The Elements of Scent-Resinous/Oriental

Vying for #1 status of best loved categories of perfume is resinous. These are most popular when the weather turns cold and they feel right then due to their heavy long lasting aroma.

Out of all the kinds of perfumes that “indy” perfumers do, I think that the resinous category is the most successful. I really cannot think of a big commercial perfume house which produces a more sensuous and beautiful blend than the small independent makers. Part of that success is fueled by the fact that indies will use expensive and premium ingredients whereas big commercial houses see the market as too small to go all out on great ingredients so they try to finesse the richness of scents with cheaper and more man-made things. Indy houses will also go for unusual ingredients, which is rare among large houses; so you might see turmeric or saffron added to a blend and actually be able to smell it down in there!

I also notice that the perfume itself is often thicker, darker, and stickier than anything the big houses come out with. Why? Those are the real ingredients, and not the cheap carrier alcohol. Actually, I never use alcohol as a carrier as it’s too strong and self assertive, and it burns away the top notes too quickly for my taste. I prefer the lingering idea of oil as a base on which to build my product, it makes the elements of a perfume last longer and it has no scent of its own to interfere with the blend I am making.

Please note that Possets Perfume is Vegan and Never Ever Tested On Animals. We are also proud to say that we are transitioning over from any plastic containers to all glass, better for everyone and everything from every point of view. To find out more of the good stuff we are doing, please visit our FAQS on http://www.possets.com.

Discover Possets and take a look at our listing for 100% Natural scents, we are very good at them. Take a tour of each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. Http:www.possets.com

The Elements of Scent-Natural Perfume

I started my perfuming career as a natural perfumer, actually I was studying aromatherapy and had a nice little following in my area (this was before the internet). The name of the company was Possets and I sold my perfume in one store which was opened one night a month! Nevertheless, the desire was there for great quality natural perfume and I was filling a need. Fast forward many years, and I am still making and selling 100% Natural perfume,and there is still a need.

I find it more difficult to come up with a great natural blend for several natural reasons! First, the quality of a batch of essential oils can vary wildly from one year to another. Rose oil is a real “crap shoot” with the same vendor and origin being divine one year and meh the next. I think this is either due to growing conditions, political unrest, adulteration of a bad year’s essential oil by second rate “extender” essential oils, the vendor changes hands and the new owners don’t take as much care as the original owners did, labor shortages (especially for essential oils which are very labor intense like enflourage), and diseases of the plants which produce the oils.

Another reason why it’s hard to produce a great natural perfume is that the consumer demands certain scents and some of them cannot really be mimicked in natural ingredients. I have never smelled a successful “modern hard musk” natural for instance. They just don’t come that aggressive; by nature, naturals are softer and more emollient. To try to make a natural into a modern is like making a sow’s ear out of a silk purse.

There is a smaller number of notes from which to draw. With man mades, the sky is the limit. With naturals, you have a very finite number of elements you can add to the perfume. Several hundred elements might seem like a wonderful great field on which to play, but when you are used to fine tuning with thousands of accords, you feel like you are in a straight jacket.

Well, with all those caveats, why do I still make 100% Naturals? They are the BEST when it comes to the classic blends. You can’t beat a natural chypre, there is just something magic and perfect about a perfume like The Observatory, it’s the difference between lovingly polished old wood and perfect reproduction Pergo.

100% Naturals are a challenge which often makes me consider a combination which I would have never ever tried. I got some red cedar essential oil which made me start daydreaming about “dancing partners” for it. A great essential can be a wild springboard for creativity.

Ofttimes, you will get something in essential oil, etc., which you will never ever find among the man made accords. I got something called muhuhu and fell in love. What does it smell like? It is the exact scent of a glossy paged hard bound comic book I had when I was a child. It was only printed in black and white and I just loved to smell the pages, they were so exotic. Maybe there was muhuhu oil used in the inks, or the processing of the paper but that smell has stayed with me as a comforting and pleasant scent and now I can use it in my work. No man made maker in their right mind is going to use that in their work, and I can only find it in the naturals.

