutes though, I use them in my perfumes because of their complexity but in a different way. I will use the essentials in a controlled way so I can add the aromacomponents that I think is needed. The smell of a rose absolute for example is wonderful you can smell all kinds of components mixed in a perfect way but the smell of the absolute isn't the same as smelling a fresh rose. The distillation process makes that some essential components get lost. A real important component of rose that gets lost in the distillation process is Phenylethyl alcohol so I can add that component manually. Another problem with natural oils is that some oils are skin sensitive like oakmoss, the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) allow just a little amount of oakmoss in perfumes so I can use a oakmoss substitute. Using substitutes for the naturals is also necessary for keeping the nature as it is and not disturb the ecosystem by using for example the natural rosewood or sandalwood. And by using synthetic substitutes for natural animal scents like musk and civet we don't need to hurt the animals. So to me the chemicals are necessary for perfume making.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wild Rose

Everyday I pass a street with Wild Roses/ Dog Rose (Rosa canina) the fragrance of these roses are a delight. The color of the rose is amazing I picked one and put my nose right in it and let the fragrance take me away I touched the velvety soft petals and all I could feel is joy pure joy. It inspire me to make a perfume base of this delightful smell. It will not be a perfume but a base to use in a perfume formula like I do with the Viburnum.
I try to analyze the fragrance every day I pass the roses. It smells fresh deep and I even can detect a grass note(cis-3-hexen-1-ol ?). The most important components of rose are Phenylethyl alchohol, Citronellol and Geraniol. But I smell an odor of Rhodinol and Nerol as well. Rhodinol has a sweet rosy fragrance with some powdery notes, it natural occurs in geranium and citronella oils. I think I can smell a note of geranyl acetate as well this note has a fruity rosy smell and natural occurs in neroli and palmarosa. I will use some palmarosa and geranium essential oil as well and maybe beta ionone, beta damascone, Eugenol and of course rose absolute. Now I have to find out how much of each ingredient I will use.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The influence of aroma

Health Radio Network interviewed Michael Storer last Sunday. They talked about the fragrances created by Michael and how aroma influence your live. If you've missed the show you can listen to it by clicking here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy father's day

I will give my father a bottle of Dune Pour Homme by Dior today. Dune Pour Homme derives much of its richness from the same sources as Dune for women which I love. The notes are: basil, mandarin, moss, sage and cedarwood, blended with essences of fig and blackcurrant. What did you give your father, husband or grandfather today or if you're a father yourself what did you received today?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Interview with the perfumer Michael Storer

I asked the perfumer Michael Storer for an interview and I'm so happy that he liked the idea
You can read my review of his perfumes at this post.

Here is my interview with Michael Storer:

What inspired you to become a perfumer?

I’m 57 years old now, so this story goes back many, many years. I remember vividly when I was only five that my greatest desire for a birthday present was a bunch of eye droppers and bottles. (My requests were always a puzzlement to my parents). Of course, at that time I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to put in them. I just knew I wanted lots of them. My mother bought me about ten bottles and droppers from Owl Drugs.

I have always been talented in the fine arts and at the same time natural sciences, but was really torn between the two very different fields. I started with music lessons when I was in fourth grade and have always kept up with music. I took out my first subscription to Scientific American when I was thirteen. When I was in high school, through the 1960’s, I became interested in drawing and painting. My mother was a painter. I also discovered theater and was active in school plays. When not studying, I would go to the California State Library and read books on organic chemistry. I was particularly interested in chemicals that smelled and made copious notes about them and what they smelled like.

My mother had very few fragrances on her dresser, but I remember small bottles of such things as one shaped like a torso with a pink top called Shocking, another one, Balenciaga, that my father had given her in a beautiful heavy cut crystal bottle with glass stopper and a third, which she always said was her favorite, Quelques Fleurs. I was totally intrigued with might be in those bottles that made them smell so good. Wanting to pursue the matter, I talked my mom into taking me to the chemistry department at Sacramento State College. Somehow, being the great talker she was, she persuaded them to give me samples of about eight or ten organic chemicals I wanted. I remember using sulfuric acid to make my first ester of benzyl alcohol and acetic acid to produce benzyl acetate, a valuable fruity, ylang ylang type of odor. I had ordered other items from Eastman Kodak Chemicals including phenethyl alcohol, a rose note, some aldehydes and Musk Xylene. In those days restrictions on sales were much less severe so I was able to order as a teenager. I concocted my first perfume for my mother. I don’t remember what it smelled like; I’m sure it wasn’t anything too nice, but she dutifully wore it.

