Friday, February 27, 2015

March Studio Classes

Natural Perfume Blending Workshops 

Coming in March 

I've been thoroughly enjoying teaching out of my home studio. The classes are more intimate and I have all of my materials at hand for every need.  


Saturday, March 7th
1 - 4pm
In this first workshop we will take a closer look at the artisanal art of natural perfumery. Students will gain a basic understanding of the sense of smell, the history of perfume, the advent of synthetic ingredients and the return to naturals.  Perfume ingredients and formulation will be explored and each participant will leave with two bottles of their own bespoke perfume.


Saturday, March 14th
1 - 4pm
For those students who have taken the first Natural Perfume Blending course and would like to study further I'm now offering Perfume Blending, Part Two. The original kit of 50 or so oils will be added to with some rare and precious oils such as hay absolute, magnolia flower, yuzu and pink pepper. A more in depth look at formulation and structure and becoming more intimate with your materials will be explored and there will be specific assignments to deepen your understanding of blending and perfume creation, as well as sharpen your sense of smell. 

To register visit herbalalchemy.net


Fougere Workshop

There has been some interest from a small group of students in doing another Fougere Workshop. You'll be choosing from tonka bean, sweet clover, concretes of lavender, geranium and clary sage, several lavender absolutes and essential oils, cedar moss, cassia and ho wood.  I also have samples of many perfumes in that category, including the original Fougere Royale and Jicky, along with many samples from some of the best natural perfumers working today.  We'll discuss the genre and explore the new materials and you'll create two perfumes.  $25 extra to make a third, time considering.

If you're interested email me at info@herbalalchemy.net.  The price will be $150.  If there's enough of us we can pick a date that works for everyone.  I could do it either Saturday, the 21st or 28th of March.  I hope it comes together, it's such a fun class.  Smells amazing, too.

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Etsy Store Gets a Scripted French Facelift

I've seen other Etsy stores using vintage letters as a backdrop for their products and I always thought they were really beautiful.  I've been wanting to change up my product photos so I went searching on Etsy for some antique letters.  I found two stores that sell letters from France from the turn of the last century.  One was Oscar Naylor in Canada.  The letter came gorgeously wrapped in vintage letters, the most beautiful package my mailbox has seen in a long time.  I struggled to open it and keep it intact so I could save it.  The other store was French Manufacture in France.  From them I bought two packages of several letters.  They're all written out in script with pen and ink, a harkening back to a a time when quite a lot more effort went into correspondence



MIDNIGHT GARDEN



Samples of Eau Who and Noir










                        





Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nice Write Up in Crain's New York

I've been remiss in posting this lovely article about myself and my perfume business in Crain's New York.  I was lucky enough to be contacted by the magazine for the interview.  They sent over a photographer with more equipment than I thought would fit into my studio or that he and his assistant could possibly use.  They used every bit of it!

Making Extracts from Nuts, Citrus and Teas

I am fascinated by the extractive properties of alcohol.  Whatever it comes in contact with is transferred to it.  My friend Nata of Nata's Cocktails once referred to vodka as "the chicken of liquors". The same technique used to make herbal medicine, bitters, tinctures, colognes and flavored vodka also make extracts.

This winter has been a cold one, one of the coldest on record.  I'm not the happiest cook in the world but lately I've been cooking up all kinds of warming soups and stews.  But what actually makes me happy is baking and so I've turned my attention to creating extracts.

I started with vanilla, naturally.  I consume more vanilla than your average person, I add it to everything.  I did a lot of research and discovered that most homemade vanilla extract is quite weak. To legally be called extract it has to have six beans per cup of alcohol, otherwise you're just making vanilla flavored vodka.  Sliced, seeded and chopped up I let the six beans macerate for three months until it was a dark opaque and extraordnarily flavorful brew.

That got me started, once I hit on a good thing I want more.  I adore toasted hazelnuts so that was my next venture.  And why do only one nut when you can do three?  Toasted almond and pistachio made sense and I'm considering pecan.  I toasted the nuts, let them cool, chopped them up, put them in a clean jar and covered them with vodka.  The hazelnuts are a bit more complicated in that once you've toasted them you have to let them cool and rub off the skins.  It's a bit time consuming but totally worth it as the skins leave a bitter taste.  Leave to macerate for one to three months and then filter and clarify.