Please note that Possets Perfume is Vegan and Never Ever Tested On Animals. We are also proud to say that we are transitioning over from any plastic containers to all glass, better for everyone and everything from every point of view. To find out more of the good stuff we are doing, please visit our FAQS on http://www.possets.com.

Discover Possets and take a look at our listing for 100% Natural scents, we are very good at them. Take a tour of each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. Http:www.possets.com

Middle Eastern Incense–The Final Essentials

Great fun burning Eastern incense. Here are some things you will need to do just that. One is sort of surprising!

Fabienne Christenson has visited Dubai and the perfume market in Dubai. She has collected bakhoor, burned it, had long conversations with citizens of the United Arab Emirates about it, and has a few interesting asides. This blog will probably amuse you highly. Also, the series The Elements of Scent will continue as well. In the meantime, take a look at the main Possets site where there is plenty of Eastern (Oriental) inspired perfume as well as those of the West. Http://www.possets.com

How To Burn Middle Eastern Incense (Bakoor or Frankincense) Part 2

Now that you know how to get the charcoal started, it’s time to put a bit of incense on the fire and see what happens. In this video I will show you the proper way to burn frankincense without letting it get acrid from exposure to too high heat. Burning bakhoor will also be explored and I will show you my favorite kind of bakhoor, too.

Fabienne Christenson has visited Dubai and the perfume market in Dubai. She has collected bakhoor, burned it, had long conversations with citiznes of the United Arab Emirates about it, and has a few interesting asides. This blog will probably amuse you highly. Also, the series The Elements of Scent will continue as well. In the meantime, take a look at the main Possets site where there is plenty of Eastern (Oriental) inspired perfume as well as those of the West. Http://www.possets.com

How To Burn Middle Eastern Incense (Bakoor or Frankincense) Part 1

Burning bakoor is an art. You have to have the right equipment and know a couple of tricks to do it right. Once you try this, however, you will experience the real idea of Eastern perfumery, the oldest form of scenting there is. No education of a perfumer is complete without burning the real thing and learning to appreciate the smooth, animalic, smokey, sexy scent of good bakoor. Watch this first video and learn how to get started!

Fabienne Christenson has visited Dubai and the perfume market in Dubai. She has collected bakhoor, burned it, had long conversations with citiznes of the United Arab Emirates about it, and has a few interesting asides. This blog will probably amuse you highly. Also, the series The Elements of Scent will continue as well. In the meantime, take a look at the main Possets site where there is plenty of Eastern (Oriental) inspired perfume as well as those of the West. Http://www.possets.com

Arabian/Middle Eastern Perfumery Bakhoor

bakhoorBakhoor is an incense made of wood chips and deeply infused with essential oils and fragrance oils. The wood chips are oude in the more expensive sorts of bakhoor, and a mixture of cedar or varietal hardwoods and some oude in the less expensive sorts of bakhoor. Yes, that is very expensive and so plan to pay a lot of money for first class bakhoor.

Most of the good bakhoor will come to you in a nice box and you get a lot of it. You only need to burn a very small amount of it because it smokes fabulously and the scent is extremely heavy. Proceed with caution and start with a small burn and then work up or else you will be setting off smoke detectors and have your neighbors hating you.

The scent of bakhoor is very obviously not Western. In the West, for all our love of foodies and florals, we are pretty bitter compared to the perfumes of the East which I could characterize as more emollient and sweet. Once you smell bakhoor, you will know what I mean.

Rose, patchouli, jasmine, and black musk are all common ingredients in a good bakhoor. The rose essential oils really vary a lot and a good Arabian perfumer will play with them like an accomplished cellist plays his instrument. I have smelled sweet rose, sweaty rose, lemony rose, and black rose bakhoor. Each of them give the middle note a good twist and keeps the fragrance interesting.

