Possets’ Halloween Collection Is Here

Bat by GoyaThe year has finally turned from summer to autumn and Possets has put away The Summer of Elegance and now is showing their fall line, The Scent of Night! We decided that peach was truly special for this time of year and too heavy for summer, it is combined with pumpkin and apple for a spectacular set of blends. Of course you will find several sorts of apple scent, and the excellent fall accompaniment, fallen leaves. Pumpkin? Of course.

This amazing line is wrapped in the theme of monsters which was a great challenge. One person on the forum challenged me to make a Sasquatch fragrance, it DID it! And it is animalic and very sexy.

The images were a pure pleasure to work with. I would like to be more detailed about them in later posts, and tell how they reinforced the scents I made. But may I draw your attention to the little detail image on this page. It is from our lead picture by Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters and is a little bat, drawn with just a few hatch lines on a copper plate. Goya captures the body, shape of the head, scallops of the wings, and even the tiny ears and tail of a bat with such ease as it goes about it’s earnest search for a nocturnal meal. The whole picture is filled with little masterpieces, take a look. And take a look at the Possets’ Halloween Line, I am sure you will love it.

Fondly, Fabienne from Possets Perfume

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!

Making a Medusa Headdress

Medusa headdressI got it in my head that I had to have this headdress. Who wouldn’t want to be the Medusa? Great for Halloween, fun for a winter hat. Great idea. It was by a woman called Ruth From Ohio. She gives the instructions BUT she has a knitting machine. I knit once every 17 years. This is going to be a slight problem. I think that I need to knit a watch cap and then cover it with the snakes. Yea that’t the ticket. So, I buy the yarn and start knitting snakes. I don’t know how to knit. That does not stop me. There were instructions and a clue, the clue was that this could be an “I Chord” for the snakes. I Chord? I Google, I find it. AKA and Idiot Chord…this is going to be easy.

It’s going to snow. In Cincinnati that means we are all going to die. OK, I go out and buy all the groceries at Fresh Thyme. Then I go to Joanne Fabrics on the way home and buy two skeins of camo yarn, the double ended needles and I am set.

The snow comes
We get about 5″
Are We Dead?

Not dead, but it’s slick out there. I stay home and do computer work. I shovel the snow. I make dinner. Then I start playing with the yarn.

I start on one snake. I am I Chording along. Learning. The snake looks very serpentine due to the camo yarn. I am enchanted. I learn how to make the snake wider in the jaw, and narrow at the snout. I finish the first snake. He looks a bit lumpy, some of the knitting is too loopy. His scale pattern is a bit off BUT HE WORKS! Can’t have everything perfect off the bat. We are in business. I start snake #2. going much better. He is looking Pretty Good.

We watch House of Cards
I work though it snows
The snake grows.

Now I do the cap upon which to attach the snakes. Friends, I get the idea I will need about 50 snakes. I am finished with 1.5.

Snakes might have to have pipecleaners in them to make them writhey.

I have an idea of how I want it to look.

Moar later.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Deep Winter Collection now. Musks, resins, florals (tis the season), foodies and the new category Dry. Peep in on the ever changing offerings at Possets.  So, click here and go exploring!


What Do I Do With The Retired Possets?

Musks not tusks.One of my clients asked me what I do with the Possets that have to retire and are not chosen to be part of the Permanent Collection. Good question, here is the answer:

Dear XXXX-You asked me what I do with the retired Possets after their Collection comes down. …Here is the answer. About two years ago, I realized I had run out of space in my office for all of the retired Possets. I looked around my neighborhood (which is a place where they do a lot of light manufacturing) and there was a climate controlled storage company fairly close. I boxed up the retired Possets and rented a space and they are kept there in the dark at the same temp until they are brought back at Retour. At Retour, I have to rent a bit more space to set up alphabetically, I bring back all of the retired Possets from storage and start filling orders. Everything gets smelled before it goes to you, and if anything has gone “off” or is past its prime or has weakened, I stop and remake the blend. Most of the time, the oils just get better with age.

At the end of Retour, everything is packed up and re-stored to wait for the next Retour. As you know, Retours happen on a whim and have no schedule. They last for 2 weeks and are a real madhouse during that time. We have not had a Retour for about two years now. The name Retour comes from the French, “to return”. I hope that answers your question. It was a good one. Fondly, Fabienne

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Deep Winter Collection now. Musks, resins, florals (tis the season), foodies and the new category Dry. Peep in on the ever changing offerings at Possets.  So, click here and go exploring!


