Thursday, August 31, 2006

I can smell again

It's a grey day in The Netherlands. Our summer started so well but the last couple of weeks the weather is rainy. Today there is no sun it's raining a little spit spat but it's not cold. On my bike I enjoyed the weather even. I think it is because I've spend a couple of days at home because I was ill. It felt good to sit on my bike and feel the little tiny drops of rain on my face and smell the fresh clean air mixed with the smell of wet soil and fresh grass.

I'm so happy that I can smell again. I put on my fruity/chypre fragrance and try to find out if it's missing something. Maybe it could use some more bergamot I will try that, I enjoy the smell of bergamot oil it's a delightful smell that brings the sun in your live, something that I could use right now. I tried substitutes for the bergamot oil but nothing smell like the real thing. I like the smell of green mandarin oil as well and will see of that can enhance the fruity note of this fragrance. I don't want to change too much though because the fragrance does smell great how it is right now, I just want to see if I tried everything to make it perfect.

On Tuesday we got the news that my husband will be operated on his hernia next week Tuesday, so on 5 September. I'm happy that it will be done but I'm also very nervous about it. But we both know that he need an operation, he has had a lot of pain and can't do the things he was used to do. I will keep you informed about it next week.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Musk impart sensuality to perfume it bring volume and diffusitvity and impart warmth and liveliness. I think it's safe to say that there's no perfume without musk. Musk tincture smells animalic, sweet and ammoniacal. But the more one studies its character, the more contrasting, vibrant and oscillating it becomes: repulsive-attractive, chemical-warm, sweaty-balmy, acrid-waxy, earthy-powdery, fatty-chocolate like, pungent-leathery, resinous-spicy, fig-like, dry, nutty, and woody.

Originally the musk was obtained from the male musk deer. The internal pouches found between the hind legs had an intesely smelling secretion. To harvest the secretion the animal was hunted. To obtain 1 kilo of musk grains between 30 and 50 animals had to be sacrificed. Musk tinctures were still used in perfumery till about 1979, when musk deers were protected form extinction by the Conention on International Trade in Endagnered species of wild fauna and flora(CITES)

Musky smell refers especially from the smell of the dry-down of the natural musk tincture after the more volatile parts are evaporated and when the more warm, sensual, sweet-powdery tonality comes forward. In 1888 Albert Bauer discovered the nitro musk Musk Bauer. Soon replaced by three other nitro musks that he also discovered: Musk Xylene, Musk Ketone and Musk Ambrette. These musks became really important for the fragrances for the next 50 years.

In 1981 the nitro musks were restricted mainly because of a certain toxicity(neurotoxicity) and their phototoxicity, but besides they also caused ecological concerns due to their poor biodegradability. Ernest Beaux the perfumer that created Chanel no5 used over 10% nitro musks in his formulation mainly Musk Ketone. Musk Ambrette was used by the perfumer Francis Fabron for L'air du Temps. These nitro musks had to be replaced by other musk smelling chemicals and that's not an easy thing to do without changing the smell of these perfumes.

The first nitro free aromatic musk chemical Phantolide was introduced in 1951 by Kurt Fuchs. This was the start of other Polycyclic musks like Celestolide, Fixolide, Tonalide, Galaxolide and many more. Galaxolide was first synthesized in 1965, and already in the late 1960s used in dosages up to 40% in fabric softeners such as Comfort and Soflan and in detergents like Coral at 27%. But high doses were also incorporated in fine fragrances, for instance Tresor by Sophia Grosjsman with its 21,4% of Galaxolide. Galaxolide possesses a clean sweet musky flowery woody odour.

There is another group of chemicals with a musk odour: Macrocyclic musks. Examples of macrocyclic musks are Exaltolide, Habanolide, Velvione and others. Habanolide has a metallic character which is used in Emporio Armani white for her by Alberto Morillas as a component of a white musk accord together with Helvetolide. In Glow by J Lo it's used in an intense white flower accord.

Nirvanolide a chemical produced by Givaudan has a clean and sweet, powdery and persistent, and slightly animalic odour and is quite close to the restricted Musk Ketone. It's used at 6,7% in the perfume Forever Elizabeth created by David Apel. Another chemical with an odour close to Musk Ketone is Muscenone it possesses a very elegant and diffusive musk odour.

Musk odours could also be obtained in the plant kingdom like Angelica root oil that possesses the musk odour Exaltolide(macrocyclic) but also 12-methyl-13-tridecanolide. The discovery of 12-methyl-13-tridecanolide in Angelica root oil was really important because it showed the importance of the effect of methyl substituents on the character of macrocyclic musks. Ambrette seed oil possesses Ambretollide. When thinking about musky smells you don't think about Galbanum because it has a green note with balsamic nuances and isn't musky at all, but the isolated methyl macrolides: 14-pentadecanolide and the 15-hexadecanolide do have a musky odour.