Next, what is the proper way to burn bakhoor, there is a trick or two to it.

Fabienne Christenson has visited Dubai and the perfume market in Dubai. She has collected bakhoor, burned it, had long conversations with Emirates about it, and has a few interesting asides about it. This blog will probably amuse you highly. Also, the series The Elements of Scent will continue as well. In the meantime, take a look at the main Possets site where there is plenty of Eastern (Oriental) inspired perfume as well as those of the West. Http://www.possets.com

Arabian/Middle Eastern Perfumery 101

hieroglyphicswordpressheader.jpgYou have heard, of course, that the word “perfume” means through smoke. That is pretty much the first thing anyone tells you about perfumery and they always expect that you are shocked, stunned, and in awe of that rare and esoteric piece of information. You have had that point hammered into you from the day you picked up your first book on aromatherapy and it’s in the first 3 paragraphs of every other book on scent you have ever read. Yea, yea, yea. Well, the first way anyone ever perfumed anything was by exposing it to smoking fragrant woods and resins. Today you could expect to see Arab gentlemen gathering in a majalis to talk and negotiate and the entire visit follows a time honored choreography of greeting, drinking coffee, who speaks and when and who does not, and the last act is that each of the participants have their clothing smoked with bakhoor, infused with the strong and hypnotic fragrances of the East. So, there is something in the idea of smoke infusion being the method of making fragrant.

But what is this bakhoor? How do Eastern perfumes differ from Western ones? Is there a common thread running through them? How do you use Bakhoor? Where do you get bakhoor? And is there liquid perfume which exhibits the same allure of incense? And, is there any accessory to make incensing your world easier?

Possets will explore these questions and more. So, keep your eye on this space because we are going to take a trip through the ancient souks of Dubai and the Emirates, heart of the perfuming business in Arabia!

Fabienne Christenson has visited Dubai and the perfume market in Dubai. She has collected bakhoor, burned it, had long conversations with Emirates about it, and has a few interesting asides about it. This blog will probably amuse you highly. Also, the series The Elements of Scent will continue as well. In the meantime, take a look at the main Possets site where there is plenty of Eastern (Oriental) inspired perfume as well as those of the West. Http://www.possets.com

The Elements of Scent-Musky

Musky things.No other scent group has taken the world by storm quite like the “musky” perfumes. Musk has been around for a long time, and artificial musk was a happy accident which occurred during the development of dynamite! One of the scientists who was working on TNT noticed that there was a lovely smell coming from the workbench and called that to the others’ attention. Not being shy about making a buck off research, the group sold the liquid (which was not explosive, except socially) to perfume houses and the fad for musk started in earnest.

Musk has a great many different smells: subtle, aggressive, hawthorny, sharp. One thing it has in common is that it is a heavy molecule and stays around a long time and so is a basenote. In the 21st century it never smells like anything you encounter in nature, it is decidedly a man made item. There are attempts to mimic modern musk among natural perfumers (e.g. musk ambrette) but the array of perfumer’s artificial musk outstrips the variations on anything the natural perfumer has to work with.

Of course, the original perfume musks were taken from animals. They were the basenotes, and diluted they are often delightful. However, public sentiment has sharply turned against using secretions from civet cats and musk deer due to animal cruelty issues (and the more crass reason that artificial musks smell better and are cheaper). You would be hard pressed to find any perfume which boasted real castorium (beaver musk) for example, nowadays.

Though musks have always been with us, they were more bit players than the star of any perfume, even through the glory days of French perfume in the post war 1950s, Not until the corporate-loving era of the 1980s did the aggression of the culture called for aggressive scent to match. Giorgio of Beverly Hills was a flagship fragrance of mega musk and sweet flowers, crystalline musks became the darlings of the public (and remain so to this day), and every once in a while, a sly musk catches our imagination (something hawthorny like 301). It is safe to say that if you want a hit you have to employ musk in some form or another, at least for its staying power and star power.

