Thursday, October 2, 2014

And the Winner Is...

2014 Lusty Floral ~ Musky Finish

Perfume Challenge

for the Summer of 2014
Sponsored by Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Beginning on June 1, 2014 with an end-date of Aug 31, 2014 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 Sep 2014 – a Gold Atomizer of Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfume “Kapalua”.
In the summer I think of the thick scent of garden flowers – rose, jasmine, narcissus, carnation, honeysuckle, and broom; and warm musky bodies tending the garden. It’s a heady combination and that’s where we’re going with this challenge. The title reads: “Lusty Floral ~ Musky Finish”.
Today, natural perfumers have an array of ingredients that will give a musky tone to a perfume without using real musk and endangering a species or using a manmade musk. Think – Ambrette seed, agarwood, nutmeg, tobacco, jasmine auriculatum, billy goat hair and hyraceum. Perhaps your nose has detected other eo’s that have a musky note.
Natural Isolates are allowed in this perfume, as are tinctures.
Again, there are many ways for Natural Perfumers to go with this theme. And, as always, there are some guidelines to follow:
  • 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 registration 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
permission to add your fragrance entry 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 ‘floral’ category addressed in all phases of the drydown. The musk needs to be present in the drydown.
If you live a considerable distance away, please get your entry to me sooner rather than later. It can do its aging here for a time. I don’t sniff them until the challenge is closed.
2. For the Lusty Floral ~ Musky Finish, you are allowed to use up to 22 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 August 31, 2014. Please send it out in time to reach me by that date. Send it earlier, if you like, as I’ve mentioned, it can sit here to mature.
  • send two 1 ml sample vials of perfume for evaluation via the postal mail
  • let me know if you are up for the Glam Bag Giveaway (see previous page)
  • base can be clear alcohol or oil (these do not count as part of the 22)
  • 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.
  • write 5 sentences that tell me the vision behind your new creation and submit via email
  • write 5 sentences about who you are in relation to Natural Perfumery and submit via email
  • email me the complete list of the notes in your perfume
  • email me your photo
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:
  • Balance – so that no single component can be detected, unless it is a Soliflore. This challenge is not for a Soliflore
  • 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?
  • Diffusion – does it surround the wearer with an aura of scent?
  • 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?
  • Tenacity – staying power is the ability of a perfume to last on the wearer for more than just a couple of hours
We hope that perfumers from all over the world will accept and
participate in this challenge.

I was privileged to spend a whole day with each perfume, as always. I learn so much from every perfumer about envisioning, development, and risk-taking. I feel these challenges help us all to grow. There are two glam bags available for two lucky comment makers. Please let us know what you think.
 The perfumers are listed in the order of receipt of their entry.
 Here are my thoughts and feelings about the submissions.

