Friday, February 19, 2010

Live deer vs. synthetic musks experiment

So I decided to do something ridiculous and I wanted to see what live deer would think of a few different synthetic musks and how interested they would be in sniffing them (or if at all). Luckily I know where a magical pack of super-friendly deer live so I went over to visit them with a few dropper vials and scent strips.

For this experiment I took Galaxolide, Tonalide, Habanolide and Exaltolide as well as two controls (non musks) with me, ethyl vanillin and methyl anthranilate. I tested the deer as best I could by presenting the scent strips while my lovely assistant logged average sniffing times in seconds. Each average did not have the same amount of deer as they weren't infinitely patient but they ranged between 6 and 9 deer per material. We are fairly confident that we didn't record the same deer twice on each trial.
ethyl Vanillin: (3.6 seconds)
methyl Anthranilate (2.2 seconds)
Galaxolide: (4.6 seconds)
Tonalide: (4.9 seconds)
Habanolide (4.7 seconds)
Exaltolide (4.1 seconds)
Qualitative Data:
Above and beyond the information from the averages, we noted that the times for ethyl vanillin and methyl anthranilate had a wider distribution with outliers on the near and far ends of the spectrum, while the times for the musks were much closer to a bell pattern with future outliers.
It appears there is some support for the hypothesis that live deer prefer the scent of synthetic musks to non-musk chemicals. More testing is needed.
PS - no deer were harmed during these tests, in fact we fed them a whole bag of carrots after :) this was just for fun as is not intended as a real scientific study.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RIP Alexander McQueen - Kingdom

As many of you know, talented british designer Alexander McQueen passed away. As we mourn the loss of this great fashion icon, I would like to take a look back at the houses's perfume offering. The designer, who will be remembered for his innovative and bold designs, will also be remembered in the fragrance community for releasing an equally innovative and a true statement of a fragrance; Kingdom. Its heavy use of cumin a precursor to the wave of "sexual" scents released post 2000. While it may never be recognized as a landmark perfume, the combination of its innovation in defining an emerging "genre" (instead of characterizing it as an oriental we may lump it with Ambre sultan , Musc Khoublai Khan and Secretions Magnifiques as a "sexual" fragrance) and its amazing packaging (bottle, box) will surely earn its place in fragrance history.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jasmine Grand Duke about to bloom...

Here is a photo of some jasmines (variety: Grand Duke) which are about to bloom in my window. I can't wait - its just a few more days until my living space is filled with the intoxicating scent of these regal flowers which have been used in virtually every significant perfume ever made...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Men's Grooming how-to: shaving with a double edge blade

This might be a little foray out of the general content for this blog, which has been mainly perfume and fragrance - but I feel that the area of men's grooming is strongly related, for obvious reasons. For this reason I would like to do a blog post about a now ancient way of shaving that is currently enjoying a renessaince among men of all ages; traditional wetshaving. This form of shaving is accomplished using a single razor blade, with bevelled edges on each side. This razor blade fits into a safety razor, which is run across the face in mostly the same way that today's cartridge razors are used. At the bottom of the first photo you will see a 1950's Gillette Tech razor. Often, traditional wetshavers will also skip the use of modern canned shaving foam, and instead will create their own laters with the use of shaving soap or shaving cream. For this example I will be using a slightly unorthodox soap, Chanel's "Coco" bar soap (hey, I had to make it marvelous, darlings!). There are however, many soaps designed specifically for this purpose from Tabac, William's, Art of Shaving, Floris etc.

The first stage is to adequately wet and warm the brush and the later mug, simply pour warm water into both for a minute or two.

To prepare the brush to be "loaded" simple squeeze once, you can also wave a few times to get out any extra water - the brush must not be very full of water otherwise you will just make a mess and your soap will not stick to the brush. A common mistake of the novice is to use too much water, you must really get your brush semi-dry! The dryness of the brush will not be a problem and you will see why in the next step...

To load the brush, one must first put a small layer of hot water onto their soap. Commonly, shaving soaps are made in a circular shape with a ridge around the top to trap the water. Otherwise, the soap is sold in a bowl shaped container which accomplishes the same thing. This hot water will partially melt the top of the soap making it soft and sticky. If you are using a shaving soap such as William's or Art of Shaving make circles around the top until you feel that your brush is beginning to stick slightly. When this happens the brush is fully loaded...

And should look something like this...

The last step before taking the razor to your face is to make your lather in a mug or bowl. I just use a mug for this tutorial because it is something that most everyone will have at home. There are specialized bowls available, and can range in price from $10 to $100 or more. This is just a preference thing of course, a mug will work just as well! In order to later, add a very small amount of water to the mug, maybe somewhere in the vicinity of one to two tablespoons (15-30ml). You dont actually have to use a tablespoon to measure of course, just turn your hot tap water on to a trickle and let slide the mug under the stream for a second. Start with less water rather than more, it is easier to add more if needed but much harder to take away if your lather is too airy!!
Now, Bon Voyage! start shaving! ( I will post another article that will deal with proper blade handling for the face and legs - ladies can use a double edge razor too ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Film crew (my wonderful friends) for a perfume movie shoot

Here is a still from last weekend's shoot in Montreal, Canada as part of a creative perfume brief. We are hard at work shooting in Montreal, Toronto and New York in January and February. The film will be a short somewhat similar to the style of Chanel's pieces with Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tatou (except less cheesy :). I will post up as much of the film as possible when it is finished although there might be some restrictions of what I can and cannot show. I will definitely throw up some more stills soon. I've been smelling alot of new releases and working in the lab also and I have some exciting news I'd like to talk about so please stay tuned and thanks for your patience while I am not updating as much :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm back!

Hi everyone,

I haven't posted in a while and I am sure it seems like I have disappeared! I had a very busy December, and then into the holidays of course I barely had time to do anything at all! In any case, I am back, and will be getting more articles up soon! I definitely have some material I would like to share and a few things I would like to talk about. I can't write anything right now but I will throw up this photo and let you guys guess what it might be :) I'll have some more info soon

PS - the men's version of "Zen" from Shiseido is quite nice!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Francis Kurkdjian's mobile perfumer case

Here is something I just found out about: Francis Kurkdjian's mobile perfumer's case. I find this especially interesting because of one of my earlier articles in which I sketched out my vision for the mobile perfumer of the future, to serve the ultra-rich as a hairstylist or wardrobe stylist does today. In my vision the perfumer would carry such a box and be able to constantly whip up new fragrances or variations on a favourite theme for a client to wear at anytime. In this case, I believe the box is more for show than actual use - but it is still a very interesting concept.

The trunk maker behind this glorious creation is Pinet et Pinet and their website can be found by clicking the link :)