This information I found in the books Chemistry and Technology of flavors and fragrances by David J. Rowe and Perfumery practice and principles by Robert R. Calkin and J. Stephen Jellinek. The picture of the musk pods is from the picture of the chemical structures is from the picture of Tresor is from and the one of Forever Elizabeth is from

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Don't feel so well

The last couple of days I don't feel so well. All my muscles hurt, I'm o so tired and I have a terrible cold. So no perfume making for me these days, I spent my days sleeping and reading. The book I'm reading is Chemistry and technology of flavors and fragrances by David J.Rowe.
It's a difficult book for me to read because it discusses the technical parts of some aroma chemicals, but there is also interesting information to be found. Like the chapter about musks, I found in that chapter that L'air du Temps not only possesses musk ketone but also musk ambrette, both are restricted now. Today these musks could be replaced by muscenone and nirvanolide. I will write a post about musk the next time, when I feel a bit better.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Study of the classics part 1 +

Yesterday I posted my formula for L'air du Temps and thought it would be nice to give some alternatives for the given components for someone that doesn't have all these components, and want to use essential oils and absolutes. So here is the formula where I wrote down some alternatives behind the original components, they don't smell exactly the same but have some similarity:

Benzyl salicylate 6,7 (ylang ylang)
Eugenol 1,5 (clove)
Methyl Diantilis 0,5 (carnation)
Ylang Ylang 1
Methyl Ionone 4,4 (orris root)
Vertofix 2 (vetiver)
Sandalwood 1
Styrallyl acetate 0,2 (gardenia, jasmine)
Phenylethylalcohol 2 (rose)
Hydroxycitronellal 4,4 (smells like lilly of the Valley there is no essential oil of this flower)
Benzyl acetate 0,4 (jasmine, ylang)
Bergamot 2,4
Linalool 1 (rosewood)
Linalyl acetate 3 (bergamot, neroli, lavender)
Aldehyde C11 undecylenic 0,1 (orange or bergamot)
Vanillin 0,05 (vanilla)
Heliotropin 0,2 (smells like vanilla and almond,maybe a benzoin oil would work here)
Iris substitute Firmenich 0,05 (iris)
Exaltolide 0,15 (a musky fragrance with some similarity to angelica root oil)
Muscenone Delta 0,15 (a musky fragrance that could be replaced by Ambrette Seed Oil)
Jasmin etoile(givaudan) 0,2 (jasmine)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Study of the classics part 1

Last weekend I spent my days on studying the classic perfumes. I once read in a book that you can learn from the classic perfumes. I think that makes sense, it gives me a change to try to understand what the perfumer thought while creating the perfume why he or she used certain notes. So this weekend I started with two classicals. L'air du Temps and Shalimar. Here is the Simple formula I made for a perfume with a L'air du Temps kind of fragrance:

Benzyl salicylate 6,7
Eugenol* 1,5
Methyl Diantilis** 0,5
Ylang Ylang 1
Methyl Ionone 4,4
Vertofix 2
Sandalwood 1
Styrallyl acetate 0,2
alcohol 2
Hydroxycitronellal 4,4
Benzyl acetate 0,4
Bergamot 2,4
Linalool 1
Linalyl acetate 3
Aldehyde C11
undecylenic 0,1
Vanillin 0,05
Heliotropin 0,2
Iris substitute Firmenich 0,05
Exaltolide*** 0,15
Muscenone Delta*** 0,15
Jasmin etoile(givaudan) 0,2

*could be replaced by clove oil
** I used this instead of Iso eugenol because it smell similar but it's not restricted by IFRA
***Both musk notes, the original has Musk ketone but since it's restricted I don't like to use it

The perfume has some similarity to L'air du Temps but is lighter and more flowery, the original has more dark sweet notes maybe from benzoin or patchouli.

Now I will experiment with this accord. For example replace the Benzyl salicylate by Amyl salicylate or cis 3 hexenyl salicylate and study the difference. I could change the Hydroxycitronellal for Lyral or the Methyl Ionone by Beta ionone or Alpha ionone. I could even try to add a new note, maybe a green note like Galbanum or a peach note like Aldehyde C14 or Nectaryl. Or leaving a note out like the rose notes like Phenylethyl alcohol. Most perfumes are inspired by the classics, by using another interpretation of the classics there could be created a whole new perfume. Mitsouko by Guerlain was based on the Chypre accord but by adding a peach note from the Aldehyde C14 it became a complete different perfume.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

To twirl all girly by Pilar and Lucy

When I saw the lovely bottles of Pilar and Lucy for the first time it made me curious. The bottles are so feminine and the names so funny, I had to know how the liquid inside this beautiful bottle smelled. To twirl all girly is described as a perfume inspired by gardenia, but to me it's a perfume with a sweet vanilla scent with a little bit of a flower note from gardenia and jasmine. I expected to get a fresh sensual smell of the gardenia from this bottle but instead it's a sweet fragrance that I wouldn't describe gardenia like. Yes there is a note of gardenia but that's a minor note.

