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

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

The Elements of Scent-Lavender

lavenderLavender is always such a popular type of scent. Aromatic and fresh it’s surprisingly versatile and can go from sweet and unctuous to sharp and modern with very little trouble.

Lavender’s name comes from the Latin word for washing, and scenting your sheets with it was thought to give a good night’s sleep (still true today). There are a lot of different lavenders, the one prized for perfumery is probably the type which smells strongly of vanilla (coumarin) and if you find a source of that, hang on to them…it is precious stuff. On the other end of the spectrum, lavender can be volatile and smell like paint remover because some forms of lavender are just that: paint solvents. It’s a common practice to use lavender in fine art to thin paint, and that sort of lavender is called spike lavender.

Lavender is one scent which just never seems to grow old in the imagination of the public. It has not suffered the same fate as rose (“Ew, old lady”) and general florals (which seem to be on everyone’s avoid list except iconoclasts). Magically lavender is more associated with “natural” scents, “clean” scents (but it still avoids being classified as ‘sexlessly clean’), and “healthy” fragrances. I have no idea of how it has done that, but it is quite a feat for a unique smell.

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

The Elements of Scent-Fruity

fruityFruity scents are sometimes problematic.We are so familiar with them that they have to be exact before we will call them “good”. Apple can be a problem because if too strong, it can be interpreted as turpentine-ish. Banana can easily head into the “nail polish remover” category, and lemon has been saddled with the undesirable comparison to furniture polish. Knowing how to handle any of the above does separate out the real perfumers from the juvenile ones. There are ways to come up with divine lemon, you just have to know how.

Fruit scents pair wonderfully well with quite a few traditional perfume ingredients.Grapefruit smells wonderful next to sandalwood, banana is exultant when sandalwood is its partner (it’s the volatile part of both which is the reactor), and grape can become so much more than grape when it’s with some kinds of musk.

Fruit has always been a big favorite especially in French perfumes (!). Yes, the French love to exploit plum and you can love it in Femme by Rochas, or love it in Or Noir by Pascal Moribito. Those are two grand scents which elevate plum to celestial heights  and make it dive to the sexist of all places.

American perfumes didn’t really get excited about fruit accompaniments until the turn of the millennium.  In 2000 apple became all the rage. There were straight up apple blends, apple with musk, apple with other fruits, apple with everything. Apple was flying off the shelves, and perfume lovers reveled in it. From there, the other fruits have come tumbling in. I have detected pineapple in places you would not suspect, cherry as a bass note, and orange reveling in patchouli. Fruit is a standard category now, and seems to be beloved by scent lovers everywhere. One surprising thing: the French seem to just LOVE red fruit fragrances.

Hop over to Possets and take a look at our listing for fruit scents, we are very good at them. Don’t stop there, there are representatives from 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-Foody/Gourmandy

foodyThe “foody” category of fragrances has always been with us, but until around the 1990s, its components were not very true to the things they were trying to recreate. The fragrance world did have a vanilla blockbuster in Shalimar but nothing of that caliber had hit the perfume scene until Thierry Meugler’s Angel, the it seemed as if the world exploded. Angel was supposed to have been a chocolate fragrance, but it certainly is perfumy and not like sniffing a chocolate bar. It was decried as being juvenile, too sweet, unsophisticated, twee but the sales were staggering and so the critics had to slink off and a new scent category was born.

Overnight, perfume houses sprung up and made a name for themselves by sporting perfumes which smelled just like: baking cookies, tomato leaves, peanut butter cups, bubble gum, sticky toffee pudding. and more. For a while in the early 2000s if it didn’t smell of something edible it was classified as “old lady” and was deemed a dud. That was truly turning the world upside down.

Now venerable houses like Dior, once so icily disdainful of “gourmandy” perfumes, rushed to bring out their versions of Miss Dior with a big splash of strawberry/sugary ingredient applied. There was a riptide of all sorts of bath and body products which followed suit, some of them very lovely. This was a brave new world, and new combinations sprouted up everywhere. The public was now living in the Golden Age of New Perfume, and our tastes would never be the same again.

Nowadays, there is no foody perfume you have to go without. Licorice, raspberry, bacon (!), honey, all are available to the hungry nose.

Hop over to Possets and take a look at our listing for foodies, we are very good at them. Don’t stop there, there are representatives from each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. Http:www.possets.com

Another Day At The Office…

Yes, we start with excellent ingredients, but we have had more than just a bit of experience, and it shows. Come on over for a visit and take a look for yourself. There is a “scent by note” link you can click on the left hand side of the screen and bring up all our delightful blends. I think you will be pleased. Http://www.possets.com

The Elements of Scent-Florals, The Mother Of Scents

floralFloral perfume was probably the very first sort of fragrance there was. Man has loved the smell of flowers forever and has always wanted to preserve it.

The first floral perfumes must have been created long ago, and we don’t have records of how they were made. But we do know that herbs were used as a scenting device, especially lavender (which was prized for perfuming sheets in Roman times). On a more exotic note, rose attars from the “mysterious East” were a wonder when they hit Europe, and they still remain very expensive, sought-after elements of perfumery.

But we live in an artificial world which insists on things like: consistency, low price, and many novelties. Enter the man-made floral elements. Among the first of the group were the ionones which were made from paper making byproducts! Ionones smell like violets and are perfectly charming. You cannot actually get the scent of violets out of violets BUT you can simulate it to a great faithfulness by the judicious use of ionones in a blend. You can make a dandy rose scent out of the skilled manipulation of ionones, and it does sneak into the scent of sweet olive with a bit of coaxing.

There are others: eugenol (the scent of carnations), amyl cinnamol (jasmine), and more. The things they have in common are that they are very predictable in every way and very cheap to produce as a rule. However, that does not mean that they are inferior to the scent of the real thing, in many cases they are downright superior! Since they are controlled, things like impurities and levels of components are strictly under control; so a rose scent which is supposed to have a lemony edge to it does have that lemony edge and not a more grapefruity edge.

Hop over to Possets and take a look at our listing for flotals. Don’t stop there, there are representatives from each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. Http:www.possets.com