5 Of The Best Places To Put Scent

jupiterWhere, praytell, are the best and sexiest places to wear scent? Well:

  • On the inside of your arms-A classic spot which allows the perfume to rise up especially when you are working (as on a computer).
  • On the Palms of your hands-An unusual place which benefits from the heat of your hands and when you use your hands to speak.
  • Lightly in your hair-For some reason, perfume put here just lasts and lasts, and is luxuriously beautiful.
  • On a cotton ball tucked into your bra-Works especially well with delicate perfumes which are fugitive, the layers of clothes and natural body oils keep scent from evaporating too quickly.
  • On the outside corners of your jawline-When you are kissed this will make a delightful treat for your kisser!

Want to find a perfect perfume with which to practice the above? Possets Perfume (www.possets.com) of course.

The Hot Fragrance Elements for 2015

allthosethingsEvery year has its “hot” fragrance, something which you had no idea was important until it is. What’s up for 2015?

Cardamom has taken the fragrance world by storm! I find that in just about every important blend I sniff.This is the logical outcropping of the “foody” craze which has become a staple in the scent world. First it was mimicking the scents of foods and now it is mimicking the scents of food elements. Expect to see lots of cardamom featured fragrances for fall.

Peach, this one was highly predicted to be the run away best seller for summer. Did that happen? Yes, but I think that it was a bit of a shock and at the same time too old fashioned to catch on this summer. We had been through fruity and been through foody and sweet. This was something which people were more inclined to think “Jolly Rancher” than the seductive smell of a peach. However, expect this one to come out in a huge way in the fall paired with (you guessed it) cardamom and resins. That would be a delightful addition to the pumpkin for fall line.

This blog has been brought to you by Possets Perfume, go there and see what is the latest in fragrance fashion. Htto://www.possets.com.

5 Truths I Have Learned About Perfumery-(Possets @ 9 Part 5)

VioletsAt this point I can pretty much call myself a veteran of perfume making. I have experimented, tried, failed, been rushed, dared, and won as well as lost; along the way I have learned a few things about Perfumery. Here are five that I think bear sharing:

  1. Don’t judge a perfume by its topnotes. Topnotes are formulated to be gorgeous by themselves but they will vaporize first leaving you with those middle notes and the all important basenotes. Experience the whole perfume before deciding if you want to commit.
  2. What you get in a sample might not be what you get in the full sized bottle. I got a sample of KL when it first came out and it was amazing. Alas, the perfume in the full $ized bottle was real mundane. If you get something which seems like bait and switch to you, demand your money back.
  3. Name brand perfumes don’t always stay the same. As time wears on, classics bring in less money for the makers. They start to substitute cheaper ingredients which are similar but eventually, the blend cycles from beautiful to not so much.
  4. Your perceptions of perfume change over time. Your mind gets used to the complexity of a blend and one day you will find yourself saying, “I can hardly smell this anymore.” That is what is wrong with signature perfumes, they take away the thrill of the new. Give your perfumes a rest and rotate through your collection.
  5. Be true to yourself. If you are a woman who smells best in “orientals” then don’t jump on the crystalline musk bandwagon just because it’s ‘in’ this year. Revel in your uniqueness and enjoy what your skin loves to make love to. Trust me, there are huge numbers of perfumes which will suit you in your best categories, have fun discovering them!

This is part of a series of essays about the origins of Possets Perfume. It is written to go with the Retour event which is going on now at Possets where Fabienne, the perfumer, re releases all of the perfumes she has ever made for two weeks. All of the scent which was in past seasonal collections can be re bought and stocked up now. It is being sold in 6, 10, 15, and 30 ml bottles so you can keep yourself in your favorite Posset forever. Go there and see for yourself!

Who Do I Think I Am? Possets-Now We Are Nine-Part 4

cropped-venusmars3.jpgHow about the personality of the company? What “feel” did I want Possets to have? If someone were to describe the company, what would I want them to say?

