Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scent of the Day: LYRA

The Scent for Today is the warm and floral Lyra. She seems to be one of the favorites as of late, especially the last few days. Tuesday is ruled by Mars, the red planet and associated with Spring. Named after the Norseman God of War and associated with our current astrological period of Aries. For these rather challenging times Lyra is the perfect balm to soothe the meteorites being hurled our way.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin

As mentioned on the website, Lyra has its origins as a custom perfume for my daughter Eve. When I changed the formulation to include the perfume in our line I settled on the name Lyra, the protagonist in the Phillip Pullman book trilogy His Dark Materials. Eve and I were reading the books at the time and fell in love with the story.

When the perfume was created for Eve it was a very simple sweet, heady, floral perfume. It was a fairly traditional composition of an Amber accord in the base, Florals at the center and Citrus top notes. The fragrance was reconstructed keeping the primary elements and adding in a few others. During one of the formulations a "happy accident" occurred and altered the formula a bit more.

The creative process in perfume formulation for me has many levels to it. Some are rather linear, like looking at chemistry and MSDS Sheets. (MSDS stands for Material Safety and Data Sheets) Usually the true inspiration comes through nonlinear means. For example I may be working in the garden when an aromatic molecule drifts into my sphere. That molecule then triggers a series of Rube Goldberg type responses. Sometimes I ponder what fragrance family that note is associated with, other times I wonder what other aromatics would work with that note and then sometimes it's just one of those divine interventions. By that I mean I'll be working on a fragrance and the molecule that just drifted in would be a perfect fit. Another good example of this type of experience is what took place when I created the image H2 Illuminated. Read about that at this link over at my Visual Art blog.

Lyra is available as a solid and a liquid perfume, both are completely botanical, no animal or synthetic material what-so-ever. Some essences like Beeswax and Honey Absolute, Choya (which comes from Seashells) and Seaweed, are not technically animal but also not necessarily botanical. Thus, since there may be very tiny amounts of some of these I will not label these vegan. The liquid version is almost completely vegan and organic.

Images: Mars image at top by HST, Lyra perfume images by Roxana Villa.


MrsLittleJeans said...

Love your post, and should try the perfume but I am very sensitive to scents. The only things I can tolerate are scents like discontinued Laura Ashley L'Eau, or the old "4711" Kolnische Wasser, stuff like that. I wanted to ask you if you knew what makes that fresh "linen" scent?


Illuminated Perfume said...

Hi Mrs. Little Jeans,
I too am highly sensitive to scents. It is essential oils which drew me back into the scent world.
I created a traditional Eau de Cologne last year based on the original 4711" Kolnische Wasser. I too use to adore that cologne. I will put some small spritzers of it up on my etsy shop soon.
Thank you so much for stopping in and leaving a comment!

Cecile Johns said...

Hi Roxana:

"Lyra" sounds beautiful. My son and I read the Golden Compass books and so it's nice to hear the backstory.

I was wondering about seaweed as a not-quite-vegan element. Would you not consider it a plant like land botanicals?

Thanks, Alison Cecile Johns

Illuminated Perfume said...

Hi Alison,
I actually would consider seaweed a plant. I wonder what vegans would say?