I started collection essential oils and absolutes in 1966. At the time, I didn’t know my bottles of aromatics were supposed to be arranged on a tiered shelf called a perfume organ. Because I was a botanist, I categorized them by the part of the plant they were extracted from: florals, woods, leaves, etc., and kept them in plastic boxes for storage.
Later, I had a beautiful old wooden printer’s tray, which, when attached to a wall, provided a lovely display for the small bottles, but was impractical for working, and, of course, didn’t hold the larger bottles.
In 1990 or so, I stored my perfume organ in a beautiful Thai display case.
I finally located a man in Kentucky who made the wooden tiered racks for essential oils you’d see displayed in stores. I carefully measured what I perceived I’d need, and sent him the information. He constructed a lovely, modern-looking perfume organ out of pine, sweet and pale yellow and perfect for my needs – at the time.
All my bottles, except the ones that needed refrigeration were on the organ, interspersed with the dilutions I used in everyday blending. The dilutions sat right next to the undiluted aromatics, and that was okay for a while.
Top notes are on the top level, middle notes, of which there are hundreds, are on middle levels, and base notes along the bottom. Why dilute your essences? It saves a lot of money, first of all. Imagine using undiluted pricey oils, like rose otto, for all of your mods. Secondly, now you get the scent of the rose “opened up” by the alcohol in the dilution, too. Two great bonuses!
Don’t ever struggle with trying to use labdanum or tobacco absolutes by the drop again! The diluted essences are very fluid.
Now only dilutions are on the perfume organ. Most are 10%, some higher, some lower. The undiluted raw materials are kept in a refrigerator, with their specific gravity noted on a blending database. You may be able to blend a perfume modification with a diluted essence, but you need the specific gravity to be able to blend any quantity. This is taught in my Intermediate Level Perfumery course. Enroll now in the Basic course, which will prepare you to further your studies at the Intermediate Level.
This article originally appeared on Basenotes.net on Feb. 20, 2008
by Anya McCoy
20th February, 2008
Like everyone who has progressed with passion, training and persistence to become a perfumer, the new wave of natural perfumers started with an intense love of scents. Many can trace their formative moment – the zing of recognition – when a scent transformed their life, and put them on the path of creation. They probably smelled everything around them (as did I) from grass to dirt, flowers, other people, cement, perfume, cereal, ink, paper, plastic dolls, toys, food cooking, hair, furniture, the air before a storm, rotten wood, burning leaves – in other words, the full spectrum of fragrance in the environment. The natural environment, complex, challenging, and often sweetly rewarding enticed and enchanted us. We were hooked.
Many who love perfumes in general, whether they contain all-natural ingredients or not, cite the kiss goodnight from a mother swathed in evening clothes, diffusing an exotic perfume as she bent over them before setting out to a party as a defining moment, a moment when perfume’s magic of transformation of their mother into an otherworldly, fragrant unknown star in the sky touched them deeply. Perfume profoundly moves us, and natural essences move us the most – we are entranced with their beauty, complexity and “aliveness.”
When the synthetic chemical scents coumarin and vanillin were discovered in the 1880’s, they were quickly added to the corporate perfumer’s palette, and natural perfumery as it had existed up until then disappeared. Looking back in time perhaps four or five generations, it must be acknowledged everyone who loved perfume knew only perfume with synthetics blended in with the naturals.
Whether floral and discreet, or Oriental and animalic, loaded with civet, musk, castoreum and ambergris, the all-natural perfumes created in the pre-synthetics era disappeared.
The pre-1890 natural perfumer had a rather limited range of aromatics to choose from, as many of the Indian and Asian essences we now have easy access to were not used in western perfumery at that time. Today, champaca, lotus, ambrette, agarwood and many other exotics round out the number of botanicals available to the natural perfumer. That, along with the adoption of classic French techniques of blending using top, middle and base notes, helps differentiate the modern natural perfumer from the 19th Century one.
A look back to the 19th Century would be little more than an intellectual exercise for a perfumer without the eternal beauty and complexity of the fragrant botanical extracts to kindle the fire of passion in the modern natural perfumer.
