Ask The Perfumer – Sunday Dec. 16, 2012

by | Dec 15, 2012 | Giveaway, raw materials of perfumery | 40 comments

A standard brunch drink is a Mimosa – orange juice and champagne.  Well, I have the mimosa tree blooming madly in my front garden in Miami this week.  The skies have been grey, so the yellow orange of the flowers is dulled, but the scent is not! Those of you familar with mimosa concrete or absolute know what a lovely, fresh fragrance this is.  I’m going to wait for the second big bloom before I harvest for tincturing, and just enjoy them for now.

Update! I going to harvest some mimosa flowers and put them in some champagne tonight to celebrate the launch of this new blog site 😉 I don’t have any orange juice on hand, so mango juice will have to substitute – really Miami!

This is the inaugural post as I move my blog from blogger.com to my website. I often had winners for my giveaways that never checked back, and I didn’t have their emails to notify them that they had won!  I felt really bad about this, so that’s the main reason for me moving the blog here.

In fact, let’s have a giveaway today – if you’d like a chance to win 2 mls of rose de mai absolute from Grasse, leave a comment, and let me know you’ll check back starting on the 21st when I start my Winter Solstice 11-day giveaway.  Yes, I’m posting about winter, lights, celebrations and the coming new year for 11 days to celebrate the season, and it will run until New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31st.  I was inspired to give the rose de mai to a reader because a student turned in her Module 1 organoleptic evaluation form the other day and she nailed rose de mai, getting the lemony aspect that kicks in during the drydown.

I’ll be here until 10 PM tonight to answer your perfumery questions. Please leave a comment with some thoughts about the Winter Solstice, or the mimosa tree and you’ll be entered to win this luscious rose de mai absolute. The giveaway will also close at 10 PM and now the winner will be notified directly – yes!  (of course, the usual disclaimer, your emails will not be shared, they are private to this site.)

2012-12-14 15.54.02

40 Comments

  1. Sandi L

    Anya, I love the Mimosa ! Congratulations on the move to WordPress!

    Reply
  2. Judith

    I don’t have a question, just wanted to say that I adore your sight and congratulate you on your inaugural post in your new online location. Your graphics are always top notch lovely and I always leave with a smile and feeling good. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Alicia

    I’m so excited today’s my bday and I got a glass mixing set and a beautiful bamboo box to house about half of my oils! I’m looking forward to reading your blog and taking the course sometime in the future, love your work! Happy winter!!!

    Reply
  4. anya

    Oh, this wonderful! Knowing I have the email addresses for the giveaway is so lovely. Thank you Sandi, Alicia and Judith for stopping by to comment.

    xoxo,
    Anya

    Reply
  5. Kelly C

    Mimosas sound lovely!! My question is: I have limited income right now but am interested in learning perfumery. Where would you suggest I start? Are there a set of “basic must-have” oils that I could start from & work my way up as my finances allowed? Thank you!

    Reply
    • anya

      Dear Kelly:

      I’ll break it to you right away – perfume making is costly. You have a good handle on your finances at this point, and realize your income is limited and that you have to pace yourself. See the post today where I gave a link to the Yahoo group I host. It’s a great source of information on perfume making. Ethically, I can’t recommend anyone else’s book because I have not studied with them, and I’m sure my methods differ from them.

      About the oils: You do not have to buy my kit #1, and I’m not promoting that to you, but I do recommend you look at the list of oils in it, and how they’re broken down into top/middle/base notes. Buy small amounts of them when you can, hopefully from a Guild supplier, as I can confirm their quality and that they’re pure and natural. I recommend you use the professional method of diluting your aromatics to 10% for study. Not only will you save lots of money by diluting them for your accords and mods, you’ll see their true nature because they’ve been ‘opened up’ by the alcohol.

      Keep good, meticulous records! That is so important.

      HTH,
      xo
      Anya

      Reply
    • Eileen Jackson

      Keep the Passion alive don’t give up. It took me some time (2010) to manage to have extra funds to learn and get some of the equipment but Anya will show you what to buy on the first chapter of the course. I did study on my own bought aromatherapy books and Perfumery books but does not focus on perfume composition like in Anyas perfume course. Actually I got confused with so many opinions, ways and chemicals on how to make perfume. With Anyas course she will help you to ‘standarize’ the procedure and focus on natural perfume making. You will learn by doing the step by step exercises on the modules. I guarantee that it is very different from any books that you can buy in the stores, plus you can ask her and join the forum and have fun while learning with other students online. By the way she is not paying me to say this. I feel that she deserves recognition for her hard work on putting together this course online or home study self-pace for us. EJ

      Reply
  6. Eileen Jackson

    It is a lovely tree. I just have a question and since I am so new I don’t have the answer. Are hydrosols used in perfume making at all? Like mimosa hydrosol or we can only use it on tinture?

