Thursday, 25 February 2010

Three New Samples

Three new samples are being sniffed as I write: Cedrat, which is a special kind of lemon, Raspberry Absolute and Peru Balsam Absolute. I do reflect sometimes upon whether there comes a point when one has enough smellies to play with. It is almost impossible to describe floral aromas without reference to other flowers which implies that judicious blending could achieve a pretty close match.

Boronia absolute could be imitated by using absolutes of gardenia, frangipani, tuberose, jasmine sambac, mimosa and a smidge of osmanthus to give the fruit. Humans do like fiddling with things and a fellow fiddler sent me the three aforementioned fiddles. So what does my bow make of these.

Cedrat – definitely lemon but it sparkles lightly like sherbet. The impression is one of being bright and lively not heavy like litsea. Lemon oil has a tendency to oxidise so when I want lemon notes I use litsea and lemon myrtle. I recently had to marry lemon notes with jasmine for a client and I used aglaia absolute which did the job. The cedrat reminds me of the pollen type dust one finds on fresh lemons whilst still hanging on the tree in late spring. It is very lovely and I am going to fiddle with it.

Peru Balsam Absolute – this is the first time I have smelt an absolute of this material. It is well known from in pharmacy world for being an ingredient in cough mixtures. It is also restricted by IFRA. The crude balsam is very hard to work with so we get it rectified (re-distilled). The resulting oil is refined in terms of odour, mobile at room temperature and is oil soluble. It is very useful in natural perfumery. My impression of the absolute is that the odour is more delicate and certainly less volatile at room temperature so it would function differently in a fragrance compared with the oil. The oil and the absolute when blended would spread the notes over an increased range of the volatility spectrum.

Raspberry Absolute it says on the tin. I am greeted by a very dark green/black molasses like sticky goo when I remove the lid. So very concentrated and obviously made from the leaf. It has a somewhat elusive odour – not in terms of experience but in adjectives to describe it. It is slightly reminiscent of burgeons de cassis absolute but the catty notes are missing. It is also warmer and sweeter but does have the same fresh quality. It says agrestic and fruity. I do believe that these fruity notes when sufficiently muted would be better than the osmanthus in the faux boronia absolute. This will need much diluting before it will open up and reveal its full potential.

Interview on Basenotes

I was recently interviewed by Walker Minton for Basenotes. From time to time I am called by a journalist seeking a professional opinion about something smell related. During the next part of the conversation they usually tell me what they would like me to say so it fits neatly with the piece they are writing. What was nice about meeting Walker was that he was a fellow enthusiast who taken the trouble to do some homework. He had a genuine interest, was well informed and asked decent questions. Click the title of this post to link to the interview.