Mini Perfume Making Course with Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

Post by Madeleine
Last Saturday, I was given a terrific opportunity to embrace some scented creativity by the one and only Miss Portia. She couldn’t attend a perfume making course with aromatherapist and creator of the Aromatique Essentials perfume line, Julie Nelson, due to work commitments and nominated me to go in her place.
The session was at Julie’s house in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, about two hours’ drive west from Sydney. I was graciously offered a lift by the wonderful Catherine du Peloux Menagé, a perfume consultant and the organiser of the Sydney Perfume Lovers meetup group. Catherine and I had met many years ago at the launch of the Frederic Malle range in Sydney and I was one of her first perfume consulting ‘guinea pigs’. We have recently become reacquainted and it was wonderful to share and swap perfume stories on the trip.

Mini Perfume Making Course with

Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

During the morning session, Julie described her love for natural perfumery and the reasons why she took up aromatherapy and the natural way. If you have been reading the blog, you’ll know that the main catalyst behind Julie’s vocation was her daughter, who was born premature and then diagnosed with a rare lung condition. Julie’s story of all the struggles and love particularly resonated with me as I was also three months premature back in 1974 and also given not much chance. Listening to her, I felt very thankful to be happy and healthy some 39 years later. Catherine, Julie and I were joined by a quartet of lovely bright young things: the bubbly Dimi and Monique, the inquisitive Sophy, and Teal, a lovely lass who had decided to embrace aromatherapy after coming to a crossroads in her life.
Julies Class #4Photo: Homemade meringues with edible rose petals for morning tea
After lunch, we got on to the creative part of the session: making our own scents. As someone who has loved contemporary perfumes for a long time, I was intrigued about exploring essential oils and having the chance to create my own scent rather than writing about others. Julie brought out her vast collection, a virtual menagerie of smells for the enthusiast. I was especially keen to try the musty herbaceous oakmoss and of course, the tuberose, which didn’t disappoint with the sharp mentholated opening segueing into buttery creamy goodness.
Julies Class #3Photo: Some of the oils we were working with
Before I start on the creative process, I should point out that while natural perfume making is about combining essential oils, it changes depending on what base or carrier you use. Julie had said earlier that she used oils such as jojoba or a mix of almond, sunflower and macadamia for perfumes to be dabbed on the skin. For spray versions, as the ones we were creating, a variety of bases could be used from vodka to spring water, floral waters or a hydrosol, which is the first 30 per cent of a floral water gleaned from the distillation process, such as rose or orange blossom.
Julies Class #2Photo: The lovely Julie explaining her process
Before we started mixing, Julie asked us five questions to work out what kind of blend would suit us: What was our favourite colour? What was our favourite food? What were our favourite types of smells? What were our favourite leisure activities? What feeling did we want to have wearing the perfume we had created?
My answers were: red; cheese and anything that satiated the umami taste; white florals, aldehydes and aromatic greens; reading walking and anything perfume related; confidence.
Julie advocated a blend of petitgrain, jasmine, ylang ylang, oakmoss and patchouli for me and a number of other oils for the other ladies in the group. We then got to work. My resulting perfume was rather lovely, a very soft and pretty white floral with a slight aromatic tinge from the petitgrain and oakmoss and anchored by a dry chocolately patchouli.
Julie Class #1Photo: Monique and Dimi at work
We had terrific fun blending and sniffing and perfecting, all capped off with a beautiful glass of champagne with raspberries. All in all, a fabulous day out and some wonderful insights into an area of perfumery I hadn’t explored before.
Have you tried natural perfumes or do you use essential oils? Have you tried any of Julie’s line?
With much love till next time,
M x

Cote d’Amour by Celine Ellena for L’Artisan Parfumeur 2009

Hello lovelies,

Do you ever go and check out SurrenderToChance Daily Chance Specials? I try and have a quick squiz a couple of times a week because sometimes you can grab a bargain on things that slipped under your radar, were too expensive originally, you wanted but forgot or were always in your wish list. Here is one such find that I read about when it was released, was interested, didn’t get immediately, forgot. Same old story, with thousands of fragrance releases each year some really excellent stuff is bound to get swamped by bigger advertising budgets.

