Katie

Katie has 15 articles published.

A Rose By Any Other Name

So… here’s the thing: Auxeos is not a word. I got the root word for auxetic materials all wrong. (Going to go crawl under a rock now and then die there from embarrassment. Yes indeedy, I will.)

Now, on the one hand, one could argue that cosmetic companies make up words all the time, especially absurd quasi-French/quasi-English ones. On the other hand, auxeos is not a word.

It basically boils down to this: Laurent’s fragrance for me needs a new name. It’s something I’ve been mulling over for a little while now. I’d sounded out my husband Jon for some ideas, which gleaned nothing. To wit –

“Honey, what would you name a perfume?”

“Hm… I think I’d name it Steve.”

“?”

“C’mon! I bet there’s not any other Steves out there on the market.”

“Uh, no.”

“Okay, fine. How ’bout Craig?”

So then I was thinking, oh I know, I’ll name it “A Million Bucks.” And that way, when someone says to you, “Omigod, you smell like a million bucks!” you could be all, “Dude! I KNOW!” But that’s no good. Especially for my Canadian friends, who just won’t smell as quite as nice, what with the exchange rate and all. (Hacky currency joke! Apologies!)

Funnily enough, Nobi floats the name “Slinky” in the comments for his last post. Which… yeah. I like that. What do you all think? Does “Slinky” work?

Got your own ideas? What would YOU name a fragrance? And what might you name this particular fragrance?

(Please note, per conversations with Jon, that “Yoda,” “Stan,” and “Peggy” have already been rejected. As was his suggestion of “Jon,” because no one wants to hear they smell like the john.)

Laurent’s Reply: Moving on to Round 4

Katie,

Firstly, I would like to wish you a happy new year, and hopefully your dream fragrance will come true.

I was very happy to see that you enjoyed the last round of mod, and it even sounds like you are not the only one. I just want to take this opportunity to say that our phone conversation was very much a turning point, and that it shows how important it is to communicate and make sure that we are talking the same language.

I have to say that I am very impressed by your knowledge and you are right on target. Mod J is definitaly more balsamic aromatic: It is a combination of different resin like labdanum, peru balsam with geranium, coriander and thyme. Where mod K is more olibanum, musk and woody notes.

So for the next round and maybe the last, I am going to try to combine the best of these two mods and I will keep in mind the comfort of J and its saltyness.

I really enjoyed reading all the comments on the blog,

Talk to you soon,
Laurent.

Giddyup! Katie’s Letter to Laurent and Reviews of Mods I, J & K

This concludes Katie’s Round 3 with mods R3/I, R3/J, and R3/K.

Dear Laurent,

I want to begin by calling a quick time-out to tell you just how thoroughly I’ve enjoyed this last round of mods. Like, a can’t-see-straight enjoyment. I seriously want to be nose drunk off of them, rather than have to set anything down into words. Which would land me in the doghouse with you and Nobi, and grind the project to a halt, so here goes…

It’s funny. I see a progression from first to third in this series more than I did with the previous rounds.

I” pushes forward with those things we talked about in our phone conversation nicely. Breathing a little bit of funk and “animal” into it really puts Auxeos’ feet on the ground. The incensey leather suddenly seems richer to me. There’s more layers of shadow now?

But as we move over to “J,” I discover I am demolished by it – in a good way. “J” takes place in a parellel universe to “I,” where everything from “I” bears a comparatively “spicy” twist. I’m hard pressed to describe it accurately, but I’d say it’s almost like an aromatic balsamic quality that gently rises off the composition. Especially at the top. That truly is an awful verbal approximation, so I hope from that you can gather some idea of what I’m trying to say? It’s not really “spicy,” but I lack a word to nail down what I mean. This is really frustrating! I don’t know how to communicate this, and my apologies!

J” lights up all those primal reptile knurls in my brain. Obviously, I responded the most viscerally to this mod.

Next we have “K.” I am initally struck by its “perfumey” quality in the initial first phase of wear. I’m not sure about the top on it. It’s a little powdery to me, but then on the other hand, it’s sure not any powder I’ve ever known.

The development on “K” seems the most far-reaching of any of the mods thus far. And I love that. The way it moves and shifts in tones as it develops is quite rewarding. The drydown has a lovely flourished feeling to it, which I can see being very appealing to others, too.

