Sunday, July 09, 2006

Organic Chemistry


Cow Dung. Varanasi, originally uploaded by Claude Renault.

My experimentations with patchouli continued. I decided that for now I was not happy with the rose and the patchouli. I separated the rose and mixed it with chocolate. Still not happy. The chocolate creates an amber-like effect. And though pleasant on its own, it’s not what I wanted. Not distinctive enough. Too similar to other perfumes I made already with amber and rose. I want to make something new.

Third trial with this dark theme comes – and now it’s pathcouli and chocolate all by themselves. All the patchoulis you can think of, making for an in-depth patchouli study. But not a hippie one. I really loved this!

But sometimes, the curiousity wins. And nasty things happen. One drop of dark, syrupy Vetiver from Indonesia did it. The earthy, dark chocolate turned at once into nothing but… a waft from distant cow-barn… Wait, it’s actually cattle dung! The same dung we used to fertilize our gardens and trees in my little agri-cultural (it was more culture than agri, and hence the separation). I would do my best to not get the dusty dung in my hair, and not to smell like it. But today, as I was wearing my mysterious concoction I was constantly drawn to smell my wrist, and it’s… cow dung again! Strange how out of context a scent may smell pleasing, thanks to its simple ability to bring back a memory so vividly. And we all know how memories feel and smell so much better from afar… I am positively certain that I prefer to mix patchouli, Vetiver and cocoa absolute rather than fertilize my garden with cow dung.

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10 Comments:

At July 10, 2006 4:57 AM, Blogger chaya ruchama said...

Dear Ayala-
Loved your thoughts! Fecal CAN be good, no? A definite love/hate relationship.
P.S.- love cow dung. Clean. Real. Beats putrefaction any day...

 
At July 10, 2006 4:05 PM, Blogger Zz said...

I am about organiced out, and we still have half a season to go......
The coco is so much fun to play with. I am sooooo addicted to it, and coffee abs......
I have a new coco with rose perfume in trials, but that's all i'm giving up, hehe.......
Sounds like your work table is like mine, covered with tiny vials, labeled and waiting for final approval.

Z........

 
At July 10, 2006 8:14 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Chaya, it's strange - but when it was in the bottle it didn't smell fecal anymore, just like soil... After a while the dung does turn into soil...Some scents may seem disagreeable to some but smell great to others. I, for instance, love the smell of goats, but I know many people who dislike it, and also dislike the aftertaste in goat's milk. I prerer goat dung on cow dung myself...

 
At July 10, 2006 8:22 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Zz, your crops must be amazing in farm! What are you harvesting now?

I love cocoa so much. And coffee. Roses go better with coffee IMHO (as in my Finjan). My work table is covered with about 8 bottles of newly concocted trials. Some are different from one another and some are different versions of the same thing... I try to make a mental blend first (so save on materials, that is), and it seems to work. But than I mix them in a larger quantity than perhaps I should - about 1/2oz to 1oz. Always something to learn and improve on...

As for the vetiver/patchouli/chocolate dung perfume, I am smart enough to know that I should wait to see if it stays like dung after it matures a bit. the Vetiver may turn out to be a good thing... Or not. We'll see. Chocolate and Patchouli together are wonderful though (but not in Angel!).

 
At July 11, 2006 5:11 AM, Blogger chaya ruchama said...

I adore goats, too. I was referring to my first encounter 34 years ago with the raw material at Fragonard. It's remarkable what dilution, combination, and moderation can do...

Be well !

 
At July 11, 2006 6:27 AM, Blogger Zz said...

Ah, yes the farm. we are just about finished with blueberry season and the blackberries are almost ready to be picked., and the garlic needs to be harvested and hung up to dry.

I usually work on a new perfume for several months, and also make different versions of the same thing.
Lately I have been interested in things like carrot seed eo, and fenugreek, tumeric.

I have added cocoa abs. to my vanilla infused
patchouli. It is wonderful, and I love vetiver. I am also hooked on fir balsam abs. and have been doing a lot with that lately.

 
At July 11, 2006 7:33 AM, Blogger Anya said...

Good idea, of course, Ayala, for the "wait". So much in a blend can morph over time, but truthfully, I think the dung aspect will always be there, peeping its stinky head out from time to time.

It's so weird how ambergris, with its faintly fecal smell can transform into a glisteny, silky only slightly-animalic scent. Have you found that your ambergris deepens a blend, ties all the layers together and never gives is animal-sourced origins away? ;-)

This all reminds me of a little pot of "Amber Sandalwood" paste I got over 35 years ago. I still have it. The Indians are not as adverse to dung scents as we are, and there is definitely a strong dung note in it. Some indian incenses also have a strong note of it. After all, they cook many meals over dung fuel.

Worse comes to worse, you can offer it for sale to India - LOL!

 
At July 11, 2006 11:41 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

I wouldn't mind if the fecal note will still be present. But I don't like a perfume being identical to dry powdered cow dung blowing in the breeze and filling up my nostrills!

Hopefully, time will soften this. If not, I may double up the antique patchouli and cocoa absolute. If that doesn't work, I will sell it to my East Indian friends (or trade it for amber and sandalwood paste!), if they like it, that is, and will start up a new bottle!

I only just started working with ambergris recently. I had to wait for a while until the tincture was ripe. It's very delicate and I am wondering what may happen if I increase the dilution... I love working with strong dilutions, as you know.

I added it to two compositions so far - and it did smoothen them up. It did not add a fecal note (to me ambergris smells lot like horse manuer!), which is indeed surprising. It does just what you described, Anya. I am just trying not to get addicted to it, because I don't know when will be the next time I will come across beach-harvested ambergris. I am trying to savour it for really special perfumes. But doesn't ambergris just make perfumes special? I am ever so tempted to add it to every single soliflore. I know it will do wonders to them!

 
At July 12, 2006 8:30 AM, Blogger Anya said...

Ayala, don't mess with the 3-4% ambergris dilution. It's proven, over centuries, that's all that's needed. When you add the dilution to a perfume blend, don't exceed a tiny amount there, either. It's a modifier, a blender.

Of course, if you want an ambergris scent all by itself, go for it, but I would keep that as a personal or bespoke scent ingrendient, since it's so expensive, and well, I can't think of the other reasons now, but after working with it for years, I know I adore it with virgin organic coconut oil, truly erotic it is, but otherwise I respect its duty as a synergistic, alchemical element and use it sparingly.

As to the goat at Fragonard, Chaya. They had tinctured goat hair?! I've never seen it in a book, or heard of a perfumer using it, and I adore it, and am using it in my Pan perfume (how appropriate ;-) You can read about it on my blog.

I'd love to hear more about your Fragonard experience. I sent Ayala some of my tinctured goat hair, and she loved it, goat-loving girl she is. I tell her she has to get a pair of scissors, make friends with a rutting billy goat, and snipp around the horns (scent glands) so she can get Pan-tastic herself!

 
At July 12, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Yes, Chaya, tell us more about your Fragonard goat experience! I believe I was a goat in my past life. And if not - hopefully I get a chance in the next one. Anya's goat tincture was a ray of light in my costus-diminishing world (because costus is a sensitizer - a dangerous one - and I wear it all the time; if I die one day unexpectadly blame it on costus).

The ambergirs works like magic. But I can't comment anymore because lack of experience here. As I said - I am worried about getting addicted as a perfumer to this scarce raw material...

 

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