Thursday, November 29, 2012

TropiCal ~ Results For the Winter of 2012/13


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

Beginning on Dec 1, 2012 with an end-date of Feb 28, 2013 ie: they have to be in my hot little hands by then. While you’re waiting for your tinctures to mature, go ahead and create your formula.

The Prize to be sent out by the end of March 31, 2013. (5 ml Gold Atomizer of my tropical perfume “Kapalua”, which is Hawaiian and expresses the thought ‘arms embracing the sea’, by Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes)

We were in Santa Monica for a few days in September for a perfume salon. Those lovely warm light-filled days gave me the inspiration for this challenge. Tropical Perfumes bring to mind Palm Trees, scented breezes, Salty Sea Air, Coconut, Suntan Lotion, Pineapple, Bananas, Lime, Ginger, Frangipani, White flowers, Pina Coladas, fruity, rich, floral, chewy, edible notes.

No Natural Isolates are allowed in this perfume, for this time. I want to give you the chance to try your hand at tincturing freeze-dried items, which can give you those tropical nuances in a natural perfume.

I’ve read so many times that, if the list of notes of a Natural Perfume include banana, peach, berry, coconut, and so on, it cannot possibly be natural. This is no longer true and I’m here to prove it. I’ve tinctured cucumber, carrots, berries, herbal teas, all kinds of freeze-dried fruit, twigs, leaves, and many other items. Most of them have worked out and increased my palette considerably. It does take time to tincture so I’m adding an extra month to this challenge and you will have three months to get it to me instead of two.

Some of you may be ahead of the game because you read right through to the bottom of my last challenge post where I gave you all the heads-up. Good for you! Have fun with this.

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


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

permission to add your fragrance to the glam-bag give-away

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.

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: your scent needs to have the ‘tropical’ category addressed in all phases of the drydown.

2. For the Tropical Perfume, you are allowed to use up to 17 ingredients. These must be naturally derived: essential oils, absolutes, concretes, waxes, hydrosols/flower waters, enfleurage, tinctures, and oil. 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 though extremely bitter so there’s little chance a child would drink your perfume). 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 Feb 28th. 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 17)

o If you use a scented tincture or maceration as your base or use some drops of it as part of your formula 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 the notes in your perfume

o email me your photo

We hope that perfumers from all over the world will accept and 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

The Challengers

Anita Kalnay, Canada Flying Colours Natural Perfume

Bio: As a concept perfumer, I connect with the essence of the raw materials used and allow their creative sparks to communicate through the artistry of the perfume. If I do a good job, then the perfume speaks to the wearer like a ‘genie in a bottle’. Natural perfumes are ‘filled with prana’ and I use scent daily in my yoga and meditation practice. I have worked as a Professional Aromatherapist for over 20 years, and hold a Diploma in Spiritual Phyto-Essencing ™ - the art of blending essential oils for their psycho-spiritual properties. It is my hope that the Flying Colors Natural Perfumes will in some way ‘light UP your life’.

Vision: “Lemonita” is a sassy tropical citrus inspired by fresh lemon orchards, yoga on the beach, good friends and our travels to New Zealand and Mexico during 2012. The design process challenged me to create five layers of our fragrant journey including lemon notes, fresh citrus, tropical, earthy/salty and finally, ancient and delicate fixative notes using woods near to extinction – pemou, sandalwood, palo santo and muhuhu. As a tropical citrus perfume, Lemonita dissipates fairly quickly, much like holidays that are over all too soon. It is bright and full of light and helps us to retain a connection to a time when ‘earth was paradise’.

Notes: lemon, lemon verbena, grapefruit, white cognac, honey myrtle, white cedar, ginger, massoia, carnation, immortelle, rosemary abs, vetivert, vetivert co2, palo santo, sandalwood, muhuhu, pemou

Review: I dabbed a drop of radiant gold-coloured “Lemonita” on the inside of my left elbow and was delighted to inhale its lemony lusciousness. It has literally made my mouth water. This is a full-bodied citrus that refreshes the senses, clearing the olfactory palette. After a few minutes, it mellows out and becomes softer and warmer. All too quickly, the heat of my skin fired off the lemony goodness and in hour it was gone. As Anita says, a lovely, but all too short, vacation.

Janet Teas, 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. I love creating natural perfumes that suit my scent preferences. Creating perfume formulae is a rewarding passion that helps me feel beautiful and smell wonderful.

Vision: For the tropical natural perfume challenge, I tinctured freeze-dried organic tropical fruits and used this as the base for “June Breeze”, a fresh-floral, citrus-fruity bouquet. Inspiration comes from a bicycle ride in the summer by the beach. There is a bouquet of flowers in the bicycle’s wicker basket, and there is sunshine and sea in the air. Pedaling by the coast creates a fresh breeze that puts a smile on the face and tickles the nose with flower blossoms and ripe fruits. June Breeze is a fresh fragrance that is light and carefree.