But I love the cozy warmth on “J“s drydown, too. I think it’s something to do with the way the vanillic element in it is used, perhaps. But it’s not explicitly vanilla at any point, which I appreciate. (Or it’s not there at all and I’m a total nutter.)

I hope you can extrapolate something meaningful from this feedback. I have layered “J” and “K” together for some sort of mutant creation, but of course… that’s neither workable nor an elegant solution.

After sniffing this round, I’m tempted to rename our fragrance project “Gestalt.” These new mods create allusions without condescending to spell every little thing out too completely: None of the notes whomp you over the head with a frying pan of obvious. But then, “Gestalt” isn’t a very pretty word, so maybe not. Heh.

I,” “J,” and “K” are all so well done, and they’ve induced an inability to speak objectively or analytically here. I keep putting them on with the idea I’ll be wearing my thinking cap, too. But I can’t do it! I simply enjoy them too much to do anything except inhale happily. We are galloping down the right path, to say the least.

Oh wait – one hope? Please don’t lose that brittle crust of salt! So many sweet fragrances are out there in the world. If Luca Turin is right, and perfume is not about sex but food, then there ought to be more bold salty ones, too. (For the record, I happen to think it’s both: a little from column A, and a little from column B. It’s my Chinese take-out menu hypothesis on perfume.) That quality seems a little less apparent with this round, but that’s okay. As the fragrance becomes more involved and complex, it’s to be expected that it’ll all change. But I do hope you might find a way to retain just a hint of that, if possible. Unless it smells bad, of course. Then nevermind, heh!

Merry Christmas,
Katie

And since I doubt I’ll be posting here again ’til the calendar flips over:

Deck the garden with boughs of hollyHappy Chanukah, Kwaanzaa, and Christmas to everyone who’s been following our project.

And thank you! It’s been a fun ride this year, and I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the ride in 2007.

A limited quantity of samples from this round will be briefly available through the Made by Blog shop. The set includes sample vials of both mine and Marina’s latest mods.

On the Phone: My Chat with Laurent for Round 3

As Nobi noted in the previous post, I had the opportunity to talk on the phone with Laurent regarding the next phase of development for our project.

It felt rather surreal, to say the least. Well, let me explain that: I was wearing my grubby jeans with the hole in the knee and faded varnish stains, and a worn out t-shirt that long ago has turned the corner into rag territory but I won’t throw it out since it’s oh-so-comfy. I’d just finished shoving half my body under the kitchen sink counter to clean out stank goop from the plumbing trap, pulling out gobs of unspeakable ickiness. And this, just so I could do the dishes without pinching my nose shut. Yeah, my life is simply one glamorous event after the next. Chatting about “my” perfume contrasted wildly with the rest of my day. (Or more accurately, with my life in general.)

We talked a bit about the email and my feelings about the previous mods, just to clarify things. The worst part is, I keep getting the letters mixed up unless I have my notes or scent strips with the letters written down right front of me. Perhaps I ought to consider giving them goofy nicknames from now on, so I can better remember which is which. It’s kind of like when companies use numbers instead of names for their lipsticks – unless I bring the old used-up tube with me to replace it, I’m lost, y’all.

The way leather shall be used was one big topic of conversation. I mentioned how much I liked the animalic growl of leather as used in older fragrances. One such example I cited was the growl smoothly contained in vintage Chantilly (as opposed to the triviality it has now become.) But Laurent pointed out that of course, those older fragrances were animalic because they WERE animal. He mentioned that we could go ahead and try natural animal ingredients, but I feel like it would be for the best if we avoided that. He then pointed out the limitations, if not impossibility, of sythetics mimicking that quality so deeply. However, as much as I enjoy those old perfumes, I’m a vegetarian, and wearing them calls up a whole ethical conundrum as it is. Hopefully in this modern day fragrance we can spare others that same conundrum, by continuing use of non-animal ingredients to imbue a lovely leathery expression.