When I got to college, theater and music took precedence and I did nothing more with fragrance for many years. I eventually left home at nineteen and found myself traveling all over Europe, which I fell in love with, having only lived in suburban northern California heretofore. I sort of stumbled into acting in television commercials and photo modeling and was very lucky to be successful at this for many years both in Europe and Hollywood.

At one point, after a breakup from a long relationship, I moved to a small place on Venice Beach. I discovered a guy who was selling very fine essential oils and absolutes. I bought a number of them and also went to an aromatherapy seminar he recommended. There I smelled ambroxan, ambrette seed, tonka and a lot of other things and began a small collection. I had a dream to sell an organic, all natural men’s cologne. This idea died quickly when I discovered there wasn’t a decent or affordable musk in the plant kingdom. Musk tincture was not an option as I don’t believe in harming animals this way.

Again perfumery went dormant for several years. Then a friend told me about a men’s fragrance he had found called Gendarme, which was new on the market and I loved it. It was way ahead of its time, as it was the first transparent fragrance I had ever smelled. Of course, at the time I didn’t know the term, just that I really liked it. I found out that it was made in West Hollywood by an independent right near where I was living. With some help of the internet, I wrote the manufacturer a fan letter. It turned out to be Topper Schroeder. I visited with him and told him that I had the same dream to manufacture. He gave me encouragement. I dropped the subject again for about three years, but never forgot it.

Several years ago, as I was getting tired of show business and my work was slowing, I went into therapy as I was in a classic “mid-life crisis.” My wonderful therapist helped me to realize that manufacturing fragrances was really what I wanted to do. I had been left some money when my father died, so I had the means to start something. I went ahead and developed three scents. I conceived of them as being for men as I had little experience with women’s fragrances. Little did I know that women would like them, too.

Oh, by the way, I now have literally hundreds of bottles and droppers.

Your first idea was to make an all natural men's cologne but stopped with this idea because there wasn't a decent or affordable musk in the plant kingdom , if you would think the other way around could you name a natural compound that you consider to be irreplaceable by synthetics?

I have never smelled a sandalwood substitute that really captures the real thing. Sandalwood as it used to be. At home when I was a kid we had a bottle of real sandalwood oil dating from probably the 1940's. Firmenich's "Sandalwood" doesn't hold a candle to it. Elements of sandalwood exist that are excellent, but not the whole odor profile. Others that come to mind are clary sage oil and absolute, labdanum, olibanum (frankincense). I haven't smelled a really good facsimile of benzoin either. They don't capture the depth. The same with balsam peru. I'm sure there are a lot more that I can't think of offhand. There are also some rose absolutes that still remain unique, even though inventing new substitutes is big business.

You've been a fashion model and actor, archived a master's degree in Fine Arts at UClA, painted and made constructional art and composed music. It seems like you really enjoy creating in all kinds of forms. Can you tell me if this had influence on your creation of fragrances?

Yes, very much so. I love the process of having something in my head and giving birth to it into the world of reality. I guess I have a strong need to share what's inside me with the world. To bring something of beauty, of value. Something positive and something good about which I can say, "I did that." Just like everyone, I guess, I have a need to be excellent at something, to shine. Does that make me an egotist? Perfume manufacture captivates me because it challenges all my skills of visual design in conceptualizing and packaging. Also, the process of creating a fragrance is a lot like painting to me. Instead of a palette of colors you have an endless palette of smells to remember and to work with.

You made three wonderful men's fragrances, are you ever going to make a fragrance for women?

As we speak I'm continuing work refining a fragrance for women which I want to call Genviève. It's a floral concept I've wanted to do for a long time. Stepping into the world of women's fragrances is a bit daunting because I've worn men's fragrances and feel I know them better. What I'm making now will hopefully be a classic, elegant, retro-type multi-flower scent based on rose, violet and mimosa. I am exchanging e-mails with a bottle manufacturer right now which is designing me a Channel No. 5 style of crystal bottle with glass stopper for Genviève.

Which of your fragrances did you enjoy composing the most?

That's a tough question. I did hundreds of trials on all of them. I would probably say Monk was my favorite because I was going for something completely unique.