    Reply
    • anya

      Yes, Eileen, hydrosols have a wonderful role in perfume making. In fact, water helps to open up a perfume’s scent and helps it last on the skin. You have to experiment, drop by drop, as you add the hydrosol to a particular blend. At a certain point, it will start to cloud. Put it aside and it should calm down and clear. Of course, the scent it adds to the perfume may dictate you stop putting drops in before you reach the louching point (since you’re a student of mine, you know all about louching). Check the TOC of your textbook for it. You can play with it in the course as you make mods (Module 5), don’t use it in accords.

      HTH
      xoxo,
      Anya

      Reply
  7. Hemla

    I’m always happy when I remember it is sunday -with your blog being posted – before it is no longer sunday 🙂
    congradulations on your new site, I would love to win a 2 ml of rose de mai, can never get enough of that one 🙂 I’m planning on puting some down in my next order from eden, that and a bunch of top notes, which I find I would like more of, to further the spectrum of top accord options. but, remembering today that I have a lovely honey tincture that is about 5 years old (still with the honey, I simply forgot about it), I will add that in my current top accord I am working on. -it is weak, but beautiful, and may add a lovely hom-ey warmth to the gorgiouse flowers

    Reply
    • anya

      Hi Hemla:

      Thanks for stopping by, it’s always good to hear from you. Lots of my students are showing up today 🙂

      About the honey tincture – it may be weak in intensity (1,2) but it may be more of a middle note when you study the drydown time. Maybe even base, who knows? Well, you’ll know when you fill in an OEF!

      xoxo,
      Anya

      Reply
      • Eileen Jackson

        Yes Hemla, I can’t wait to buy the first and second kit soon. Even if I have some of the EO’s from aromatherapy section at the whole food market, the expensive EOs are not sold on the shelf. And to learn it right we need to get the things the right way we won’t get confused and frustrated. Some famous fragrances have rose de mai like Oscar de La Renta.

        Reply
  8. DebRa

    Congrats, Anya, I don’t know how you get so much done, you must be a powerhouse of energy. Maybe I should start drinking mango juice . I love your picture of your mimosa tree. I thought I hated mangos until years ago one of my friends made me taste one several times and she kept saying, you don’t hate mangoes. Several days later I woke up in the middle of the night chanting mangoes, mangoes, mangoes and now I’m fanatical and love them. I just had a similar experience with rose otto. I thought I didn’t like rose perfumes – but I was swept away by the beauty, Happy upcoming winter solstice!

    Reply
    • anya

      Dear DebRa
      Thanks for sharing your mango madness with us! Aren’t they luscious? I have another tip for you: passionfruit! I had some with silver tequila the other night, and come to think of it, some rose hydrosol might have been nice with that.

      PS the giveaway today is for rose absolute, not rose otto.

      xoxo,
      Anya

      Reply
  9. Naheed

    Congratulations Dear Anya! Very happy for this new start :). As of mimosa, I have never got an opportunity to smell it, at least fresh and in bloom. You seem to enjoy these blooms in your garden right now.

    Reply
  10. Isayah

    Wow! Your new blog looks terrific! How lucky you are to have mimosas blooming! here it is a sunny winter snow day. What a difference!

    Reply
  11. Suzinn

    Congrats Anya!
    I just bought some beautiful Mimosa Olessence and floral wax and am working on a solid perfume recipe called WATER. It will have some honey in it as well.
    I do have a question today: If I dilute my EOs to 10% how much do I have to measure out to make an EDP? Does 15-30% raw material still count if it is diluted?

    Reply
    • anya

      Hi Suzinn:

      Thanks for stopping buy on launch day!

      Every professional perfumer works with diluted essences, which you are doing. I think the next step is missing for you because perhaps you didn’t study with someone, or pick up on your own, how to work with specific gravity. I go into it briefly in my textbook, and work with advanced level students one-on-one. I’ll give you the quick answer here and I think because of your experience, you’ll be able to work with the next step.

      You have to know the specific gravity of each essence you work with. Either your supplier will give you the info, or you can weigh your aromatics yourself. The formula for this is on my old blog site, so you should be able to find it with a search, or google it.

