Sunday, October 07, 2012

Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon (September 23)

Coinciding with the 6th annual LA Chocolate Salon, TasteTV has organized their 2nd fragrance event this year - 1st Artisan Fragrance Salon in Los Angeles. The event took place at the east wing of the Civic Center auditorium in Santa Monica, where hundreds of perfume and chocolate aficionado congregated from all parts of southern California for an all-encompassing fragrance and flavour experience.

This perfumista got everything under his belt
Although primarily a consumer show, the salon attracted industry professionals such as suppliers and retailers. Budding perfumers as well as students and hobbyists also came to the show to connect with perfumers and other like-minded individuals, as well as search for additional perfumery training opportunities.

The unique thing about this show was in its diversity, independence and free spirited creativity that is is such a defining characteristic of West Coast (which is home to all except for one perfumer participating in the show) - and clearly reflected in the aesthetics of the new brands that debuted that weekend.

The salon was a great opportunity for emerging brands to debut their line in a supportive environment where the audience is clearly passionate about their craft! And there is no better opportunity as well to network with others in the industry, and draw inspiration from their experience and expertise. Several promising new perfumers arrived at the show, and their olfactory aesthetic as well as the visual presentation of their line and their booth is evidence that the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity!

SANAE Intoxicants - debut appearance with Sanae Barber
Sanae Barber's eponymous line is one of the surprises of the salon - as I've met Sanae a few years back in Los Angeles, and had no idea she was interested in becoming a perfumer! Sanae Intoxicants perfumes are all-natural, and have a deep, dense, earthy tonalities with exotic Indian attars in the compisition that give them an unusual edge. They also bear unusual name, such as Smoking Rose, Meadow Slumber and Burning Ocean (pictured below).

SANAE Intoxicants Burning Ocean 
Below are Sanae's testers, from which she placed drops of perfumes onto glass bowls to allow show's spectators to experience the scent before applying on the skin.

 SANAE Intoxicants

David of Imaginary Authors
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Imaginary Authors is Josh Meyer's new fragrance line proves that Portlandians's creativity does not end at pickling every possible organism and stamping birds on every object of desire.

Imaginary Authors
Each perfume has a story behind it, of course - an obscure uhm, imaginary American author (and usually long dead), and the story behind a completely fictional novel they wrote, serving as the inspiration for the brand's original line of fragrances. What caught my nose was The Cobra and The Canary - a modern, dry leather-tobacco scent with notes of "Lemon, Orris, Tobacco Flowers, Leather, Hay Fields & Asphalt".

PK Perfume
Another new line at the salon, using uncommon combinations of raw materials - synthetics and naturals, including some fascinating oils from South Africa.

Paul of PK Perfumes

Parfums Lalun - Maggie Mahboubian
Maggie Mahboubian was born and raised in Persia, and has been concocting body care and cosmetics based on recipes that women in her family would concoct for their use in the hammam for many generations. Her love for pure, simple aromatics has lead her to studying perfumery as well and developing 5 distinctive all-natural perfumes that will take you from sunrise to late night: Aqua di Calltiris (fresh citrus water), Phenomene Vert (herbaceous), La Lune de Miel (spicy and honeyed), Qajar Rose (powerhouse of saffron and rose) and Blance de Bois (abstract woods).

Parfum Lalun sample sets
Lalun's sample packages are a giveaway to Maggie's past life as an architect - little paper structures that cleverly hold her 5 fragrances. 

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Signs

Sherri Sebastian is the chief perfumer at Fragrance West, and also has her very own line of fragrances and scented body products. At the show, Sebastian Signs launched Purusa Naturals - an all natural (base and fragrance) perfume gel based on patented green technology that transforms Argan oil into a smooth gel. Each fragrance—Root, Petalum, Seed, Leaf—was named after the part of the plant from which the oils were derived.  Purusa is Sanskrit for ‘pure consciousness’ and Seed has become a personal favourite, featuring carrot seed in rather unusual way. Carrot seed seems to be a recurring theme at the salon, which you will discover in a moment...

