Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Secret in the Forest

The main green notes in perfumes come from leaves and stems which give the impression of the scent of grass and crushed leaves. Heather Ettlinger of the blog “Memory and Desire” has just posted an entry about green perfumes which include our “Q” and Sierra. When I begin a perfume I don’t generally start with the idea of working within a particular fragrance family, perhaps that’s the rebel artist in me. Instead I start with an idea and create the perfume using notes which will best convey the idea. With the perfume Q, it began as a tribute to Beltane which auspiciously led to the Oak. In the case of Sierra, it was the great Redwood trees of the Pacific coast which began the long and winding road of its creation.

About a week ago I was in the midst of making a new batch of Sierra, for some reason this perfume in particular has been rather challenging for me. The perfume contains multiple chords within chords, worlds within worlds, thus when it is reformulated all those chords need to be ready and matured in order to begin. I had just finished the new batch and had three family members take a sniff and give me their impressions. The feedback wasn’t quite what I needed. Greg suggested I ask someone within the perfume arena to give me feedback. The next morning, to my delight, I received a message from Heather Ettlinger with her impression of Sierra. I was delighted at how swiftly spirit had intervened to provide input and am so grateful for Heather. Here are bits and pieces from the e-mail she sent me, which she graciously has permitted me to post.

For the last four days, I have been delving steadily deeper into the forest of the green-colored sample of Sierra. The first time I applied it, I was stunned by its lush dark greenness - almost the blackgreen of the evergreens in Austria, and a real sense that I was deep inside that forest in the midst of a snowfall, with the black branches blocking out light and snow and creating an
otherworldy pocket of warmth. The top notes are quite camphoraceous in the first few minutes, and I was a little concerned that this would go bitter, as some camphoraceous notes can turn bitter on me.

How astonishing, then, to find that just fifteen or twenty minutes into that lush forest, I found myself enjoying what seems like it must be orange, spice, and perhaps the ambery resin of labdanum?

It's as though in the middle of an immense and forbidding black forest (Percival probably entered the Great Woods in search of the Grail at just such a point of darkness) I was standing at the doorstep of a cottage, the candlelight and shine of warmth and laughter radiating from within it. I imagine here that it is advent, and this couple is celebrating the winter festivals in their hidden forest home, but they have spared no expense for their guests who have wandered here, enchanted, just as I have. The lady of the house has taken us all in, the fugitive princess hiding in a tiny cave, the weary beggar, the dancing girl, and two tiny little men with bright violet eyes, who speak no language we know, but understand all we say. We sit late into the night; the table is decorated with living branches, sap pouring through the greenery onto the table and crystalizing into amber gems before us. An intoxicating tea is served with exotic fruits, studded with spices. It is a long, marvelous evening, much longer than we thought possible.

This scent lasts much longer than I would ever expect a botanical scent to last, and it has real backbone - real courage! I adore it, Roxana. Sierra remains lively and interesting through a good eight hours..

I am very happy to have had the opportunity to try this lush green walk in an enchanted woods, and if I am the princess hiding in the cave, I am brought out of it and into a home of safety through this deliciously inviting scent. In short, I love it.


The botanical perfumes “Q” and Sierra each give a portion to a related organization from the sale of the 1/4 oz flacon of perfume. "Q" is affiliated with the California Oak Foundation and Sierra is affiliated with TreePeople. Both these perfumes are part of our series celebrating the
aromatic landscape of the state of California. Learn more about the Californica series by clicking here.

Entirely Green on Memory and Desire

Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

Images: Above "Sierra" © Greg Spalenka, middle image is a secondary image used for Sierra from our website, the other image is a painting by Sir John Everett Millais titled The Proscribed Royalist 1651, Date: 1852-53 from ArtMagick.


Anonymous said...

I find it helpful in choosing which sample to try a list of the different essential oils used to create the scent - for those of remotely familiar with certain scents that appeal to us.

Illuminated Perfume said...

Welcome Anonymous,
Are you asking for a list of essential oils in each perfume? If so, you will find a few notes mentioned on the website and here at the journal. For example if you are interested in the construction of a particular perfume out the name of the perfume into the search function of this blog. I do not disclose all my ingredients, if there is an essence you are allergic to, than e-mail me privately and I will be happy to let you know if that particular essence is contained in a perfume.
Thank you for visiting this journal.