Since aromatherapy had opened the doors of small-scale distribution of essential oils, all the natural perfumer had to do was nudge open a few more doors, and suppliers were providing them with concretes and absolutes, attars and other raw materials. The aromatic palette was complete, and the niche field of modern natural perfumery was launched.
Some of the beginner natural perfumers liked, and had, all sorts of perfumes in their possession, from the classics like Chanel No. 5 to modern niche Serge Lutens creations. Still others professed a dislike to the strong sillage and diffusion modern perfumes. There was no common ground on like or dislike of perfumes containing synthetic chemical – only a professed love of natural aromatics.
Yes, even though they had easy access to aromachemicals – synthetic versions of the naturals, and fantasy scents – they chose to work with only naturals.
Why have you decided to be a “naturals-only” perfumer is a question we often get. The person asking the question may list the negatives:
Your raw materials are very expensive.
Your perfumes don’t last as long as those with synthetics, and they don’t have great diffusivity or sillage.
The raw materials are difficult to work with.
You’re artisans, often working out of a spare room in their house, isolated.
You have to for the most part, train yourselves and fund your own business.
You have to search out distribution networks, or, more realistically, depend on the internet or local stores for sales.
You realize they’ll never get rich at this, or have a corporate safety net.
We answer – Because.
We’re in it for the art.
We regard the natural essences as providing the richest, most beautiful, complex, challenging liquid artform to work with.
The fragrances evolve on the skin in a way synthetics don’t, and captive us with their slow, seductive nuances.
We don’t like big-volume perfumes with a lot of sillage or diffusivity.
We like subtle, complex aromatics that stay close to the wearer’s body and evolve slowly on the skin.
We take delight and pleasure in experiencing a unique natural aromatic.
The discovery and unlocking of a complex accord within a natural is rewarding.
The ability to connect on a level that speaks to an eternal fragrance is wonderful e.g., the cypriol we use is the same cypriol that was used in ancient Egypt.
The excitement of being in on the ground floor of a new art as it develops, and realizing that if we’ve come this far in approximately five years, how far we can go with natural perfumery in the next fifty?
There is no competition with mainstream perfumery. We’re just two different artforms, like oil painting is different from digital art. There are completely different aesthetics, mediums and results, and so it is and will always continue to be. These parallel arts will always have things in common, such as the need to respond to market trends, sourcing, R&D, and the need to always keep learning, keep on top of the perfumery and keep current, and that is our common ground.
Natural perfumers will always create for those who appreciate hand-made items from natural sources, and they are fortunate to live in the time of the internet and global transport that delivers raw aromatics and customers orders to their studio, allowing them to develop their art and business outside of the closed world of corporate perfumery schools.
We have a pronounced advantage in our pioneering of tincturing and infusing rare botanicals for our own use. Natural perfumers are as apt to create their own jasmine bases and tuberose tinctures as buy it from the supplier, if they have a garden to grow the botanical in. Others are tincturing seeds and soil to recreate some of the more exotic scents out of India, such as ambrette and mitti, which is soil attar.
And the clincher? Our mothers, who first turned us on to the world of perfume love our scents, and we now give back to them and their generation our liquid treasures, botanicals made liquid – naturally.
You may wish to sample the creations of the Certified Natural Perfumers in the Natural Perfumers Guild. Their perfumes undergo a rigorous certification process and are also held to high standards of packaging and ingredient transparency. http://NaturalPerfumers.com
As head of the Natural Perfumers Guild, founder of the Natural Perfumery Institute, and a perfumer who only uses 100% natural aromatics in my perfumes, I am often asked about the differences between natural and mainstream (contain synthetics) perfumes. I created the following chart years ago for my textbook, and it’s a good, quick reference on the subject.
