The Elements of Scent

meltbabyYou have heard of the Elements of Style, I think we are due for a tour around the Elements of Scent. We have not evolved a scent vocabulary or grammar yet, and I think that is a pity. This might be because everyone smells things in a different way, or that scent is not as easily classified as color is. But I suspect that no one really tried to make scent into a logical progression of things in an orderly way, like the Periodic Table of the Elements based on atomic weight.

There are a lot of ways we could approach this task: by sweet to tart, from natural to man-made, from old to new. I think that doing it as a family might be a good way to approach this initially. I don’t mean to be weighty about it, and there is no chemistry test you are going to have to take at the end of it, but let’s take a trip through the scent neigborhood and see what is where. It might surprise you and you might find out a thing or two. I am going to follow the Possets “Scent By Note” list on my website. And the first one of the families is: Aquatics. Stay tuned, this is going to get interesting.

In the meantime, hop over to Possets and take a look at our brand new Yule listing for 2015. There are representatives from each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer. This year our Yule theme is Portraits and we are offering free shipping on all orders through December. Now is the time to stock up and give your gifts (we always have a great presentation, perfect for gift giving right out of the shipping envelope!

Bad Lavender Is Bad…

janusangelsWe all love lavender, but for the love of Pete…PLEASE stop with the amateur lavender blends made by professionals. Please. There is nothing in the world as cloying as a badly made lavender blend, and it is subtle and revolting. Let me explain.

Two nights ago I was at a Black Friday sale at about 11 p.m. I was standing in line by a display of Obsession and all its spin-offs. There was one for men and I thought I would try it out and see if my husband would like it. I sprayed it on, and here is the “magic” of bad lavender. At first I was charmed, but this sensation was quickly followed by stomach turning revulsion. I wiped my hand off and hoped I would not get the nausea I usually get when I encounter Bad Lavender. This was Bad Lavender.

Most people think of lavender as being one of the eternally upbeat and healthy elements of smell. No, it’s not. If you are using a substandard type of lavender (and there are a million grades of it from a plethora of places) it can be just about the most disgusting stuff you can smell. So, inferior grade is a big culprit, probably the biggest one. Counter intuitively, I find that the lavenders which tend to cumarin (vanilla) scents are the most tolerable, and those which tend to the middle area (between vanilla and turpentine) to be the least.

There are times when I have smelled someone’s earnest attempt at perfumery, especially Natural perfumery, and they are always experimenting with lavender and they always seem to make the same perfume. It carries the same characteristics: really nice at first followed by a ghastly turn off. It can be great mixed with: pepper, vanilla, sandalwood, and the like but look out….it can go bad really quick. To be fair, as I have alluded to, even the big perfume houses make a dreadful concoction at times, and I suspect that it is due to inferior ingredients or even using artificial lavender scent/simulacra. Ew, just ew.

So, I am convinced, lavender is one place you don’t want to skimp. Actually, perfumery is not the place for bargain basement things which twist your hard won recipes into a mess within 2 minutes. It is 100% about how your brain perceives it but the goodness of the components have a lot to do with that.

Possets is famous for its wonderful lavender blends. 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 lavender blends. I think you will be pleased. Http://

Going Back To The One You Love…

Madame X of course. Recently I got a yen to smell a favorite perfume of mine from long ago, Or Noir by Pascal Morabito. Much to my delight I found that a site sold it. With some fear, I paid my money and ordered it. The bottle looked legit and it arrived last night from France.

I opened it up and the bottle was indeed right, I took of the top and sprayed it. Here is where the strange things happened. It was Or Noir, all the notes were there and the whole thing but it was now composed of several accords which came and went with some pleasure and some puzzlement. That never happened with Or Noir before, which was as tight as it could be, no accords peeling off and commanding your attention for 10 seconds before they turned into something very ordinaire. Then I had to say that it was Or Noir, and something insinuated that it was something far better than Or Noir, and I must believe it! For a moment I chased that thing, it was beautiful in a cheap and modern way, in a contrived way. Then it vaporized and I was left with something like a uni-dimensional Or Noir, a changeling which looks like the original but you know in your soul it is different.

This stuff was strong and it’s life cycle is tremendous. I think that to get it out of my jacket, I will have to burn the jacket! I reeked of Or Noir all night long, through my sleep, and as I staggered in to drink my coffee this morning. It had gone from an imitation of my old friend to an acquaintance who had vastly overstayed their welcome.

What went wrong? The European Union has waged war on perfumers. Some of the most benign ingredients have been declared off limits by the EU and cannot be used by perfumers, one of those is patchouli (thought to make the wearer more sensitive to sunlight…thought to be, by whom I do not know), and there are lots of others. In order to make up for this ghastly loss, there are several “green” chemical companies who are trying to simulate or duplicate the smells which are now “off limits”. Good luck with that. It never works. Honestly, you can get close to duplicating something like patchouli, but you are not going to make it exact, and even if you do, the resulting mix with anything else is at best unpredictable. So, if patchouli mixes well with a Bulgarian lavender, fake patchouli might not combine so well because it is not the same chemical mix.

Then, there is the ugly reality that when an perfume first comes out, the maker is glad to add expensive ingredients to it as the sales will be brisk. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s different and so money is lavished on it! But once it is new no longer, the cheapskates march in and substitute more cost effective fake jasmine for real, rose for real, and whatever special accord now becomes something far more bargain priced.