Discover Possets and take a look at our listing for musky scents, we are very good at them. Take a tour of each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. Http:www.possets.com

The Elements of Scent-Masculine

ManlyThere are more surprising elements to a masculine fragrance than you would expect.Have you ever walked through the aisles of a department store and smelled a man’s scent just for kicks. Have you ever had the reaction,”This is FABULOUS, why don’t they make women’s perfume this lovely?” And then you think about it, and then you realize you would not wear a scent like that BUT you would follow a man who smelled like that to the end of the earth. THAT is the magic.

Here is the deep secret: Men’s fragrances are not made for men, they are made for women.* They are full of things which attract us with sweetness and suavity. Think of Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene, it was a men’s fragrance full of violet, it was sweet and alluring, it lasted a very long time, it was catnip to women. It is still considered a classic, and reason is because it was aimed specifically at women, so it worked. Royal Copenhagen (by Royal Copenhagen) was another sweet and sultry blend which was the limit in seduction, again aimed at attracting women. These were smooth, almost feminine fragrances with no sharpness to them. You don’t smell too much of that today, but it was very effective years ago. Carnation, violet, iris all have connotations of manliness and swagger; so much for the language of flowers.

Fast forward, now it’s a AXE world. Men’s fragrances are often STRONG and aggressive. I suspect that they are made to signal other men to “stay away from my woman (women) if you know what is good for you” and to leave that lingering scent on the lady (ladies) in question so that rivals would be discouraged. Mean musks, concentrated ingredients, chemical cocktails with stingers in them leave the famous “trail of jet fuel” behind the wearer in a scent war. Mmmmm, like squirting through a Game of Thrones of Perfume, eh?

Face it, mating rituals among humans have changed considerably over the last few decades, and what was once taken for granted is now viewed as quaint. The quarry has changed as well. What was once the passive and agreeable lady is now the strong and independent woman. She wears an aggressive scent, too, and will give out just as strong a signal as her companion. This seems to be a more “Competitive Mating” scene than there has been in a long time, and perfumes reflect it.

Once in a blue moon, I like to try to bring back an nicer and more gentle form of men’s scent, something where a guy would be trying to romance a woman and conquer through kindness. I realize that that is sometimes seen as “old fashioned” but I can’t tell you how many times I have been thanked for coming up with Adamus or Stewart or Venus Black (which got me the gig writing for Fragrantica.com). So, you think that chivalry and sweet seduction are dead? Nope, they are the next wave.

*Except when they are not, please see above.

Discover Possets and take a look at our listing for masculine scents, we are very good at them. Take a tour of each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. Http:www.possets.com

The Elements of Scent-Leather

leather is lovelyLeather seems like a surprising classification for perfume. First, it’s pretty specific, next it’s something some people really don’t like, and finally, it’s not a “perfume scent” per se, right? Wrong! It is a big element in a lot of famous perfumes, like the vaunted Bandit, the most famous chypre of all.

Some people think that leather is a masculine note…again, that isn’t true. Even serious rawhide can be a real turn-on when used with a discerning hand. Mixed with a strong floral can become a unique and glorious sexy thing. And please know that there is a plethora of different leather accords: soft suede, rawhide, saddle, highly refined leather like on a fine chair, and leather jacket. I even know of one which is the exact match of a very light, soft, hard finished leather! So, the savvy perfumer has to know the character of each, what is the classic pairing/combination, what would be daring and successful, and what is an all out risk!

Leather is a base note usually because it is strong and it lasts for a very long time. It can be the central theme of a perfume or a charming side player if used with a light hand. If used with a light enough hand, it becomes very subtle yet retains its character for a “it’s great, what IS that?” surprise.

Discover Possets and take a look at our listing for lavender scents, we are very good at them. Take a tour of each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. Http:www.possets.com