Notes: Cedarwood, Vetiver, Green Cognac, Frangipani, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Yuzu, Blood Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Davana in a Tropical Fruit Tincture base (consisting of Banana, Mango, Pineapple, and Perfumer’s Alcohol).

Review: My right wrist sported a spritz of “June Breeze”, a lovely clear golden liquid with bright fruity notes. As this scent opens, the Yuzu and Blood Orange are hogging all the action, as usual. I can picture them elbowing their way to the forefront. I smile. This fragrance is a very fresh and bracing pick-me-up for this humid and hot mid-afternoon. Soon the floral notes dance by but don’t stay very long and the Cedarwood drydown is underway at the one hour mark. This is a wonderful scent, which I really enjoyed sniffing.

Ane Walsh, Brazil Artesã Perfumista

Bio: I make natural perfumes since 2006 but I made a formal course in 2008 with the fantastic master perfumer Justine Crane; and today I teach her course in Portuguese, at Natural Perfume Academy. I make soap and aromatherapy cosmetics too. I live in Brazil, Minas Gerais, in a Spa Town called Cambuquira. My work is inspired in themes related to the environment that surrounds me. I am very glad to be in this event.

Vision: It is a fantasy perfume, imitating the aroma of a Tropical fruit called JAMBO with a rosy scent. The almost tasteless fruit is juicy and its aroma is intense. There are three types of jambo I know of: the white, the pink and the purple one. I chose the purple as that is the smelliest one. In Brazil we call a brunette girl Jambette, because of the dark colour of the fruit skin, associated with the smell and the promises of its white flesh.

Notes: The notes of “Jambette” are: Rose otto Turkey, Rose essential oil Morocco, Geranium bourbon essential oil, Fleur d'Oranger absolute, Neroli, Petit grain of wild lemon, Light patchouli, and Ambrette Co2

Review: My left wrist is alive with high-pitched ‘grape’ notes, like a fine wine, freshly uncorked. This clear-light-coloured scent has something unusual within it that I’ve never smelled before. ‘What is that?’ I ask myself as I look at the notes. ‘Oh, I’m very familiar with all those essences. The combination has created something new. How wonderful…’ I keep sniffing the air – it’s edible, captivating, more perfumey now and not so winey/grapey. At the ten minute mark, some soapy bubbly notes appear. Twenty minutes after that, it’s morphed into a lovely light tropical. An hour later, the scent intensifies and stays on through the three-hour mark. This natural perfume is a wonderful tropical scent, which would suit Spring and Summer wear.

Ellen Covey, USA Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes

Bio: I am a self-taught perfumer who has worked mostly in mixed media formulation, which is relatively easy compared to working exclusively with natural materials. In 2006 I founded Olympic Orchids orchid nursery, specializing in breeding and growing fragrant orchid species. I became fascinated by orchid flower fragrances, and attempted to reproduce some of them in perfume form, leading to the establishment in 2010 of Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes. Since then, I have branched out into a number of different fragrance genres, but natural perfumes continue to fascinate me because of their richness and the challenges presented by natural materials. I look forward to creating a line of all-natural perfumes that will complement my line of synthetic and mixed-media fragrances.

Vision: I wanted to avoid all the clichés of piña coladas, mojitos and coconut-scented suntan oil, even though Lyn’s post suggests to use fruit tinctures, so decided to go for a dark, night-time, jungle tropical instead of a sunny day on the beach. It’s called “Tropic of Capricorn” in honor of the theme, the season when it was created, and Henry Miller’s work in which he writes about “the dark fecundity of nature; a night so frighteningly silent, utterly incomprehensible and eloquent at the same time.” The perfume creates the aura of a still, humid tropical night redolent with the scent of exuberant, blooming life, quick death, and the almost immediate rebirth that springs out of the dead flowers, something sensed at a level below conscious thought.

Notes: New Caledonian Sandalwood absolute, Bourbon vanilla absolute, ambergris tincture, Africa stone tincture, benzoin, jasmine CO2 extract, Jasmine grandiflorum absolute, tuberose absolute, osmanthus absolute, magnolia flower Co2 extract, frangipani absolute, jasmine sambac absolute, Madagascar vanilla tincture, mango fruit tincture, maile vine absolute.
Review: I look at the clear autumn-rusty-leaf coloured fragrance before uncapping the vial. This scent opens with the slightly spicy/floral notes of the Hawaiian Maile vine (the one leis are created on). Imagine – the vine immediately drops onto the forest floor and inter-mingles with something left behind by a passing animal. Heady, night-blossoming flowers fill the air with their heavy indole scents. This is a come-hither aroma that cannot be resisted. It’s smoky and smouldering in all its potency. Watch out - Big Cats are on the prowl. This was a deep dark olfactory adventure, which I truly enjoyed for over six hours.