Alas, that is why we are bereft of some of the best perfumes ever made. My greatest loss is Mitsouko by Guerlain. I tried it, it’s hot asphalt now. I will never buy it again.

These are the things which force a woman to become a perfumer, my friends.

Oh, and the voting is over at Possets. Zombie, Min-Min, and Ouija are the winners. The others stay around for a short time, so catch them now! No overlap. See for yourself.

Coming Blog Post

sample6blackI am going to be writing a very difficult blog post about one of my most deeply felt points in perfumery. I hope you tune in for this. I recently bought a bottle of Or Noir by Pascal Morabito and realized something quite profound. It didn’t make me happy but it certainly sobered me up. So, stay tuned. The piece does have something in it for everyone.

Fondly, Fabienne from Possets Perfume

The New Slider On My Blog

Now you can enjoy a slide show on my blog! Here is a nifty exhibition of the latest packaging, photos done by Master Photographer John Engleman, Professor at Antonelli College here in Cincinnati. He is a wizard with product shots, and has made my Possets really sing through his expertise. Just click on the first image for the show. Click anywhere on it to return to this post.

While your at it, don’t forget to pick up your favorites from Possets Perfume from the Halloween Collection. They are going to vanish around Black Friday and there will be no overlap with Yule.

Perfumer in Belgrade

eid_03Fascinating story about a perfumer who is struggling and doing well.

Read it, it’s captivating.

DO, hop over to Possets for the wonderful Halloween perfumes in the Scent of Night Collection. See for yourself.

Wait For It!!!

sample6blackWe are getting our ingredients together to give to our Samples Lady to put together for you. These are the winners from the Halloween Collection which you just got through voting on. The Winners were: Zombie, Min-Min, and Ouija. Alas, I don’t have them put together yet and so won’t be able to let you ask for them until I get them back all assembled and ready to go. Sorry, but it takes a bit of doing to get that aspect of the business together. But, they are in process, and you have a zillion other possible sample to choose from now. I will announce when the new samples are ready for you. In the meantime, take a look at the last days of the Halloween collection and buy the ones you want now. They won’t be around forever and I am planning on taking them down on Black Friday. No overlap with the Yules, so get your Halloween Possets now. Fondly, Fabienne from Possets

LORD! So Many Good Things!!!!

20120324-145923.jpg…About our “hometown” of Cincinnati. There is a boatload of stuff I didn’t know, and a boatload I did. So, I used to think anyone would be nuts to want to visit here, now I know that anyone who didn’t want to put Cincinnati on their list of places to visit is nuts.

I used to take this for granted. Things have changed considerably. When I moved Possets from the Pendleton to East End, that was a great idea…we have gone from “East End? Who wants to go there?” to “Oh, yea, that is the home of Blank Slate Brewery.”

Such vitality in small cities like this, and you can still get from one end to the other in less than an hour!

Here is a great set of examples of where to go here: check it out and have fun!

Oh, and the voting is over at Possets. Zombie, Min-Min, and Ouija are the winners. The others stay around for 2 more weeks, so catch them now! No overlap. See for yourself.

5 Things You Should Never Do With Perfume!

fallingHere are a few things you should not do with your treasured fragrances, trust me on this:

  1. 1. Don’t try to duplicate a perfume you loved and lost. Just don’t. Why? It will never ever smell identical to the fragrance you loved. Accords and ingredients come and go and some can never be brought back, so the basic building blocks of your perfume may be gone forever. Just remember it with fondness and find a new favorite. I do this with Faberge’s Kiku, gone forever and loved forever.

2. Don’t wear your favorite perfume to death. Everyday wear turns even the most fascinating fragrance ho-hum, and quickly, too. Confine your best wear to once a week so retains the power to tickle your nose. I did this with Miss Balmain, a great fragrance but became vin ordinaire after about a week of constant wear.

3. Don’t save your favorites for the super special occasion either, that is once a decade at the holidays. You are trying to keep the balance of being delighted with the scent not tired of it. If you are going to err, though, wearing less frequently is better than overdoing it, just as long as it does not go bad in the bottle. Pascal Morabito’s Or Noir was one I saved and saved, then it turned bad on me.

4. Don’t store your perfumes in the sunlight on your dressing table, or anywhere else in the light. Light quickly degrades many ingredients, like the citrus oils, and so it will turn harsh and become useless very quickly. Dark cool places and colored bottles will preserve your perfumes best. I did this to Joy by Jean Patou, bad idea but the bottle looked so pretty.

5. Don’t mistrust your nose. If it smells “off” or “flat” it’s bad. Big perfume houses have the disconcerting habit of producing different grades of their favorite perfumes and selling them at the standard high price. Which one did this to me? Shalimar. I have bought a bottle at super high price only to have it be the ugly cousin of Shalimar. It was real, it was not a fake but it was not Shalimar. I got a reality check from not one but three Shalimar lovers on the bad bottle and sure enough, it was an inferior version of it. If you get a bad bottle, take it back to the place you got it and complain. They know it’s probable and  you will get your money back. Nordstrom was kind enough to refund me, the clerk knew what I was talking about.

There  you have it, the unvarnished 5 don’ts of perfume. If you are looking for something to DO, hop over to Possets for the wonderful Halloween perfumes in the Scent of Night Collection. See for yourself.

It’s Election Day-Vote for Your Favorite 3 Halloween Possets

Vote for your favorite 3 Halloween Possets and they will become a permanent part of the catalog!

In the meantime, hop over to Possets for the wonderful Halloween perfumes in the Scent of Night Collection. See for yourself.