|Natural||Mainstream (contains synthetics)|
|Perfumer’s Goal:||Beauty and Health||Beauty|
|Aromatic Palette:||Essential oils, concretes, absolutes, CO2s, tinctures, and infusions||Primarily synthetic aromachemicals, minimal essential oils and absolutes|
|Number of Aromatics per Blend:||10 – 30||30 – 100+|
|Creative Process Goals:||Blend to create unique classic artisan vision with top/mid/base notes||For corporate perfumers: meet market demands; can use top/mid/base structure, or linear|
|Diluent:||Typically undenatured alcohol; sometimes oil, cream, or solid base||Typically synthetic denatured alcohol; solid, dry spray|
|Customer Experience:||Perfume unfolds on skin, revealing layers of scent||Strong aesthetic statement, trendy, or nod to vintage|
|Drydown time:||1 – 8 hours;base may persist for 24 hours||1 – 24+ hours|
|Cost per pound of undiluted compound:||Extremely expensive; some aromatics are $10 – $100,000 per pound||Very inexpensive; corporations insist on lowest cost; there are rumors of a $20 per pound limit|
|History:||Link to ancient Egypt, historical figures, use naturals in both ancient and modern style blends.||Link to ancient Egypt, historical figures, use of synthetics to replace naturals began in 19th century.|
|Diffusion of Scent:||Arm’s length, slight sillage, unobtrusive||Can scent an entire room; strong sillage|
|Known respiratory issues:||Little or none. If you are allergic to roses, rose oil in a natural perfume might trigger an allergic response.||Well-documented; some municipalities have enacted no-fragrance laws|
I hope this guide will clarify some issues on natural versus synthetic perfumes. If you have any questions on this issue, feel free to comment.
If you want a quality education in natural perfumery, click here to read more.
I’ve neglected my blog for a few months, while cultivating and nourishing other aspects of my life as a natural perfumer. I chose today to rebirth the blog in celebration of Earth Day. It feels right, and I look forward to posting regularly again, reporting on discoveries, musings, and general fanciful natural aromatic news.
I took part in the first Earth Day celebrations on April 22, 1970. It was a “happening” on Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Fairmount Park is the largest park in an urban area in the world, encompassing woodland trails, meadows, wetlands and manicured grounds on 9200 acres.
I was very familiar with the park, because as a child growing up in Philly, the park was just a few blocks from my home. It’s the largest urban park in the world and it provided a playground for the kids. I loved the pine forest, the open meadows, and all the fragrant beauty it offered. Earth Day seemed an extension of my fun days of childhood, and was a signal of an awakening of the general population that we need to take care of Mother Earth.
A video of Belmont Plateau and why we needed Earth Day in Filthydelphia:
Did you know that the first Earth WEEK was that week in Philly? It was conceived at the University of Pennsylvania, right in my neighborhood. Interesting fact, and one I’m proud of. I was distributing a local underground paper at that time, and writing a bit for Rolling Stone (very informal stuff), and the city was abuzz with the big event upcoming at the Plateau.
I don’t have any photos of myself at the event, this was a time waaay before every event was memorialized on film. Yes, of course, we had film in those days 🙂 I can’t even find any photos of myself around that time, since I’ve moved so much in the intervening years things, like photos, got lost.
However, memories remain: I’m sure I was wearing patchouli or sandalwood oil that day, and later, when I was able to collect absolutes and a wider range of aromatic oils a few years later, the path to natural perfumery was beckoning. In the interim, I got degrees in Economic Botany and Landscape Architecture, wrote for Organic Gardening magazine, started community gardens, and was elected to a State of Florida office as District Manager of the USDA Soil and Water Conservation District in Collier County. All the time I was studying perfumery, herbalism, and aromatherapy. I connected the earth with healing and pleasure, and still do, every day. I am an Earth Child, for sure.
I love my perfume Pan because it’s an agrestic forest and field fragrance that reminds me of the park and my childhood. It’s also a very sexy musky scent, and when I created Pan I realized how musky the park was with wild animal pheromones. I was a lucky urban child because I was able to explore the feral natural world, and am lucky enough to still be doing that today, with my perfumery materials. To a natural perfumer, every day is Earth Day.
To celebrate Earth Day 2016 – a celebration that I never envisioned all those years ago, as a teenager lolling around on a warm sunny day on Belmont Plateau, I’m offering a 15ml spray bottle Eau de Parfum of Pan. Leave a message what Earth Day means to you, even if is a short note, just a phrase, a feeling, or something you learned about me from the post – and you will be in the random drawing to win Pan. Share on Social Media and you’ll be entered twice! Drawing is open until 11:59PM Saturday, April 23, 2016.