We also discussed other choices for notes, one such being use of a honey note. I found Laurent’s suggestion very interesting, but as I said on the phone, I find honey too cloying usually. What’s crummy is that sometimes honey notes are able to convey a sense of feral wilderness to a scent, but I know I’m not alone in finding my skin turns honey notes into something approximating the aroma of sweet, sugary cat pee. Eeek. Those of us who can’t carry off honey well pretty much despise and envy those of you who can, heh heh.

The overtly soapy smelling character that some of the mods exhibited was also discussed. While I do like it in some small measure, I don’t want it to be anything that predominates our final product. There’s already too many “clean/soapy” fragrances out there, and it was the one thing that my guinea pigs specifically cited as something they didn’t like so much. Laurent explained that when certain ingredients are used in combination, this quality can come out. So, we shall see what he can devise to lessen the effect. He did say what the likely cause was, but I forgot it almost instantly, since that sort of information kind of sails right over my head. Perhaps the reason all us perfume-nuts remember metaphor- and adjective-based descriptions is because, for many of us, the technical details are simply too far removed from our everyday life to be mentally recorded.

Hm. What else? I think I apologized over much to him about my amateur-hour knowledge. Excessive apology is just as rude as never apologizing for anything, so I hope he didn’t take too much offense. Part of that was due to my feeling that ultimately I wanted to make sure that he felt like the various mods were solid concepts and balanced. While it’s my imagination that spaked the creation, when it comes down to it, the entire project should be credited to his work and his creativity. I have this terrible fear that if I try to insert myself too much into his own ideas, Auxeos will meet some laughable Wile E. Coyote end. No one wants to smell the aromatic equivalent of a “splat!” as the end result of this process; Letting me get ahold of the Acme catalog to order up item-specific failure is not an option. I feel more strongly than ever that my input should be kept to general descriptions, rather than me trying to specify in details, when obviously I am not as intimately familiar with them as Laurent. Attempts at interfering too deeply with his own wisdom and judgement seems to me like a destructive action. It’d be like telling Picasso “too much blue!” or Donizetti “no minor keys!” In other words, it would be downright silly. Consequently, my input as far as notes go is more along the lines of vague preferences, rather than anything even close to resembling a strict edict.

It’s so funny to me that Nobi created a “roadmap” for Made by Blog. That’s precisely what this project feels like. The whole process seems to me like an open-ended road trip. We have the vehicle; we have a general destination. But how we get there, and all the little stops and detours we make along the way are up to us, to be decided on the fly. I might express a desire to head north, but it rightly should be up to the driver, meaning Laurent, to decide if we take the scenic route or the freeway to get there.

100% LOVE

Auxeos. Another Round. Katie’s Review and Letter about Mods E, F, & G

This concludes Katie’s Round 2 with mods R2/E, R2/F, and R2/G.

Dear Laurent,

It’s taken me more than a while to wend my way through the three new mods. The differences between them are comparatively more subtle than those in the previous two mods.

I’ve tried writing up a review of the three several times, and each time ended up crumpling my notepaper up due to a lack of any coherence. I’m flummoxed over what sort of feedback to give you, nor am I at all sure where we should go from here. Eeeek! Help! What do you think would be some interesting and better approaches? I’m sure you’ve got strong opinions on the subject, and certainly yours would be comprehensive and informed. Is there something I’m missing? Ach, of course there is.

I do want to keep the slight crusty saltiness that I liked so much in the earlier mods, specifically “C,” I know that for sure now. It’s like a good hook, or a tasty guitar riff. And the darker corners on “G”s drydown were intriguing. Outside of that, I’m feeling weirdly indecisive.

I feel like “E” more closely stems off the earlier mod “C” in a way. Perhaps consequently, it was this one that nearly all my guinea pigs preferred the best out of these three. I liked it, well enough also. But after smelling “E” off and on during all this time, I feel like an asshat now. Mostly because I can’t help but compare it directly to the “C” mod you created. It’s hard not to wonder if perhaps “C” was superior, and thus didn’t need me trying to stick my spoon in the soup before it was served. “E” is darker than “C,” but what it gains in edginess, it kind of loses some of “C”s brittleness.