Photo courtesy of COGNOSCENTI

Cognoscenti debuted at the Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco a few months back, so it's still bright and fresh and deserves the spotlight! It garnered many awards then, and this salon was another great opportunity to showcase this unusual perfume line of three distinct fragrances. Interestingly, the nose behind it, Dannielle Sergent, is also an architect (or was till recently...). And while her outer packaging is rather brisk and minimalist, her fragrances bear a structure that is incomparable to anything else I've ever smelled. Abandoning almost entirely the centre core of floral notes,  the perfume have a unique dymanic of weaving in and out of phases unexpectedly, always keeping you on your toes. They refuse to be categorized or pinned down, and likewise their names betrays very little if at all of their enigmatic creator. No. 1 is strange, green and fig-tea-like; No. 16 begins like leather and tomato leaf and ending on a white musk accord; and No. 19, subtitled "warm carrot" won my heart with it's unusual core of carrot seed, revealing a surprising beauty of an often overlooked raw material.

Photo courtesy of COGNOSCENTI


Amanda of A Perfume Organic
Amanda Walker's line was distinctive not only because it's entirely organic; but also because it's the only line that came all the way from back east - from Manhattan! Amanda's 5 perfumes are all oil based roll-ons that are  beautifully packaged in seed-embeded boxes and printed bottles  - Urban Organic, Green, White Magik and Mejica. She's also created a new scent in her Perfumed Wine Trio - Rosé. The line is certified by USDA, OTCO and PETA.

A Perfume Organic: Mejica

JoAnne Bassett
From southern California, JoAnne Bassett has years of experience in aromatherapy and as an educator and natural perfumer. Her French Collection has many beautifully made, classic constructed scents from naturals only. 
For the salon, JoAnne created Venus Amber eau de parfum - with a musky, spicy, amber accord and a soft powdery, drydown of vanilla and benzoin.

Mario with House of Matiarch
House of Matriatch won Best in Salon and for a good reason! This elaborate display stood out, and being a traveler from far away myself I can't even imagine how Christi Meshell has brought this entire show with her on the road!
Christi has also created perfumed fans that she gave to all the perfumers participating in the show (You'll find a few pics of us posing with them along this post...).

Especially for the salon, Christi created 4 decadent chocoalte-inspired perfumes: Cocosigaro (inspired by luxurious Italian after-dinners cigars), Cocoblanc (white chocoalte with nuances of coconut), Cocorosa (chocolate and rose) and Cocosenesis (chocolate and orange).

House of Matriarch

Lisa Fong - Artemisia Perfume
Artemisia Natural Perfume has a definitive, complex yet light characteristic that's elusive and non-conformist. For the LA Artisan Fragrance Salon, Lisa Fong has created a new perfume for the show: Saveur d'Abricot. It's surprisingly animalic, with notes of apricot accord and costus that adorn a very high quality osmanthus absolute.

Team Fong at Artemisia Perfume

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery
Laurie Stern, the sweet lady of Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery has a way with the bees, cats, flowers and her displays shows it all too well! Every bottle is beautifully packaged and decorated with fabric pansies, ribbons and collectible labels. Her newest creations that launched last weekend is titled "Fleur de Caramel". Yum!

You might also like to know, that Laurie is very passionate about animal rights, and does not use animal materials, or materials that were tested on animals.

Gary at Velvet and Sweet Pea's table
Gary (Laurie's husband) watching the Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery table before the show begins.

Roxana & Greg
Artist, aromatherapist and perfumer Roxana Vila lives in Santa Monica, where she concocts her all-natural botanical perfumes also from tinctured indigenous plants (as in oak for her Q perfume, and desert sage for Chaparal). She's also an avid bee keeper, and she and her husband, artist Greg Spalenka, brought their own bee hive with them to the show!

Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Roxana Illuminated Perfume
Roxana's new perfume Chiaroscuro, with jasmine flowers from her garden, which she especially tinctured for this perfume. 

Ayala Moriel Parfums
From Vancouver, Canada, Ayala Moriel Parfums brought the new perfume Etrog Oy de Cologne, whose fruit (California grown!) adorned the minimalist table display; and salon special preview of Treazon, Ayala Moriel's "killer tuberose" due to launch 12.12.12. Other items of interest were the new Vetiver Racinettes soap, fragrant chocolate bars, and real citron frtuit from a farmer in California, that spectators could "scratch and sniff" and compare to the Etrog fragrance.