Cote d’Amour by L’Artisan Parfumeur

CoteD'Amour FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Salt flower, green tangerine, pink grapefruit
Heart: Dune immortal flower, rosemary, cypress, gorse blossom, rose, broom, heather
Base: Laburnum, maritime pine, floated wood.

Super Luxe Spa is how I would describe Cote d’Amour. There is a beachy, seaside, relaxed ambience about it that instantly brings a smile and sigh of contentment. The salty and sweet/acidic citrus opening warms into a light, dry, breezy floral on my skin alongside a herbaceous bouquet with a little old fashioned suntan lotion thrown in for good measure. The fresh vanilla dry down happens around 3-4 hours and is so unusual in itself with whispers of the green woodsy notes and salt shimmering against each other in the background. Then Cote d’Amour leaves me with a very faint salt skin tang for another hour or so before I completely lose it.

619-00821200Photo Stolen MasterLife

An card carrying, certified, eco friendly, natural and organic perfume! WOW! There is another on L’Artisan’s lists L’Eau de Jatamansi that is more Natural-In-Your-Face smelling but until I read on the net that this was a natural fragrance I had no idea, for a L’Artisan this gets quite a long life span too. Cote d’Amour is interesting, unusual and pretty while maintaining a completely unisex wearability, if I were a one perfume per season type of person this could very easily be my summer choice, or to remind me of the scents of beachside summer holidays. I think you could happily wear Cote d’Amour anywhere, including close office work unless they are severely fragrance phobic.

Sadly it seems that they have discontinued Cote d’Amour on the L’Artisan website but it’s still available very reasonably at some discounters online.

Beach independantVoyagerPhoto Stolen IndependantVoyager

Further reading KatiePuckrikSmells
eGlobalBeauty has 250ml/$145 including shipping
SurrenderToChance starts at 1ml/$3

Did you try Cote d’Amour? What do you think about eco friendly fragrance?

Having survived the end of the Mayan calendar I wonder what kinds of change we can all expect? I’m hoping that schools, hospitals, libraries and universities will be given more than enough money every year and that all spending on warmongering will cease due to lack of interest and need. I doesn’t hurt to put it out there.
See you tomorrow.
Portia xx


Hello Perfume Hounds,

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

This week I’m doing something slightly different. The Lucky Scent July Sample Pack arrived during the week and I was wondering when I’d get to it. So of the 10 samples I thought I’d try a random selection for you and give you the usual 3 sentences and a star rating. You can find our Rating System Page <<jump.

Aqua di Casta  Eau de Parfum by  Testa Maura
Photo Stolen LuckyScent

AQUA DI CASTA by TESTA MAURA 2008. This crew offers 100% natural and organic products. Spicy, green and woody opening like opening a tea or spice chest. It stays sparkly fresh and lovely, pretty linear for the first hour or so. The wood feels newly hewn and left raw. It continues bright, bitey and delicious till it’s gone in a surprisingly long 6+ hours. S=**** L=**** D=***

MIA MURZA by TESTA MAURA 2008. Green, herbal and deep, this starts like a dense jungle and as you walk you break bracken and pass mossy trees with arboreal night flowers. An earthy, wet, humus rich fragrance that only warms up slightly as it continues to almost nothing. It is kind of there and not there after 5 hours. S=**** L=*** D=***

Vanille Cuir  Eau de Parfum by  M. Micallef
Photo Stolen LuckyScent

VANILLA CUIR by M. MICALLEF 2012. The opening sees a murky frission between the citrus, lavender and mint, something in this is the same as they use in modern Dana Tabu and it really fights with my nostrils. As a dab it then goes very skin scent but in a spray decant half an hour in and the leather really comes to the fore, a rough, unfinished leather straight from the tanners at first and then a mellow suede till the dry down about 4-5 hours later but it maintains that funny scent that torments me for most of its lifespan. I’m sorry to say, I don’t like it particularly. S=** L=*** D=**