The challengers

Renée Starr
Los Angeles, California, USA

Bio: A mirrored tray on my mother's dresser, with hundreds of miniature perfume bottles, is the culprit for my love affair with scent. Spending hours to smell each and every one of those bottles, I soon learned to equate perfume with what being feminine is: magical, sacred, sensual; and learned that the ceremony of anointing the body with perfume is an alchemical experience. 
Vision: ODALISQUE is the scent of the Hareem where women perfumed their bodies with luxurious oils, ate from golden platters piled with lush fruits and honeyed sweets, breathed in the smoke of resinous, woody incense, the hookah and night blooming flowers, all mingled in with the spice and musk of passion. My aim was to capture the aromatic rituals of sensuality.
Notes: beeswax absolute, rosewood, agarwood, fossilized amber absolute, sandalwood, tobacco blond, patchouli absolute, wild rose, rose absolute morocco, rose absolute Egypt, coffee flower, ambrette seed, safflower, jasmine sambac, jasmine grandiflorum, tuberose, petitgrain, neroli/Egypt, frangipani, lime. In a meadow foam seed oil base. 
Review: This perfume is a floral extravaganza. If you like bubble baths, you’ll love this. Odalisque scents the skin for a long time. It diffuses into the air and can odorize and good sized room. Renee envisioned a Hareem and it is my belief this is what one may smell like.
Suzy Larsen
Suzy Larsen Perfumes, Kelowna, BC, Canada
Bio: Suzy's a farm girl from Southern Alberta at heart.  The scent of livestock from the barnyards, diesel fuel from the tractors, and dust and hay from the fields imprinted some fantastic olfactory memories on her that led to her curiosity and wonder about all things aroma.  As a welcome juxtaposition to farm and ranch smells, her mother spoiled her every Christmas with high end perfumes like Paloma Picassa, L'Interdit, Chanel No. 22, and Rive Gauche among others.  Years later after becoming interested in natural healing, Suzy attended Mount Royal College to become an Aromatherapist and while there learned about the amazing healing properties of essential oils.  Quickly she found a desire to use these natural essences to create perfumes for family and friends.
Vision: The inspiration for my entry comes from my husband’s upper lip after he’s been outside gardening in the hot sun for the afternoon.  This is my favourite time to kiss him as the subtly sweet, earthy and sexy sweatiness has gathered above his lip.  The name of this perfume is inspired by the Roman Goddess Pamona who watches over and cares for the cultivation of fruit trees, gardens and orchards.  And what better name than Pamona’s Garden to represent our lovely new home in the Okanagan of British Columbia with its soil and sun primed for growth. And maybe a little bit of that Italian Amore from Pamona herself is being sprinkled on my husband’s lip every time he’s in our garden.
Notes: Bergamot, Carrot, Ginger, Galbanum, Nigella damascena, Osmanthus, Honey, Jasmine sambac, Ylang ylang, Tuberose, Costus Root, Choya Loban, Hyrax, Cumin, and Ambrette Seed in Organic alcohol.
Review: The opening refrain of Pamona is an accord of floral/galbanum – very sexy and earthy. Soon the smokiness takes over and sustains its note for a very long time. This perfume is grounding and meditative. It makes you stand still and notice. Suzy has stayed true to her vision of the long kiss. This perfume is very tenacious.

Shauna Rudd

St. Albert, AB, Canada

Bio: I discovered the concept of natural perfume about five years ago, and was immediately and completely enthralled. I follow the online forums and have taken a few courses, but this is my first attempt at making a “real” perfume on my own from concept to creation. My biggest lesson learned in this challenge was realizing just how much I don’t know about making perfume – it’s important to understand how essences interact, and finessing these subtleties takes time. It can make a person crazy, and it’s so easy to get lost in them, but in my opinion, this is what makes a perfume sing. This one might be a little off-key, but you know what they say: sing like no one is listening.

Vision: Sundara means “beautiful” in Hindi, and this beautiful summer day begins with a bright spark of cardamom, black pepper and coriander. As the day lingers on, suave rose, Indian jasmine, and spicy golden champaca release their honeyed aromas. When the sun begins to set, and the flowers fall into shadow, we’re left with a floral afterglow joined by vanilla, orris and ambrette, radiating the sweet subtle musk of sun-kissed skin.

Notes: Black Pepper EO, Cardamom EO, Coriander seed EO, Bergamot (FCF) EO, Neroli EO, Golden Champaca C02, Turkish Rose Abs, Boronia Abs, Orange Blossom Abs, Jasmine Sambac Abs, Guiacwood EO, Nutmeg Abs, Vanilla Bourbon C02, Ambrette Seed C02, Orris Butter, Vetiverol (natural isolate), Rosewood EO, Benzyl Benzoate (natural isolate)

Review: I could sniff this perfume all day long; I just want to bury my face in it. The spicy opening surprised me and then I got into it. The florals are expertly blended into a wonderful bouquet. Diffusion is perfect as throughout the day, I’ve wondered ‘where is that lovely scent coming from?’ then I remember and sniff my wrist yet again. After several hours, it morphs into a muskiness that I’ve not smelled before and appreciate so very much. Shauna, your “Sundara” stayed true to my vision and I thank you for sharing.