I admired the perfume company Demeter which had a minimalist personality, like a chic loft in New York City. It was all words, glass, and chrome. The occasional block of color was the backup group for the point of the blend. I saw what they did, but that wasn’t me. I am a different creature entirely. Once a frienemy of mine came mincing up to me at an art opening and cooed,”You are so very good at art history, Fabienne. Too bad you can’t make a living on it! Ha Ha Ha Ha Haaaaa!” Pretty mean of her, I would say. It was true. I was great at something which is utterly useless, unless you are a professor of Art History, or run an art tour company. It was just her way of telling me that I was programmed to be powerless because I was good at something. That thought depressed me and made me somewhat ashamed of being good at art history. I didn’t like to think that I was proving over and over that I was a silly lady every time I opened my mouth about painting.

So, there I sat thinking about what I wanted my company to be like. What would the flavor, feel, schtick, brand of Possets be like? I chose the name Possets because I liked the sound of it and it meant a sweet and attractive smelling thing which made life happier. An archaic word (again, the powerlessness of knowing lots of obsolete words from days gone by, silly lady). There were loads of companies out there with dark badass persona, lots of modern chrome and glass ones, some were themed on knights of old, some were sort of confusing themes loaded with stock photos, some were obviously the girly tangle of the creator’s mind with scant harmony running through. There were some with a constant theme playing through the collections and they were the most attractive to me. They seemed to succeed best when the theme was like the interests of the creator. So, Possets quickly became a place where I could use my knowledge of art history proudly and even fiercely. The images were the most lovely every produced, and they could come from anywhere. My area of expertise is Western European 1300-19th century mostly, but I have a burning curiosity about the art of other cultures, too.

When I was a child, my mother and I saw the painting Venus and Mars by Sandro Botticelli. It had just been cleaned and was on display for the first time. I was amazed by it and no one else seemed to know about it. Everyone knows The Birth Of Venus but not this fabulous horizontal piece. When I thought about what I would want my company spokesman to look like, if I could have anyone the reclining Venus came to mind. And so she is the Possets Girl.

Over the years, the design of my site has changed from the image on the lower left hand side to the Possets Girl hovering above the page and appearing in the slideshow in different guises. She is my lead figure on my business card and the universal figure on my labels. I have known her for decades and never get tired of her.

This year I have decided to celebrate my new website with an exploration of painting. I have loved my jaunts through poetry and music but painting will always be my first love.

This is part of a series of essays about the origins of Possets Perfume. It is written to go with the Retour event which is going on now at Possets where Fabienne, the perfumer, re releases all of the perfumes she has ever made for two weeks. All of the scent which was in past seasonal collections can be re bought and stocked up now. It is being sold in 6, 10, 15, and 30 ml bottles so you can keep yourself in your favorite Posset forever. Go there and see for yourself!

Learning How To Be Possets-Now We Are Nine-Part 3

The Goddess of GeometryOne thing you have to be able to do when you are a perfumer is…to make perfume. Now I had collected lots of things which were needed to make perfume, I had been an aromatherapy lover for years BUT there is a big difference between aromatherapy and perfuming: one is for your wellbeing only and the other is aesthetic only. I have not loved everything I have smelled in aromatheraputic circles, it’s never a turn off but it isn’t meant to be the good smelling stuff.

Perfume is strange, subjective, vague, overwhelming, unscripted, hard to classify, and without a popular vocabulary. It’s almost as if you can’t talk about perfume because it defies words, as if the right side of your brain rules the subject and will not bow to the logical superiority of the left side of brain. Not. Nope. If you can’t really talk about it, you have a far harder time learning it and explaining it. You have to come up with your own ideas of harmony, your personal paths where you walk when you want to create.

I was fascinated with the “foody” perfumes which were so popular in the early 2000s. They seemed magical to me. Thierry Mugler’s Angel broke into mainstream perfuming in such a decisive way that it created a separate category of fragrance! Some people thought it an abomination but nothing takes the heretic into the sanctum sanctorum as swiftly as success and within 10 years Dior was ruining the dry classic Miss Dior by dumping some sweet strawberry concoction into it and trying to ride the gourmandy wave. Angel had changed the landscape, and I loved it.

