Friday, January 14, 2011

Making Love...

the perfume!

Five or six years ago, I started getting into natural perfumery.  I became fascinated with the other side of essential oils - blending purely for pleasure, the perfume aspect to working with botanics.

And then I became obsessed!

It's hard not to... with essential oils, infused oils, absolutes, tinctures and resins, there are infinite combinations of aromas to create... even just thinking about it I'm getting a little overwhelmed!

I started collecting bottles... single essential oils and absolutes... I had well over 100 in my collection... some were the from the same plant, grown in the same location, but from different companies so I could see the difference between different suppliers.  Some were from the same plant, but grown in different locations... different growing conditions like altitude and humidity can really change the aroma of an oil!  I still keep up a collection of vetivers... it's one of my favorite oils! 

I'd use all my free time to make blends... one drop of this, one drop of that, and ooh! what would this smell like blended in?  I started working on accords (blends to be blended with other blends!) and taking notes.. notebook after notebook of notes on notes! 

From the accords I would make new blends, take more notes, get new ideas, make more blends of more notes of more accords of blends of notes and notes and oils and blends... ahhhhhh...

And then, I decided to take a break... a long one... I wanted to bring my focus back to aromatherapy blends... less complex blends... ones where each oil would stand out and do its duty. 

I cut my collection back to about 20 different oils, and started working again on blending with a purpose... blends for aromatherapeutic use...

And around that time was when Wunder Budder was reborn...

Focusing my collection and my purpose on aromatherapy allowed Winter to be created and released as Wunder Budder's first official aromatherapy blend!

I remained focused, releasing two more aromatherapy blends, and blends for lip balms and  facial care

Blending for a purpose is both easier and more difficult with its limitation... With this kind of blending, I wanted to be more careful about my choices... that meant using only oils that were generally safe for skin applications and giving up ones like bergamot (one of my favorites!) that were great for inhalation but weren't skin safe, according to my two safety manuals and IFRA standards.  By limiting my options, I had fewer choices to work with but it also stimulated the scientific aspect of my thinking, which sometimes I think is no different from my creative side(!), to pick the oils best suited for their application.  It was fun and I stayed focused...

Until I started making Love, the aromatherapy blend.

Even from the start it seemed more like a perfume blend than an aromatherapy blend... I wanted to make something that could try to illustrate the feeling of falling love.. all kinds of love... spicy and flirty on the outside, blossoming into a floral heart, leading into a deep sweetness.  The full aroma.  Which needed oils to match it.

I started off with the base... the deep sweetness... labdanum!  On it's own, labdanum is layered... it's not traditionally used in aromatherapy, but it's so sweet and innocent and long lasting, there was no way I could make a blend about love without it.  Plus as one of my other favorites (I have a lot of them!), I just really wanted to work with it again.  And vetiver!  It's deep earthy aroma just had to be included.  And oh, they just smell so good together!  And cocoa!  What if I added a little cocoa (actually, cacao) to the mix?  A deep dark chocolaty addition to the vanilla-like aroma of labdanum with a little vetiver thrown in to keep it from being too candy-like?  Yes!  Would I usually use cocoa in an aromatherapy blend?  No, but the three just smelled so good together!

Then I moved onto the middle/heart note... jasmine... it had to be jasmine... alone, jasmine is both spicy and sweet and deeply floral... it was necessary... and then rose... rose!  Rose would calm the jasmine a bit with it's softness.  Both are also often included in aphrodisiac blends, so what could be better as a heart note for Love?

It smelled amazing so far, but it needed something else... a top note... something spicy that would jump out first, but also act as a lead in to the rest of the blend... clove!  Clove, which to my nose acts as both a top and a middle note... clove would be the perfect grabber... the top note that would both jump out and blend in.

And after a few weeks, I declared Love, the aromatherapy blend, finished.  I was in love with Love.  I added the labels for inhalers and aroma sprays into my big order and put it aside for release after Christmas.

But, I couldn't stay away.

It just smelled so good.

And, the more I smelled it, the more I smelled ghost aromas... ones that my imagination added to the blend... I had planned on keeping perfumery at bay for at least another year until Wunder Budder (the business at a whole) was stabilized, but Love was drawing me in.  I couldn't put it down.

It was like it wanted me to add something to it... like, it had its own personality and it was calling me... please, please, just try this one other essential oil, I promise you won't be disappointed.  But you have so much going on already, Love, you don't need anything else...

It won.

The blend was calling out for was another one of my favorite oils from the Perfume Years... I ordered it, added it, smelled it, and it fit perfectly.  And called out for another oil... and another... and another... until I finally gave in to what was happening, and almost as if it created itself, Love the perfume was born.

As someone that usually uses only a small amount of grain alcohol in blends, both to extend the shelf life of certain creations and to help carry the scent, I was nervous about creating an alcohol based perfume instead of the jojoba based perfumes I've experimented with in the past.

Jojoba oil and alcohol as carriers bring different things to blends... but, I discovered that my heavy-handedness with base notes (a personal preference, and thought of by me as a curse until I settled into my own blending personality) worked really well with an alcohol carrier!  Together, the grain alcohol (not the standard perfumer's alcohol, ethanol, which can sometimes be extracted from petroleum products instead of plants) and the blend created a perfume that was even... it didn't, it doesn't, come on too strong or fade too fast... it changes, like natural perfumes are meant to, but it changes at a nice even pace.  I fell in love with Love all over again.

With the use of oils more rare and complicated and beautiful than many oils traditionally used in aromatherapy, came a higher price which needed to be matched with fancier packaging than my usual amber glass bottles.

Love eau de parfume, 46mL
Deciding on packing was almost as fun as creating the perfume!  What would match the aroma best... oh, a clear glass bottle with an old-fashioned black fabric bulb atomizer?  Yes! 

But, what if someone didn't want a full sized (46mL) bottle of Love?  Is there something smaller?  Oh, a heart shaped(!) 4mL bottle with a gold cap and red tassel, to be used for fingertip application?  Yes yes yes!

I had found the vessels for Love.

Love eau de parfum, 4mL
 And then, I decided to add one more option... a simple glass atomizer, 4mL, perfect for purses and filled with Love as an eau de toilette!

I was done, and now it's almost time to share Love with all of you and I can't wait!  All three (eau de parfum strength in 46mL and 4mL, and eau de toilette strength in 4mL) will be released on February 1st, 2011.  Finally!

Only a few months in the making, this was a short time for a perfume to go from idea to creation to packaging to offering.  Perfumers sometimes take years before they feel their masterpiece is ready.  I love that it's a perfume based on an aromatherapy blend, and maybe that's why it didn't take as long as many perfumes traditionally do. Or, maybe it's that I'm not really a perfumer...

I just like to make things that smell good.


Experience Love!
Read the Press Release

Love living naturally with Wunder Budder!

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