Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fragrant Musings: Pros and Cons of Coffee Absolute / Essential Oil

Whether or not coffee is a notoriously difficult note for perfumers to use because of its savory aroma is a matter of taste and the least of my concern. It's been fun learning more about using coffee absolute and essential oil, but also kind of eye-opening. I found conflicting information regarding caffeine: Some sources say there is no caffeine in their coffee oil, while some say their coffee oil is very high in caffeine, and also that the beauty industry has been using caffeine in high end products to supposedly fight aging. Is that why coffee has become a popular material? I've heard of home remedies using ground coffee in a scrub to fight cellulite, but what does caffeine do besides stain your skin or possibly get absorbed by the skin and have people addicted to the beauty products that contain it?

Other sources say there is no essential oil in coffee beans, so of course, my next question is, how do you make coffee oil? Infusion makes sense, and coffee infused oil is something I can make on my own, although I don't think I'd do it without finding a proper preservative for it, which brings me to the question of the oil's shelf life, which no one has answered, but I digress; Robertet, for instance, offers on their list of raw materials (Read on Wikipedia about fractional distillation) Coffee Decolorized Absolute "with a very mild solvent to keep the top notes and avoid artefacts" (new terminology for me). I guess they couldn't get the color back in the material, which is fine since that is the natural form of the adulterated material. I don't want to use artificial colors, caramel coloring, etc. in my products, either. Neither do I want natural additives that don't work or eventually turn rancid and, heaven forbid, develop mold, which brings me to the point of this post, to ask whether or not raw materials are truly safer to use than technologically advanced fragrance oils.

As a mixed media perfumer, time and again I'm caught between two worlds, one being the world of natural products and the other, of technology. I have been faithful about using good oils like jojoba, and would like so much to move in the direction of all naturals, but there are clearly issues I must face regarding product safety, and natural isn't always the best solution. What is the point of using a natural material if it's been adulterated with, say, a neurotoxin like hexane? It's kind of like eating nothing but macrobiotic soy products for 10 years and getting sick (which happened to someone I knew)--you know many soy products are hexane-treated, right? On the other hand, is fear of hexane also like eating only organic fruits and vegetables, for fear of pesticides that are present in the regular supermarket variety, but not enough servings to keep you healthy? Because ironically, you would get more nourishment if you ate more fruits and vegetables regardless of whether they're organic or not. (Related read: Should I Worry About Hexane in Soy Food? | Berkeley Wellness)

So, I want to ask you which you would rather use: a synthetic product with molecules too large to get absorbed by the skin, that's been given the OK by the FDA, or an essential oil that hasn't been tested extensively that will be absorbed by the body? Does coffee really offer a health benefit, enough to warrant direct contact? I still would like to experiment with the coffee CO2 extract I got, which is the most promising type of coffee note I've found thus far. Mine is of a beautiful deep brown hue, rich and dark, and smells of authentic roasted coffee. I could possibly incorporate a little of both fragrance oil and CO2 extract in my perfume blend, especially because the ambery color of the coffee CO2 is so pleasing in a perfume, but I don't know enough about the range of this relatively new fragance material yet to put it out on the market, to apply on skin...although, believe me, the thought of using coffee in an "addictive scent" is the most tempting thing of all. If this coffee CO2 extract is as caffeine-free as it is solvent-free, I think I've found my material.

Related read: "Large scale supercritical fluid extraction of low price, commodity items such as coffee, tea, and saw palmetto indicates that supercritical CO2 processing can compete economically with traditional extraction and separation processes." The Top Ten Benefits of Supercritical CO2 Extraction - Phasex Corporation

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tom Ford Private Blend Jardin Noir Café Rose (A review and an announcement)



Ahh, coffee! The aroma and taste are a staple in the life of a New Yorker as much as bagels, pizza and chocolate. Although the delightfully aromatic combination of rose and coffee has been done before in perfume bestsellers such as Cacharel Noa, nothing I've smelled has ever smelled quite like coffee. I had high hopes for Tom Ford to bring out the rich coffee aroma in his new Cafe Rose--an intoxicating coffee note as smooth as the satiny brown hue of the roses in the fragrance ad. Did I get what I'd hoped for? Not only is the coffee note absent, but so is the rose! The one thing Cafe Rose promised is the noir in Jardin Noir (the name of the Private Blend collection), if you can call a smoky incense perfume "noir" (and why not?). So perhaps Cafe Rose is an appropriate perfume for Easter, to get you in the Three Kings incense blend kind of mood, but as for me, I'm going to have to do a little rose-and-coffee blending of my own to get my floral gourmand fix this weekend. If all goes well, you'll be able to get some of my new blend this year (after me...sorry, I don't mean to be exclusive about it but I must experiment on myself first, for the sake of product testing).