There were other perfumers who were taking totally non traditional paths, the most successful was Demeter and I adored them. They created simulachra forEverything from cut grass to sugar cookies, clean laundry to dirt out of the potting soil bag. They were so bold and their concepts were damned creative. Their perfumes never seemed to last, though. They were all ethereal top note, full of the punch and buzz of the concept but then *poof* gone. Layering, using oil, soaking a cotton ball in it and putting it in my bra, nothing worked. I was scent free and bewildered within 5 minutes of each application. Oh, the agony of the dedicated scent lover!

So, I went looking for ingredients, mixed my own building blocks, fiddled with things to make perfume last and to amplify it. Most importantly, I learned about the parts of a perfume where one thing has a part which reminds me of another. That was when I really started to “get it”. So, when I was creating Issota and Sigismundo, I found that there was something in sandalwood which reminded me of…banana! I put that unlikely combo together and was immediately gratified. It worked, and worked so well that there were several other components which found their way into the bottle and made that perfume what it is. It is unique, harmonious, mind grabbing, and classy at the same time. I still sell a lot of it and for good reason.

There were times when I “got it” before. The first time was with Silver Violets, one of my still favorite scents, it was when I created the harmony. There was nothing in it which did not belong, and it would not have been good without every single one of the ingredients. That is the formula for a good piece of graphic design, and it holds especially true for perfume, even if the vocabulary is different.

This is the first in a series of essays about the origins of Possets Perfume. It is written to go with the Retour event which is going on now at Possets where Fabienne, the perfumer, re releases all of the perfumes she has ever made for two weeks. All of the scent which was in past seasonal collections can be re bought and stocked up now. It is being sold in 6, 10, 15, and 30 ml bottles so you can keep yourself in your favorite Posset forever. Go there and see for yourself!

An Ironic Interlude-Possets, Now We Are Nine-Part 2

An antique perfume bottle, the lower part is a bottle and so is the bird on the top, its topknot is a stopper.

An antique perfume bottle, the lower part is a bottle and so is the bird on the top, its topknot is a stopper.

I officially started Possets Perfume and I got my first order over the internet, someone had found my website by accident and decided to give it a try. As I was wrapping the bottle for shipment that afternoon in early August, I felt an odd sensation in my leg. Very odd. I dropped off my parcel at the post office and went to the doctor to investigate. Next scene was the emergency room of Good Samaritan Hospital.

I had generated a “big bloodclot” in my left leg! I was kept a couple of days for observation and nothing was observed. However, this made a huge change in my lifestyle and a devotion to physical fitness which as become my hobby, much to the relief of my internist and family. My life really did begin with a bloodclot. It was a wakeup call, the message was, “Do what you really want to do, not what others think you should do. You do not have eternity to play around.”

One of the funny things about this was my doctor prescribed coumarin for my bloodclot. Now, coumarin is a very famous perfuming ingredient! I had no idea it was a medicine. My doctor, on the other hand, was well aware of coumarin’s medicinal value but had no idea it was a perfuming ingredient! On one of my follow ups I mentioned this amusing detail and it became part of her class, as she teaches Medicine at University of Cincinnati! On another follow-up visit, I brought her a vial of coumarin, perfumers’ coumarin. She honestly had no idea it has a scent. We did talk about where you would find it in the wild. There are 42 species of plants which generate coumarin, the most famous being Tonka bean, ferns, and sweet woodruff. It has been used to flavor wine, May Wine in Germany in particular. Since it is an anti-coagulant, its use has been discontinued in foodstuff, so no more Tonka tea and I have not seen German May Wine in years.

I kind of thought it was a Grand Irony that I was made to take one of the most famous and ubiquitous perfuming ingredients as a medicine.

This is part of a series of essays about the origins of Possets Perfume. It is written to go with the Retour event which is going on now at Possets where Fabienne, the perfumer, re releases all of the perfumes she has ever made for two weeks. All of the scent which were in past seasonal collections can be re bought and stocked up now. It is being sold in 6, 10, 15, and 30 ml bottles so you can keep yourself in your favorite Posset forever. Go there and see for yourself!