VANILLA MARINA by M. MICALLEF . OHHHHH This opens so interestingly; the lemon is a warm hit of citrus (Unusual!!), I couldn’t place because the salty marine note plays with it like a Margherita, white flowers too. Are they orange blossom? So sexy and I can feel the vanilla sliding through it all, almost ambery but sweeter like …. I don’t know what!! WOW!! I am finding a decant of this, even though it’s not completely new, it is a fresh look at a common theme. Far better and lasted till morning, just quietly.  S=***** L=*** D=****

To receive the LuckyScent sample pack simply join their mailing list and they will send you an invitation to purchase their latest loves every month, priced very reasonably with P&H at attractive rates also. The only crap thing is there are only .7ml vials in the pack so if you want to spray them you have to self decant. I have written asking for a 2ml spray set but you all need to do it, go on.

I hope you’ve had a super weekend. It’s been very nice round here.
Love, Love, Love and good stuff to you and yours,
Portia xx

TABAC by La Via del Profumo: Review

Hello Stinkophiles,

Photo of Faun by Forest Rogers

I have been wearing sporadically a group of samples bought from the La Via del Profumo range of Scents Of The Soul. When you buy a set of 6 generous, and beautifully mini bottled, 5ml samples you get a special wooden coffret to house them. This simple wooden box sits on my desk at all times and sometimes I open it up just to sniff the air inside, redolent with the magic in the tiny bottles.

Photo stolen Profumo

Today instead of just opening the box though I decided to lavishly spread Tabac upon my skin. It opens up deliciously vanilla and murky green tobacco on my skin, deep and humus rich earthy, maybe the cistus (rock rose) flies above but to me there is a fruity/jammy quality to the higher notes so you have a 2 speed fragrance. The depth and steady boom of the vanilla/tonka/smoking tobacco are played against this light flower/green tobacco/hay/fruity accord, there may even be a boozy side story here just on the edge of smelling. It is quite a ride, you can almost feel the sun on the cut grass, warming and drying it. This is a perfume, hefty, tasty, lusty and delicious; not for the faint hearted or affeared of fragrance. There is no hint of light aquatic, fruity nothing here. As it begins to lose its potency and aims towards dry down Tabac becomes sweeter before it goes dark, like the vanilla has come back to round the whole story out. Scent, longevity and sillage; Tabac by La Via del Profumo seems to have it all for me. When I finish this nearly empty sample it will be FB time.

Photo Stolen Profumo

From the LaViaDelProfumo site

The absolute of tobacco is the theme of this perfume. In the composition the overwhelming aroma of the tobacco is moderated with the spicy and resinous essences traditionally used to scent pipe tobacco…. Vanilla, cistus, tonka etc.
However, it’s interest and success lies in in its effect on the psyche and the vital energy. In perfume therapy, the scent of tobacco absolute confers warmth and well being and strength without overpowering. In effect, tobacco absolute should be taken into consideration for persons who have misused their own forces to the point where they are enervated and depleted of physical and psychic energy.

Please go and visit LaViaDelProfumo where you can find 100% natural perfumes created by extraordinary perfumer Abdes Salam Attar. The sample program is great, I love to try everything so it suits me perfectly. Just so you know, in my coffret I purchased Tabac, Hindu Kush, Sharif, Mecca Balsam, Tartar Leather and African Night, and as a bonus getting a small vial of Oud Caravan No. 3.

Thanks for dropping by, are there any tobacco perfumes that I should smell or that you love? Please leave us a comment so I can go look,
I hope your day is lovely.
If it’s not, things will and do get better, promise,

Portia xx

Portia xx

Australian Perfumers: An interview with Liz Cook of One Seed

By Evie C.

Photo Stolen from One Seed


Here at australianperfumejunkies one of our aims is to explore what’s going on in Australian perfumery and to celebrate our own wonderfully talented perfumers.  One of our favourite discoveries has been Liz Cook of natural perfume house One Seed.

Liz has a long-standing interest in natural ingredients and brings a wealth of experience to her range.  She was kind enough to share some insights with us in to the origins and evolution of One Seed.  We hope you enjoy the following interview.

