Scent Bar launch today!

We are thrilled to be launching our  Scent Bar online today!

scent bar trio banner space text

Scent Bar is an exciting way to create your own custom-fragrance using natural extracts and accords from our collection.
How does it work? Simply choose your favourite top, middle and base notes from those listed, and we will expertly blend them into an 8ml atomiser for only $29.95. 

scent bar banner 1

We first launched Scent Bar at the Bowerbird Bazaar back in November, and where overwhelmed with positive and excited responses from our customers. So now you can have the Scent Bar experience whenever you like!

We’ve started with a collection of 25 of the most asked-for notes (tinctured in 100% natural grape ethanol), and will be adding new notes every month. You can choose from some ready-made accords (blends of 2 or more notes to create a harmonious scent), such as a triple rose accord (with 3 different rose extracts and a geranium extract), and single extracts such as ylang ylang, coriander & blood orange.

scent bar oils leaf

Scent Bar is a great way to be able to explore the world of natural perfumery using your own creativity and personal preferences. But if it all seems a bit complicated, you can stick with our ready-to-wear collection, or even have a bespoke fragrance made for you!

Ready to have a look? You can try Scent Bar here

Happy blending! (Oh, and happy new year everyone! )

x

Liz

What the heck is fenugreek? (And why is it in my perfume!?)

Fenugreek. Fe-nu-grik. Sounds weird. Smells interesting. Really good in a curry.

The fenugreek plant

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So what the heck is it doing in perfume?

When I ordered my first sample of fenugreek extract, I was intrigued by its description, and was hoping to find something that smelt like burnt sugar or syrup. What I discovered upon opening the bottle of fenugreek C02 was the most intriguing aroma of curry, fresh mown hay, sweat, spices, sugar and fresh dirt. All at once I could smell soup and candy, milk and meat, and it was so interesting. Difficult to know what to do with at the time, I put my bottle of fenugreek away, knowing I’d find the perfect opportunity to experiment with it in the future.

fenugreek seeds

The first time I used it was for a fragrance that I was creating for my husband, which then went on to become our Slow Fire fragrance.

One Seed Slow Fire fragrance

One Seed Slow Fire fragrance

We used fenugreek in this fragrance to impart an earthiness and maple-like sweetness to enhance the aroma of being soaked in the warmth and sweet woodiness of an open fire.

Good Scents describes the odor of fenugreek as having:

“celery like spicyness, a coumarinic balsamic sweetness and an intense, almost sickening and strong, lovage like or opopanax like note of extreme tenacity. ”

It warns perfumers that the diffusive power of the odour of fenugreek is often highly overestimated, and that traces can either ruin a perfume or have a beautiful, unique effect in certain compositions.

As a perfumer, there is often a fine line with extract like fenugreek, where trace amounts can create an amazing effect, but only one drop more can completely ruin a blend, and make it smell like Indian takeaway, or, in the case of cepes, for example, like a Vegemite sandwhich!

Eau de Yeast Extract, anyone?

Eau de Yeast Extract, anyone?

Some interesting facts about fenugreek:

  • In February 2009, the International Frutarom Corporation factory in North Bergen, New Jersey, was found to be the source of a mysterious maple syrup aroma, which had been reported as occasionally drifting over New York City since 2005. The odor was found to be from soloton, an ester in fenugreek seeds
  • Fenugreek is often used to mimic the aroma and taste of maple syrup in maple syrup substitutes
  • Fenugreek seeds, leaves and sprouts are used for culinary purposes, most commonly in Indian cuisines
  • Breastfeeding mothers can take fenugreek to increase their milk production.
  • An interesting side-effect of consuming large amounts of fenugreek that is that it produces a faint odour of maple syrup on the skin and in the sweat and urine

Not surprisingly, there are not many fragrances available which make use of the most interesting extract. But for me, it is fascinating, and there is really nothing else like it in my perfume palette.

So here’s hoping you learned something new today.

So are you intrigued? I hope so!

Liz

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Mission accomplished – tincture o’ rice

You may recall that a few weeks ago, I posted about trying my hand at tincture of basmati rice. Well, today it has been filtered, and is now ready for experimention in our perfumes.

Basmati rice fields - image from jollof-impex.com

Basmati rice fields – image from jollof-impex.com

But before I begin that process, I thought I’d tell you about the steps to make this tincture, and about the final result.

I started out with 500g of the best quality 100% basmati rice I could find (cost around $8 for the bag). I then lined a baking tray with unbleached baking paper, spread out the rice in fine layer, and roasted it at 120 degrees celcius for 15 minutes, stirring partway through to ensure even roasting.

Roasting the basmati rice

Roasting the basmati rice

I was careful not to roast at too high a temperature so as too maintain the fragrance and gentleness of the aroma.