It's definitely a gourmand fragrance, the first impression is vanilla coconut. After searching a while I detect the gardenia note, covered up with a sweet warm caramel note. There is a note of frankincense shimmering through the whole fragrance that intrigues me, that note is really important for this fragrance because without it it would be to flat. Set my disappointment a side that it isn't a gardenia fragrance I must admit it's a really nice fragrance, and girly it is, I get images of balletdancers in pink dresses, girly, soft, sweet, romantic, dreamy....that's the words to describe this perfume. I can imagine wearing this as a comforting perfume on a rainy day, rolling my self in a blanket on the couch, drinking hot chocolate and reading my favorite book. My only complaint about this perfume is that it's linear and doesn't change much on my skin.

The picture of the bottle is from:
the balletdancers are form: and the picture of the caramel is from:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Private emails

Just got another lovely private email from a reader of this blog, telling me she likes the blog and hope I will continue with it. It surprises me that I get a lot of private emails, it seems like some people rather like to send me private emails than adding a comment on the blog. When I just look at the comments on this blog it looks like I'm a bit alone, but this emails always tell me that you out there and like to read this blog. I'm so lucky that I found Statcounter it tells me how many people visited this blog and how long they stay. This gives me encouragement and I have to admit it's good for my ego too.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This smell reminds me of........

I can't think of one day that I don't do anything with the making of fragrances. I don't work every day on a perfume but I'm always busy with smell and fragrances. I read about it, do research for some compounds and every day I put on a diluted fragrance material. I like to get to know all the materials I have.

I just received new materials and when I open the box with all these new materials I get all exited! I start to dilute all these materials and put it on my wrist and on smelling strips. When I smell these materials it all happens in my head, I start to imagine how some materials would combine with it. I write it all down in my "fragrance materials bible" I write down what kind of smell it has, what it reminds me of, what kind of emotion it gives me, what are nice combinations etc. I ask my self questions like is it a green smell or is it flowery, woody, musky or spicy.

Sometimes I recognize a fragrance but I can't recall it and it takes a couple of days before I get that Aha moment and found out what the smell does remind me of. Last time I had it with the material Butyl Quinoline Secondary, the smell of it remind me of something I couldn't put my finger on. It smells like soil but it smelled like something more specific and one day I've got smells like red beets. You know how fresh red beets can smell like soil? I envy Luca Turin that he can smell a material and recognize it in a split second.....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Smell like an alcoholic???

Remember that I was bit nervous because I sent 4 of my perfumes to Michael Storer? Well yesterday he finally received them and he told me he liked them very much he told me they were very nice balanced and said that I'm a real perfumer....well I don't know I'm still not satisfied about the fragrances but okay it sounds real nice, it made me feel real good and gave me power to go on.

Last night we were talking together on Skype and had a great time. We discussed the 4 fragrances, while he was smelling them. I sent him a fruity/chypre, a leathery/oriental and two versions of my perfume with white flowers and magnolia.
I'm working on the Magnolia fragrance(I always call it magnolia fragrance from the start but it isn't a soliflor though) for 4 years now and still can't figure it out how to make it like I had in mind. Michael gave me advice to use some ingredients in it and the funny thing is that I used all the ingredients he advised me in the first trials 4 years ago, but now I've changed them and use other notes. I think I will go back to the original and start all over again. Michael also give me advice of using another note of Lilly of the Valley exactly as I had in mind, I don't have that compound yet but ordered it already, I think that's the note I was looking for all the time.

Michael really liked the leathery/oriental. I put it on at work and asked my colleagues if they liked it, and they did but telling me that it maybe is a bit to heavy to wear at daytime. I will try to make it less heavy, but Michael said it was an original fragrance really full and with surprisingly notes that he really liked. I think it's a nice fragrance as well, it touch me... it's an emotional fragrance like me sister in law once said about it.

Michael liked the fruity/chypre really much, he called it a winner. It's funny...he said that the first impression was a bit rum or brandy like, something I never noticed. So I put it on as well and is true, it smells a bit like rum or brandy, and I like that. We both tried to find out which notes made that smell and I think we found them. So the first impression is a bit brandy like and after that it's fruity with flowery notes like the absolute from the tuberose and jasmine. Michael said that he liked the "scratchy" base notes, what I think comes from the oak moss. He said it smelled like it's a finished perfume but I want to try some more things with it, find out if some ingredients will make it more beautiful or don't. For me it's so difficult to say that a perfume is finished, I think I have to work on that. I guess I'm a perfectionist when it comes to perfume making.

