Chypre-Siam’s Achilles’ Heel

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My supply of heliotropin has run low! While this ingredient is not restricted for use in perfumery; it is not IFRA recommendations standing in the way, rather it is the DEA. The distribution of heliotropin is heavily regulated because boneheads use it as a precursor to manufacture ecstasy.
As a result, this most recent batch of Chypre-Siam will be the last, temporarily, until I can secure a new source of heliotropin.375x500.6072

Heliotropin was used in Coty’s iconic Chypre -THE Chypre that started an entire fragrance genre.
The odor of this chem is rather distinct. It is powdery, sweet and brings to mind slight cherry and vanilla nuances. While I find the fragrance transparent, it is persistent and has very light hawthorn blossom effects. There are so-called substitutes available but they just don’t quite fit the bill.
The new batch of Chypre-Siam will yield forty 30ml bottles, ten 60ml bottles and some samples. When it is gone its lull should only be temporary as I have a few potential solutions in the works.

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Fougere L’Aube now available!

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Golden dewdrops sparkle upon lush green ferns. Fougere L’Aube is cool and fresh, like the brisk air that surrounds the glow of the morning sun.

Notes include: Lavender, Green Citrus, Galbanum, Geranium, Hay, Moroccan Rose, Amber, Camphor, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Musk and Costus

About:
I built the initial base structure of Fougere L’Aube as a classic 1930s fragrance which yielded a cozy, classic scent. It was reminiscent of the men’s colognes and aftershaves I smelled as a child; very nostalgic, very familiar.
I then took this base formula and accentuated it with a few modern aroma chems and the fragrance was completely transformed into a super-fresh late 1980s style fougere. It’s a bit of a projection monster.

Fougere L’Aube opens promptly with bright lavender and citrus notes, backed with bitter green galbanum.
What I find interesting is that although a large portion of the fragrance is built on rose and sandalwood, what I perceive is not an attar-like note in the middle but rather it melds into the ‘fougere effect’ through and through.

From what you see in the color of the juice, I used a rather large percentage of naturals; a few of which include: lavender absolute and essential oil, real Indian sandalwood (santalum album), Moroccan rose absolute, pure cold-pressed bergamot, petitgrain bigarade coeur from Robertet and oakmoss absolute.

Ingredients:  SD Alcohol, Fragrance, Coumarin, Linalool, Lyral, Citronellol, Limonene, Farnesol, Oakmoss, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Citral, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Isoeugenol, Musk Xylol, Eugenol, Methyl octine carbonate

Fougere L’Aube Update

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Yesterday I uncapped the resting formula for Fougere L’Aube to evaluate its progress and was pleasantly surprised.
The modern embellishments only occupy around 5% of the formula but the difference is a world apart!

My original concept for Fougere L’Aube was to create a simple old-school fougere, using historically correct ingredients and then tweak it from there. And so I did.
The original base formula is a bit animalic due to the play between the costus and musk. It has the slightly bitter, dry grassiness of coumarin underlying plenty of aromatic lavender and citrus… it’s a good textbook fougere with echoes that fall somewhere between vintage Fougere Royale, Canoe and Caron Pour Homme. I used some spicy clove notes to give more warmth against the amber.

And then came the tweaks. I began by giving eastern hints by boosting the sandalwood and then adding Moroccan rose absolute and camphor. I boosted the effects of the Hydroxycitronellal with Lyral because I find it to be a beautiful performing chem. Beyond that, I used a few modern chems in trace amounts (as little as one tenth of 1%) to accentuate the individual notes. The result: the fragrance, although very vintage in structure, is propelled right into the present and completely changed. It is completely different than the base formula; it is bright, it sparkles and it is lively. Fougere L’Aube still conveys its original ‘warmth of the morning sun’ but also the brisk spring morning air. The fragrance eventually settles down into the constantly radiating musk base. The musk xylol helps tie it together into a soft old-world savon fragrance at the drydown phase.

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A close-up of the beaker. Look at the color of that juice! A result of the high percentage of oakmoss and other naturals.

