Saturday, July 21, 2012

Soft Powder Perfume Challenge

Soft Powder Perfume Challenge
For the Autumn of 2012

baby powder

Sponsored by Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Register and begin your perfume creation on Aug 1, 2012 and have it to me by the end of Sep 30, 2012

I generally begin my evaluations the third week of the month so your perfumes will have had almost three months to mature.

The Prize to be sent out by the end of October is a 5 ml Gold Atomizer of White Elegance, as below:

On June 21st I launched White Elegance and was reviewed by Perfume Pharmer’s Monica Miller. Here is what she had to say about my very powdery perfume, which is based on an Easter Lily accord I made, “it is a gorgeous white floral, powdery, billowy and soft ~ just like the nymphettes love to wear ~ simply silky, gauzy, lacy. It’s a see through dress of crepe de chine, simple and very very sexy! and All Natural”

This gave me the idea for my next Natural Perfume Challenge. For me, powdery perfumes bring to mind pastel angora twin sets; tasting the sweetness of powdered icing sugar in the air; refreshing myself with baby powder (Vanilla/Lavender/Lemon accord); the powdery perfume and make-up puffs on my Grandma and Mom’s dressers; ozonic chilly slopes and powdery snow; and powdering herbs for capsules (think – mossy, somewhat dry, woodsy).

Again, there are many ways for the Natural Perfumers to go with this theme. And, as always, there are some guidelines to follow:

icing sugar powder


o Please be fair to others and ensure that, when you sign up, you intend to follow through with this project as only the first ten (10) Registrants will be taken then the registering process will be closed.

Anyone who wishes to Register, please do so now and send an email to me with the following information:

your full name
mailing address
phone number
recent photo
Website URL
permission to post your entry on my
Blog at and
Website at

Please ensure you follow all the 'guidelines'. In the first challenge, people 'lost points' for not including a data tag, using an incorrect amount of ingredients, not sending a photo, and so on.

powdered herbs
1. No matter if your perfume is based in alcohol or oil, the end product should be clear and free from imperfections. The way to do this is to refrigerate, filter, and/or use a pipette to suck up all but the floating/sunken bits into another container. If your perfume has had a chance to sit for a month or so, and you have shaken it periodically, the more dense particulates will have diluted themselves into the alcohol or oil. Leave it sit again for a few days then draw off the clear part and put it in your final bottle.

Imagine you are doing all of this for a high-end client and really want to impress him or her. This is very good practice for when this happens for you.

Note: No matter how your scent opens, the end result must dry down to a typical powdery scent.

powdered snow

2. For the Powdery Perfume, you are allowed to use up to 20 ingredients. These must be Naturally derived: essential oils, absolutes, concretes, waxes, hydrosols/flower waters, enfleurage, tinctures, natural isolates, oil, and alcohol. Since it is illegal in Canada to sell a perfume with potable alcohol, one may choose to use ethanol with Bitrex for the solvent (I’ve done a pile of research on this and found it to be, by all accounts, non-toxic). If you use animal ingredients, you must know and attest to me that they are ethically obtained.

3. A Data Tag must be attached ie: name of the perfume, list of the ingredients, name the solvent (ie: oil, alcohol), your company information (even if it's simply your name and contact information), the size of the end product ie: 5 ml; precautions, how to use, and the 'best before date'. (See photo for an idea of what a Data Tag looks like).

4. Please follow these directions

Submit the perfume and the following to me by Sep 30th. Please send it out in time to reach me by that date.

o send two 1 ml sample vials of perfume for evaluation via the postal mail
o let me know if you are up for the Glam Bag Giveaway (see previous post)
o base can be clear alcohol or oil (these do not count as part of the 20)
o If you use a scented tincture or maceration as your base, that will count as an ingredient.
o write 5 sentences that tell the vision behind your new creation and submit via email
o write 5 sentences about who you are in relation to Natural Perfumery and submit via email
o email me the complete list of notes in your perfume
o email me your photo

We hope that perfumers from all over the world will participate in this challenge.

Each perfumer is graded 1-10 on the following categories: how well they followed the above instructions; a short five-sentence about his or her vision of the perfume’s creation; a short five-sentence bio; a recent photo; a Data Tag with pertinent information about their perfume; the balance, character, diffusion, tenacity, and structure of their creation.

A Natural Perfume has the following qualities:

o Balance – so that no single component can be detected, unless it is a Soliflore.
o Character – The twists and turns of a perfume as it evolves on the skin. What kind of a perfume is this? Is it a raunchy riot? Is it soft and gentle? Where does it take you? What’s at the heart of it? Does it have personality? How do the layers unfold? Who would this perfume appeal to?
o Diffusion – does it surround the wearer with an aura of scent?
o Structure – Is there harmony in the mix? Have the base, heart, and head notes been properly addressed? Are the proportions correct for these ingredients so that there is balance, character, diffusion, and tenacity? Does it have dimension?
o Tenacity – staying power is the ability of a perfume to last on the wearer for more than just a couple of hours

Lyn’s Note:

Firstly, I want to preface my comments by stating that before I look at the notes on any perfume, I smell it and begin writing at that point. I want to get an impression and allow the images to come to me, as they will, without any pre-conceived notions about what I may or may not smell or like or enjoy. I want to see if I’m on the same page as the perfumer. It’s a game I play with myself.
I feel each perfumer stayed true to her vision and translated it into a perfume – not an easy task.