Spikenard-The Anointment Of The Magdalene

Orientals ImageToday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. It is Ash Wednesday and with it comes quite a few arcane rituals involving unusual items, many of them scented. One of the most famous of all the Lenten perfumes is spikenard.

Spikenard became famous because Mary Magdalene brings an entire jar of it to Jesus and in front of all, she anoints his FEET with a small fortune of it! Spikenard was hideously expensive because it comes only from the Himalayas (Nepal in particular) so you can imagine how drawn-out and dangerous a trek it was to get it from the foot of Mount Everest to the Levant. It is distilled from the root of a valerian-like plant, much like vetiver.

That is all fine and well, but the question you might be more interested in is: how does it smell? I decided to find out what Spikenard was like, being a perfumer, and bought a small sample from one of my natural suppliers. Sure enough, it was from Nepal; and, as usual, I was in a tearing hurry and dabbed some on the back of my hand to make my snap judgment of it. “UR-BALL” was my disappointed conclusion. After running it under my nose I was utterly unimpressed. “Maybe it was wonderful back in the old days when no one could wash much, your clothes stuck to you, and everyone was pretty poor and could not afford anything but the cheapest perfumes. We are so much more sophisticated now, thank goodness,” I thought disparagingly. I put the little vial of herb smelling goo away.

Today, because it is Ash Wednesday, I thought I would give spikenard another try. I had opened my naturals cabinet and the vial was lying on its side waiting for me. I took off the top, put a small amount on the back of my hand, recorked it and thought,”There HAS to be something alluring about this stuff. It was just too expensive to be ho-hum herbal,” I sat at the keyboard waiting for some magic to happen.

Then I forgot about the spikenard and got busy answering my e-mails and trying to fix the usual little bugs which infest my software. And all of a sudden I got a whiff of something WONDERFUL. It was, well, divine. It was green, surely, but there was a particle of cumarin to it (a greenish vanilla), then there was a definite tinge of men’s very expensive hair pomade. There was something about it very masculine, and a stinky little backlash which some people find fetching, so it could go from: feet–>mint–>green vanilla—>green–>expensive pomade–>dense green boxwood bushes where a handsome man has just walked. To find all this beauty, one had to be quiet, one had to be aware, and the oil had to be rubbed on your skin and heat up to combine with your chemistry and then this fabulous fragrance would erupt, spread, and stay on you. It seems to be a base note, it lingers for hours. It is very mutable, it changes from the moment you breathe in, as the vapors fill your sinuses, as the apex of your breath occurs, on the start of the exhale, and the end of the exhale. This is pretty constant, each breath brought the change-wheel of spikenard.

I must say that now I am in love. I think it would make a wonderful companion with galbanum. I just have to tear myself away from this shimmering green jewel long enough to compose something.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Deep Winter Collection now. Musks, resins, florals (tis the season), foodies and the new category Dry. Peep in on the ever changing offerings at Possets.  So, click here and go exploring!


Fitness Myths Which Need Debunking-Toning and Spot Reduction

VigorI wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to tone their muscles (not develop them, mind you, but just tone them *prissy face*). Then if I had a dollar for every time I was asked how to “spot reduce” an errant tummy, flabby arms, or runaway rump I would have a fortune.

People! Listen! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TONING YOUR MUSCLES. You can work your muscles, you can develop them but what is toning? No one has ever been able to explain that to me. If you are a woman, and you go to a gym, and you use the machines or free weights to work your muscles, you will not get huge manly muscles. You could not get huge manly muscles even if you wanted them. Mother Nature has decreed that you may not have manly muscles unless you use steroids and then you will regret that decision. You will, at best, have less jiggly arms, a flatter tummy, a rounder tighter butt, and a nice looking back and legs to die for BUT you will not ever under any circumstances look like Charles Atlas and THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TONING.

If you ever say to anyone who knows anything at a gym, that you want to “tone” your muscles you will be the recipient of a vacant stare, the person will turn around as if you said nothing and walk away. You have just committed a faux pas of mammoth proportions and you will be branded a hopeless case. So, spare yourself and don’t do that.