The juice is dark green from the high percentage of oakmoss and other natural absolutes and essential oils in the formula. And from that dark green juice the brightest topnotes seem to leap right out of the bottle! I’m excited about this release. The formula has been resting but will soon be ready for bottling. Just in time for spring.

A Warm Fougere for a Cool Spring

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Available soon: Fougere L’Aube

Golden dewdrops sparkle upon lush green ferns.
Fougere L’Aube is fresh with the warm glow of the morning sun.
Very vintage and classic in style, it will appeal to the old soul in us all.
Notes include: Lavender, Mandarin, Galbanum, Geranium, Hay, Camphor, Moroccan Rose, Amber, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Musk and Costus.
Nothing really new here stylistically folks, rather I designed this fragrance to have a very 1930s feel with a few modern touches. I used musk xylol, lots of coumarin and a much larger amount of naturals than I initially expected, about 50%. It is bracing, rustic, warm and cozy. Available in time for spring.

Resurrecting the Past

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Can this old gem be brought back to life?

Back in December I was conversing via email with a fellow Basenoter who is very fond of vintage fragrances. It turns out that he possesses a rare bottle of Jean Desprez’s 40 Love and this generous Basenoter even mailed me a decant!

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40 Love, released in the 1940’s, has been discontinued for quite some time. I cannot begin to imagine why; it is a wonderful, soft masculine chypre, somewhat like Dunhill for Men (1934). Both are of the same category but Dunhill steers in a complex direction of soft leather, iris and woods; its lemony opening seems to set a serious tone upon the first spritz. 40 Love is simpler, brighter, it’s fun and carefree.

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My very generous decant of 40 Love

With Dunhill I can picture a reserved, business-minded gentleman in a neatly tailored, worsted wool waistcoat and silk tie…maybe even spats over his patent leather shoes. The wearer of 40 Love, rather, would indeed be a gentleman but dressed in roomy heathered pleat trousers, polo shirt and spectator shoes.

My decant still holds some bright topnotes. I detect orange oil, bergamot and some petitgrain before a neroli-jasmine accord steps forward. At the drydown is some sort of amber base, smooth vetiver, cool moss and a deer-like musk with little civet facets…upon further review, what I detect as civet facets may actually be cresyl notes which were popular back in the day for building white florals like narcissus. Smelled on their own cresyls can come off as something between a freshly run horse and mothballs.

So here’s the idea: I want to resurrect 40 Love to preserve its memory and its availability for other frag-heads to enjoy. I’m sending out a tiny bit of this frag for GC/MS analysis. It can be a bit pricey; anywhere from $200 up, depending on how detailed one wants their results. I will then work on deciphering the results and begin the process of reverse engineering the formula. All in all this project can take up to a year, but I’ll give periodic updates.

I want to be tasteful and very up front about this project and its intention of offering a glimpse of a long discontinued fragrance. I’m not in the business of selling knockoffs as my own. When this becomes available I will clearly label it as an “Impression of the classic 40 Love”.

…aaand touchdown!

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The new batches of Mouse Illuminee and Chypre-Siam are now being bottled and will be available for purchase.
Late last autumn, when the original batches reached their halfway point, I immediately set out to begin formulating new ones. Then arrived the hurdles! I already had most of the aroma chemicals and organic materials on hand, but there was still the waiting period for new stock. Some of my bases were running low so I needed to formulate new batches of those to move forward; no big deal.
The biggest hurdle: being a chef AND a new dad! The greater portion of my life is spent in the kitchen, while trying to help my wife with the baby in between.

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Out & about. Running errands with the little one.

By November my catered events and banquet schedule was already back to back! Most of my perfume formulating took place at 2 or 3 in the morning -whenever I could find a free moment.

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Some of the materials for Mousse Illuminee: rose otto, cypress leaf and wormwood (artemisia) EO, frankincense resin

Fast-forward and here we are in January. I’m just now at the bottling stage and am super excited to be able to offer full bottles of these fragrances for sale again. In the interim I have been working on two new formulas that I hope to complete by early spring. I’ll post more details as things progress but for now I’ll just say that one is an animalic fougere and the other a fresh incense–forward fragrance.

New Batches Underway!