PS Enjoy Spring!
I just revised my insert card that I include when customers buy my sample box of 12 perfumes. I decided years ago that it’s best to make a suggestion about the sampling process, and the parallel to wine sampling. If you’ve ever visited a winery, or attended a wine sampling event, you’re familiar with this process.
At the wine event, you’ll be given the light, crisp whites to experience first. You inhale the bouquet (smell) and then taste the wine. Then you’ll move on to a more robust white, something like a Chardonnay, and so on, through light reds, to deep, full-bodied reds.
Why? Because the fuller-bodied, deeper, more robust wines will dull your taste buds and sense of smell a bit, overwhelming them so that if you taste a lighter wine afterwards, all the nuances of that wine will be lost. Light first, then move on through the more assertively scented and tasting wines, and you’ll be able to enjoy and fully experience all the nuances. It’s the same with perfumes!
Ironically, my lightest perfume is named Light, so I worked out the sampling progression from there, and each perfume from that starting point gets stronger and more full-bodied. By including this card, I help my customers in two ways: they have learned about the intensity and sampling system of wines and perfumes, and they don’t overwhelm their nose by choosing Fairchild or Star Flower first!
Hope this helps everyone understand and use a logical way to enjoy perfumes.
When you make perfume from flowers, there are several ways to extract the scent. I love to enfleurage rare flowers. Enfleurage is placing flowers on a bed of semi-hard fat, such as shortening, or rendered leaf lard and suet. The next step in the process is to “wash” the fat in alcohol. This post isn’t about enfleurage, except to point out why I don’t enfleurage a flower that seems ripe for the process.
Some flowers, even though they emit a lovely fragrance, shouldn’t be enfleuraged. There are several reason for this. Orange blossoms are fragile, and would fall apart in the enfleurage tray, requiring laborious defleuraging process – picking the petals out, one by one, with tweezers. Tweezers are routinely used to remove flowers from enfleurage fat, but not these, it would be a greasy fiasco, with much fat clinging to the petals, enveloping them.
My golden champaca tree is in full bloom, and I have never enfleuraged these flowers. Why? The edges of the flowers tend to start to ‘brown’ or slightly decay shortly after harvest. They would be a watery, moldy mess in enfleurage fat. I also don’t macerate them, which is place them in heated oil. The French, and before them, ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians, routinely placed flowers in warm fat or oil to extract the scent, but I find champaca so delicately scented, so ethereal, I use alcohol to tincture them.
I have been making my golden champaca tincture for several years now, and probably have about 20 charges of replenished flowers in the menstruum. The tincture is divine!!
This is why solvents are used to extract champacas. It’s quick, and saves the flowers from decomposition. Alcohol is a great solvent, and does the job. I have a glorious extract to work with, a statement every artisan perfumer can relate to. To make perfume with raw materials is fun, and you often get rare plants into the mix that you might not otherwise have access to.
Do you enfleurage? What observations have you made as to the limits of the materials you choose to work with?
PS. White champaca, Michelia alba – same decomposition problem, but to a lesser degree. An added problem with them is their tendency to shatter, thus the same problem as orange blossoms.
Making perfume takes time, and lots of thinking and introspection.
As I work through adapting my textbook for my new website, I am finding many passages that are very helpful for anyone who wants to make perfume, or is already making perfume, whether you stick to 100% natural ingredients like I do, or if you use aroma chemicals. I’ve decided to excerpt some passages on a regular basis, because I believe they can inspire and help others on this path. My first excerpt deals with the fear and indecision that every perfumer faces. If you don’t face it, I challenge you to challenge yourself, you’re too complacent.
Excerpt: Conclusion of Module 5 – Some Closing Thoughts
Although I am an experienced, professional perfumer, I sometimes face creating modifications with a bit of trepidation. For someone like me, a generally positive, self-assured person, that tinge of fear is a good thing. It keeps me balanced, so that I don’t become overly confident that everything I create is a masterpiece, because if I feel that way, I know I’m fooling myself.
