Roots!

I was really glad when Brandi, best friend and fellow foodie, came to visit me for a few days. Among other fun things, we took an overnight road-trip to Sonoma. As I gazed at the rows and rows of the carefully tended, ripening grapes out of the car window I saw that, though I myself once managed an essential oil company in Los Angeles, I needed some reminding about where my perfumery ingredients originated from! It was powerful to consider agriculture, terroir, wines, and essential oils in this light once again.

My oils, the aromatics used in my infusions, absolutes, and jojoba oil were, much like the wines we sampled, the result of the very hard and dedicated labor of farmers who toil in all seasons and with all of the elements. Like grapes, some of these crops require highly skilled harvesting, sometimes by hand, and highly skilled distillation techniques, not to mention all of the additional craft and toil, love, sweat, and patience required. A family winery in Sonoma was the perfect place to remember and to appreciate such efforts of both vineyards and essential oil plantations alike, and I went home with a renewed appreciation of both.

Me, left, and best friend, travel companion and fellow foodie Brandi, right. Behind us is the vineyards of Gundlach Bunshu, Sonoma. This family has been growing wine in this very spot for over one hundred and fifty years. The top photograph is also of their vineyards.

Brandi and I were guided and advised by another dear friend of mine, Misty (pictured, right) through a wine-tasting. It was really enjoyable to use my perfumer’s nose to identify and savor the many notes in the wines. I eyed the stills that were visible in the tasting room, and was reminded many times, and in many ways, of the similarities between botanical perfumery and viniculture.

Perhaps a fitting Arabesque scent, in keeping with the theme, is Veriditas. This botanical perfume was inspired by the medieval German mystic Hildegard of Bingen and her understanding of  ‘a green truth’ or Veriditas which she came to comprehend and define from a series of mystical visions concerning God, nature, and humankind.

Samples, 6 ml bottles, and minaret bottles of the perfume Veriditas are available in the Etsy shop. The perfume contains an inclusion of Vetiver root, from dried Vetiver roots imported from a small farm in Madagascar.

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My Sultry Summer Sale continues until July 5th. Use the coupon code SummerHoliday2017 in my Etsy shop to receive free Priority insured shipping (domestic/US parcels only, please!) on all orders $10.00 and up.
Thanks everyone! 

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Pure, Steam-distilled Essential Oils from ‘the Milkmaid of Fragrance’

ess oils

Now offering two exotic, high-quality, steam-distilled essential oils

I was fortunate to manage a wholesale essential oil company called Natural Extracts for seven years in the Hollywood Hills. Not only did I learn a lot, and get to smell and collect many exotic ingredients, but now I also have a lot of interesting inventory as a result!

I used to love pumping the kilo and gallon-sized orders, as pictured below, December 2011. While filling the containers with the giant and uber-powerful pumps, I always felt like the ‘milkmaid of fragrance!’

milkmaid of fragrance

To see more photos from my days at the essential oil company, Natural Extracts, visit my business Facebook Page.

I am offering Ylang Ylang Complete from Madagascar and Australian Sandalwood (extra-strength) while supplies last. 1 ml samples of the steam-distilled extra-strength Australian Sandalwood essential oil and the Ylang Ylang Complete, Madagascar, are available for purchase at my Etsy shop.

Buying steam-distilled essential oils, when possible, is important to me as it indicates a purity, and an absence of chemical solvents. In my humble opinion, steam-distilled essential oils are well worth the few pennies extra in terms of quality. And Australian Sandalwood is a sustainable alternative to Indian Sandalwood essential oil, the supplies of which have been over-harvested and all but exhausted.

pumping ess oils

Essential Oil samples ship via First Class Mail.
Essential Oils ship Priority Mail, insured, within the US and First Class Mail, without.

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The Sainted Scents of Midwinter 2013

The Sainted Scents of Midwinter 2013 have been inspired by the wealth of myth, magic, whimsy and symbolism that I have long enjoyed within the stories of the saints.

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Saint Bega of Bees botanical perfume

St. Bega was a 9th century Irish virgin saint. She was said to have sailed away across the sea to British shores, standing upon a piece of sod wearing only a holy bracelet, when her chastity was threatened by a Northern king!

(What a beautiful visual!)

She is credited with later establishing a convent in Bees, Northumberland.
A pilgrim’s path called St. Bega’s Way can be walked in her honor, today.

http://www.langside.f2s.com/sbw/

The botanical perfume Saint Bega of Bees was blended with the essential oils of Frankincense, Scotch Pine, Agarwood, Black Currant, and Cistus.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172770887/st-bega-of-bees-medieval-inspired?ref=shop_home_active

 

Saint Christina the Astonishing

The story of the life of St. Christina the Astonishing, a flying saint who lived in Liège in the 12th century, reflects, in my opinion, the wild woman archetype, as written about extensively by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. So it will probably come as no surprise to say her contemporaries did not treat her, nor did they write about her, very kindly.

It was said of her that she once died and came back to life. That she spent a great deal of time perched in trees, that she liked to swim in icy rivers and fly around on windmills, and that she found her fellow humans to be — stinky.

( Eeks! I do hope this scent meets with her approval!)

Christina’s life was documented in the 13th century in a book “The Life of Saint Christina the Astonishing” by Thomas de Cantimpré who writes “Her body was so sensitive and light that she walked on dizzy heights and, like a sparrow, hung suspended from the topmost branches of the loftiest trees” though Christina’s story is far more enjoyable when sung by Nick Cave in the eponymous song, Christina the Astonishing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KygSpvCd_o

The unisex botanical perfume, Christina the Astonishing was created with the essential oils of Ambergris, Clove, Neroli, Liquidambar, Black Cumin and Cedar.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172760864/st-christina-the-astonishing-medieval?ref=shop_home_active

Both of the Sainted Scents come in a bejeweled, gold painted 6ml bottle, as pictured above.

And I have blended both of my Sainted Scents to contain at least one aromatic ingredient that was deemed sacred/ holy in the Saint’s own lifetime. I consciously created them both to evoke churchy, musty, old, and mysterious. But — in a sexy way! And I hope you will like them.

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The Sainted Scents will also come with my handmade print, “Mary Magdalen Cutting off Her Hair” inspired by a French medieval monastic text c. 11-12th century. The lino print is on plain brown paper, in burgundy ink, and will be included with Sainted Scent perfume orders while supplies last. The print can also be purchased separately, here.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172178366/mary-magdalen-cutting-off-her-hair-a?ref=shop_home_active

For further reading on the lives of the virgin saints, pick up Giselle Potter’s delightful book, “Lucy’s Eyes and Margaret’s Dragon.”

http://www.amazon.com/Lucys-Eyes-Margarets-Dragon-Virgin/dp/0811815153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386968376&sr=8-1&keywords=lucys+eyes+and+margarets+dragon%27

 

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