One perfume stands out to me with its wonderful powdery notes throughout as it also stayed true to this challenge of Soft Powder.

The Challengers

Suzy Larsen, Naked Leaf Natural Perfumes, Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Bio: During my aromatherapy studies at Mount Royal College I became entranced with everything related to scent. I was amazed at the phenomenal healing capacity of essential oils but even more than that I was ecstatic and relieved to find an alternative to commercial fragrances. From my early teens my mother would spoil me with high end perfumes from Liz Claiborne and Yves Saint Laurent but I was increasingly becoming too sensitive to wear or even be around scents with synthetic chemicals. All fell into place when I launched Naked Leaf Perfumes in 2007 after a few years of intensive self-study immersing myself in natural perfumery. My motto is love the earth, love yourself, love your perfume.

Vision: "Ella" is an olfactory snapshot of an historical event in 1952: the night Ms. Fitzgerald, “first lady of song”, debuted at the famed Hollywood nightclub the Macambo but only after Marilyn Monroe lobbied the owner to allow Ella, specifically, and all African Americans by extension, to perform there.

So imagine that night in the boozy, noisy, smoked-filled room when she began her set: conversations stopped in mid-sentence, mouths opened in awe, and ashes hung precariously from cigarettes as patrons sat in stunned silence listening to the sweetest voice they had perhaps ever heard—a sultry yet angelic voice spanning a phenomenal three octaves that magically cut through barriers of inequality and reminded patrons of hopes and dreams long forgotten.

To represent the anticipation of the patrons in the club, Ella opens with a warm, sensual and inviting sweet citrus accord that quickly leads to the velvety smooth duo of Orris Root and Jasmine—two florals that I hoped would capture her lush and moving voice quality. Providing the smoky backdrop for her debut is a smouldering base highlighting Blond Tobacco and other ambery notes.

The inspiration for the soft floral perfume theme was the contrast between the beauty of Ella’s voice represented by flowers and the powdery cigarette ashes of the patrons.

Notes: Ruby Red Grapefruit, Bergamot fcf, Citron, Lime Essence, Orris Root CO2, Jasmine grandiflorum, Jasmine sambac, Blond Tobacco, Birch Tar, Patchouli, Vanilla, Benzoin, Peru Balsam and Cognac in Organic Grape Alcohol.

Review: “Ella” is a deep, throaty, low-slung note sung long and languid in a dark Jazz Bar in the humid South. It speaks of smoky rooms where the booze flows freely and the night glows on and on, ending in sensuous and dirty passions. Not soon forgotten and not for the faint of heart, this one, from Canadian Perfumer, Suzy Larsen.

Sophia-Suzette Shuttleworth, African Aromatics, West Cape, South Africa

Bio: The first time I was stung by a bee was when I was busy brewing a perfume from the local vegetation at six years old. I took it as a sign that the bee liked my perfume. Ever since then I have been exploring the scents of nature. Through my research into ancient anointing oils and early perfumes and aromatics, I discovered the art of natural perfumes. After many years of self-study I started to market my perfumes and founded African Aromatics. All my perfumes contain African elements in them and extracts I made myself. Nature and Africa continue to serve as my inspiration. We who live in Africa are all infused with the soul and spirit of Africa, so are my perfumes.

Vision: The saying goes 'Girls are Sugar and Spice' - I was inspired to create "Melody" by this expression and by the scent of Pink Frangipani, which to me is a sweet candy rose. I wanted to compose a perfume that conjures the colour pink in the mind and delicately spice it with Clove, Vanilla, and Orris root for a powdery effect. For this project, I used my pink frangipani enfleurage extract as the alcohol base to build the perfume around.

Notes: Pink Frangipani Enfleurage, Plumeria rubra, Bulgarian rose, Turkish rose, North African Rose Geranium, Geraniol, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Cassie, Dianthus, Vintage clove, Green Mandarin, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Beeswax, Oudh, Patchouli, Ambrette seed, Tonka Bean, Orris root, Vanilla tincture and absolute,

Review: In contrast, Sophia’s “Melody" hits all the high notes. It’s sweet, sassy, and far from serious. It brings to mind visions of little girls dressed in light pink, skipping rope; green fields of tiny multi-coloured flowers; bunny rabbits; and big white fluffy clouds. This perfume is a fantasy of gossamer wings and childhood romps. It has some lovely powdery notes floating in at the end.

No photo available. 
Janet Teas, Zanesville, Ohio, USA

Bio: I am currently studying natural perfume through the Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumery Course. My teacher is natural perfumer Lyn Ayre. Learning about the many essential oils and absolutes is very enjoyable, and I love creating natural perfumes. I am unable to wear synthetic fragrances, due to chemical sensitivities, so this allows me to create my own natural perfume blends suited to my scent preferences. Creating perfume formulae is a rewarding passion that helps me feel beautiful and smell wonderful.