Now We Are Nine-Part 1

possetsgirl800wToday is Possets’ ninth birthday! Nine years ago today I held my heart in my mouth and pushed the button and up went the site. It was a simple one with a brownish background and a line of amber colored dropper bottles lined up. I had put up the word ‘Possets’ in Palatino Linotype and was quite proud of the design until a friend of mine who was a graphic designer pronounced it “too medicinal”. A fight ensued but I was totally overwhelmed by other graphic designer friends. I could feel the disappointment and the wasted hard work rankling in my soul as my cohorts tore apart the site design. I hastily put together a new one with a reclining Venus and threw it up on the screen. She took up a huge amount of real estate and was clearly “aht history”. The response? “I’d buy a bottle of perfume from HER!” And the concept was set…and it has been a winner ever since.

The first perfume I made was in my art studio. I rented space in Cincinnati in an “artists’ warehouse”. Art is a hard and often depressing profession. You are making a product which has been so far eclipsed by the cheaper and more amusing electronic toyland that I am tempted to say that painting is dead dead dead (obsolete for sure). Painting seemed pointless, every Final Friday my studio was just a Free Wine And Cheese Station For Bored Yuppies And Neurotics. I started to make perfume and failed. My blends were just as confusing and dull as my landscapes. I tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and…made Silver Violets! I loved Silver Violets! It was exactly what I wanted. I wore it everywhere and people never said a word about it, but their eyes would light up and when I waved my hands they would be just a bit closer to that private happy space, you could tell. I knew I was on to something remarkable and that something was what I was indeed meant to do.

The first bottle I sold to a person was to a very skeptical, sniffy, precious lady who had a hugely high opinion of herself and was not sure she wanted to turn loose a small amount of money to meeee. After all, I wasn’t any better than she was. After all I was supposed to be an artist and dance attendance on her, the self styled “patron”. I opened the bottle and bade her take a sniff. She did and her delight was not pinched off before it lit her face. In one instant a self-obsessed and unattractive dame turned into a happy little girl! She turned to me and said, “I’ll take it!” She handed me the money and was still smelling the bottle as she left the studio. I felt like I had improved the world if just for a second and this was what I could devote my life to doing.

That scene played out several times over the course of the evening. I actually left the building that night with a few dollars in my pocket instead of the empty feeling that painting (at least my painting) was passe.

I went home and finally told my husband what I had been up to. He was incredulous! “You aren’t going to be doing that are you? After all, you just got through an entire Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, you not going to abandon that!” To him at the time, my being a perfumer was a crazy exotic scheme which would come to no good. Art was at least predictable.

Nine years later he is very appreciative of my profession. “My wife is a perfumer. She makes it and sends it all over the world!” I think he got a kick out of how I started a business from scratch and have kept it thriving for almost a decade.

Happy birthday, Possets! And many more to come.

This is the first in a series of essays about the origins of Possets Perfume. It is written to go with the Retour event which is going on now at Possets where Fabienne, the perfumer, re releases all of the perfumes she has ever made for two weeks. All of the scent which was in past seasonal collections can be re bought and stocked up now. It is being sold in 6, 10, 15, and 30 ml bottles so you can keep yourself in your favorite Posset forever. Go there and see for yourself!

Let Me Smell You, So I Can Know You

panoseiconcroppedWhen I smell a perfume, I am also smelling who the perfumer really is. The type of fragrance which a perfumer does best and the sorts of ingredients they choose to use tell the tale. For instance, Bandit (the astounding chypre) by Germaine Cellier from the early 1950s in Paris…I always thought it was very masculine in a feminine way, the perfume of a very strong and untouchable woman who was smarter than the average by far. Turns out that was exactly who Ms. Cellier was, she was one of the first female perfume chemists anywhere and she was also a lesbian who was famous for her romantic and dramatic exploits among her set. This comes through loud and clear in Bandit, it could not have been made by anyone else of any orientation, there is too much leather and no sweetness at all but plenty of light.

