Friday, May 22, 2015

Topiary and Creating a Green Fragrance

Topiary.  What a crazy idea if you think about it.  I was never a fan but during the course of the last year I've realized that it goes way beyond elephants and giraffes on the front lawn.  It's the crazy geometric shapes that confound and delight me.  I just love that people go about trimming their shrubbery into these exotic shapes.  Such folly!

I thought it might be a good idea to create a green perfume as an ode to topiary.  After some research I've discovered that some of the shrubs used to fashion topiary are easily available in essential oils. Unfortunately boxwood is not available (but the most used plant).  However laurel, myrtle and thuja are easily obtained.

The fun part is always ordering new oils to work with.  I found an absolutely gorgeous white champa leaf with green as well as beautiful floral notes of champaca.  Alba michelia leaf is from the common magnolia, another lovely green/floral note. Rhododendron leaf was surprise, very fresh and somewhat citrusy. I found a myrtle and thyme, both high in linalool, an alcohol found in rosewood.   Erigeron, thuja, tarragon absolute, wormwood, violet leaf and vetiver are some other choices.

I've decided on genet, otherwise known as broom, for the heart - which goes brilliantly with rhododendron leaf.  I'm really just fleshing out the bones of the perfume but I'm off to a terrific start with agarwood and africa stone on the bottom and white champaca leaf and petitgrain sur fleurs on top.  As I work I keep trying to imagine walking through one of these topiary gardens in Europe, marveling at the intense green and the whacky, comical shapes.  I really must plan a topiary tour.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gift Packaging and Sample Sets

People often ask me if I sell sample sets and I usually file the idea away as something I should really get around to and then I just get back to whatever I was doing and forget about it.  This past winter while hibernating I had a little bit of fun with creating gift packaging and sample sets.

I have boxes of three quarter ounce vials of some of the extracts I've been making such as the Tea Collection, the Citrus Collection and the Toasted Nut Collection.  They come tucked in a brown velvet pouch nestled in a matte gold gift box.  To finish it's tied with a slender velvet ribbon.  I think it'll make a nice gift for the foodies out there.

The same packaging works beautifully with my four latest perfumes - Midnight Garden, Sol de la Foret, Flora and Foret de la Mer. To make them a bit more special I've chosen a millinery flower for each perfume and tucked them in the box.

I've also made sets of samples of eight of my perfumes: Aloft, Tourmaline, Midnight Garden, Moonrise, Sol de la Foret, Flora, Foret de la Mer and Garden Walk.

Playing with silk, paper and velvet flowers, pretty boxes and ribbons reminded me so much of projects I would have worked on in my youth.  In fact I've been doing this kind of thing for as long as I can remember, so I'm pleased to be offering work that comes from my heart.  I have more ideas for packaged sets of perfumes so expect to see more. Thanks for looking!

Ready to gift in a matte gold box with a slender brown velvet ribbon.

Set of three citrus extracts from the stormy winter of 2015; Tangerine, Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange.
Foret de la Mer packaged with millinery golden champaca flowers.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tools of the Trade, Part Two: the Graduated Beaker

Of all of my measuring tools I love my graduated beakers the most. Aesthetically it's the shape and look of them.  I have a hand blown and etched glass one similar to these as well as a few others I've collected along the way.  

In actuality they're very useful and all come with a pouring spout (or beak) that makes life far simpler. After so many years of admiring the aesthetic it's truly gratifying for me that I actually have to use them for my business. I am, after all, an apothecary.

These are my own tools - graduated beakers and a brass mortar and pestle.

I've always thought laboratory glassware made fantastic barware.

In fact, here I am serving cocktails with one here.

I've been making floral arrangements in them since the 80's.