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Chypre-Siam has been a steady seller this year and the supply is running low.

I am presently finishing my amber bases and jasmine base to formulate a new batch. Chypre-Siam should be ready for bottling by early 2019.

For my amber bases I procure my labdanum and other oils and resins from Eden Botanicals. The oakmoss I use is from Mountain Rose Herbs in Oregon. It is dark, viscous and raw – none of that low atranol crap!
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The runner-up lately, to my surprise, has been Mousse Illuminee.

I was initially a little self-conscious about Mousse Illuminee when I first bottled it for release. It was more of a self indulgence when I constructed it; with an over the top, borderline medical, opening of frankincense, cypress leaf and laurel; all surrounding a chunky dose of treemoss absolute from Robertet. I went uber early 80’s in style with this one!

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A new batch of Mousse Illuminee is also in the works as its supply is starting to fade out.

Champs Lunaires

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Floral, creamy, woody, transparent
An intangible summer night
Moonlit fields of white flowers

Notes: Pomelo, Tuberose, White Rose Petals, Sandalwood, Coconut Milk, Musk

I love white florals. There’s something about the way they take over the evening air. We live out the human struggle and their perfume quietly weaves its way into the backdrop of our lives…or at least  those of us that have, at some point, lived within the vicinity of a jasmine vine, a champaca tree, citrus trees etc etc.
I am especially in love with tuberose; and am not alone, as a simple Google search for the intoxicating blossoms would prove.

My go-to tuberose fragrances had been Robert Piguet’s Fracas and Serge Lutens’ Tubereuse Crimenelle. That was until around 2014 when I first made acquaintance with perfumer Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes.

Paul Kiler is a hidden treasure of Southern California. He is a database of perfume knowledge and history, and is an accomplished perfumer. Paul has a knack for balancing complex, almost baroque, sets of notes resulting in fragrances that continually unfold and develop on skin. The times I had driven out to visit him at his lab he would have more than one base or accord that he’d be tinkering with on the stirrer whilst compounding a formula at the scale. And at the same time he’d have some bottles heating outdoors with different Schiff bases he was experimenting with. Seeing this was indeed a fountain of inspiration for me.
When I sampled Paul’s TNT (Tama n Tuberose) I was blown away. It is realistic as a live flower. It is indolic, almost fleshy, and sweet and heady, and all the while it is bright and has ‘lift’. This is from where I drew my inspiration to create Champs Lunaires. I experimented for several months with various tuberose formulas until I was finally satisfied. Every so often I’d even run to my bottle of TNT as a reference point.

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With Paul Kiler (right) at the PK Perfumes lab

For my own tuberose I’ve tried to convey the realism of the live flowers with emphasis on the lactonic qualities. I also wanted a transparent yet persistent floralcy, like white flowers on a summer night; they just keep coming at you in waves, yet they’re evasive, you don’t know from where they emanate.

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I took this tuberose accord and set it into a formula, accenting it with white rose, sandalwood and pomelo. I tweaked up the lactonic notes to create the coconut milk effect and used musk ketone for a vintage feel.
All in all I kept the supporting notes subtle because Champs Lunaires is all about the tuberose. Milky white tuberose blossoms in the evening air.

Champs Lunaires will be available by the end of July.  I do have some preliminary samples available. You can contact me here, my Etsy site or via Basenotes and I will send one your way.

Newest release: Derviche

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The original inspiration for Derviche was Emeraude de Coty, of which it smells nothing like! I wanted a rich old-school oriental amber fragrance with a bergamot opening but with the power of many of the fragrances coming from the Arabic perfume houses.

I first developed a labdanum-rich amber base to build the fragrance around and then set out to experiment with the “power” behind it. This involved weeks of tweeking ratios between different musk and ambergris molecules until I found the balance I sought.

I then gave it a heavy dose of the jasmine base I developed for Chypre-Siam. The “antique” mentioned in the fragrance notes is a reference to the older jasmine bases used around the turn of the century. I used cues from these bases in developing my own.

Derviche is rich in vanilla, labdanum and jasmine -its a heavy hitter. The bergamot sets it off just enough before being completely devoured.

 

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