How did you become interested in becoming a perfumer?

 I’ve had an interest in natural health and cosmetics since I was a young teen and I experimented with DIY natural skincare and aromatherapy in my early 20s. Then in 2001 – when I was 25 – I opened an organic beauty and lifestyle store in Adelaide, Out of Eden, and the journey continued. During the next seven years I spent a lot of time researching and practicing, and created thousands of blends for clients and for the store with customised skincare, aromatherapy blends and the occasional perfume. My passion for natural scent developed during that time, and I had a lot of success with the blends I created in that business. When I sold the business in 2008, I kept only the perfume formulae, seeing a gap in the market for natural perfumery that I might fill at a later date. Three months later I began working on the first fragrances for One Seed.

What were you doing before you became a perfumer?

I have had many ‘careers’ in my short life, from starting off in retail (don’t we all?!), then studying a Bachelor of Nursing (which I quit half way through), and photography which saw me through several years of uni and has proved to be a great fall-back choice for me; I also studied Social Science, Community Development, and then Small Business Management prior to opening Out of Eden in 2001. But my passion has always been business. I’ve been entrepreneurial all my life – I can’t help myself!!  By the way, I also have two kids (9 and 5), so that has also kept me busy!

How did you get your education as a perfumer?

I am a passionate researcher and self-trained in aromatherapy and perfumery. I’ve been researching this field for well over a decade, read reams and reams of articles and books, and watch and analyse what some of my favourite indie perfumers are doing. And LOTS of trial and error!!

Why did you want to be a perfumer in Australia where the culture of ‘perfume’ is somewhat limited?

I never accept limitations. Perhaps naively, I’ve always preferred to make my own path, and I don’t feel restricted by what is or is not considered possible or plausible. Sometimes this has been my downfall, and it often means pushing those hard yards for a long time without success or recognition, but it’s just the way it is with me. I feel proud to be an indie perfumer in Australia where very few exist (in fact, there are only two other natural perfumers offering a product at a retail level in Australia). And I like the idea that I might be somewhat of a trailblazer!

Do you have any mentors/inspirations in the perfume world?

Mandy Aftel is just amazing! She is an inspiration for a lot of indie perfumers because she has incredible skills and has made an amazing success of her natural perfumery brand, as well as being one of the main reasons natural perfumery has begun to get mainstream attention. She is definitely a trail-blazer!

Do you have a favourite mass-market perfume?

 I don’t wear them at all myself, but my mum wears Escada Sentiment, and I love how it smells on her. It’s like rose and sherbet. I actually made her something similar using naturals (hoping she’d ditch the synthetics), but she still prefers her Escada! If I was into mass-market perfumes, I’d probably be a Chanel girl because I love originators – and I’m a total sucker for amazing marketing!

Do you have a favourite independent perfumer?

Apart from Mandy Aftel, I also like what Olivia Giacobetti. She’s worked with some big names, but I love what she has done with Honore des Pres (I really want a bottle of Les Carrotes). Annick Goutal also has my attention.

Do you have a signature scent? If so, what is it and how did you find it?

Personally, I don’t have a signature scent; I go with whatever I feel on the day, and I’m always wearing my latest experiment! But “Freedom” has become somewhat of One Seed’s signature scent. It’s an easy-to-wear combination of classics with a unique twist, and has a delicate yet mature femininity, which probably represents our brand pretty well.

Like many perfumers, I also have a set of signature essences which I always go back to by default. They include rose otto, ambrette, amber and magnolia and a few others. I have to make a conscious effort not to use them in everything!

Do you consider One Seed to be bucking the ‘clean scent’ trend?

Absolutely. I understand the trend toward clean scents, as people really want to go back to basics, and that seems to mean the simple pleasure of the smell of clean, fresh fabric. I think it’s about going back to simple pleasures, which is a good thing. But in order to get that type of fragrance you either have to use a bunch of synthetics to mimic to scent, or keep your nose in your linen closet! We don’t use synthetics, and we really don’t follow trends at all. Not that we intentionally buck trends, but each fragrance I create has its own unique story or theme. My focus is always getting the most out of a beautiful natural palette of aromas to create a unique fragrance experience.

