Category Archives: Perfume

New Botanical Perfume ‘Birdsong’

birdsong botanical peach perfume

A Midsummer’s day when the light hits the trees, and the branches sway in the colours of a gentle wind. Scattered crushed peaches lay on an orchard floor, accompanied by a sea of iris. Overhead, there is a symphony of tiny winged creatures, and the scent, is that of birdsong.

Birdsong is an earthy grassy gourmand I have been working on for a while. I must admit I have spent months perfecting this scent, made with extract off macerated peaches, essential oils, and plant, seed and bark extracts and all mindfully made with organic, wild crafted or ethically sourced botanicals.

Opening notes are Fresh Oranges, Bergamot and Elemi merged with herbaceous Pettitgrain. Galbanum adds the scent of grass, helped along with the extracts of Green tea. This leads to a heart of crushed peaches, merged with iris root, evoking a hint of violets. Osmanthus is fruity and narcotic and then there is a subtle mention of Gardenia. The base ends with Sandalwood and the golden warmth of Amber, Vanilla and Benzoin. Labdamen is also incorporated and juxtaposed with the earthy scent of Vetiver.

The Nature Of Botanical Perfume

When it comes to botanical perfume, it has a completely different nature compared to synthetic perfumes that are mass produced and created in labs.

The colour
Botanical perfumes take on the hue of the botanical ingredients. Perfumes with a high percentage of darker materials such as Oakmoss, Oud or Labdanum will give a darker colour. Perfumes with a larger percentage of light coloured botanicals will have a lighter hue.

Sediment
My perfume making methods are motivated by ancient civilisations. The Egyptians, Greeks and Arabs used botanicals and oils to produce their scents. The ingredients come from plant, seeds, spices, flowers, bark and resins and are obtained through tinctures, infusions, essential oils and absolutes of these plant materials. As a result, my perfumes may have some sediment from the raw natural ingredients. This does not effect the scent in any way, just shake the bottle before application.

Slight variation in scent
As with anything in nature, botanicals vary from season to season, depending on their environment. I think this is the beauty of a botanical perfume as you capture the true essence of the plant in a bottle, as opposed to chemically formulated identical perfumes.

Longevity
With botanical perfume, the durability depends on the alchemy between the botanical ingredients and your body temperature. Therefore it can vary from person to person. Typically a scent can last anything between 3 – 6 hours. Main stream synthetic perfumes have a chemical fixatives that keep the scent at an intrusive level and makes it lasts longer. As there are no chemicals in my perfume, I use plants that are natural fixatives to help lengthen the sillage of the perfume. These can include Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Ambrette seed, Violet leaf, Vanilla and many more wonderful botanicals.

New Botanical Perfume ‘The Bookist’

Cosy evenings, darken days, dusty books, serendipity old bookshops, orange peel, steaming hot ground coffee and decadent chocolate. This is a description of my new perfume ‘the Bookist’ a multifarious fragrance with a character that is gourmand, earthy and woody.

I wanted to create a scent to wear for autumn and the winter season. When nights draw in and there’s a feeling of nostalgia as summer has ended and the leaves have fallen. The feeling of comfort when sitting in an old armchair, reading an old book, drinking bitter coffee and the comfort of eating sweet chocolate treats.

The notes include Bitter Orange, Bergamot, Magnolia, Damascus Rose, Pepper, Black Cumin, freshly brewed Coffee, pure Cocoa essence, Vanilla, Amber, Vetiver, Benzoin, Amyris, Cedar and Ho wood. An enveloping elixir, that is reassuring and calmative, perfect for this time of year.

The Scent Of Mountains And A New Solid Perfume

Recently, I took an impromptu trip to Turkey, to the small town of Gazipasa, a district of Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast. A quiet agricultural town, renowned for its banana plantations and surrounded by cliffs, mountains and pine trees. Not on the tourist map, Gazipasa has many undiscovered coves, an underground cave, ruins, and also home to the Caretta Caretta sea turtles.

I arrived late at the hotel due to flight delays and the first thing I could hear was the sound of crickets. The scent that hit me immediately was of a mixture of sea and herbaceous plants. Having only a couple of days in Gazipasa, I didn’t get a chance to go to many of the places I wanted to, however I did go the rugged area of Zeytinada with its fir, cedar, juniper and black pine clad mountains.

Walking through the forested mountains, the scent was not something I had sensed before. The air was heavy with a green mossy, herby piny, peppery scent, but also something resembling a touch of burnt wood and dead vegetation. The heaviness was possibly from the humidity and being so close to the sea? Being surrounded by years of ancient wooded trees and dirt and also the stillness of the sea and the rock cliffs added to the atmosphere and fragrance. A unique aroma, one that was overwhelming and at the same time calming. A bit like trying a new perfume for the first time and not being sure of it and then later on, actually loving it.

Inspired by the scent of the mountainous region of Zeytinada, I created my ‘Wild Mountain’ solid perfume, on my return. The perfume includes essential oils and extracts of Galbanum, Lavender, Juniper, Palo Santo, Vanilla, Amber, Cederwood, Oakmoss, Vetiver and Birch tar. A strong characterful scent, not for the faint hearted.