Why do I instruct you to re-visit your vertical accords, although you just performed that exercise in the last Module? You might think it’s registered in your head, but I guarantee that, with your new concept or brief, you will be humbled when you evaluate your accords again. Subtle nuances, bits and pieces of it that didn’t seem prominent before, will become obvious now. Why? Because you now realize that you have to build upon the structure of that one simple accord, and you have to engage your scent memory and your artistic passions simultaneously in order to meet the final challenge in the next module – building a perfume.
A perfumer cannot become too comfortable, and the perfumer also cannot be afraid. Mods can humble you more quickly than any other exercise in this course. An accessory note, which is so beloved, so necessary to give a mod or a perfume panache, can begin screaming out its aggressiveness, overwhelming the blend, or just poking out in the drydown in a negative way.
My course is online, a resource in distance learning for those who cannot travel to attend a perfumery course. The 350 page textbook is the first American perfumery textbook, and it is written at the university level. For thinkers. And doers.
If you’re a perfumer, or thinking of becoming one, subscribe to this blog so you receive updates on this series, which I hope will inspire and instruct. There is a place to subscribe in the right column. Your email is private, and will be treated as such.
my 21st Century interpretation of the power of this tiny flower.
As an ethnobotanist and perfumer, I take the artistic license to call it the bad boy of flowers. Of all the “narcotic” fragrant white flowers, such as jasmine and gardenia, tuberose is the only one given the power to make girls lose their inhibitions. Perhaps there is some pheromone in the flower that is unidentified? I think research needs to be done to try to confirm or deny what makes tuberose so different, so seductive.
Perhaps 21st century young girls don’t swoon and lose inhibitions as they did in the past when smelling this narcotic flower at night, but its reputation is still sexy. In all my research over the years, I have never seen a flower given such incredible powers in aiding seduction.
The original warning seems to be pan-European, after the introduction of the tuberose flower in the late 1500s.
From the thesaurus, synonyms for “enticing”
Yes, those synonyms pretty much sum up what the parents and guardians noted about the powers of this tiny, innocent-looking flower.
Traveling out of Mexico, tuberose didn’t even follow the typical west-to-east route of New World imports, moving from the New World to Europe. It was wayward even then, moving east-to-west, first arriving in Indonesia. Not too much chatter about its seductive powers there, but India, Italy, France, and Britain all sounded the alarm.
The dainty white flower begins releasing its narcotic scent after dusk, and continues throughout the night, and parents and guardians thought the girls could be easily seduced while under the spell of its fragrance.
Enticing, the new perfume from Anya’s Garden, has a superdose of tuberose, lush and loud, announcing the intensity of the flower. 100% natural aromatics that hype the creamy, warm scent of skin were chosen to draw the user – and those close by – into the warm, heady nighttime allure of the tuberose in its most potent form.
The Victorians developed a complex system of nonverbal communication, using flowers as the symbols for emotions. Tuberose was assigned the title of “Dangerous Pleasures”, and this idea is expanded upon:
From The Language of Flowers, published Lea & Blanchard 1848 Philadelphia, no author cited:
TUBEROSE, p197 DANGEROUS PLEASURES
If you would enjoy it without danger, keep at some
distance from the plant. To increase tenfold the
pleasure which it affords, come with the object of
your affection to inhale its perfume by moonlight,
when the nightingale is pouring forth his soul in
The Tuberose, with her silvery light,
That Is in the gardens of Malay
Is called the mistress of the night,
So like a bride, scented and bright,
She comes out when the sun’s away.
Then, by a secret virtue, these grateful odours
will add an inexpressible charm to your enjoyment;
but if, regardless of the precepts of moderation,
you will approach too near, this divine
flower will then be but a dangerous enchantress,
which will pour into your bosom a deadly poison,
Thus the love which descends from heaven purities
and exalts the delights of a chaste passion ; but
that which springs from the earth proves the bane
and the destruction of imprudent youth.