I like the drydown of “F,” but overall I wonder if the opening is not too citursy, and if it’s not too soapy overall. I tried it out on folks at a party, and the general reaction to it was “whoa.” I would like our fragrance to give folks a nice jolt, but I don’t want to scare anyone with it, heh. “F” demonstrates decisive phases of devolopment the best of the three, bearing more distinct phrasing when it dries. Which is nice. I like the way the notes come tumbling down slowly.

“G” was the mod I ended up gravitating the most towards personally. I really, really enjoyed the darker shadowy feel to it. I do wonder if it would be less satisfying to others compared to “C” or “E,” and not just amongst my random collection of willing victims (aka friends and family.) My guinea pigs were saying it was “nice,” but didn’t particularly seem to find it as interesting to wear as did I. It strikes me as a slightly linear composition, especially compared to “F” and “C.” But… urgh… there’s something quite enjoyable in “G”s drydown that would be wonderful to use, if possible. I gave turns off and on to all the mods, but it was the base on “G” that turned out to be the most deeply addictive.

All three mods were described as “soapy” at various times, and I too feel perhaps they were a bit TOO soapy. Which is my fault, I am sure. Did I just send us off on a wild goose chase for this round? I hope not.

In short, I don’t really know what to say. I’m… at a loss. Lost, lost, lost. What shall we do next?

Katie

An Interview with Laurent Le Guernec

laurentvideo.jpgHere’s a short film starring Laurent, describing a little bit about himself and the way he works.

For whatever reason, I had it in my head he’d be a little different. Not personality-wise really, but when I think of the perfumers working at the big three companies, I always picture them in long white lab coats with their names sewed on the breast… Maybe it’s human nature to mentally uniform people respective to their occupation? Gah, I dunno. And now that I think of it, it IS a little ridiculous to think they’re skulking about all day in work smocks.

Because I knew Laurent and Clement had collaborated on Ms. Parker’s Lovely, I imagined them working together a little like this. Which I suppose would make Marina and I into the Lenny and Squiggy of my loopy scheme, sadly enough.

I clearly haven’t a clue.

So, anyhow… enjoy the interview! If you wish to ask Laurent some brief questions of your own, please leave them in the comments for this post, and he will try to answer some of them in future post.

Nobi, our blogging emcee and the mad genius behind this project, is currently unavailable for the rest of the month. He’s vacationing in a technology-deprived area, like the desert, or the Amish countryside, or my mom’s house (same rotary dial phone for 40 years), and won’t be able to check in here. However, Marina and I will check in as often as we can, and will try to keep house well! [by Katie]

Laurent’s Reply, and a Quick Note Back

Laurent read my reviews from his first two mods, and sent back his reply already!

Dear Katie,

What a review !!!!! I had no idea that these fragrances would trigger such excitement and emotions. I really appreciate that you took the time to live with the fragrances, which shows that you have a lot of respect for what “perfumers” do. And I have a lot of fun reading all the comments on the blog.

After reading your review a couple of times, I just want to make sure that I understand what you are expecting in the reworks. So we are definitely going to start from Auxeos “C”. I’m going to look at what makes “B” more powerful in the back and see if I can borrow some elements from it to give more volume to “C”. If it doesn’t work I will just intensify the elements of “C”. It looks like we are a little shy with you girls;we need to turn the volume up !!!! I just have a quick question: do you think that all the elements you wanted in your fragrance are already in the composition, or is there something that you are missing ?

Thank you for being so passionate,

Laurent

I dropped him a quick note back…

Dear Laurent,

Oh good lord! Of course I’m excited! For me, this is the equivalent of throwing out the first pitch at a ball game – I’d be a plumb idiot not to be thrilled.

If it is at all possible, I really would love to have some of the warm drydown in “B” incorporated. However, can we also add in the dark gold gleam of frankincense an entirely explicit note? Just for emphasis, I’d like to add a plea to please not lose the little salty lick I liked so much in “C,” which was just lovely.

“It look like we are a little shy with you girls,we need to turn the volume up !!!!” Heh heh. Crank up the amp to 11!

Katie

Made by Blog: Round 1 Trial Set Now Available

A set of the three trial fragrances from Round 1, which includes Holy Grail R1/A and Auxeos R1/B and R1/C, is now available for purchase via the online store. Each sample in the set comes in a 3.5ml plastic spray vial. Please note that the availability of these samples is quite limited, and will be sold on a first come, first served basis only. Thank you so much for your support!