Next, you cannot spot reduce any part of your body. You can exercise muscle groups but you cannot isolate one muscle and reduce it, one part of your body and reduce it. Diets will reduce your entire body. It is an illusion to imagine that you can shrink your tummy while leaving the rest of you as is. You can’t. That is just the way Mother Nature has decreed you exist. Sorry, if you are unhappy with the size of your ________ you will have to lose weight all over or learn to live with it an embrace it’s proportions.

The truth hurts, but the truth will set you free. Be free, my friend. Don’t fret over what you can’t have, enjoy what you can have.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Autumn 2014 Collection now. Based on Haunting Music, the collection was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. So, click here and go exploring!


Fitness Myths Which Need Debunking-Muscles Turning Into Fat

VigorThe other day, a normally sensible person solemnly told me that if I developed good strong muscles I had to work out for the rest of my life because if you stop working out muscle turns to fat.

Really? No, it does not work that way. Not.

Here is what happens in real life: if you develop muscles they remain as muscles. If you stopped working out, the muscles would atrophy and get smaller and flabbier. You would not magically develop fat in place of the muscles.

If you work out and you stop working out but you continue to eat as much as you did when you were working out, the extra calories you took in would magically turn into fat. Fat comes from too much food.

Exercise does not cause fat to accumulate about your body. Muscles do not magically turn into fat. Fat does not turn into muscle.

Oh, and muscle weighs more than fat but fat accumulates more easily. So if part of you seems to be growing and the scale is inching up, think “fat” first until you prove to yourself it’s muscle.

Now you know. One myth busted.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Autumn 2014 Collection now. Based on Haunting Music, the collection was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. So, click here and go exploring!


Better Fitness Drinks!

victoryOK, I thoroughly trashed the “fitness” drinks so popular out there. Take that, Gatorade! So, what do I drink when I am hauling around the 32 oz. Nalgene cask on the gym floor? Water? Well…I get so very bored with water. I need something to perk me up and want to drink more BUT I don’t want the calories or extra caffeine of “sports” drinks. What do I do? There are loads of great options, better than sugary drinks, for sure.

The first thing you have got to do is brake yourself of the habit of having to have something sweet in your drink. If you can get off the sugar/artificial sweetener cycle, then you will be 10000% better off. You can enjoy simpler things which won’t contribute to hunger or fatigue. I just got tired of trying to find an artificial sweetener which wasn’t too sweet or too scary. Even stevia would get out of hand or be mixed with goodness knows what. Buying sweeteners, storing them, and getting tired of them was a constant go-round for me. I finally just said,
“I am giving them up!” and that was a great leap forward for me. What do I recommend for a non-sweet workout drink which rehydrates you, isn’t too expensive, you won’t get tired of, and is actually good for you?

Try squeezing a lemon in your water. This is a wonderfully refreshing alternative to artificial flavors, it’s much cheaper than sports drinks, and it’s far better for you. Tastes great.

I got into tea in a big way. I used to hate tea, it was tannic and blah and not half as exciting as coffee. One day, I decided to try putting several green teabags in a big jug of water in my fridge, along with a couple of camomile teabags, and peach passion. I let it steep overnight and put it in my water bottle. Eureka! It was great! That slight puckery tartness  hit the spot after a heavy exertion. Instead of making me want to sit down and do nothing, I wanted to get back up and get at it! I was nicely hydrated and ready for action. So, green tea and other natural flavors is a quick and easy way to make a sports drink which will do you some good. Green tea has a lot of antioxidents, and if you don’t like the grassy flavor, just add something which is more flavorful to make the brew really good. Lemon Zinger, Chai, Vanilla Tea, Rioboos, and mint are all flavors which come to mind.

So, don’t settle for “sports drinks” or only water, live a little! Tea based fitness drinks are easy to make and good for you while making you feel like a million!

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Autumn 2014 Collection now. Based on Haunting Music, the collection was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. So, click here and go exploring!


"Fitness" Drinks


Fitness drinks? Ha ha ha!

We are constantly pelted with the latest miracle sports drink. There are protein powders which promise to pump you up with no work on your part, just drink and be strong. Then there are refreshing drinks which are filled with energy and wetter than water.

Poo! Most of this stuff is swill. There, I said that. Here is the truth: protein powder on its own won’t do a thing for you and watch those calories! You have to put in the gym time and make sure you are not taking in more calories than you are expending in your workout. Mixing protein powders with milk will add the calories up along with the protein. Mixing with water is pretty awful. Personally, I prefer to eat protein rich foods and leave the high priced protein/whey/magic powders on the shelf. So far that has been a good strategy for me, and I am a richer woman for that, too.