This beautiful and most odoriferous flower, commonly known as the Tuberose, and which is calculated to please all, was brought from Persia in 1632. It flowered for the first time in France, at M. de Peiresc’s, at Beaugencier, near Toulon. The flower was then single; but its petals became double after some time, under the careful hand of Lecour, of Leyden. From that place it spread everywhere. The Tuberose, that superb native of the East, which the illustrious Linnaeus has named Polianthes, from the abundance of its flowers, a flower worthy of cities, has become with us, as it is in Persia, the emblem of Voluptuousness.
A young Icoglan, who receives from the hands of his mistress a stem of the Tuberose in bloom, experiences supreme happiness; for he knows that he may thus interpret the happy symbol of their mutual affection; “Our happiness will surpass our anxieties.” All the world knows and admires the white spikes and stars of the Tuberose; those beautiful spikes are the termination of a tall and slender stem, and they diffuse a most penetrating and intoxicating perfume.
Shelley says of it, “the sweet tuberose, the sweetest flower for scent, that blows”
My goal was to recognize the sexiness of the flower and to enhance the buttery, lactonic, deep, dark aspects of it. I wanted to make a skin caressing, long-lasting perfume that holds tuberose close to you, and one that has a silky effect when breathed in. Clary sage is another plant recognized for its power to affect your senses merely by breathing in the essence, both in the garden, and from the distiller’s essential oil. It’s perceived in the opening top note, along with a trace of cardamom, to tease the nose into not quite recognizing the lush floral headiness of tuberose, and then they recede, and the full blown power of tuberose, bold and soft, smooth and velvety, takes over – like it has always done.
Organic Sugar Cane Alcohol, Tuberose Absolute, Scented Alcohol extracted from Anya’s handmade Tuberose Enfleurage Pomade, Butter CO2, Opoponax Absolute, Clary Sage EO, Terpene Acetate Isolate ex. Cardamom, Beeswax Absolute and Anya’s handmade Beeswax Tincture, Patchouli EO, Mushroom Absolute, Siberian Musk Tincture.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about my interpretation of this heady flower, and the ingredients I used to create Enticing. Leave a comment, and you’ll be in a random giveaway drawing to win a 4ml mini of the pure perfume. Giveaway deadline ends 11:59 PM June 4, 2015. I encourage you to subscribe to the blog and to this post in particular to discover if you are the winner. The winner will be announced here in the comment thread June 5. Open to all worldwide readers and commenters.
Enticing is available in both pure perfume form as a 4ml mini, and as an Eau de Parfum 15ml spray from Anya’s Garden Perfumes store. Click here to purchase.
THE PROJECT AND PROCESS BEGINS
In November, 2014, I was contacted by Dr. Claire Shaw, Borough Council President, on behalf of the New Hope (Pennsylvania) Historical Society. They were referred to me as a natural perfumery expert and someone who may be able to assist them in deciphering a cologne “receipt” (also known as a recipe back then, now called formula) for a cologne that was written in 19th century apothecary script. Society Historian Wendy Gladston had discovered the document when searching through the books and records of the Parry Mansion, the most revered historical landmark in New Hope. At first it was believed the recipe was from 1800, but was later clarified to 1859.
My research revealed the fascinating history of the Parry family of New Hope and Philadelphia. Philadelphia is my home town, and I have visited New Hope many times in the past, but never the Parry Mansion. There is a link to the Historical Society at the end of this blog post, so you can explore more of the Parry and New Hope story.
Benjamin Parry is the patriarch of the family, the builder of the Parry Mansion, and the person who named the town New Hope. He is the grandfather of the medical doctor/pharmacist who created the cologne formula, Dr. George Parry. In the 19th century, the local pharmacist often made colognes, toothpaste, curative herbal preparations, and all sorts of household concoctions. He was born in Philadelphia and earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. I grew up in a neighborhood adjacent to the university, so felt an even stronger link to this project.
The original scan Dr. Shaw sent me was faint, and I couldn’t see the details, so when rescanned at 1200 dpi, the recipe was clear – yet still needed a lot of work, converting the measurements to modern milliliters. I called in a fragrance historical expert, Andrine Olson of Vashon, Washington, to assist in deciphering the document. We both had our own reference materials on apothecary symbols that we had collected over the years so we referred to them this effort After careful examination of the document, Andrine found a typo in the symbols, and once corrected, the formula emerged. Good detective work!