Why is it important to you to use natural ingredients rather than synthetics?

(I could talk about this subject for hours!) There is a lot of information out there for anyone who’s interested in finding out exactly what is in their bottle of perfume, but one of the best articles I’ve found is called Not So Sexy. Basically, most perfumes (including the big names) are a combination of lab-produced synthetic fragrances, UV filter, artificial colours, and phthalates for increased silage or longevity, many of which are hormone-disruptors, potentially carcinogenic, and can commonly cause nausea, headache and allergic reactions. Reading the ingredients list is only moderately helpful as up to 50% of ingredients won’t even be listed on the package due to ‘trade secret’ loopholes.

Of course, there are also some natural which can cause allergic reactions, or should not be used by pregnant women for example, but I completely believe in the beauty of natural perfumery, and a skilful perfumer knows how to create a fragrance masterpiece using only a palette of naturals. I am a firm believer in avoiding exposure to unnecessary chemicals, and there are enough natural fragrance options out there these days that I think it’s entirely possible to avoid synthetic perfumes completely if you want to.

What do you see as the most important trend in perfume currently?

There is a definite leaning toward naturals. Most perfume houses have started to include some naturals in their formulae. I think more and more consumers are demanding it, so the market is slowly (very slowly!) turning. But I think the most important trend is toward niche or indie perfumers. That’s very exciting for perfumers like me as it means it is actually a commercial viability to be a small perfumer. Ten years ago, that was definitely not the case. Consumers are definitely becoming more discerning, wanting something unique, and willing to try something different.

Do you think it’s financially viable to be a perfumer in Australia?

It is difficult to make a good income as an independent perfumer anywhere, especially in Australia. But it is viable if you are a good perfumer and understand your market well. And the value of blogs and independent perfume reviewers (like Australian Perfume Junkies) cannot be underestimated.

Could you describe a typical One Seed customer? Are your customers entirely local or do you have customers internationally?

Our customers are about 60% local and 40% international (mainly US). A typical One Seed customer is a 30-40-something woman with a leaning toward organics or natural living, someone who has a broad world view, values family and community and loves finding unique and independent artisans of all types! She is a woman of style, but not overly influenced by trendiness or high fashion, or mass-market.

How significant is the online side of your business and do you think it could be viable to run a perfume business entirely online?

Our online store has become an integral part of our business over the past 12 months as we have had a lot of interest from blogs and online perfume reviewers. Prior to that, we didn’t sell a lot online, but now our online sales are really what help keep the business afloat in tough retailing times. As far as running on online-only perfume business, I think it can be difficult, especially for a small perfume house that isn’t in the mainstream. It is vital to get yourself out there, become known to magazine editors, bloggers and other reviewers whose opinion is valued by consumers. But, ultimately, I think perfume is an experience, not just a product, and it needs to be smelt and seen to be understood.

Can you tell us a little about the genesis of your newer fragrances ‘Frangipani’ and ‘Sweet Water’? (Also, when will they be available?)

 Both are available in our online store, and soon to be available in stores. Frangipani was actually created for my friend Kate as a birthday gift, and I had such good feedback every time people smelled the leftover vial, I just had to release it. We describe it as “A quintessential frangipani fragrance capturing the sweet nectar of frangipani blossoms, delicately supported by melodious fruit, floral & musk tones”, and it’s really pretty. In fact, it’s my husband’s favourite fragrance to wear so it’s not that pretty! On him, is smells a touch more earthly and completely divine!!

Sweet Water was developed as part of a Natural Perfumers Guild Project in 2011, with the theme of “Brave New World”. The idea was to develop a scent using natural only available since 2000. I created Sweet Water inspired by the smell of grass after rain in summer. It’s a sweet green chypre with a sweet heart of honey, mint and summer blossoms enveloped by a watery aromatic top note and dewy base of amber and sweet grasses. It’s one I’m most proud of, but it’s one you’ll either love or avoid.