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  1. Elf's Compendium of Notes 9- Givaudan's Rose

    Rose absolute and rose attars are among the most expensive and ubiquitous ingredients in perfumery, along with jasmine and orris, ambergris and oudh. The vast majority of mainstream and niche fragrances don't use naturals for these notes anymore, and haven't for at least a decade. There are many aromachemicals used to mimic rose absolute, but the one I like the best is by Givaudan, titled simply, "Rose".
    But does Rose smell like a rose? Well, more like a hyper-rose. If naturals ...
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  2. Skin, Paper and the Smell Master

    Of all the ways I can smell a fine fragrance, the least rewarding is, unfortunately, evaporating off my own skin. For a while I thought I was cursed with a skin chemistry that magically decomposed scent molecules. But the problem is really in my brain. “Olfactory adaptation,” as Avery Gilbert explains in What the Nose Knows, works like this: “a new odor smells strong when we first experience it, but the longer we’re exposed to it, the more it fades into the background. In the extreme it may ...
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  3. Elf's Compendium #8- Ylang ylang, the Essential Flower

    Cananga odorata is one of the great floral staples of perfumery. The name ylang-ylang comes from Tagalog, and probably derives from “ilang-ilan”, meaning "rare”. Ylang ylang hails from the Philippines and Indonesia, and is also grown extensively in Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaquita, or jasmine sambac, are strung into necklaces. It was the primary scent of macassar oil, which gentlemen of the Victorian period used ...
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  4. Flower Power

    Chandler Burr says that jasmine smells like soiled underwear. For a long time I didn’t get that. I’ve smelled jasmine in lots of perfumes. I have a jasmine key accord from The Perfumer’s Apprentice that I’ve smelled straight from the bottle and diluted to 1% and 10%. On vacation in Hawaii I walked along a 100 yard hedge of blooming jasmine every morning. They all smell lovely. Jasmine is probably my favorite floral – strong and distinct but not over familiar or boring. I never got any off ...
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  5. Elf's Compendium of Notes 7- Two Cedars

    Himalayan Cedar- A Worthy Substitute for Atlas Cedar?

    Lately, more attention is being paid to those trees and plants that are succumbing to over-harvesting, climate change, and land use change. Aloeswood and white sandalwood are pre-eminent on this list of endangered trees, but a number of the frankincense-bearing trees (Boswellia) are now on the list, and Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica) may soon join them. Atlas Cedar, a staple of fine perfumery and made so famous by Serge Lutens ...
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