As for modern day indy perfumers, once I smelled a perfume of considerable beauty, but it was also very pedestrian and a bit sloppy! It was fetching though, like a friend who was a great friend and a real slob at the same time. I found out who made it and ended up having a conversation with her. She was just like the perfume. Wow. I bought a bottle and really enjoyed it. She told me that she had made the perfume by combining a lot of notes she hated but kept track of how much of each she added so she could make it again. I thought it was brilliant for its unorthodox approach.

Then there are the pleasant surprises. One of my favorite perfumes is The Vert by Bulgari. I have often thought that the person who made it had to be well organizes, wry, highly sophisticated but with a dignified romantic bent and good refined sense of humor. The genius who concocted The Vert is Elena who wrote a book and revealed himself to be exactly the way I thought he would be, thoroughly delightful.

I have smelled perfumes which come from enormous anger pent up inside the creator, and it rolls out in their fragrances. sometimes anger does wonders for art, and sometimes it just burns it up into ash. Usually, the latter occurs. There are not a lot of highly successful pissed-off perfumers.

I have smelled the perfumes of people who are really too timid to be good perfumers, or not assertive enough to really make a good passable fragrance. Sometimes the problem is that they don’t have the nerve to overdo an ingredient or two and push a perfume into its outer limit (as Chanel did with Chanel No. 5). Sometimes it’s not being able to make up their minds and the resulting mix has no character. It’s a shame, and I hope that the meek really do inherit the earth. You need a certain amount of courage to be a good perfumer.

I have to say that I have never met anyone who was too well bred or too well educated to be a good perfumer. You can’t really have too much of either one of those characteristics. I have smelled some exceptionally esoteric perfumes (Les Dix was a great example).

Some of the saddest of all perfumes are those made by people who want to make a buck and have no idea of how to blend something beautiful. One house in particular was stunningly successful in the early 2000s but I don’t hear much from them now. They were all about marketing instead of being all about the product. There is also the “perfumer” who relies on strength of their blends alone, never mind if it’s good or bad, as long as it’s loud that is what they are trying to accomplish. To me, that is air freshener, not perfume; more grist for the reed defusser than the back of my wrist.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Summer of Elegance Collection now. Peek in on the ever changing offerings at Possets.  So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

5 Years Later in Cincinnati…

A flower

It has been 5 years since I really went downtown in Cincinnati. Last time I was there it was struggling to be hip, struggling to be solvent, struggling to keep from dying. This time things felt way different. If there wasn’t loads of mad hilarity about how damned chic it was,  there was more to be excited about. The hallmark of this renaissance was how unselfconscious it all was, none of this,”Look at meeeee! So pretty!” stuff, no wondering if you had noticed. Cincinnati is still a business town, it hasn’t gone all arty on us and I don’t think it ever will. But there is more enjoyment and less anxiety about the place now, more being satisfied with itself. One of the reasons I think it has improved vastly is that there has been a steady stream of people from elsewhere coming into and making Cincinnati their new forever home. There is much more diversity now than there was when I came here, back then it was very Western European and if you had brown eyes you were considered exotic. Now you are just as likely to see a hijabi, hear Spanish, go to a Korean Restaurant, or listen to Persian rock music coming from the loudspeakers and the world has finally broken in on The Queen City. Bully for us. I think now Cincinnati is reminding me more of Washington, D.C. when I was a kid than the current flavor of D.C. does! So, I can say, it’s great to be here; it’s a nifty little city with a lot of amazingly cool features. Now excuse me as I go to my office in the East End with the stained glass windows near the airport and across the parking pad from our craft brewery.

This post was put up by Fabienne Christenson from Possets Perfume, pay a visit and look around the  art history steeped site and enjoy. Possets has their Summer of Elegance Collection up now, and you don’t want to miss that. www.possets.com

Last Day Of The Possets Sale.

The Duchess BetsyThere is very little which is sweeter than a sale, my friends. Possets has been having a good one: buy 4 bottles and get a 5th free. This is the last day of that sale, so hurry on over to take advantage of the goodness. The 5th bottle is 6ml but all the rest can be any size you like. Only other rule is that they all have to be either 100% Naturals or Classics.

So come over to Possets and take advantage of one of the sweetest offers of the summer. Http://www.possets.com It’s The Summer of Elegance celebrated with a new website, too. Sweet!