Ask the Perfumer Sunday Jan 6, 2013

by | Jan 6, 2013 | Anya's Garden Perfumes | 15 comments

Happy New Year! Much of the northern hemisphere is in the deep freeze, but it’s beautiful here in Miami, with a high of 85F expected.  My front door is open, and the cats are enjoying the balmy breeze and activity on the street.  Here are some photos of my flowers and veggie harvest of the past two days that you can enjoy while you think of some questions to ask me about perfumery.  This is the first ATP post on my new blog, and I’d like to remind you to ‘subscribe to posts’ and/or ‘subscribe to messages’ with the links in the right column.

I’ll be here until 10 PM ET, so think of your questions and in the meantime, enjoy the eye candy of winter veggies and flowers, sent from me to you.

Organic green beans fresh from the garden

Organic green beans fresh from the garden

Bell sweet pepper basking in the sun

Bell sweet pepper basking in the sun

Sweet jasmine azoricum with a hint of vanilla

Sweet jasmine azoricum with a hint of vanilla

My cassie/acacia tree is still blooming after a month.  You can see the dried flowers, too.

My cassie/acacia tree is still blooming after a month. You can see the dried flowers, too.

Pink bud jasmine, inferior for perfumery

Pink bud jasmine, inferior for perfumery

The ylang ylang tree is still flowering!  These green flowers slowly ripen over days to a deep yellow with a red throat.  That will be when their scent is at its best.

The ylang ylang tree is still flowering! These green flowers slowly ripen over days to a deep yellow with a red throat. That will be when their scent is at its best.



  1. DebRa

    Very lovely!! Those green beans look yummy too. Your flowers are gorgeous, Anya. I can smell them from here.

    • Anya

      Where are you located, DebRa? I’ll bet there are fragrant plants there that I’d love to smell!

      • DebRa

        I’m in Tucson, Arizona and I just read the other day that I can grow tuberose here. I planted a gardenia plant a couple weeks ago and I know they will do fine. I used to live in San Diego where almost anyting would grow, and I do miss that. I’m pretty much just learning about what grows here. We get a mild freeze every now and then but rare and we cover things. Anyone else in Tucson from the group?

        • Anya

          Hi DebRa:

          The gardenia will need a lot of water, make sure you irrigate it, and check the pH is a bit on the acid side. You might be able to still buy already-chilled tuberose bulbs and get a crop of them by late spring/early summer. Are you a part of the big NP group I host on Yahoo? I’m sure there are Tuscon people there, but this is a separate blog, and you’d do better to ask there.

          Best regards,

  2. Hemla

    String beans are good to grow in the cold winter or warm summer (I know our cold winter is your pleasant gardening time, which is why I added the adjective.
    I have asked in the past, but you said you were ‘renevating’ and to ask again in a few months, I would LOVE to see pictures of your work studio


    • Anya

      Hi Hemla:

      Still working on the design because I got sidetracked with business and family stuff. II’m redesigning the organ, and it’s a painstaking process much like perfumemaking!


  3. Fallah

    Hi Anya,

    I was wondering about using raw materials in perfumes in very very tiny amounts. I was reading a perfume formula somewhere ( a conventional synth one) and the perfumer mentioned using some ingredients in “homeopathic” doses, not to be noticed as the material they are but just to very lightly “tint” the perfume I guess. Can you write a little about this? Are there any typical ways that this is done?

    Thanks for your help,

    • Anya

      Hi Fallah:

      There are accessory notes that are so strong they can only be used in a tiny percentage. Synths are much more problematic than that, I believe, and some are used at say .001%

      Many strong natural essences or tinctures are used in what I call a “wash” which may be what the other person was referring to as a ‘tint’. Also, there are some tinctures I have that are light in intensity, and when I use them I also call them a “wash” or a “background” effect.


  4. Rae Lynn Reffruschinni

    The ylang-ylang flowers are interesting. I’ve never seen one before.

    • Anya

      Dear Rae Lynn

      Interesting is a kind word. I’ve seen them called grotesque, bizarre and even “creeping death” years ago in the Yahoo NP group, when we non-ylang lovers (I’m now a convert) were goofing on them.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  5. Suzinn

    Greetings Anya,
    I am very Happy (rather than envious 😉 for you and your heavenly garden! Here the PNW it is the usual cold, grey, wet day but if it were nice I wouldn’t be able to focus on the “inside” creations as my garden would take take me into her arms and never let me go…
    Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos. I love the Ylang flowers, especially the color!
    All the best, Suzinn

  6. Suzinn

    Hi again!
    Here’s a question; are you familiar with Buchu Long Leaf and if so what does it like to “play with”?
    I’m trying to use it for a new scent and it’s a fine balance indeed. I like it’s Cold “Mintyness” but it can be a tad abrupt too. I want this scent to have a “edge” but so far the dryout has been disappointingly bland.
    I haven’t run across many perfumes that use Buchu either.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks so much!

    • Anya

      Hi Suzinn:

      It’s been a long time since I played with Buchu, and I’m not sure it was a variety called long leaf. I know I wasn’t impresssed by it, it didn’t appeal to me very much. Without knowing all the aromatics used in your perfume, I can’t make recommendations.

      Wish I could help more,

  7. Kristie

    Hi Anya and Happy New Year!
    I’m very jealous of your weather, it’s so cold
    in L. A. lately…
    I got a sample of Fir Balsam AB from Eden and OMG I’m in love with it. It’s nothing like the EO at all, I also got some Chinese Tea Rose, Zdravets & Nigella Damascena from White Lotus. Those are very complex. Have you had the pleasure of using these and what’s your experience.

    • Anya

      Hi Kristie:

      I used FB abs in my Christmas Room Candy, they were incredible, a real Christmas tree scent. I have some Chinese tea rose I’m playing with now after neglecting my ounce for a few years, I’ll see how it goes. Zdravetz is quite lovely isn’t it, a nice middle note. Not familiar with Nigella damascena, isn’t nigella a fixed oil, not an EO?




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