After cooling completely, I half-filled a sterile jar with the roasted basmati rice, then added natural grape ethanol to fill the jar. The jar was left in a cool, dark cupboard for 3 weeks, during which time I shook it gently every few days, and tested the smell for potency.

Rice tincture - week 2

Rice tincture – week 2

Today, I filtered the concoction through a fine filter paper into a sterile dark glass bottle,

Hand-filtering the the tincture

Hand-filtering the the tincture

and here we have our final solution: tincture of basmati rice.

Filtered tincture of basmati rice

Filtered tincture of basmati rice

Although the initial tincture was quite cloudy, the final filtered tincture is lovely and clear, with a creamy aroma of basmati rice, and more than a hint of green coconut juice! (My brain is flowing with ideas….!)

And there you have it 🙂

x

2013 – Year of the Ticture

Seems 2013 has started off in a slow “I’m-a-dozy-hippie” kinda way for me. But that’s OK. I think I’m not quite over 2012 yet (or, perhaps it’s not quite over me??).

image from nurhudahalim.blogspot.com.au

image from nurhudahalim.blogspot.com.au

Although my head is not yet in the game, my olfactory senses are off on their own little journey, and I find myself sniffing anything that doesn’t move (and some things that do) just to get a sense of them, and how I might extract their essences. (Tincture o’ fence, anyone??)

So while my head is still on vacation, my nose is writing this article for the love of all things odiferous.

It’s starting out with tincture of roasted basmati rice (I’ll be writing about that journey in specific detail soon), and then I found myself surrounded by giant peppercorn trees with their pink little berries of glory crying out for baptism in alcohol. Then, in our little veggie patch a few days ago, I realised I might be a little bit obsessed with the tomato plants (perhaps why they’re yielding so well this time around), and I think it’s more to do with the scent of the leaves than the fruit itself! (Ohhh…the smell of that green, earthy, bitter, salady, dewinesss…)

But, alas, Google wants to kill my joy with articles about the toxicity of tomato leaf, so that one might be a pipe dream.

And then there’s calendula.

DSC_0498

Like the nerdy little school girl who no-one pays attention to until suddenly one day she takes off her glasses and everyone gasps in shock and wonder, asking “Whoa! When did she become so hot??!” (And she always was BTW).

nerd

Calendula is my ugly duckling. Planted in place of insecticides, it was purely functional. And then I smelt it…And now I must have it in a bottle.

So it would appear that 2013 is going to be the year of the tincture for me. I can’t wait to  see what other goodies join the artisan ranks of mandarin peel & vanilla pod tinctures in my perfume kit …

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Are you a tincturer? Or hoping to become one? What have you successfully tinctured, or got your eye (or nose) on?

Natural Selection…the story of a failed perfume project

It’s a hard thing to admit when you’ve failed.

I’ve had my mind and heart set on creating a beautiful, uplifting citrus scent for the past 3  months, and, although that is not a long time in terms of perfume development, I thought I could do it. After all, it’s a citrus – how complicated can it be, right?

clementines – image from seeds.sunriseruby.org

For the most part, the fragrances I’ve created are either a 6-month on-and-off project, or a first-shot wonder (sometimes with an an extra little tweak or two). But this jolly citrus scent is evading me. I’ve spend numerous hours trialling, researching, creating and testing samples and I thought I was near the mark. So I got together my posse for a trial night to decide on the winner. And there was none.

Natalie Portman’s disappointed face – reactionface.info

Sure, there were a couple of vials which had some high ratings by the reviewers, but there was no one or even two clear favourites. Most of them ranked about a 6 or 7 overall. Blah. Take it or leave it. Smells nice but wouldn’t buy it. And that to me says I’ve failed on this one.

My review team did a fantastic job of giving me feedback and assessing each modification for its merits and downfalls, picking notes, detecting nuances, and scoring each vial. But, at the end of the day, I want a polarising scent. One that some people absolutely MUST have, and others say, um, no thanks. That would be a winner to me. (I used the same method for choosing our Devotion scent, and it has a huge following (and it’s detesters!) ).

‘Devotion’ by One Seed

 

So what I’ve ended up with is 5 finalists in this beauty pageant that have a pretty good figure, and a cute face, but no personality, and no real attraction. So no winner.

beauty pageant – image from thelasttradition.blogspot.com

But it’s OK. I’m not actually too sad about it. It just means that the scent I was promising to launch in November needs to find a launch date in its own time. I think I need a whole new assessment of the project, and a re-evaluation of what my clients want.

Want to help me? I thought you would. 🙂

What do you look for in a citrusy or fresh fragrance? What notes do you love? Got any favourite citrus-based scents? I want to, no, NEED to, hear all about it….

Liz

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