Etrog display

Sarah Horowitz Parfums
Sarah Horowitz Parfums brought their traveling "Fragrance Journey" organ with various perfume notes which are used for creating their custom perfume. Each month, Sarah Horowitz creates a limited edition perfume for that month only, and September's limited edition that was dedicated to the salon's chocolate theme -  Chocolate Sunset.

Kedra of Opus Oils
Kedra Hart - the perfumer behind old Holywood chic perfumery Opus Oils, and creator of Eau Pear Tingle, Tiger Powers series, and many more. Some of her scents are all naturals, and others are mixed media. Opus Oils' Jitterbug Perfume Parlour in Hollywood is a destination for perfume lovers, and you can also take workshops there as well as experience the perfume parlour teas, scented with floral absolutes.

Opus Oils

Luckyscent is a leading niche and hard to find online fragrance store, with a brick-and-mortar spot on Beverly Boulevard (a must visit place for perfume lovers!) called Scent Bar. They were at the show with some more established European and North American niche and artisan brands such as Andy Tauer, Histoire de Parfums, Mona di Orio and Keiko Mecheri (who is also based in Los Angeles). 

Photo courtesy of smellbent

Los Angeles based SmellBent launched their new series Sunset People at the show.  It's all about disco and the fabulous nightlife. The packaging and the display is colourful and whimsical, playing on the "mad scientist" cliche to its fullest in a most fun, vibrant way.

Photo courtesy of smellbent

Ellen Covey is an orchid grower, and lives just south of me in Seattle. During the salon, Olympic Orchids launched Sonnet XVII - a collaborative effort between perfumer Ellen Covey and Michelyn Camen, Editor-in Chief of CaFleureBon, as described here. It is a fragrant tribute to the love poems of the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). Notes feature citron, cubeb, white champa flower, mastic, spikenard, oakmoss, Haitian vetiver, Bourbon vanilla, woods and musks, and a touch of natural ambergris tincture.


Photo credit: Sophie Lee

40notes also hailed from Portland, and is no hipster! Miriam Varledzis is an indie perfumer with a long career in the fragrance industry as a fragrance evaluator and in other capacities (and before that she was an architect - are you noticing a pattern in the North American indie perfume community?). For this show, Miriam brought a special limited edition perfume, Crystalline Hyacinth Limited Edition perfume, that she created last spring.

"Hyacinth is elusive, at once fleeting and headstrong.  To me it is Spring everlasting, which makes it more mysterious than innocent", says Miriam. She created it in winter/spring 2012 working with real-life hyacinth flowers as an inspiration and reference. The notes include natural hydro-distilled green lemon, hydro-distilled grapefruit, and nuances of white lily.

The perfumers showing at the salon were also given TasteTV Awards, and 40notes was a 2nd time gold medal winner for "Best in Salon"! Other lines that were receiving many awards are the new brand COGNOSCENTI and also Sarah Horowitz Parfums.

New Brands: Cognoscenti, Imaginary Authors, Parfums Lalun, PK Perfumes, Sanae Intoxicants, Sebastian Signs
All-Natural Brands: A Perfume Organic, Artemisia Natural Perfume, Ayala Moriel Pafums, House of Matriarch, JoAnne Bassett, Parfums Lalun, Purusa Natural (by Sebastian Signs), Opus Oils (some scents), Roxana Illuminated Perfume, Sanae Intoxicants, Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery
Organic brands: A Perfume Organic
Mixed Media (aka combinations of synthetics and naturals):  40notes,  Cognoscenti, Olympic Orchids, Opus Oils, PK Perfumes Sarah Horowitz Thran, Sebastian Signs Fragrances, SmellBent,
Canadian Brands: Ayala Moriel Parfums
East Coast Brands: A Perfume Organic
Retailer: Luckyscent/Scent Bar

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At October 07, 2012 2:52 AM, Anonymous muza said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it was such a great read! Why do I live so far... My Cognoscenti samples are already on their way to me :) Looking forward to try Etrog!

At October 07, 2012 10:02 AM, Blogger Tlell said...

Fantastic summary Ayala - thank you! Certainly a few new ones that caught my eye, particulary Cognoscenti!


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