What was your idea behind Monk?

I got really tired of smelling "cool water this" and "fresh air that"... everything smells so ozonic (airy or watery) to me in the department stores. I thought others might be getting tired of this, too, and that the pendulum would swing back to a wider range of fragrances that preceded this trend, but with new materials and new twists. I created Monk actually with a particular chain of stores in mind which sells "goth" clothing and merchandise. It turned out that they thought the concept was too "religious" even though they specialize in demon T-shirts and vampire clothing! They ended up producing their own scent. So I lost out there. But I really wanted something for young people into the goth lifestyle. Once again I'm working on that theme with a leathery, smoky scent that I think fits that style of dress, tattoos and all. Certainly something better than Cool Water or what have you. That style of dress needs something edgy, metallic and dark... I'm still working on that theme as I think there is a market for it. And in general, I truly believe the watery melons will become passé soon for everyone, not just goths. I mean, isn't it getting boring already?

Do you have a personal favorite fragrance family and a favorite particular fragrance note?

I love leathers and coumarin. I dislike basil and tarragon notes. I love vanilla notes and musks... sandalwood and other smooth woods.. I like rose a lot. I think most people probably do. It's the queen of flowers. I love the smell of sweet peas. I wish I could figure out to make a fragrance exactly like a bouquet of sweet peas, but I haven't been successful yet. Another one of my favorites is carnations. I don't care for really green fragrances too much. I much prefer creamy, lactonic notes.

What is your favorite fragrance that you didn't create yourself and could you think of one fragrance that you wished you had created, which would it be and why?

Gendarme, by the independent Topper Schroeder. I think I mentioned him before. He created a fragrance that smells like a clean shower. It is an unusual fragrance in that it just stays squeaky clean. When wearing it I have had people ask me if I had just taken a shower. I don't know if you can find it in Europe or not, but it’s wonderful and since he brought it out in small boutiques here locally maybe 20 years ago, it has just continued to grow in popularity. As far as I know, he doesn't do any advertising for it. I wish I had invented that fragrance. I think it will remain a classic.

What is your favorite ingredient to work with (natural and/or synthetic) and about how many fragrance materials do you have in your fragrance organ?

I just counted roughly. I see that I have somewhere between 400 and 500. I'm surprised myself!
My favorites to work with are Genet absolute (also called broom absolute). Another one I use is Mimosa absolute. Tonka bean is another very luxurious ingredient that I like, as well as natural balsam of benzoin for a woody, vanilla-like note. Also patchouli, bergamot and clary are important naturals to me. Also angelica root is something I really love... and galbanum, too. I also love Javanol by Givaudan... a very long lasting, expensive and velvety sandalwood note and Civettone, a warm sensuous elegant musky note with a sort of peachy note, which is very expensive.

How do you remember them all?

I really can't. I pick about ten of them periodically and take them outside on my patio table and sniff them for a few days in fresh air to aid my memory. I always find ones I'd forgotten about or decide that I hadn't really studied properly before. Often I'll run right inside with one or two of them and compound something new. And I'm always getting new ones. I take those outside to study for a few days, too.

How did you learn to make perfume? Did you have a mentor?

I have only taught myself through books. I have never stood with another perfumer and worked at his or her side. I have only met a couple of perfumers, but never had one as a friend or mentor, sad to say.

Any books you could recommend for anyone interested in learning more about fragrances?

The ones that come to mind are Arctander's famous tome and Jellinek. There were a number of other ones I learned from. They are downtown at the library but I don't recall the names offhand. Much of the material is old-fashioned, so I have also learned a tremendous amount online from reading profiles of chems from the various houses like IFF, Quest, Givaudan and the others. Some of them give sample formulas using their products and I study those as well.

So much of the learning for me has simply been countless experiments and countless bottles and many, many mistakes. Gradually you begin to learn what works with what and what doesn't. Of course, I'm still learning daily by my copious mistakes. I think you just have to get in there and start mixing things and be willing to make a lot of bad smells! A lot of it, too, is learning how potent the different items in your organ are, not just the characteristic smell. It just takes experimentation to figure out how much of each thing to use without overpowering your creation. Some things are very, very strong and others quite weak as you well know. There is no rhyme or reason to relative strengths. No book can teach this. My rule is: Put in less than you think you want, then you can always go back later and add more of an item.... but you can't take it out. You have to start the whole concoction all over again and crud up yet another bottle.

