Pass - but chag sameach anyway :)
After spending small fortunes on fakes, I'm trying to be careful.
Does this seem genuine to you :
I was doing a search, and came across this warning from Anya's
Do you guys side with her? Should I invest in synthetics instead?
Pass - but chag sameach anyway :)
Toda to you too?
The only truth is a lot of nonesense exists about Honeysuckle Absolute. To my knowledge it does not get produced. Many moons ago it was getting produced in Holland. I think we are talking about a few kilos for a lot of work and what happened is the company in question got bought out by one its clients - a well known fragrance house. Now under new ownership the the new owners pulled the plug on producing Honeysuckle. As I write I have never experienced true Honeysuckle abs and maybe I never will. What I do know is that an extrait was or maybe still does get produced by an Egyptian company. That I have smelled and I thought it was so so.
With regards to essential oils direct - its again total nonesense. Look at the msds - no16 - states Butylphenyl Methylpropional - that does not occur in nature. That company is an utter disgrace and the material smells like cheap and nasty air freshner. Keep your money, buy a lottery ticket, win a million and start producing Honeysuckle abs yourself.
I also saw emails from a reputable American perfumer - not naming who because I think she/he just screwed up and we all do it - but I checked it out and found out the referances she was passing around from a well known French naturals producer where total nonesense.
Synthetics are not my area but Im sure someone here can offer a solution. Adam
When my reputation was called into account over a material that she was not aware of, and was convinced that I was trying to send people to a new fake materials supplier, and then another moderator did this AGAIN over another materials supplier, I left that group to be free from this level of thought control and arrogance. Both times the supplier provided real and natural products. Both times their (NPG) position modified later. I had harsher words here, but I deleted them.
As it happens, I have here a Honeysuckle absolute from a very reputable supplier, that makes all manner of materials and extractions of the most amazing and multivaried raw materials. And it isn't from any of these sources quoted in the blog posts from A.
You'd be hard pressed to find another Perfumer ferreting out the cool, odd, and rare natural extractions than myself, but I do know that there are some.
Curiously, it seems that in the whole Fragrance arena, there is a myopic preoocupation with USA east coast materials, or those listed in Arctander or Gildemeister, and many many west coast materials have been hitherto nigh close to unknown, that I have been exploring and working with. And if you extrapolate that viewpoint out into the world, just because you have never heard of it before, and it's not listed in Arctander, or Gildemeister, or WHATEVER source you wish to consult and quote from, that certainly doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, and that it is therefore fake, just because you've never heard of it before. I could pull off my shelf at least 45 things NOT listed in Arctander.
Needless to say, there are MANY items of disagreement between myself and Natural Perfumers.
Last edited by pkiler; 28th November 2013 at 03:40 AM.
This place carries CO2 absolutes of some very rare and difficult to find florals, including honeysuckle. I have purchased from them a couple times and the supermarket down the street carries a large line of their products, I can vouch for the quality and customer service. Every essential oil of theirs I have purchased has been genuine, I highly doubt these are fake but I am not an expert and I have not purchased the honeysuckle.
Last edited by JEBeasley; 28th November 2013 at 03:55 AM.
Looking at their prices, I think I'll just wait till I get more basic chemicals and oils
before going crazy with spending. I've been ripped off once too many times.
Paul I wouldn't give it a second thought, I think anyone who is in the loop for long enough has a story or two about the NPG. And I also agree about the Arctander comment wholeheartedly, I can't top 45 materials myself!....yet!!... but I do have a fair few not in his book and have encountered many others who can put out some really unusual gems.
I agree about not hearing of the material does not mean its a fake BUT in this instance with theHoneysuckle Abs, if it is getting produced it has to be in tiny amounts so I think its fair to assume the vast majority of traders whom are supposedly selling it are not selling the real deal and more so when you consider some of these prices they are retailed at - less than a beer and a pack of cheese and onion crisps. Common sense says no chance.
But Paul, help me out here please! If you are vouching for this company then please please with cherries on top can you introduce me to them as I would love to see what they can offer.