Incidentally, I've been reading a bit on the new coffee essential oil that's hit the aromatherapy and culinary shelves. I'd love to use it (even though the fragrance oil smells terrific, too, and that's probably what's being used in these prestige perfumes, anyway), but since there isn't a whole lot of info on its long term uses in perfumes yet, I'll have to get back to you about making this blend an all natural perfume, either for myself or for sale. Sorry again, but no promises. I have vegan friends and would love to do something like that in the future, but for now, my penchant for product safety keeps my passion going as a mixed media perfumer. I can say the new blend will incorporate a good deal of naturals, and the final result will show that. Stay tuned to this blog for more details regarding new 2013 perfume launches.

HAPPY EASTER (and belated Passover)
from Pink Manhattan!


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Added on 3/31/13: Fragrant Musings: Pros and Cons of Coffee Absolute / Essential Oil - PINK MANHATTAN

Friday, March 22, 2013

FRED KIMMEL'S ROCK BAND 101 @ The Hub 3/24 Long Live Long Beach Festival



This is gonna be a rockin' all ages show! Come celebrate Spring Break with the band - it's all a part of Long Live Long Beach Festival to benefit an area that's still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. UPDATE: The time's been pushed back to 6:00 PM. See you guys then!!!

Sam Ash presents:
Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101
Performing Live at The Hub Billiards Club
4060 Austin Blvd. Island Park, NY 11558
Sunday, March 24, 2013
6:00 PM

Radio Broadcast 7 - 8:00 PM on AM 1240-WGBB and AM1240WGBB.com

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido La Fille de Berlin



La Fille de Berlin, a certain kind of young lady of WWII era Germany, is the latest perfume muse for Serge Lutens and perfumer Christopher Sheldrake. This is one of the most hotly anticipated new launches. I thought I'd have loads of things to say about it when I got to sample it, but the fragrance can be summarized as a fresh dewy fruity sweet rose w/ hint of raspberry, soft though fresh, like a youthful rose blended with pear. It goes without saying, but the quality of the luminosity of this Serge Lutens rose is sublime. Fresh yet deeply rosy, the scent type reminds me of Paula Dorf Zita and Comptoir Sud Pacifique Princesse Muscat (formerly known as Coeur de Raisin), which some perfume enthusiast once commented on a forum that it smelled of blood. Go figure.

(Edited to add) The dry down is very spicy. I really smell the pepper at this stage, and a warm and slightly pungent note (like The Different Company jasmine, Ormonde Jayne iris or Histoire d'Eau, but not too-too). I'm quite taken with it.

Addicted To Blood

Images: The Non-Blonde (read Gaia's wonderful review of La Fille de Berlin here), Addicted to Blood on Blingee

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Enneagram 6w5



I dunno...I spent last night retaking the enneagram personality test, and surprised myself with a very different result from what I got before: 6w5. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you might have read that I've tested as 4w5 and 4w3, also as 5w4, but never a type 6 Loyalist. I always thought of type 6 as an MBTI Sensing type, like ISTJ or ISTP, but upon doing a little search, I found out that some INTJ and even INFJ types have turned up enneagram type 6, and specifically 6w5. Some online commenters have called the 6w5 "the dryest type," or "deadpan INFJ" ("a type that is often mistyped as an INTJ"...sounds like the story of my MBTI life)...and all I can say is that I do tend to have a dry sense of humor; at least from what I've been exposed to online, I enjoy INTJ / INTP humor probably most of all (although INTP humor seems more quirky (for lack of a better adjective) than always dry or deadpan).

So if I've either changed into enneagram 6w5 (due to more anxiety or indecisiveness than usual / before) or if I always were one and just tested "wrong," I'll take being a "Defender"; I still feel I need to post a disclaimer that I don't put that much faith in the enneagram itself. I find it even less stable than Myers-Briggs which also tends to fluctuate depending on the types of questions that are asked, as well as my mood or state of mind when I take the tests, although not to the degree that the enneagram fluctuates within its very narrow set of options between 9 personality types--especially if those types are all based on pathos, as if to say no one is without at least one, in varying degrees. Maybe I just don't like the images that come up under "enneagram 6w5" or what I'm reading about this type; it sounds like the scared animal that barks the loudest and eventually bites. I don't think I'm a traditionalist at all, but what do I know? I've even tested as ENTJ once. If I am this type, I'd say don't p*** me off...LOL!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jean Patou 1000


1977 Jean Patou '1000' ad

Patchouli is the smell of money by association. Think of Jean Patou 1000 (mille) or a more recent offering like Paco Rabanne Lady Million; whether or not the patchouli we're discussing is synthetic, raw or naturally derived (I tend to prefer the thick, raw kind like what I smell in Loree Rodkin Gothic II perfume oil), patchouli is regarded as the ancient aroma of expensive silks being traded from Asia to Europe along the Silk Road. While many people associate patchouli with the scent of 1960s hippies, we tend to forget the incense made popular during the time came from the popularization of Indian culture: philosophies, religions, music (sitars and raga rock, for example), all of which could be attributed to The Beatles bringing India to the forefront of trends.