The brandy and rum smell in my fragrance did remind me of some other fragrances with whine or other alcoholic smells. Here are some examples:

Chateau Roxane

The French perfumer Cava Parfums, launching its own line of viniferous fragrances called Chateau Roxane packed in a wine bottle.

Le Boise

Taking inspiration from the oak barrels used to age Bordeaux wine, this resolutely masculine scent is built on a rich blend of woods. Deep and resonant, with a dash of spice. The packaging takes its cue from Bordeaux tradition, as well, right down to the red capsule.

Le Boise notes
woods, spices, vanilla


The irrefutable elegance of a classic dry white Bordeaux—light and brilliant in the glass, tart and crisp on the palate. A bold burst of grapefruit is blended with aromatic box tree and the gentlest hint of white peach to a create this sophisticated fragrance. Gloriously fresh.

Packaged in a beautiful hand-sewn velvet satchel.

Sauvignonne notes
grapefruit, box tree, white peach.


A lush autumnal fragrance inspired by the rich, honeyed sweetness of extraordinary Sauternes wines like the magnificent vintages of Chateau d’Yquem. Opulent, golden, voluptuous. A warm and velvety blend of honey, candied fruits, quince and pain d’epice that caresses the senses. Truly intoxicating.

Packaged in a beautiful hand-sewn velvet satchel.

Botrytis notes
honey, candied fruits, quince, pain d’epice, white flowers.


Named for the year the Frapin family established itself in the Cognac region of France (and continues to make cognac to this day), 1270 was created by Beatrice Cointreau, great granddaughter of Pierre Frapin. Together with Frapin's Cellar Master, she sought to create a noble fragrance full of the scents surrounding the creation of cognac. 1270 is dry, rich, velvety and smooth. The flowers of the once-proud Folle Blanche (a grape nearly extinct from the region), the vineyard grass, the wine warehouse, the rich smell of damp earth in the cellars, the wood of new casks, the loamy smell of humus where the ancestral cognacs are stored– all these notes can be detected in 1270. Gorgeous is putting it mildly... this scent defies flowery prose. A true masterpiece.

1270 notes
exotic woods, spice, raisin, vine flowers, pepper, candied orange, nut, hazelnut, prune, cocoa, coffee, leather, woods, white honey, vanilla

Picture of Chateau Roxane is from:
Information and pictures from the other perfumes are from:

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pizza anyone?

I posted a post about gourmand fragrances and this makes me think....What makes it that we want to smell like eatable notes? Some of us like to smell like vanilla, chocolate, almond, coffee, tea, tomato leaf, cognac etc. Why is it that some notes are suitable for perfumes and some are definitely not? Here are some notes I've never seen in perfumes, please tell me if you know a perfume with that note.

Would you like a perfume with a note of:






Tea Biscuits???







Sunday, August 06, 2006

Interview with the perfumer Andy Tauer

I'm very proud that the perfumer Andy Tauer did like to do an interview on this blog. We did this interview by mail and it was fun for both of us. Enjoy!

How did you become a perfumer, and did you always knew you would become one?

Let me first thank you for giving me the chance to talk about myself outside of my blog. It is a pleasure to discuss with you and to jointly think about perfumery; let's hope your readers will appreciate it, too!

In order to be honest: It took me a while to get acquainted with the idea of being a perfumer. As a matter of fact, the first time I used the title perfumer was at immigration to Egypt last year where I -for the very first time- put in perfumer as profession. Before, I always used chemist or manager or something similar.

Why is this? One reason is my respect from the title. I think a perfumer is some what of an artist. And I still am somewhat reluctant to call my self perfumer because of this. Am I an artist? I do not really know. Do I knowhow to make perfumes? Sometimes I find yes, sometimes I look into the mirror and know: Andy, you gonna have to go a long way, still.

Thus, how did I become someone who wants to create perfumes? I have studied chemistry, which helps. I have a sense for beauty, I guess, I love beautiful things and I like to be creative. When I discovered scents a few years ago, completely by chance, just out of the blue, it was like a revelation. I realized: This is exactly what I want to do. Create scents and sniff. Sniff and sniff. I started sniffing natural essences, ordered like crazy from all over the world and started to make simple, disgusting perfumes.