This winter I've discovered the joy of making my own nut milks.  It's so easy when you know how and there are instructions all over the internet.  I started with almond but gradually expanded into hazelnut, pistachio, cashew and coconut.  To the almond, hazelnut and pistachio I added their respective extract to bump up the flavor (and usually a bit of vanilla, too!).

Now that citrus season is in full swing I've turned my attention to citrus extracts. When they first came in season I couldn't get enough tangerines so that was the first extract I created.  I've got meyer lemon, blood orange and vanilla orange brewing. When I was a kid I adored creamsicles and still go crazy for that creamy orange and vanilla combination.  Simply zest whatever fruit you choose, place in a clean jar and cover with vodka.  Leave to macerate one to three months, strain and clarify.

I love tea so created some extracts out of my favorites.  I drink a delicious all naturally flavored peach tea in the wintertime so created Peach Tea Extract.  I love it in seltzer.  As the bubbly glass approaches your nose the bubbles pop with perfumed tea fragrance.  It's truly sublime.  I've added Blackcurrant Tea as well.  Attempts at Jasmine and Russian Caravan were less successful but I'm still willing to try working those out.

I also have an abundance of chocolate mint growing in my garden.  I've flavored vodka with it in the past and was delighted by the results.  Tissane brewed of the mint is nice, minty with a bit of chocolate flavor, but when extracted in alcohol the chocolate flavor really comes through.  I have just a couple of bottles left, I'll have to wait until summer to create more.

Extracts are, of course, delicious in baked goods but the possibilities for other deserts are endless.  Ice cream comes to mind (but that's for a warmer season).  And whatever confection you decide to create don't forget to spike your whipped cream with some extra extracted kick.

To experiment with some of my flavorings check out my Etsy store.  Some of them are bottled in vintage extract bottles found on the beach.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Two New Colognes and Some Further Experiments


This year's Cologne Experiments are filtered, bottled, labeled, photographed and posted.  It was a long process but I'm happy to have all of the bottles I collected this summer (and scrubbed and sterilized) filled with my fragrant elixirs.

This year I made two new colognes, Eau Who and Noir, as well as tweaked the recipes on Florida Water, Violet Water and Bay Rum.  Eau Who is actually a re-creation that I worked on last summer in an attempt to replicate the classic cologne 4711.  This year it came out better than ever, I'm very pleased with it, so designed a whole new label for it.  It is no longer an "experiment" but a formula I'll be repeating.

I also finished Noir which has been coming along for a few years.  Every year I strain it and add more to it so it is a triple strength formula.  It's dark, rich and full bodied.




Bay Rum and Florida Water also got a bit of a makeover.  The Bay Rum is made with bayberry leaves and berries from the beaches of Brooklyn, as well as hand-dried orange peels and fresh herbs and spices.  Florida Water is composed of my own grown sweet woodruff and lavender as well as freshly ground spices.  Bay Rum is bottled in vintage amber apothecary bottles and Florida Water in green medicine bottles.

I love this process of making botanical colognes, I hope you enjoy the results of my experiments!

Gift Certificates for Custom Natural Perfume Consultations


Give the gift of a private perfume consultation!  You'll be giving a unique and very personal experience.  Your gifted one will learn how to blend a selection of scents into their own personal perfume. In a step by step process they'll be able to choose from over one hundred essential oils, absolutes and concretes, some rare and exotic, to create a fragrance that is uniquely theirs. This fun, sometimes surprising and sometimes revealing journey into scent memories and preferences will result in a perfume that is theirs alone, one that works with their individual body chemistry and reflects their personality and interests. 
I've teamed with clients to create fragrances for different mood, occasions and seasons, fragrances that evoke memories or the unforgettable qualities of a particular location or experience.  A perfect gift for the bride to be.  This is a one-on-one consultation in Julianne's studio.

$190 for an hour and a half consultation, includes 1/4 ounce vial of perfume.  Call (718)788-6480 or email info@herbalalchemy.net to make an appointment or purchase a gift certificate.






















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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Review of Flora on EauMG

Once again the lovely Victoria Jent  of EauMG has reviewed one of my perfumes, Flora.

"Flora is a dusty, aromatic lavender in a haze of clove ciggie smoke. It opens with peach skin and spice. The heart is like a delicate, peachy green carnation smoothed by a soft, milky sandalwood and boozy vanilla. Flora dries down to a mélange of close-wearing exotic, earthy woods."

Many thanks to Victoria for her kind words and enthusiasm for the much maligned and neglected carnation.