Lyn Ayre

The Prize - A beautiful 5 ml atomizer of Coeur d'Esprit Natural Perfume "Kapalua", surrounded by an elegant gold sleeve and suitable for wearing in the Spring and Summer; perfect to carry with you in your purse. This fragrance is completely wearable in the sun through the use of the 5-fold citrus notes.

“Kapalua” notes: Ambergris, Ambrette seed CO2, Ocean tincture, Seaweed absolute, Orris Root butter CO2, Tolu balsam, Tonka bean, Vanilla 10-fold, Frangipani absolute, Ginger, Kewda attar, Maile vine, Neroli, Lemon 5-fold, Lime 5-fold, and Litsea cubeba. In a base of: Pineapple tincture and Perfumers’ Alcohol.

The Results Are In

The Grand Prize Winner is
Ellen Covey

from Washington, USA for a dark Tropical Scent named “Tropic of Capricorn”.

Thank you so much to American Natural Perfumer Janet Teas, Brazilian Natural Perfumer Ane Walsh, and Canadian Natural Perfumer, Anita Kalnay   for making this a very unique perfume 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 fruity tropical notes on the one hand, and the dense tropical forest floor notes on the other. You used a variety of perfume materials, which conspired together to create the whole tropical scent.

Winner of the 2013

TropiCal Perfume Challenge

Ellen Covey

for the “Tropic of Capricorn”

with my thanks and congratulations, Ellen.

Your Tropical Perfume design captured the untried essence of what this perfume type could be – deep, dark, dense; and you excelled in all named categories.

Dated: 31March13

Signed: Lyn E. Ayre, Natural Perfumer

Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Lyn, I'm surprised and honored to have been named the winner of the TropiCal Perfume Challenge! Thank you so much for sponsoring this competition. It inspired me to make a fragrance that I would probably not otherwise have considered making. Using 100% natural ingredients and working within the parameters that you set truly was a challenge, but it was also great fun.

    The other perfumes sound wonderful. Congratulations to everyone who submitted a perfume. I hope I'll get to smell some or all of them one day. I especially look forward to trying your "Kapalua". It sounds amazing!

  3. Hi, Ellen, Congratulation! I hope you'll do another one, too. Have a great day. Warmly, Lyn

    Hey, Everyone

    I want to mention that there are two Glam Bags for a give away - from this and the last challenge. Just make your comments and make sure I can get in touch with you so I can privately get your mailing address.

  4. Hi Lyn, many thanks for hosting this as I know I would not have gone in this direction with Lemonita. It was a very interesting 'challenge' and CONGRATULATIONS' Elly and good for you for going for 100% naturals. I would LOVE to smell everyone's essences and Lyn I would really love to smell your Kapalua inspiration. Such fun! x0

  5. Congratulations Ellen. Sounds like a wonderful concept and perfume. The deep dark jungle tropical is such an unexpected take on this theme. Hmm, I wonder what a follow up Tropic of Cancer would be like in your hands. Actually all of the entries sound so enticing. Great blog post Lyn. Sincerely,

    1. Hi, Suzy,
      Thanks very much.

      Perhaps you'll share with us next time. I've given a Heads-Up below about what our challenge is then.

      Love Lyn

  6. Good Morning, Anita,
    I'm always delighted to smell your new fragrances and am so happy you submitted for this one. I love Lemonita - so light and great for Spring-wear.
    Love Lyn

  7. For the NEXT challenge, I’ll give you the heads up that I’m considering a wax-base scent for fall, which will employ the use of FLORAL WAXES. You’ll have to wait for the details to come out on May 1st. The perfumes will need to be here no later than July 31st, and I will do the evaluations for the end of August in time for a fall launch. Are you up for the challenge? I hope so. It’s always a learning adventure and just another way for me to teach. : .)
    Love Lyn

  8. Great idea Lyn. I might be up for this challenge but I've never worked with floral waxes before. That usually doesn't stop me from doing something though. Can you give an idea of a great website that would teach me how to transition to this media? And where would I go to good quality waxes? Maybe I'm getting in over my head but so what huh. Thanks, Suzy

    1. Hey, Suzie
      Sapphire Blue has some very nice floral waxes. Just use it as part of your wax portion and also count each pea-sized piece as a drop of essence in your perfume formula. There are other posts on this very blog that will give you further instructions. I think it was for Valentine's Day in 2011 that I gave three of my formula. Love Lyn

  9. Congratulations to Ellen and all the participants. I really love tropical florals and be will be looking for Tropic of Capricorn at the Seattle Fragrance Salon in May.

  10. Hi, Gail, thanks so much for your comment. I hope to meet you in Seattle at my table where I'll present you with a Glam Bag from the Challenge.

    The other winner of the Glam Bag is Suzy Larsen.

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Love Lyn

    1. Thank you, Lyn! I'm looking forward to meeting you at the Fragrance Salon.