In the minds of patchouli lovers could be associations between their love of the scent and exoticism, progressivism, experimentalism and rock 'n' roll, for the hippies smelled as hip as they were. However, among the perfume cognoscenti, patchouli is often marketed as a semiotic of luxury, as only those who could attain imported silks protected by patchouli, the aroma of Indian pesticide, could be well-to-do or at least hip enough to be in-the-know about.


According to Jan Moran, author of Fabulous Fragrances and one of the world's leading perfume historians, Jean Patou 1000 (1972) is a scent associated with having been worn by the now ex-wife of rock legend, Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, model Jerry Hall. It's interesting that Jerry Hall who made headlines after modeling for the controversially named YSL Opium perfume, wore a patchouli scent and was later chosen to model for the biggest patchouli blockbuster to date, Thierry Mugler Angel. I don't know if she had been a model for Jean Patou 1000, but I think the blonde vixen of the Studio 54 days would have been a fitting face for 1000, with all its androgynous Chypre charm in the heyday of powerful scents like Halston.


Jean Patou 1000 is actually the lesser known creation by the same perfume house that gave us Joy (1930), 'the costliest perfume in the world' as the advertisement went. In perfume lovers' circles, Joy is as much of a household name as Chanel No.5, while 1000 with its equally gilded pedigree stays behind the limelight. The Floral fragrance family is the most popular of all, and Joy is the epitome of the genre perfected; I, too, prefer Joy over 1000, even if intellectually I recognize the slightly rugged, almost leathery beauty of 1000.

If an incense blend of patchouli and sandalwood as pungent and thick in its Buddhist temple smokiness were mixed with a touch of cowgirl leather chaps and a heavy dollop of apricot / osmanthus nectar, the more bitter sister to the luscious peach that is a hidden note in Joy, you'd get 1000, an offbeat Fruity Chypre perfume that one might say smells exquisitely perfumey, decadently musky and regal yet as smooth as velvet or that patchouli-laden refined oriental silk. One could say 1000 with all those zeros filling up those digits smells literally of money: Old Texas money, perhaps.


Images: parfumdepub, imagesdeparfums

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lorenzo Villoresi Iperborea



In my relentless search for a holy grail clean scent, I revisited a little-known niche fragrance called Lorenzo Villoresi Iperborea, which I first sampled just about a year ago according to my post on April 1, 2012. I don't have much to add to the descriptions I offered earlier, except to say it certainly is a beautiful scent reminiscent of skin creams like Nivea or Creme de la Mer (more so the Nivea), with a gentle rose adding a light touch of authentic rosiness to the Soft Floral blend. It's not a powdery aldehydic rose like Chanel No.22 but something about Iperborea takes me there.

The closest perfume I could compare it to might be Cartier La Lune with a slightly mossy-aldehydic skin cream whiff reminiscent of Lancome Climat or Oh! de London. Although it's a bit quiet to suit my personal taste, I daydream often about this being my next Villoresi purchase after Teint de Neige. Iperborea is not nearly as sweet as Teint de Neige, and it isn't quite as powdery and musky, but they share a conceptual quality of the snowy maquillage scent in each their own style. I hope you'll experience these very different but equally artful creations one day.

Last updated: 11:59pm

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Sam Ash Music Stores 34th Street Grand Opening Today!



Sam Ash and Hartke are hosting a Grand Opening celebration at the new Sam Ash West 34th Street store in NYC.  The event will feature an exclusive clinic performance by David Ellefson (Megadeth) and Frank Bello (Anthrax), tons of "can't miss" gear giveaways and a whole lot more.  David and Frank will demonstrate why they use Hartke bass gear live and in the studio, as well as hold a meet-and-greet/signing with the audience at the new store location:

Thursday, March 7, 2013
6:00PM
Sam Ash Music (New Location)
333 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 719-2299

Sunday, March 03, 2013

10 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from ‘Ivanka Trump’

Read the article: 10 Things That Women Entrepreneurs Can Learn From ‘Ivanka Trump’ Posted on April 19, 2012 by Joel Brown, Addicted2Success.com When I saw this post on Twitter reworded by TheSuccessKing to read, "10 Things Every Entrepreneur Can Learn from Ivanka Trump", it caught my attention. To my amazement, as soon as I retweeted it, it got more retweets and favorites than any other tweet I ever posted. Most amazingly, it was retweeted by Ivanka Trump herself. Go ahead and read the above link; they're not only good advice for every entrepreneur, but practical solutions that can really apply to everyone.


Image: Advertisement for Ivanka Trump Eau de Parfum, perfumediary.com (In case Ivanka Trump sees this post, I just want to add that I hope the second fragrance launch will be as Floral as she desires. As a perfumista and a fan of her debut scent, I look forward to hearing how a perfume (insert name here) she actually wears inspired it.)