Message to Laurent: Round 1, Mods B and C

This concludes Katie’s Round 1 with sketches R1/B and R1/C.
The following is the message I passed on to Laurent with my perceptions of both mods he created:

Dear Laurent,

I want to start by saying that no offense or anything like that was meant by my slowness in getting back to you about the two mods. It was clear that you put a ton of effort and consideration into them, and I wanted to respond to your thoughtfulness by making sure I lived with them for a while, let them walk around inside my head, before I gathered up my thoughts. They are both so well done, well plotted, and deserved some old-fashioned contemplation.

When I was, like, five or six I had a part in the children’s Christmas play at my mom’s church. I was “Y for Yulelog.” I got so overwhelmed by my own rushed excitement that I biffed the line, and in embarassment pulled my skirt over my head. Apparently my little self thought that was less humiliating than showing my red face. “Y for Yulelog” was delivered by a little girl with her skirt worn skyward and her Wonder Woman underpants on display for the whole congregation to see. So in short, I’m pretty much hoping to avoid showing off my underpants to you and all the Made by Blog readers on this project.

Auxeos “B” ~

No one could accuse this fragrance of being a wallflower; it’s quite forward in personality. “B” plays its tune so fortissimo right from the get-go, with a sudden whoosh of sound. The herbally green twang to it is striking. There’s some kind of dueling banjos between the green and the leathery intonations. But it smells so sticky to me. Does “sticky” have a smell? Oh nevermind, don’t answer that. Maybe just humor me for the moment and pretend it does. The sticky seems to be less pronounced on men’s skin than on women’s, though I could swear on paper it smells sticky, too. This is not a criticism of any sort. The green is nifty, but not the direction I hope Auxeos moves towards. I wonder if it would not be too loud for most folks to cotton to.

I sooooooo love the drydown. Or rather, to bastardize that famous line in Annie Hall, love is too weak a word – I lurve it, I loave it, I luff it. Good lord, is it ever so warm and inviting. It’s the equivalent of yanking up the quilts over your shoulders on a chilly winter morning. It’s got a little sweetness, but not too sweet: my inner Goldilocks says to herself, “just right.” The way the incensey bit and some sort of spiced brown warmth starts to rise from the ashes of the fading green-tinged leather is most enjoyable.

“B” starts loud, and winds up being, well, not exactly quiet… but not so ferocious either. The dry down is pure lurve.

Auxeos “C” ~

Flowers on a salt lick! The brisk beach twilight! Brittle incense! These were the aspects of “C” I liked the best. Thematically, I found “C” more enjoyable than “B” in a way. The emphasis is stronger on woodsy but neatly arranged incense rather than leather here? I do like the general crustiness of the incensey bit in “C.” I also really enjoyed the way the scent wore on skin. Fireworks are on the brain right now, so forgive the weak comparison: it seems like here one aspect pops and lights, and as it dims another pops and lights. I dig the way it pings off chunks of time like that. The leather is there, but when I’m not trying to concentrate on it, I’d say it forms a function of the incense rather than a force unto itself. Which, is cool I guess, because that does seem to pony up well to those encrusted flowers and incense. It’s funny, I wouldn’t necessarily describe “C” as a salty scent per se, but that aspect is totally present and it’s awesome. The way it lifts and blows the incensey part along, almost as if you could snap it in half, would sound like the the crunch of wind-strewn autumn leaves.

There’s this teeny weeny moment at the top where I sense a note a bit like a gas-stained rag? It’s not exactly that, but it’s the verbal approximation to what I smell. Is it weird that I kind of like that? I mean, if it were strong I wouldn’t, but it’s such a fleeting little moment, and its brief appearance fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

As the top fades, the sensastion of strolling past climbing roses and inhaling their aroma becomes apparent, and I have to admit I’m a bit “meh” over this note. It sure is pretty, though. Then, what I can only parlay into words as creaminess also shifts into veiw. It’s so subtle. Yet not so subtle as to go unappreciated. The incense seems to briefly peel back to show off the smell of hiking a trail in wild summer bloom. Yet I also sense a clean but brackish breeze sweeping in from the tide. Perhaps this breeze is the leather-type suede note? It’s dusky but not astringent or tannic. The softened shady tones of “C” allusively reminds me of a snapshot I took a while back…

five minutes after sunset

“C” stands out as more leathery to me after the scent develops far past the first phases. Interesting. Can this lap further onto the fragrance to deepen it? The curving edge it creates is lovely. Or would deepening this note cause the balance to become wobbly?

