It has been a good few months since I’ve last written. So
much has been happening; Rogue Perfumery is transforming from a side hobby to a
full time operation. I resigned my chef position in June to be able to dedicate
100% to Rogue, and there is so much to do!
Many projects are underway. A few we shall be seeing later this coming autumn will be the release of two all-natural fragrances in 30ml sizes, names are still pending. One is a chypre the other a vintage-classic style fougere fragrance. These are composed 100% of natural essential oils, absolutes and extracts and dissolved into alcohol at parfum strength. The compositions are rather costly to formulate but it is delightful to see the results that can be obtained directly from mother nature.
These formulas took a lot of time to compose as I grasped onto the giant learning curve. To be honest, natural perfumery was an idea I initially scoffed at. I saw it purely as a limitation; a set of crippling parallels, like taking a set of colors away from a painter’s palette. Perhaps it was my rebellious nature, like in my chef days, the way we’d roll our eyes as a vegan request made its way into the kitchen. The creations from Hiram Green, Ayala Moriel, Russian Adam and Ensar should be plenty enough proof to change anybody’s mind.
Also coming this fall will be Chypre-Siam in a concentrated parfum oil as well as a tuberose oil parfum. These will be offered in 3ml sizes, presented in a lovely cut crystal bottle.
I’m constantly thumbing through my notebook of “sketches” for future fragrances. Constantly trying to decide which ideas get priority for the coming year. This past April I had planned to release Ishtar, but just before I jumped into the formulation phase I pulled back and it never left its prototype status.
Originally Ishtar was an incense fragrance based on frankincense, benzoin and myrrh. I used a few tricks (an iso e overload being one of them) to give an expansive smoke effect. It was a nice fragrance… it was interesting, but in the end it was just a bit ordinary. There are so many great incense frags out there; for one I found the Comme de Garcons incense line quite impressive.
The Ishtar model went back into reformulation to change its direction. I took the fragrance style from incense to attar, and gave it a vintage chypre perfume twist. I kept the resinous heart of frankincense, benzoin and myrrh and set it upon a base of oakmoss (lots!) and bergamot. I then added a large dose of jasmine absolute and double-distilled patchouli and voila!! Ishtar is now reborn as a fragrance I want under the Rogue label! It is a bold, masculine chypre fragrance. The frankincense practically punches you in the face before the benzoin tames it down. The jasmine took on a quality like the florals I remember in vintage Jules. A small bite of galbabum gives the composition a dark, sappy green character before it settles into a soft leathery base.
This new Ishtar prototype will soon enter the full-batch formulation phase and will be ready for release by next spring. I tincture a rather large amount of frankincense resin for this fragrance which must rest for a period of time before I filter it. Ishtar is actually made up of about 80% natural essential oils, absolutes and resins. Not necessarily my style, as many of you may know I love my aroma chemicals -especially the banned and restricted ones 🙂 This time around I got by with just a little hydroxycitronellal and a few other goodies to seal the deal.
Success! My heliotropin hangup has been sorted! Chypre-Siam shall now remain in constant production. The last batch sold out almost instantly before the lull. April was a long and frustrating month, trying to go through hoops and bounds, sourcing the needed material. With the new batches will also come higher quality materials. The vanilla and orris tinctures I used previously have been replaced with vanilla bean and orris resinoids. The juice is noticably darker as a result, like those ultra-vintage bottles of Coty’s Chypre! My new inventory of oakmoss absolute is much much darker too so that adds to the much darker color of the juice. Remember, I will not change my formulas except to source better and higher quality materials.
40 Love Update:
The 40 Love resurrection project is nearly complete. I’ve pored over the GCMS results and have managed to reverse engineer the long discontinued juice. I will begin listing the resurrection in my shop in about a month. I’ve been apprehensive about this project from the beginning but I will definitely push forward. My main concern is that I do justice to the original fragrance this pays homage to, and I want to make quite clear that this is NOT my formula but a reconstruction of a long dead fragrance. The moment these resurrection projects begin to feel distasteful and cheap I will cease their production. I am not going to be some cheap knockoff hawker! The next resurrection in line is a very obscure and exciting fragrance with an interesting story which I will discuss in a later post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.