THE RANDOLPH PARRY COLOGNE RECIPE IS REVEALED
A lot of communication went back and forth, and we made the decision to use the American system (not the British system), and worked from apothecary drams and drops and gallon references, arriving at a modern volumetric formula of milliliters and liters/gallons. The formula indicated that the concentration of aromatics was light, around three percent (3%), what is still referred to as cologne strength. In comparison, modern perfumes may range up to 30% aromatics, which would be very strong by 1859 standards.
The aromatics were very much in line with a classic cologne, going back to the original colognes, notably Hungary Water and 4711. The formula contained citruses, lavender, rosemary, rose, neroli (orange blossom), and some spices – cinnamon and clove. The one ingredient that was used lavishly in those days, and that constitutes a big percentage of the Parry cologne formula is musk tincture. Musk tincture is made from a gland of the endangered musk deer. Today, musk tincture is highly regulated, and almost impossible to obtain. My colleague, Bruce Bolmes, of SMK Fragrance, is the only licensed importer of musk in the USA and he generously donated the needed amount to enable us to faithfully recreate the cologne.
THE COLOGNE IS SMELLED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN APPROXIMATELY 155 YEARS
I was in weekly communication with Dr. Shaw as my colleagues and I moved along in the project, and in February, I wrote them all about the blending of the compound base, perhaps the first time it had been made since the 1800s:
Dear Claire, Andrine, and Bruce:
This afternoon, I sat down and measured and blended all of the ingredients, and the perfume is both sexy and innocent, with an alluring gentle nature. It’s nice to be reminded of how our ancestors in the 1800s liked to smell, it could translate into a modern all-natural cologne that would be marketable.
The blend really came alive with Bruce’s tincture of musk, a product that was used lavishly back then. Of course, all this would have been a much more difficult project without Andrine quickly and precisely transcribing Parry’s notations.
Dr. Parry would be astonished to know his lovely cologne was revived on Feb. 17, 2015!
I wanted the Society to be in charge of all of the remaining process, so that they would know how to replicate it in the future. I provided instructions on suppliers, with websites and suggestions on purchases. Dr. Shaw obtained the organic sugar cane alcohol and necessary supplies for the rest of the project, which included mixing the compound base with the alcohol, aging the cologne for the requisite two weeks, filtering, and bottling. The Society was aiming for an April 27 launch, when they hold their annual “Mondays at the Mansion” meeting. The public is invited to this well-attended event, the deadline was met, and the cologne was a huge success.
Dr. Shaw was delighted with the reception for the cologne. It will be sold at their annual Garden Tour on Saturday, June 6, 2015. They are not ready for mail order sales at this time, so if you wish to obtain some of this cologne, subscribe to this blog, because I will announce it here. Just think – to be able to experience a true replication of a 19th century cologne that includes the gorgeous, rare musk tincture. I truly appreciate the Society’s faith in me and my team for this project, and I am happy to have handed this fragrant treasure back to them.
In my opinion, the cologne has universal appeal on several levels: it is a true glimpse into the cologne preferences of the mid 1800s, and it is a delightful, refreshing scent. It can be enjoyed by men and women, young and old. Those familiar with “Florida Water” cologne will find Parry Cologne very similar in fragrance.
The New Hope Historical Society’s website: http://www.newhopehs.org/
My website is http://AnyasGarden.com
Andrine Olson is a fragrance historian and may be reached via her Facebook page.
Bruce Bolmes may be contacted at http://smk-fragrance.com/
About Benjamin Parry, the patriarch of the Parry family of New Hope, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania http://www.newhopehs.org/who-was-benjamin-parry.html
Apothecary systems http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apothecaries%27_system
THE MODERN CAVEAT
Information forwarded to the Society by me: the amounts of citruses and spices in the formula exceeded the more conservative amounts used today. The citruses can cause citrus dermatitis if used on skin exposed to sunlight, and the spices may cause irritation to skin. The Society was advised to provide information about this to customers, and make recommendations that it be used under clothing, in the hair, in perfume lockets, or worn at night.