Ultimately, I like both mods for different reasons, and I’d like something even fuller that would be less brash than “B,” but more expansive than “C.” I lean towards “C” more than “B” generally, but that’s not quite an accurate explanation of my reaction. You know how there’s a certain circularity of composition to Bal a Versailles? But there’s something else in it I specifically relish. That fragrance keeps rising and growing like an improbable crescendo, a wave doomed to self-destruct… only it doesn’t. The Jane’s Addiction song “Ocean Size” goes, “Wish I was ocean size/ No one moves you, man/ No one tries […] I was made with a heart of stone/ To be broken/ With one hard blow/ I’ve seen the ocean/ Break on the shore/ Come together/ With no harm done.” Can a version of Auxeos “C” be rendered ocean size? Can it be even “more?” More what I can’t precisely say. Just “more.” Maybe drier, more brittle, and more woodsy, too… Or maybe my nose behaves too greedily for its own good, heh.

It took me a wee bit to get over the shock of smelling real physical manifestations of that which I’d only pondered in imagination. There’s this part in Dickens’ David Copperfield where the young title character initially sucks in the tidy luxury of his new home, wanting to take note of it all and commit his feeling to memory. “As I laid down my pen, a moment since, to think of it, the air from the sea came blowing in again, mixed with the perfume of the flowers; and I saw the old-fashioned furniture brightly rubbed and polished, my aunt’s inviolable chair and table by the round green fan in the bow-window, the drugget-covered carpet, the cat, the kettle-holder, the two canaries, the old china, the punch-bowl full of dried rose-leaves, the tall press guarding all sorts of bottles and pots, and, wonderfully out of keeping with the rest, my dusty self upon the sofa, taking note of everything.” That’s how I felt. My boring and Plain Jane self wanted to take note of it all, to hoard the sudden and momentary novelty. And I thank you very much for that.

Cheers, Katie

I am guessing that all of you may find the list of notes forwarded to me interesting? Here’s the notes for both mods:

AUXEOS, or the “B” Mod ~

BERGAMOTE, NEROLI PETALES, ELEMI GUM, SPEARMINT
YLANG YLANG,GERANIUM,JASMIN,CARDAMOM
VETIVER, AQUATIC LEATHER,AMBER,MYRRH AND SANDALWOOD

AUXETIC, or “C” Mod ~

MANDARIN,PIMENTO BERRIES,BRAZILIAN MATE
FREESIA, ROSE CENTIFOLIA,PATCHOULY
LEATHER”TYPE SUEDE”,AMBER,TEAKWOOD,OLIBANUM,MUSK

Message from Laurent, and Katie’s Reply

Before Laurent moved forward with the trials, he had one last question for me.

Katie,

Your feedback was very helpful. I will keep in mind that you like the aromatic note. And don’t worry about the burnt note since it is one of the key elements in the leather note. I just think it should be more refined. Regarding some other notes, I love the idea of frankincense, rich and deep, other resin like Labdanum could be interesting, myrrh, opponax, tolu, peru balsam……

Katie, what floral note do you like and what floral note do you not like? I think I’ll be ready to start once I have the answers to this question.

Thanks,

Laurent.

I wrote up what reads more like a shopping list than what is probably a helpful answer, I’m afraid. Poor Laurent – he has to wade through my rambling and then try to divine some sense out of it. It dawns on me that perhaps in addition to having both technical and artistic skills, a successful perfumer must also acquire psychic powers for reading the minds of those who place demands on him or her. In this case, there’s just me, but having to read the minds of, say, a table full of focus group people… ugh. It sounds impossible, and utterly maddening.

Laurent,

You know, that aromatic quality is something I think I’d not worry over – I tend to appreciate more the overall balance of a perfume rather than individual notes. (Which? I suddenly realize sounds awfully funny given all the talk about individual notes, heh.) And, generally, I don’t usually care for a medicinal-seeming aromatic quality in perfumes except in the Frankincense & Myrrh and in Serge Lutens’ Santal Blanc.