Vision: For the soft powder natural perfume challenge, I combined old woods with powdery, spicy and gourmand notes to create A Soft Woods Tale, an oriental woody fragrance for the autumn and winter seasons. Inspiration comes from the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” and her journey through the deep woods to get to her loving grandmother’s cabin. On her way, she encounters a rustling autumn wind and senses a spicy, naughty wolf lurking behind old trees. When she arrives at the cabin, she finds her grandmother in good health and she is baking yummy treats with sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla. Her sweet grandmother gives her a big hug and they invite the reformed wolf inside for some baked goodies and tea.

Notes: Patchouli, Himalayan Cedarwood, Fossilized Amber Oil, Ambrette Seed, Vanilla Absolute, Orris Root, Cocao Absolute, Cinnamon Leaf, Lavender Absolute, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Bergamot FCF in a base of perfumer’s alcohol.

Review: “A Soft Woods Tale” opens with edible notes of vanilla icing sugar and chocolate sprinkles; a soft tasty confection I can roll around in my mouth. The woodsy notes begin to come through a half hour later. I’m in a deciduous forest, sipping a hot chocolate with tiny floating marshmallows. My eyes are cast up vertically to the tree tops. One leaf, then another drops to the ground below. I inhale deeply and begin to relax into the experience. I find a log to rest on and am happily startled to see the other end is already occupied by Crow. This perfume swirls all around me. I love the sillage and it last several hours on my skin. From the opening refrains to the long-lasting bass line, the powdery notes are very evident.

The Prize A beautiful 5 ml atomizer of Coeur d'Esprit Natural Perfume "White Elegance", surrounded by an elegant gold sleeve and suitable for wearing in the Autumn and Winter;
perfect to carry with you in your purse.
The Results Are In

The Grand Prize Winner is

Janet Teas
Thank you so much to Canadian Natural Perfumer, Suzy Larsen, and South African Natural Perfumer Sophia-Suzette Shuttleworth for making this a very inspiring challenge.

I appreciated each one of your designs and how you all stayed true to your vision. It was an interesting and in-depth journey into what makes this perfume type live up to its name: the soft undertones of powdery notes in a variety of perfume materials that conspire together to create the whole powdery scent.

The Seal

The Wall Certificate

Winner of the 2012

Soft Powder Perfume Challenge

Janet Teas

for "A Soft Woods Tale"

with my thanks and congratulations, Janet.

Your Powdery Perfume design captured the essence of what

a this perfume type is all about;

and you excelled in all named categories.

Dated: 22October2012

Signed: Lyn E. Ayre, Natural Perfumer

Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes

And now I would like to give everyone a heads up that the next natural perfume challenge will be called "TropiCal", giving a nod to our trip to California in September. I'm doing this so you can get your pineapple, coconut, and/or banana tinctures ready to add the tropical scents needed for this challenge. More on this in a few months.


Submit your comments on this blogpost to be entered into a draw to win a lovely organza bag of all three scents. There will be two winners for this Glam Bag Giveaway.

Love Lyn


  1. Wow! I loved reading about everyone's fabulous powder perfume creations. Lyn, your perfume reviews are always a total delight to read.

    The perfumes "Ella" and "Girls Are Sugar and Spice" sound very lovely. Congrats, Suzy and Sophia on your wonderful perfumes.

    Thank you, Lyn for reviewing "A Soft Woods Tale." I am so pleased you liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed making it and participating in this challenge. It certainly did challenge me and helped me expand my natural perfume-making knowledge.

    Thanks, Lyn for organizing these fun perfume challenges!

  2. Hey, Janet, You're very welcome, Janet; your win is well-deserved. I really loved your soft and powdery perfume. I hope you'll continue to participate in the challenges. They are meant to be fun and stretch a perfumer to do something they may not have tried before.
    Warmly, Lyn

  3. I always enjoy reading your reviews of perfume , Lyn. They have a way of evoking such emotion. It's such a treat to learn about other natural perfumers and their stories too. I loved this challenge so much and I once again learned more about myself through perfume. Congratulations Janet, "A Soft Woods Tale" sounds completely edible and breathtaking; and Sophia-Suzette I am so fascinated with your use of materials like Pink Frangipani Enfleurage, Plumeria rubra etc.
    Thanks so much Lyn for your lovely words about ELLA.

  4. You're very welcome, Suzy. Hope you can join in next time for TropiCal, too.
    Love Lyn

  5. Congrats Janet, your perfume sounds wonderful. Suzy, so does yours, always great to hear how everyone interpret the theme.Thanks again Lynn for hosting the challenge and taking the time to give a review. Much appreciated. A pleasure as always to participate.
    Warm Regards, Sophia

  6. You're very welcome, Sophia. You're a wonderful Natural Perfumer and I always enjoy sniffing your creations. I hope you'll come out and play with me again.
    Love Lyn

  7. Great post and nice site regarding perfume. i like it. very well written. thanks!

  8. Hey, Everyone, thanks for your comments. I've made the draw and the two winners are Suzy Larsen and Katherine. Please provide your mailing address and I will get these Glam Bags out to you this week.
    Love Lyn