Sophia-Suzette Shuttleworth
Gordon’s Bay, Western 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. Africa is the environment in which I live and breathe in, and continues to be my source of inspiration. All my perfumes contain African elements in them and reflects my experience of my environment.
Vision: “White Frangipani” served as my inspiration with its elegant fresh sensuality, sleek white silk with no frills. The perfume was woven around a core of white frangipani enfleurage borne by the heat of an African summer. Its natural silky sensual scent is accentuated by Neroli, and Jasmine supported by light musky base.

Notes: Sugar Cane Alcohol, African Ambergris, Hyraceum, Hawaiian sandalwood, Tonka bean abs, Vanilla abs, Cedar Atlas, White Frangipani enfleurage, White Frangipani absolute, Rose maroc, Dianthus concrete, Anisaldehyde, Methyl anthranilate, Jasmine sambac, Orange Bigarde, Neroli, Lemon, Ambrette seed, Angelica

Review: Sophia’s ‘White Frangipani’ perfume opens with a bright hit of citrus. It soon settles into a melody of florals with the main voice being Frangipani. The creamy notes begin to come out to play. Finally, the musk shows up for a short time; then the florals then take over and hum for hours. A lovely perfume that stayed close to my vision.

Iris Moore

El Cerrito, California, USA

Bio: After a year and a half of investigating natural scent materials, I am even more in love with the materials and possibilities of this craft.  My approach is formed by a background in sculpture and performance.  Narrative, spatial and material concerns are my main interests.  In addition to scents, I make ceramic Monclins and “Polyclins” (experimental smelling devices).  And am close to launching a website!

Vision: Film Noir “Lusty and Musky Walked Into a Bar…” It’s sweltering in LA, so Veronica Lake and Charles Bukowski stand under a streetlight in front of an unmarked door. The muted sounds of a jazz band filter out onto the sidewalk.  She shakily applies lipstick, while he smokes.  Wordlessly he opens the door for her and --- blasts out.  The door slams behind them and again the noise from the bar is muted.

Notes: Street smell (automotive), citrus, white floral, booze, sweat, sex - Jasmine absolute, ylang ylang extra, tuberose absolute, orange blossom absolute, white grapefruit, green cognac, Marker’s Mark, lavender absolute, frankincense, African stone, ambrette seed, amyris, orris butter, costus root, styrax, tonka bean absolute, sandalwood powder tincture, goat tincture, white oak tincture.

Review: I can truly appreciate the uniqueness of the ingredients used in “Beautiful Matter”. What really comes through for me is the leather note ie: bikers’ bar. Iris has stayed true to her vision. The opening notes are floral and fruity; there’s almost an interesting licorice note in there that pops in and out and surprises me from time to time. This perfume lasts a long time on the skin.

Lyn Ayre, your host

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.

Kapaluanotes: 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

Shauna Rudd

from St. Albert, Alberta, Canada for a truly lovely floral named “Sundara”.

Thank you so much to Canadian Natural Perfumer, Suzy Larsen, and South African Natural Perfumer Sophia Shuttleworth, and US Natural Perfumers Renee Starr and Iris Moore for making this a very interesting perfume challenge.
 appreciated each one of your designs. It was an interesting and in-depth journey into what makes this perfume type live up to its name: lusty florals on the one hand, and musky notes on the other. You used a variety of perfume materials, which conspired together to create the whole sexy scent.


  1. Thank you Lyn for hosting another amazing challenge. I am most thankful there is an outlet like this for my creativity. And there is such benefit in taking part in a challenge as it's a perfect ground for learning and taking new risks. Each of the entries sounds so enticing! Congratulations to you Shauna and all of the perfumers really! I'm so thrilled to read about other perfumers from various parts of the world. And we all meet in this thrilling perfume playground Lyn has made possible. Hugs to all.

  2. Oh, Suzy, what a wonderful comment. Thank you. I look forward to doing these challenges, too. Love Lyn

    Everyone, make sure you comment on my face book pages so your name goes in the hat to win the Glam Bag Giveaway.