      You have counted all the drops of each diluted essence in your formula. I have an Excel sheet to convert the diluted drops to the grams of *undiluted* aromatic needed, and what specific percentage to give a perfume, EdP, EdT, cologne strength. I’m math-challenged, and a bit rushed today due to getting the PRA project boxes packed, so I can’t think of the simple explanation at this point. Give me a day or two to look at the Excel program and see if I can explain it in simpler terms. I hired an engineer to do the programming, and much of the details he gave me are lost in the mists of my mind 🙂

      My assistant is a math whiz and I have plans to go over stuff like this in the next couple of weeks, so let’s see if that pans out.
      HTH xoxo
      Anya

      Reply
      • Suzinn

        Yikes, sorry to have such a complicated question. As I’ve said before I have dyslexia and am easily overwhelmed by technical challenges including reading numbers and such. I learn best by watching others at work. This makes me just want to go back to my own methods.
        I don’t expect you to spend so much time with a non-student but appreciate your willingness to try and explain things. One reason I love natural perfumery is that I rely on my senses to create beauty but the math stuff, oy vey!
        My partner Jeff is good with math, perhaps I should enlist him as my assistant.
        Thank you!
        PS: If it weren’t for spellcheck you would see how bad my dyslexia is.

        Reply
        • anya

          Suzinn, I’m in the dyslexic, ADD, space-cadet orbit, so know I have to struggle like you with most tasks. I’m not sure if the ‘subscribe’ function on this blog is working yet, but try to find it and check back. I’m going to be blogging more about the perfume making process, and have mini-tutorials and discussions here from now on.

          I would never choose the math route, but you have to deal with it for our art.

          xoxo,
          Anya

          Reply
  12. anya

    Alicia, I forgot to congratulate you on your birthday and your fragrant study supplies! Much success in your future perfumery endeavors, and yes, I hope they are with me 🙂

    xoxo,
    Anya

    Reply
  13. Fallah

    Hi Anya,

    My question is about glass droppers. In her book Mandy says to just rinse them in alcohol when going from using one essence to another. They seem to still smell like the first essence if I do that , though, plus I work making very tiny mods, to save money. So rinsing in-between isn’t a great idea I don’t think. So generally I use one dropper per bottle I am working with. So then, I wind up with a lot of droppers as I’m working, and because I work slowly I don’t want to leave the bottles open for such a long time. So I wind up resting the droppers on a plastic mat on the table, and going back into the bottles if need be.

    It’s all very awkward! Do you have any better suggestions? (Without my investing in 200 screw-on droppers…)

    Reply
    • anya

      Hi Fallah:

      Giving a rinse, even a prolonged one, doesn’t work for me. Cross-contamination is a real threat. When you say droppers, do you mean just the glass dropper with a bulb on top? I would rinse it, yes, to remove excess residue, and then put it in a little zip top baggies, and store it labeled, in an upright position. Occasionally, you’ll see some little puddles on the bottom of some residue that was pulled down by gravity, and then I’d discard the bag (not the dropper) because that would oxidize and get sticky and funky.

      By little plastic baggie, I mean the kinds that bottles of aromatics sometimes come packaged in to avoid leakage if the bottle breaks. I have a lot that are 2″ x 3″ that I use for 4ml bottles. Depending upon the length of your dropper, you’ll buy the appropriate size. Here’s a site that has a selection of them:
      http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1311&_nkw=mini+plastic+bags&_sacat=0&_from=R40

      HTH
      xoxo,
      Anya

      Reply
  14. Zee

    I LOVE mimosa – the fragrant material not the drink – I tinctured a different variety with tiny yellow blossoms while living in San Francisco, it grew everywhere. What is the variety that you have? Glad wordpress is working better for you – I’ve been looking at it for my own blogging efforts.
    Thanks for the draw and look forward to the winter Solstice one.
    Zee

    Reply
    • anya

      Hi Zee:

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m growing the Sweet Acacia Acacia farnesiana. It’s actually a weed tree, and you see those big seed pods? I’m going to cut them off before they mature and split, to lessen the chances of the invasive spread of the tree. Does your variety have nasty thorns?

      Thanks,
      Anya

      Reply
  15. Blue

    Congrations Anya on your new blog! Have you ever seen a movie called The Univited from the late thirties? The presence of a ghost was actually signaled by the characters smelling mimosa perfume. My birthday is on the solstice so its a doubly special day for me. I hope it is for you as well. I also want to say how much I love the yahoo perfumery group. Thanks!

    Reply
    • anya

      Hi Blue:

      No, I never heard of that movie, and the mimosa perfume bit is very interesting. Happy Birthday in advance, and I hope you enjoy the blogging event I’m going to post. I’m glad to hear you like the Yahoo group, and don’t be afraid to post and participate there because it’ll only increase your presence in the community and help others.

