Newsletters

2010

  • Cedar Chest Newsletter

    For this newsletter we have created a natural perfume which I call , Cedar Chest Essence. The word “cedar” is applied to a wide range of coniferous trees growing in different parts of the world and includes the genus’s of Chamaecyparis, Thuja, Cedrus and Juniperus. The heartwood of all these trees have their own distinct olfactory characteristics but include in their bouquet a rich, warm, dry, resinous-precious woods aroma while the wood itself is renowned for its beauty and longevity when used for a wide variety of sacred and secular purposes by the cultures in the countries where the trees grew naturally. The Phoenicians, Egyptians, Tibetans, Japanese, Chinese, Indians(Native American and East Indian), Hebrews, Syrians, Romans and many other cultures cherished the tree, its wood and its scent. It was used for such diverse purposes building ships, constructing temples, mummification, incense, medicinal preparations, coffers, caskets etc. One of its outstanding virtues was that both the fragrant wood resisted decay and hence could be used in all applications, symbolic and practical where this quality was appreciated. It is because of this quality that the tree and its wood came to be associated with royalty, immortality, purity, fortitude and courage.

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  • Hawaiian Lei Newsletter

    This month we have created an Hawaiian Lei Perfume in honor of the beautiful tradition of creating the special floral garlands that have their roots in ancient Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. In ancient times people living in close proximity to nature in the South Pacific Islands evolved their own traditions to express their attitude toward the universe they lived in. The island paradises they lived on abounded in botanical treasures that served many purposes from the practical to the spiritual. Everything that they needed to live on had to be drawn from the environments in which they lived and it was most natural that a special reverence for all life forms should be woven into their ways of thinking and living. The sentient world including things seen and unseen was considered alive and conscious and so needed to be appreciated and used with proper appreciation and sensitivity.

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  • Kemet Egyptian Newsletter

    In the evolution of Egyptian culture four main streams of aromatic traditions evolved that concerned the use of natural botanicals for (1)the worship of their pantheon of gods and goddesses that in some important way embodied qualities that were universal in nature; (2) daily life for both hygienic and personal adornment; (3) the use of the aforesaid for embalming purposes: (4) preparation of medicines. Incense, ointments, unguents, perfumes, pharmaceuticals and embalming compounds all were prepared with a high degree of sophistication by people devoted to the art and craft of perfumery. There is an extensive body of literature which can be referred too through which the interested person can explore various subjects related to the use of natural aromatics in Egyptian life.

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  • Lily of the Valley Newsletter

    The enjoyment one gets out of growing fragrant plants is immense. Watching their different physical characteristics develop during the season before, during and after bloom is a delight, for each type of plant has its own personality and unique beauty. During my horticultural career I have had the opportunity to be around many such living fragrant plants and have loved watching them grow and send forth their lovely aromas into the air surrounding where they live. Each such botanical gem has its own story to tell both in the immediate sense of the garden in which it is growing as well as the larger story of the role it has played in the lives of humans in many other times and places.

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  • Mango Amra Newsletter

    In 1971, I first traveled to India as a student with Friends World College. They had a center in the city of Bangalore on the Deccan Plateau which at that time was in Mysore State(now Karnatika). Bangalore at that time was a lovely city with a mild year-round climate. It had not yet become the center of India’s computer industry(at which point the population quadrupled)and still had a gentle, sweet, slow moving ambiance. Clear skies, fresh breezes, sweet aromas, lovely parks, graceful tree lined avenues, and many other charming features characterized the city.

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  • Lilac Blossom Newsletter

    Port Angeles, in the month of May is alive with the delicate color and aroma of old-fashioned white and purple lilacs(Syringia vulgaris). My daily walks through town to see my mom takes me past many of these venerable botanical members of the community. From year-to-year, for several generations these sweet lilacs have quietly displayed their scent and beauty in the many modest gardens which make up this small town. The shrub/tree(as some of the ones I came across were 10 feet or more in height) captures the spirit and beauty of a more innocent and gentle time and a whiff of their perfume has many pleasant associations for people who have grown up in places where they flourish.

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  • Summer Fields Newsletter

    There was a time when the smell of new mown hay was well-known to many people, country and city dweller alike. When cities were not so large and farming communities played a vital role in the lives of America and many other Western countries, folks either actually participated in the the hay harvest or passed by fields in which hay had freshly been cut and was left to dry in the warm sun. This fresh, rich, grassy, herbaceous odor is an unforgettable one and immediately refreshes the heart with soft, sweet memories of simpler times.

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  • White Rose Attar Newsletter

    There is something uniquely attractive about the White Rose/Rosa alba and the essential oil and co2 extract that is produced from it in Bulgaria. The growing and distillation of white rose is not something new in Bulgaria although its main function in years passed was to grow as a hedge around the more widely known fields of pink rose (Rosa damascena). It was valued for its hardiness, disease resistance and ability to produce a crop even when the pink rose crop was reduced due to adverse weather conditions. Up until 1978 as much as 40% of Bulgarian rose fields were planted in white rose but in the ensuing years the percentage was reduced until almost none were being grown. One of the main reasons that the white rose did not enjoy the same popularity is pink rose for distillation purposes was that the yield of oil was considerably less than pink rose which itself requires 4-6 thousands pounds of flowers to yield 35 ounces/1 kilo of absolute.

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  • Sambar Perfume Newsletter

    Almost 40 years ago I made my first trip to India at the age of 21. It was to be the first of many trips during which I gained exposure to a rich and diversified culture that included travels throughout many parts of that vast and ancient land. The rich tapestry of experiences that evolved with each encounter with India impacted my life on many levels one of which was an increased appreciation for the world of aromatic plants and the way they enrich our lives. The wealth of exotic scents that pervaded the environments of the farm in South India where I lived and worked awakened a life long interest in the plants, the environments in which they grew. By good fortune I was eventually able to journey throughout the length and breadth of India to investigate the fascinating world of fragrant botanicals during which I learned how deeply this natural treasures were interwoven into the social, economic and religious lives of the people.

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  • Gingerbread Newsletter

    Last month we explored the realm of culinary perfumes based upon the spices used in a fine South Indian soup called Sambar. This month we will continue in that vein but with a theme closer to the delectable aromas that were part of my home life growing up. My mom who continues to create delicious treats for our daily afternoon tea party which includes a walk in the forest with her two corgis, a chapter from some book written by an author from the Golden Age of Mystery(Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, etc.) a cup of herb tea and some variety of home baked cookie or cake.

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  • Matins Perfume Newsletter

    One of my many interests in natural aromatics centers around the use of aromatic botanicals for making liquid incense and perfumes that in some way might reflect the specific religious traditions ie Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Egyptian, Tibetan, Chinese, Persian, etc that gave birth to them. With the passage of the years I have become sensitive to the aromatic smoke from traditional incense(I have burned copious amounts in my life) so I wanted to make some lovely liquid incenses and perfumes which might be placed in a simple diffuser life the AromaStone so I could enjoy the radiance and beauty of those olfactory treasures without smoke. In doing numerous experiments I discovered this was a delightful way to experience essential oils, co2 extracts, attars, and absolutes either singly or in combination. The simple warming effect of the AromaStone allowed the liquid incense or perfumes to gently release their aromatic aroma into the surrounding atmosphere where I could enjoy it in a deep and complete way-a sort of surround sound of the aromatic world. What was an equally great delight was to realize that just a few drops of these natural perfumes and liquid incenses would continue to exert their sublime effect for many hours or even days. So it has proved a very cost effective way to enjoy this refined world of natural fragrances as well.

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