Mitti Attar

Mitti Attar is the Indian equivalent to ‘petrichor’ – the scent of the first rain. The term ‘Mitti’ means earth and ‘attar’ is the staple perfume of the Middle East and South East Asia which is usually a herbal or floral blend of concentrated oils in a base of sandalwood (Santalum album) oil. Mitti attar is the essential oil extracted from dry clay earth.

I first came across the term Mitti Attar a few years ago and asked my parents to bring some back from their annual trip to India, which they did. I received two different types, one in a lighter sandalwood oil and one in a darker sandalwood oil. Both smelt amazing, however I preferred the light oil version as the earthy rain smell was more distinct. Mitti attar is mainly made in Uttar Pradesh, in the city of Kannauj, known as the ‘perfume and essential oil capital of India.’

The process of attar making is centuries old. Archaeologists have excavated clay distillation pots dating back to the ancient Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. These same process’s now capture the scent of rain. The method includes removing clay from topsoil and then baking it in a kiln. The baked clay is then immersed in water and goes through the traditional extraction method of hydro distillation, a process which extracts natural oils into water. The finished essence is usually blended with Sandalwood oil. The result is a captivatingly soothing and grounding aroma that is deeply connected to the earth. It really does smell like the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. It is said to have the therapeutic properties of healing and calming.

With the Mitti attar I received from my parents, and also finding a good supplier of the essence, I’ve been busy creating perfumes for the last few months, and these will be available in my shop very soon!

 

mitti attar

 

‘Old Nubia’ 2018 Perfume

My new perfume ‘Old Nubia’ is a culmination of an ancient scent I have wanted to create for a long time. My initial interest in the past stems from a young age when I received a book on ancient civilisations. I would spend countless hours observing the imagery with pure fascination. The continued interest in all things archaeology has been one of the reasons I became interested in creating fragrances.

Drawing on plants, flowers and resins that were used by the ancients, ‘Old Nubia’ aims to capture the essence of the culturally renowned city of Kerma. At its peak, (between 2500 B.C to 1500 B.C) the ancient Nubian Kingdom of Kerma, on the east bank of the Nile, was once a cultural gateway of trade. This contributed immensely to the city’s great wealth. Because of its location, Nubia controlled commerce at this time, being at a crossroad that linked Egypt and the Red Sea with Central Africa. You can just imagine the wonderful and exotic commodities that passed through these lands.

For my perfume I used many oils that were available at this time, including Frankincense and Myrrh, Elemi , which was used for embalming by the Egyptians, Orris root, Saffron, Black cumin, Labdanum, Cedar, Spikenard and Jasmine amongst others. I have also added two types of Oud from Assam and Cambodia – these play heavily in this scent.

A Memory And A Garden

It’s remarkable how a scent can evoke a certain memory from the past. This can happen instinctively when a certain smell triggers an event or an experience that took place in your childhood. A perfume you may have worn as a teenager may also trigger a memory of that youthful time! My earliest memory of a scent that I can remember, is my mother baking cardamom and vanilla cookies for the Eid celebrations. I would wake up to the scent of warm vanilla and cardamom and eat as much of these heavenly bakes as I was able to for breakfast. To this day, whenever I smell cardamom, it transports me wistfully back to this time. If you want to read the science behind memory and scent you can read it here.

My perfume ‘far pavilion’ was inspired by a very distant childhood memory of my grandfather’s house in India. I recall a walled garden with date trees and a central well. My father mentioned that there were also beehives, neem and custard apple trees. My mother also talks affectionately about her garden of mangoes trees and intoxicating white flowers such as champaca.

Scent can be a highly emotive experience and it really can transport you back in time. I tried to capture an evocative emotion with ‘Far pavilion’ with its top notes of lavender and pepper, and a heady floral heart of Ylang Ylang. The Neroli is calming and the base is smooth and grounding with Amber and frankincense. It reminds me of a long forgotten memory of a garden. Of heady days and humid night, of laughter, and of an age of innocence.

jasmine flower

garden

botanical vegan perfume

New Botanical Natural Perfumes

My new botanical perfumes are now available in my shop. Botanical perfumes are an alternative to the perfumes we have all grown up with and have encountered in the department stores.

Mainstream perfumes brought from department stores are mainly mass produced in a laboratory and made from synthetic chemicals that imitate natural scents. The main ingredients are derived from petrochemicals, which can cause migraines, nausea, irritation and all sorts of health problems. Some of the well-known brands may have a very small amount of natural perfume scent, but this too is usually modified by artificial means. It would be too cost productive to manufacture these perfumes with larger amounts of natural components, therefore chemicals and synthetics will continue to be widely used in the famous high street branded perfumes, indefinitely.

A natural Perfume is made up of pure ingredients that are free from petrochemicals, solvents, dyes, phthalates and pesticides. Ink and Ocean botanicals perfumes go further, in that they are no natural animal products or testing and no alcohol either. My perfume making methods are motivated by ancient civilisations. The Egyptians, Greeks and Arabs used botanicals and oils to produce their scents. The ingredients include therapeutic grade essential oils, absolutes, resins, tinctures, and infusions of plant material in a base of organic Jojoba oil. There are 6 new perfumes in this range which have been developed over a period of time based on my love of the past. Inspiration comes from books that I have read, poignant quotes, people, places and times in history.

 

botanical vegan perfume