I learned to sniff and to memorize scents. At the beginning I had an excel table where I was writing down all my impressions and this technique helped me a lot. I learnt that I have to describe and think about scents in a very crude way: Smells like fish or smells like a wood close to the highway and I learnt to be patient, because in perfumery: Things need time! And I later met Vero, a friend by now , a dear friend indeed, and a perfumer. She learnt me how to use synthetics. And I started to make more complex fragrances.

Finally, after centuries of sniffing, of mixing and learning how scents develop and interact, I made the first perfume, that really was a something I could be proud on. I gave it my brother as a gift. And then, soon afterwards, I started thinking about le Maroc pour elle, which -after almost a year-finally ended up in a little shop in Zurich. The rest is history..

By the way, on wikipedia the perfume creator is described as follows:

"The job of composing perfumes that will sell is left up to an expert on perfume composition, more commonly known in the fragrance industry as the Nose. The nose is effectively an artist who is trained in depth on the concepts of fragrance aesthetics and who is capable of conveying abstract concepts and moods with their fragrance compositions. At the most rudimentary level, a nose must not only have a keen knowledge of a large variety of fragrance ingredients and their smells, and be able to distinguish each of the fragrance ingredients whether alone or in combination with other fragrances. As well, they must know how each ingredient reveals itself through time with other ingredients. "

Please tell us more about Le Maroc pour elle. We have learnt it was an idea on the side with friends. What's the story behind it and how did this fragrance develop?

The existence of Le Maroc pour elle resides in my wish to create a scent that is centered around three natural absolutes from Morocco: The rose absolute, the jasmine absolute and the essence of cedarwood. The idea was born quite fast, within a few minutes I had a deal settled with Pascal -the shop owner of Medieval art & vie in Zurich and a dear friend- and we agreed on me creating this perfume for his shop. We had an excellent wine that evening, did not think about the implications, and thus, I started composing a fragrance which should be centered around these three natural treasures.

It took me quite long (something like 9 months, I guess) to have it ready. I had absolute freedom because Pascal trusted me that what comes out will be fine. It was a somewhat painful experience because it was the first time that I agreed to create a scent based on a theme that was intended to be sold to clients in a shop. We had no client focus group, but Pascal would present the final perfume version to clients, asking for their opinion. And he got quite enthusiastic remarks, with a few exceptions and thus we started to sell it. One exception was (I posted once about this on my blog) a critique like:" Ohhh, no? that smells like fish?.no wrong! It s sheep, wet sheep!? "
Now, before this truly devastating statement (that was not hindering us to launch) were months of agony. I faced incredible difficulties to use the rose absolute without making a cheap, soapy smelling perfume. And the atlas cedarwood, with its intrinsic sweetness was a nightmare to blend. I have gone through dozens of trials, and I got troubled, because I could not bring it to the point I wanted it to be. I knew how it should be but it was not getting there.

It was one morning, Saturday or Sunday, in bed, when I was thinking about it and I imagined a formula of what I thought might work. Involving more patchouli, lots of sandalwood (the expensive Mysore quality) and so on. I got out of bed, because I was really convinced that this might be the solution to my troubles. You know, there is a point, where I get really uneasy and feel like I have fever. It is kind of passion manifesting itself.Thus, I got up and soon started to write down the formula in my excel file and later mix it. The formula that I wrote down back than is still the formula for Le Maroc pour elle, with one single change: I reduced the frankincense, because it turned out to be a little bit too dominant in the head note. And trust me; although built on the experiences gained before hand, it was quite different to what I have tried before. For me, this was like a culmination point reached, everything was ready and bang! It was there.

Now, what followed was equally interesting. I have finished the perfume and made a little batch and we started selling. Honestly: With little success. Something like a perfume a week. I started in July 2005 my blogging, because I thought it is cool too talk about perfumery I started blogging without having a clue what I was doing. But still?..?. This was probably the best idea I ever had.

Every year there are so many new fragrance coming out, isn't it difficult to let your fragrance to be noticed at all between all these new fragrances, and how do you promote your fragrances.

You are so right! And sometimes I wonder where perfumery is heading. I think there are two issues: First what is happening right now in terms of new fragrances release and second on how to stand out. What we see happening the last 10, 20 years is a development that is somewhat unhealthy. Let us call it a leveling effect, and I leave it up to you and your readers whether things level down or up. I look at it rather pragmatic. More wonderful starting materials are available for creating perfumes and more perfumes are launched daily then ever before. Yet, the numbers of truly remarkable perfumes that are launched these days is limited. Thus, my hopes reside in the quality of my perfumery work. I am confident that there is a market for my fragrances that will accept them; of course it is a niche market.

