Finally Zeroing In

I’m finally zeroing in on my ambergris perfume. I worked my way through my aroma chemicals and naturals to see what reminded me of ambergris, the sea, the beach, and anything related to the ocean. I rounded up such goodies as nonyl alcohol, seaweed absolute,… Read More »Finally Zeroing In

The Smell of the Sea

I’ve always wanted to smell like the beach, not a crowded beach with its overtones of suntan lotion and salt water on skin, but a solitary beach with a scent like steamed mussels and freshly cracked oysters. On top of this irresistible sea-fresh quality I… Read More »The Smell of the Sea

Roses Again

Perfumers forever state that a well-made perfume has a synthetic frame, ultimately fleshed out with essentials, absolutes, and enfleurages, each derived from natural ingredients. I have nothing against aroma chemicals since most of the time they are the same compounds that occur in the flowers… Read More »Roses Again

Starting Out

Castoreum is an animal product used in perfumery. It is a byproduct of beaver trapping such that ethical concerns are somewhat ambiguous–the beaver isn’t killed for the castoreum. Castoreum comes as either the dried gland (often smoked over a gentle fire) or as a paste.… Read More »Starting Out

The Beginning

It seems like my life is made up of a succession of monomanias. For many years it was chemistry, then cooking, then photography. In two earlier posts I talk about ambergris and musk and their relationship to food. This has led to the current monomania,… Read More »The Beginning

Oud and Sandalwood

My oud source has again run out—there seems to be no more aku akira—so I’ve had to reformulate using new ouds. I ordered 14 different oud samples and tested them all for balance and longevity. I’m now using Malaysian oud, a Hindi, and another one… Read More »Oud and Sandalwood