      Best Wishes,
      Anya

      Reply
  16. Suzinn

    Is there a direct link to your Yahoo Perfumery Group? XO

    Reply
  17. Lisa BTB

    Hi Anya,

    Recently I came across a site that sells two different mimosa absolutes. One, Acacia decurrens, I have. The other is A. dealbata which I’m not familiar with. Is there a big difference in scent of these two? Thanks!

    Lisa

    Reply
    • anya

      Hi Lisa:

      Thanks for stopping by. Well, you caught me playing a little loose and fast with the names. Here in Florida, A. farnesiana is called mimosa, but to the perfumery world, it’s cassie , more precious both in yield and cost than mimosa. See how tiny the flowers are? Mimosa flowers occur in HUGE plumes.

      A. decurrans var dealbata is mimosa. That website shouldn’t be separating them, unless they somehow have sourced A. decurrans that stands alone, and A. dealbata (which I’ve never heard of, but it could exist).

      Now, if you were my students, I’d send you off to analyze your two samples with the OEF (organoleptic evaluation form) I provide. I don’t think the folks you studied with in the free course got that form, the one member quit before it was distributed. With careful evaluation, you can discern the nuances between them (if there truly are two diff ones for sale).

      HTH,
      xoxo
      Anya

      Reply
  18. Angela Esposito

    I had a similar question to Kelly. Great answer. i have lots of oils, I didn’t know about the dilution, what an important part of it. thanks. and the mimosa tree makes me want to move to Florida.

    Reply
  19. Aliza Earnshaw

    Nice new blog, Anya! Thanks for the post about the corn plant flowers – the dracena fragrans whatever-it-was. I am going to look around for it. I also love your photo of the mimosa – I’d love to try growing that indoors, too.

    Right now my only fragrant indoor plant is a bright pink cyclamen. It’s looking gorgeous, and its fragrance is sweet but not very obvious – I have to stick my nose right into it. I’d love something that would spread its scent all over the house and brighten up our cold Portland winter…..

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • anya

      Hi Aliza:

      Brrrr – cold Portland! Yet, you’re in the City of Roses, and I would love to grow roses with ease here. Possible, but difficult.

      I think that the draceana would be overpowering indoors, much too much. I always love to recommend Aglaia odorata. Pretty, shiny small leaves, incredibly tiny, sweet lemon/floral flowers, and it blooms many times a year! It diffuses in a home beautifully, not overpoweringly. I adore that plant!

      xoxo,
      Anya

      Reply
  20. anya

    Hi Everyone:

    The winner of the 2mls of rose de mai absolute from Grasse is Amber. It’s great knowing that I now have her email address via WordPress and that I can write her directly – which I did! No more unclaimed giveaways – yay!

    xoxo
    Anya

    Reply
  21. Staci Kong

    In reading about your perfume adventures, I realized that I do not know much about Mimosa (the drink, or the plant). I took the time to look up more about this remarkable, plant, and I was excited to learn a new fact. I learned that the plants that are part of this genus include plants that are capable of rapid movement, meaning that some species raise and lower their leaves, or their blooms closed when touched. Some other rapid movement plants include the telegraph plant, and the venus flytrap. Thanks, Anya, for piquing my interest about this plant species. Now, I need to find out what it smells like! Can’t wait!

    -Staci

    Reply
  22. Gail Rice

    I’m looking forward to your holiday posts. I enjoy reading about how you move about in the world – well aware of aromas, their timing, their varying intensities and their effects on you. I’m not as capable or as well aware as you, but I like your point of view. I don’t have a talent for perfuming but I feel so lucky when I smell something beautiful and intriguing and love to read about when this happens to you (or you make it happen for someone else.) Congratulations on your new blog home.

    Reply
  23. Joni Evans

    I am delighted to find a natural perfumers blog! It has long been a passion of mine, and I am happy to find a discussion group specifically about perfumes!

    Reply
  24. Claire Lautier

    Hi Anya! I’ve especially enjoyed reading your recent entries about the lovely plants and flowers blooming in your garden. I happen to be in Miami Beach right now and am thrilled by the smells wafting from various tropical gardens, the bright colours and lush vegetation everywhere. It really is paradise! You’re so fortunate to live here year-round! I live in Canada most of the year, and while I love it and celebrate the vibrant summers and lavish gardens that are the result of long, cold winters, this is a welcome contrast!
    Happy Holidays to you. I’m very excited to finally start the perfumery course in January!

    Reply
  25. Catherine

    Anya, we have the same plant growing outside the bedroom window and, yes, it certainly is fragrant. Ours doesn’t flower every year and I didn’t know the name of it so was amused to see it mentioned, with photograph, on the same day that the fragrance is filling house.

    Reply

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