Now to the second issue: How to get noticed and how to promote my fragrances? This is much trickier. I do not have an enormous marketing budget. As a matter of fact, my marketing budget is close to zero. Thus, what I do not have in terms of money, I have to compensate in terms of creativity. I am constantly thinking of ways to enter markets, niche markets to be precise, by being present. Right now, my blog has the biggest impact there, and became a cornerstone of my businessmodel. Not that it ever was planned to fulfill this role, though. I realized that perfume lovers, potential customers, like to read it, to learn more about my perfumery work and also about myself. They get curious and order samples. And, because some of them are also active in boards, the message gets spread that there is a guy making perfumes. To some extend this is a rather passive mode of acquiring customers but so far we are very pleased, indeed.

The other routes we are following are events that we make in Switzerland, looking for synergies, like in September when we make a joint event with a fashion designer. So far I must admit, we haven't been very active in the press, and I am still reluctant to pay for an ad in beauty journals. It would-based on my experience with appearing in the beauty news of journals- not pay off. What helped a lot to get known, and here I really own Mr Turin a lot, are critics and columns, be it the press, be it on the internet. I once posted about it: I am convinced that we are witnessing a shift from the printmedia to the e-media. A shift of power, with the customers, people like you and me, becoming the true opinion makers.

It looks like you have to be creative not only in the craft of perfume making but the things around it as well, like the promoting of your perfumes. Did you create the labels of the fragrances by yourself as well? And how about the filling of the bottles and samples is that all being done by your own hands?

Everything is done and created by myself, starting with the scent formula to the bottled and packed perfume. I do the web programming (on a very simple level) and the design of labels etc. As a matter of fact I love to fiddle around with pictures and to make computer drawings. I consider it being a creative act, too. In light of increasing sales volume over the last 12 months, I am considering to outsource the actual production, soon; meaning that I will be able to focus more on the creative part again. Because, honestly spoken, the mixing and dilution and filtering is not a creative act per se. I also like to think about how to do the next steps towards marketing my perfumes, how to address clients, how to get into the media: This is all fun, exciting and in a sense rewarding, too.

All these aspects of perfumery, the creative endeavour, logistics, sales issues, and finally marketing issues, are part of an ensemble that fits neatly with my interest. Eventually, the logistics and sales part fit somewhat less, I am not such a well organized person if it comes to stockhandling and keeping an eye on my sales figures; but then... again an opportunity to learn and grow.

Andy can you tell us a bit more how you work on your perfumes? Where do you find your sources of inspiration and how do you start creating the perfume?

Let me start with the actual process of creation. When I start working on a theme I usually have a crystal clear idea of what the final product should look like. Not that the end result always turns out to be identical to my vision, but it for sure is nourished by it.There might be twists arising on the way towards the final perfume; discoveries that I make that ultimately influence the final picture, and that I gladly incorporate.

But back to the question: How is it done? I sit at my desk and think about how to combine what in which amounts to reach the scent that I want. I usually start with some sort of a scent sketch, a minimal structure, the bones if you want.This sketch covers all notes (head notes, heart notes, body notes), but looks frightening like a skeleton. It is not a fragrance, yet but already then I can see whether a particular idea works.There is a lot of abstraction needed. Maybe I realize that a particular note is good in the sense that it brings about the effect that I want but that it is too present and hence needs adjustments in the next run. Or I realize that a particular note does not work yet, because an other note is missing. Like taking a rose in the middle and then realizing that it needs to be moderated by some orris aspects. Thus, I sit at the bench and think about it (or in the train or while shopping my groceries) and later I find myself in front of the bottles and mix things together. Mostly, I write things down in Excel beforehand and then modify on the go. With the skeleton mentioned above I then move on, adding a little bit of flesh here and a little bit of hair there and then, after months and months, eventually, I am getting close to where I want to be.

Am I happy with my creations? Sometimes, yes... but a doubt always remains. A perfume like the Lonestar Memories took me uncounted trials (18 documented basic versions, many angrily thrown away versions that I deleted again in Excel) and many fine tuning versions based on scent skeleton 18.

The inspiration is an interesting issue and hard to say. It is just there and it is not always clear where it came from. Nature's scents (the good and the ugly ones) are for sure an inspiration. Nature is full of scents that are truly remarkable and very inspiring. But then, the scents that we all encounter are inspiring, too. The scent of a man passing by wearing an unknown perfume, the disturbing scent of a bedroom in the morning, the kitchen of a friend,.....Interesting to me is the way the brain works there.You encounter a scent and later, in the lab, you have this idea that nourishes from the scent that you have encountered yesterday, and then you suddenly know what you have to do. By the way: An almost unlimited source of inspiration are also the classic perfumes where we all can learn so much.

What perfume do you still wish to create?