Thank you for this interview, it was very interesting and informative. I wish you all the best with the making of fragrances. My final question is: Where can we buy your fragrances?

My fragrances are for sale though my website, which takes you to my e-bay store. Go to . and be sure to have your speakers turned on so you can hear the music I wrote for each scent! I thank you sincerely, Jenny, for interviewing me. It's been great fun spouting off about what I love!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Don't forget!!!

Tomorrow at this blog an interview with the perfumer Michael Storer, don't miss it!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

First Love

Friday I went to a perfumery store to buy a perfume for my dear girlfriend. I was looking for something new or at least a sensual fragrance. I tried all the new fragrances and I have to say I was disappointed, no one touched me at all. They owned nice notes but they didn't make a statement if you now what I mean. It was like they were made real fast to make money. I decided to buy a classical Must de Cartier because I'm sure she will love it.
There was one new fragrance that touched me though: First Love by van Cleef & Arpels, it's a lovely fragrance. The bottle is amethyst-colored and does have the same shape as the original First. It's a floral oriental fragrance with notes of grain of paradise, osmanthus and mandarin, peony, ylang-ylang and orchid and in the base amber crystal and vanilla sap. It's true it's a floral oriental but with the wonderful spicy note of grain of paradise that lingers through the whole fragrance. The orchid note is dominant as well in this lovely fragrance. The color of the bottle reflect the fragrance perfectly.
The photo is from:

Wednesday at this blog: an interview with the perfumer Mike Storer!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I'm hopeful

My perfume based on the scent of magnolia turned out well. I'm really hopeful now that it's going to be the fragrance I had in mind. It's not just a magnolia perfume but it's build around the scent of magnolia. I used two rose scents as well the May Rose and the Bulgarian Rose, Lilly of the Valley for the fresh green/white scent and Orange blossom to add that lovely fresh flowery fragrance. To enhance the soft fresh scent of the Magnolia I used Jasmin Sambac and Hedione. To soften it up I used a velvety Vanilla and added Iris for her powdery fragrance, the Iris and the Hedione are the new notes I used and it improved the fragrance just as I had in mind. I will try other Lilly of the Valley notes to see if it will give a more light fresh flowery note. In the base I used a lovely warm amber note and a sensual musk. The topping is made of citrus notes, pineapple and fresh green notes. My problem before was that the fragrance didn't stay long enough but with adding the amber and the musk it will stay for 24 hours! For me it's important that a fragrance stay long on my skin and I'm happy that it worked with this fragrance. It's almost perfect but it's still not done.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Update of my experiments

Still exploring my new received perfume chemicals. I put them on a smellingstrip and close my eyes and try to smell every detail of it. To know the smell of the materials doesn't mean that you know how it will react in a perfume. That's the fun part of making perfume; it's a never ending story. It reminds me of the use of Aldehydes like in Chanel no 5, it was not a new product but it was used in a whole new way. The same it was with Hedione (methyl dihydro jasmonate) it wasn't a new material, it was known by every perfumer. The smell of Hedione on a smellingstrip is weak and vaguely like a jasmin tea, the use of it in a jasmin base is obvious but the way Edmond Routnitska used the Hedione in his Eau Savage by Dior; a herbal citrus composition was unique. Hedione is weak on a smellingstrip but has great potential in a perfume, it will make a perfume 'sing'. It's important to study perfumematerials on their own but also diluted and in combination with other materials.
The use of Hedione in Eau Savage made me think about my Fougere experiments, the last time it turned out to be too soapy. Lavender notes are easy turn out soapy, I put in some Hedione and less Lavender and it gives a wonderful result, I like it a lot. I tempered the Basil notes and used a wonderful green note, because I think a Fougere (Fern) needs to have a green scent, a Fern to me always smell green.
I'm still working on my Magnolia based perfume, I'm thrilled because I added notes that makes it linger real long, I put it on my skin in the morning and the next morning I still could smell it. It needs more perfection but I know I'm on the right way. I did some experiments with a chypre based perfume as well and it's wonderful I added fruity pineapple notes in it and found out that Cashmeran(musk note) turned out lovely with the patchouli, it made the patchouli notes softer.
I ordered a lot of materials from a German company and some essential oils and absolutes from Primavera, I can't wait to experiment with them.