Next, any “energy” drink must be regarded with a jaundiced eye. The energy comes from massive amounts of sugar/high fructose corn syrup/or any other euphemism for sugar you care to name. You don’t need sugar. It does give you a temporary and weak energy boost BUT it is high in calories and will go straight to fat if you don’t burn it off. There is no getting around it, that is where it goes. Alas, you know that but you don’t want to think about it, do you? Sorry, deal with the facts and you won’t have to deal with the fat.

Energy drinks also add a lot of caffeine as well. I would rather get mine from a cup of coffee. I deeply mistrust the amount of caffeine in energy drinks, and since it’s so cheap to put into things, it’s another cheap money maker for them. Too expensive for what you get and, I will say it, laced with sugar and therefore fattening.

Oh, and the “low calorie” energy drinks? They rely only on the caffeine and contain artificial sweeteners. They are usually horribly sweet, in the fake way of fake sweeteners. Dump them, they are not good for you. Water is many times better!

You need to hydrate in the gym. Just concentrate on keeping yourself watered up and you will be just fine. You will also have to buy and carry around less stuff, which is a good thing. There is no quick fix and your body is one place where all the input is flawlessly tallied up, as is the output and you get to live it. So, just hit the water hard, leave the processed drinks alone and I know you will be better off.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Autumn 2014 Collection now. Based on Haunting Music, the collection was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. So, click here and go exploring!


Amber-What Is It?

Orientals ImageAmber is a great ingredient in many perfumes. It’s very feminine, almost foody, very smooth, not quite vanilla, will beautify just about any blend in a deep honey-like way. A lot of people think it is liquefied amber (the semi-precious fossilized resin) but it isn’t. Here is what amber is…

There are some “recipes” in perfumery, and amber is one of them. Think of this like “my recipe for red velvet cake” or “my recipe for Green Goddess Salad”. Lots of people make amber from scratch, but the results vary wildly, some are very sweet like honey, some are dry and are like a dry martini. They are all ambers, and making one and choosing the right one for a blend will make or break that blend.

Classically, amber is a combination of benzoin, labdanum, and vanilla (only natural vanilla though). There are (of course) as many recipes as there are ambers and they all give different results. People might substitute tonka for vanilla, vetiver for labdanum, frankincense for benzoin or put them with the base ingredients for a deeper and more complex blend.

Most perfumers use other people’s ambers, there isn’t any sense in re-inventing the wheel. That can become a problem, though, if your supplier goes out of business…if your supplier changes his recipe…or if your supplier decides to increase his price so that it becomes crazy. Of course, making your own is a risky business as you are at the mercy of your raw materials suppliers (these ingredients can change depending on weather conditions or the greed of the supplier).

Making your own is great but you need to have a lot of time to experiment and come up with your best recipes. I make ambers but I don’t say it’s an easy thing to do…it isn’t. I have had to abandon several because of ingredient changes. That does break your heart…no one is going to help you either, it just happens. If you hit it, though, it is exhilarating!

I find that the most dangerous thing about making an amber is the temptation to make it too universally pleasing, and therefore bland. Keep on pumping that vanilla in there and you are going to become Hello Kitty Purr-fume. Not enough and too much labdenum, you are into Dawn of the Living Goth territory. Too much benzoin? A bit volatile and not attractive. And that is about the ingredients which are the “classics”. With amber, I find that you can blow it in hundreds of ways. Don’t be bold, be wise; that’s the motto I have to use for making an amber. It is more difficult and it’s painstaking, and makes me fidget BUT when you hit it, you know it.

Amber goes with so many things. It is an adornment to florals, a dear friend to patchouli, it dances with citrus, and in large doses it can enhance musk like nothing else can do. But again, it’s all about harmony…too much becomes bland and too little and it’s nothing special.

Here are some perfumes I have made with amber, and I dearly love them all no matter how difficult they were to make: Huile of Fortune, Dominions, Seraphim, Howl, Chocolate Incense, Death, Dies Irae, Fabienne, Hatshepsut, Hophead, Oiche Shamhna, Silver Amber, Mistress of Power, Skeletons’ Ball, and Twee (to name a few). Take a look at them at Possets.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Halloween Collection: Haunting Music 2014 Collection now. The Haunting Music Collection celebrates fabulous spooky music by way of perfume.