Oh. there are so many themes to play with. I once worked on an orange flower perfume, but never really got to the point. I did not manage to get it there where I wanted it. I wanted it to be vibrant and sexy, sensual and dark, luscious and erotic, but still elegant and not too overwhelming, with the orange flower scent circling forth and back. I failed so far and for the time being I stopped working on it..but I will sooner or later continue thinking about it again. Then there is the vetiver perfume that I never dared to think of but it would be an interesting challenge. Then I sometimes dream of a Linden blossom perfume, of a watery perfume with lots of metallic aspects, a robot perfume so to say, and and and.

You know; this is one of the most fascinating aspects of perfumery. It is never ending. I can think of hundreds of perfumes that need to be made and there is so much to learn on the way there. You get to know new accords that you try to memorize and recall hopefully when the time has come to integrate them into a new theme. With every new theme for a scent you start with an empty piece of paper and the combinations, even with a limited set of compounds, are unlimited. There is not enough time in this universe to live all these perfumer dreams..

What kind of perfume are you working on right now?

Right now, a perfume with lavender as one initial dominant note is keeping me busy. It runs under the working title Provencal Summer, given by Prince Barry, a perfume lover and frequent commenter on my blog. He was, by the way, also the one who came up with the ideal name for my leather perfume, Lonestar Memories; I wanted to name it Texas memories. Back to the lavender. It is rather a tricky thing to use lavender as dominant head note, bring it out (at least for a while) without the whole composition breaking apart, becoming soapy or trivial. I comment from time to time about the developments there on my blog, too. This, by the way, has become a most interesting aspect of my blog: I post about developments or ideas and get feedback and recommendations by customers and perfume lovers, not for the actual composition, but for other aspects. In light of the inputI got for the Lonestar Memoires, like the naming and the packaging, I will open up even more there. But this idea is not really thought all the way through...

Besides the lavender theme I have other ideas that I sporadically play around, like the omnipresent idea to create an orange flower soliflor perfume. Another theme I address from time to time is a wood perfume that is only built around woody notes, without any flowers, eventually on an ambergris base. And then I want to create a true classical chypre, with lots of roses and bergamot and cistus, but there, I haven't started yet.

Your new fragrance is Lonestar Memories a leather based fragrance, can you tell us about the story behind it and was it difficult to create?

It was very difficult for me and there were a few moments where I was close to giving up. I fulfilled a dream of mine to create a fragrance that is built around a scent that I love: Birchtar!

When I started I had no idea how long it would take me. From time to time I posted about the development on the blog and I made funny stories out of my failures. Behind these funny stories was quite an agony. Vero, my dear perfumer friend was so helpful in these days. She gave me comfort by telling me first that leathers are difficult and she also gave me some advice. Finally, I came across a birchtar, geranium, iso-amylsalicylate chord that fitted nicely with my ideas and complemented the base with its woods. Together with a rose-bergamot note in the head this chord helped me to come around the troubles of birchtar being so aggressive. Looking back I do not really remember how many trials I made, they were dozens.

When I had the impression that the composition was finished I looked back at the way I had gone and was amazed how long it took me. Looking at the formula I was also amazed because it turned out very, very complicated and some trials to shorten it were not successful. Thus, I gave up and figured out that I leave it like it is. And now... now the baby is out in the world and we see how it will do. For me this is always a thrilling, exciting moment: When finally, after months of work I can present it to perfumelovers all over the world and see their reaction. The goal: Shock them and prove that good perfumes can be made... without getting multimillion dollar companies involved.

Here is the smokey donkey post, that I published in September, out lining my desperation:

"Ok, it's time for some honesty now. My original idea fora leather scent, posted earlier, is not working. I met Vero yesterday, dear Vero, my mentor, friend and perfumer. We were smelling the core structure of this supposed to be leather scent and ...ah.... it is not there, not at all.At least, I have already started a new core structure, which is far from being finished and luckily enough, this one seems to come better.But the previously described fragrance might best be described following this recipe:Take a horse (if you do not have a real horse, a donkey might work too, but needs longer smoking). Let it run for two hourse until it is thoroughly dampand sweaty. Give it an oxygen mask and let it stand for 5 hours in the smoking lounge of Zurich airport (which I think is sponsored by the Camel brand, isn't this ironical?...). Before this smoking process, rub in lots ofthe perfume stuff from the duty free store which is on sales. Do not forget to thoroughly cover the back. Dip (oxygen mask still on) the outmost tip of its tail in fresh Kerosene (carefully making sure not the get any stuff on its skin) and let the animal stand for two hours in the First Class lounge.Give it lots of carrots and tender loving care, as this environment might come as a surprise for little horse/donkey. After the two hours, take a deep breath within the lounge and you will come close to my little experiments on leathers. (Finally, bring the nice, patient animal out in the open field, wash it thoroughly, dry it and let it stroll around in the open air for a while."