I think the same goes for floral notes. There are those that please me, and some that pique my interest when I read they are contained within new perfumes, but I rarely ever love a perfume solely because it has some specific floral note.

I love, and I mean REALLY love Pre de Provence’s Linden Blossom edt and soap: I think it might be the cheapest linden blossom on the market, but it’s my favorite. There are much more refined and elegant perfumes employing linden blossom in them, of course. The Pre de Provence is the one I happen to like best. It causes me to feel irrationally happy when I use in the morning.

I love the ylang ylang of J&E Atkinsons’ Cananga di Java, though I don’t find the note as compelling in other fragrances. I think I like it in that fragrance because it never interferes with the rich woodiness, it simpy rises and soars above to float across the other notes.

I do like rose, but I don’t think I’d like rose in our perfume – I don’t know why however, and can’t articulate the reason I feel that way. Maybe it’s a tad too prosaic? I really don’t care much for powdery roses. Actually, I don’t personally care for powder particularly with perfume, period. I can appreciate and enjoy powdery ones, but I don’t like it. Except in Desprez’s Debutante de Versailles, but only because it’s a powdery perfume with, uh… I don’t how to put this politely… it’s a powdery perfume with balls.

To me, one of the most relaxing scents is lily-of-the-valley, yet I don’t care for it always, and the only perfume focused on that note that I wear with any frequency is i Profumi di Firenze’s Mughetto di Primavera.

I dig Weil’s Antilope (vintage, not this newer cologne stuff, sigh) with it’s lily-of-the-valley and chamomile combination, yet weirdly I hate chamomile. I hate it in tea, I hate the scent of it in a garden, I hate in compresses, etcetera.

I like the cool, almost creamy marine-infused floral bouquets of Compagnia delle Indie’s Donna, CB I Hate Perfume’s Mr. Huilot’s Holiday, and my John Frieda Kelp Help hair conditioner, but I’d never describe myself as a fan of marine perfumes. In fact, those are the only marine scents I really like. There is something about the soft bouquet of those products that smell like a comforting hug to me.

I like gardenia every now and again, but I find it is far too oppressive to wear very often.

Hyacinth and lily are notes I can appreciate, but I don’t really like them per se.

Freesia is a tricky little bugger – while I do like the candied way the note generally comes across as used in most perfumes, I don’t want that to be in THIS perfume. The only fragrance I’ve smelled that captures a freesia flower with any accuracy is Antonia’s Flowers, and unfortunately, that particular fragrance as a whole smells like a bad hangover on me.

Sweet pea is a very pretty note, but alas, it’s a note that seems to go to die on my skin. It comes and goes within all of a minute – and that’s only a whole minute if I’m lucky.

Jasmine is one of those notes I rarely pay any mind to. Which is awful, because it’s, like, in every other perfume made. Sometimes it reads as clean on me, nearly like a laundry detergent. It’s usually in only the older vintage perfumes that jasmine comes across as something very profound on me. And even then, it’s nothing I pay much attention towards. It’s a nice note when it works in a composition, but I rarely ever seek out jasmine focused scents.

Two actual flowers that I love to catch sniffs of when walking by are rhododendrons and bridal veil, but I do not know if one could honestly translate either of their aromas into a perfume accurately. Both possess such ethereal, gently floating smells. One flower I grew (by accident, which is a whole long story) last year was the crown daisy, and the blossoms had such a fine, rather delicate scent that I deeply appreciated. They look like this:click here. But again, I do not know whether or not it is possible to authentically translate that aroma into a perfume.

The other notes you mentioned I am sure will be fine. I am mostly hoping for a very good, rather dry smelling resinous quality with the frankincense, anyhow. Just not sweet, please – I think I may be cursed with sweet-amplifying skin!

Let’s hope you can pull some common thread out of this list, because I sure can’t. Perhaps I am rather random in my tastes? GAH! I will clarify anything you would like, since I am thinking this may not contain anything of consistency or use. Although I can’t tell if I was being too specific or not specific enough…

Cheers, and thanks again,

Katie