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