Now I will give you some short questions and ask you to answer the questions shortly. Okay here we go....

Favorite fragrance family.


Favorite fragrance ingredients to work with.

Cistus. Although it is difficult. And Bergamot/Jasmine. because it is so easy!

Fragrance notes that intrigue you.

There are many single notes that fascinate me, like birch tar or cistus essential oil. What I like about them: They are complex, like a multi-facetted mirror reflecting a variety of pictures and with sensuality, an erotic touch that can turn skin into a garden full of delicious fruits. In perfumes, I look for the same thing (not the individual notes). I look for sensual notes or lines, that are complex, that reflect the body light of its wearers , that cover the skin with an invisible blanket of ambrosia. And I look for a hidden message, for twists and breaks in the composition that make it more interesting.

What fragrance are you wearing right now?

Right now: None. I usually do not perfume myself if I want to work/sniff later the day. So far, I was wearing this week: Lonestar Memories, L'air du d├ęsert marocain, Caron pour un home.

What scent triggers your childhood memories?

Vanillin for instance brings back (not always) pictures of yellow pudding with lots of rosines in it, made by mom. Oakmoss brings me back to playing as boy in the woods, doing things that mom and dad shouldn't know about like smoking cigarets
And more..

What book are you reading right now?

Still trying to finish Luca Turin's latest book.

Favourite fragrances (male/female) that you didn't create yourself.

Many: Guerlains like Jicky, L'heure bleu, Caron pour un home, love Cuiron by Helmut Lang, too
You know: I have to admit. I do not own too many fragrances and I am less knowledgeable than many of your perfume loving readers.

Favourite place to visit in terms of its olfactory image.

The woods around Zurich, smelling differently with the seasons changing, the sea like the Atlantic, animals in the zoo (I love the way lions smell. ouhhh that's erotic, powerful, frightening, bringing back a set of reflexes from our ancestors, souks with this unbelievable richness of scents: People, spices, food, trash, dead things, old walls and the cool scent from inside the houses, of fresh prepared food, drying laundry, ...

Most frustrating of the craft of perfume making.

When you finished a composition, that smells wonderful right after the mixing of the trial version, and turns into something dull, boring, disgusting after a few days of maturation.

Most satisfing of the craft of perfume making.

When you get a mail from someone you do not know, telling you that the scent you created, did something with the wearer, brought back memories, made her smile, made him feel beautiful. These lines that I get from time to time from clients, are my key motivation to move on.

I want to thank you Andy for taking the time to do this interview. I hope you enjoyed it the way I did. I have a final question for you:
Where do you see your self in the mid-term future and of course we would like to know where we can buy you lovely fragrances.

Thank you too, Jenny, it was a real pleasure. Mid-term I have a clear vision: Continue creating perfumes, learning to do it better, building my business in a way that allows me to live from it, and all this without loosing the passion and joy of doing it. Where one can get my scents:

World wide:

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sexy fragrances

What kind of fragrances are sexy, and why are they sexy? When thinking about sexy scents we think easily about the musk, civet and amber, the animal scents. They have a warm scent that reminds you of the warmth and smell of your own skin.

Animal scents have some similarity to human body odor. But we don't want to smell like body odor do we? We want to be clean and fresh but on the other hand we apply a scent that has some similarity to body odor, but in a different way. It's a subtle odor mixed with the most beautiful scents of flowers, fruits and woods.

A perfume that's made without some animal scents misses the warmth, it could easily smell like an air freshener it's as it don't fit or mix with your skin chemistry. A perfume made with some animal scents is like it's melting with your skin chemistry like the fragrance becomes one of your own.

The smell of flowers on the other hand could be very erotic as well. Some flowers have animal or body odor scents as well even if it is in small proportions. Like Jasmine has the aroma compound called Indole. But what someone finds sexy is also personal, some could like the soothing smell of vanilla for example, or just find the smell of fresh fragrances sexy because it smell like you just showered. Or what to think about sandal? Sandal has an aroma compound that is similar to the smell of the body odor of men Androstenol.

There are also perfumes with pheromones. Just as animals use scents to attract the opposite sex, we humans release pheromones and respond to the pheromones released by other people. Pheromones are naturally occurring chemicals in animals and humans which attract the opposite sex elicit sexual behavior. You can't actually smell pheromones but your body reacts on them. It's proven that people who have a smell disorder can have sexual problems. So smell is important for our sexual behavior.

I think that what someone finds a sexy smell isn't sexy for everyone. It's all about the personal memories, emotion, thoughts and gender. The most sexy perfume to me is Must de Cartier, what is your most sexy fragrance?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Next Sunday

Next Sunday here on Perfume making an interview with the perfumer Andy Tauer.