JEBeasley - Over the past 8 years as a lover of absolutes over anything else one thing I come to realise is that anyone who peddles fake Honeysuckle nearly always peddles a Hyacinth abs. Also that saffron - I see this a fair bit and maybe its legit, more so taking into account what Paul is saying as I admit his comments have thrown me but for its worth the only company I trade with whom I know push Saffron products is Robertet and most of that is for the foods and flavours companies. They do offer a resinoid and the price is I think 5 figures GBP. Also the fact they do not put BN names next to many materials is crazy.
Adam, Perhaps I am naive, easily fooled or ignorant but I actually have the MedicineFlower saffron abs AND the Liberty Naturals saffron abs and they both smell identical to true saffron strands that I have in my kitchen, only concentrated. They stain yellow like saffron and are far more complex than safraleine. I obviously don't have access to any kind of diagnostic devices so I can not say with any level righteous convicition but they seem real to me...
Liberty naturals seem pretty cheap on some stuff.. Should I give them a go in the future? Hmm..
I'm not sure where you live but in the US Liberty has a very good reputation for their quality to price ratio. Everything I have purchased from them has been very good, their prices are reasonable and their service is good. They have an excellent reputation as far as I can tell and I have never heard a single bad word against them. I have spoken with them a couple of times with regards to questions I've had about their products and they have always been helpful.
I regularly purchase from Liberty Naturals, White Lotus Aromatics, Eden Botanicals, Perfumers Apprentice and CreatingPerfume with a few large purchases from MedicineFlower, Mountain Rose Herbs and one purchase from Camden Gray. So far I would say that my experience has been very good with all of those companies mentioned. Then again I have yet to have poor dealings with anyone with regards to essential oils and aroma chemicals. I'm a very skeptical person and I don't take feeling ripped off very well so I would definitely not hold back any punches if I thought I had been taken by someone. I'm sure there are many more good retailers in the US but those are ones I have had good dealings with.
I wish I could bookmark this post
And as the little flag that causes hateful stirring in viewers indicates,
I'm from Israel..
Oh, well now you've gone and done it, that little flag has unleashed my inner beast! kidding, lol! The same could be said for the American flag, I'm sure it elicits an unfavorable reaction in some. I usually copy and paste helpful posts into a notepad or word document and mark them with the URL, posters name and date. I started doing this a week ago because I was losing track of where my notes came from.
I've been telling myself I should do that with Rudolf Steiner quotes..
It was 3 months ago, and nothing happened..
In regards to the Saffron Abs. ..... I don't actually care what's in it. It's the odor profile that I like, and use in my Zaffran formulation.
I've talked with Liberty Naturals about this, what is seemingly a disconnect between what is probably one of the most costly rare raw materials stock, Saffron stamens, and the apparent price of the processed absolute. They haven't gotten back to me, but agreed that the cost seemed out of line in regards to the cost of the material they sell, and the cost of the materials to make what they sell.
Really, with a sample I received a few months ago of pure safranal, the odor profile is virtually the same. I haven't actually done a side/side comparison, but I know the scent of the abs pretty well, and when I sniffed the Safranal, I said, hmmm. it's the same thing...
I could imagine that the Saffron Abs is Safranal in a Hercolyn D / DPG base. But that's purely conjecture.
Last edited by pkiler; 29th November 2013 at 06:19 AM.
Months, if not even more than a year ago, Anya M said she was organizing gcms analysis of several supposedly authentic honeysuckles to prove once and for all if any were indeed natural. I have occasionally looked to see if the results have come out, but so far not as far as I know. Anyone know of an update on that?
I also have a saffron product, a co2 from a reputable supplier, but I always wondered how it was it was not 100 times more expensive (even though it was not cheap). I had always been meaning to post a thread on this question, so I am glad it has been brought up here. The raw stuff is euros 30,000/ kilo and so even if it had a highly improbable yield of 10% oil, that would mean euros 30,000 for 100 grams, or 300 euros per gram,, wholesale. Keeping in mind a 10% yield is probably wildly higher than what it would actually be. So unless this is some by-product using the dust from processing (and that this dust is somehow magically valueless compared to the stamens) or some other unknown thing, I think we must all face the fact that our little bottle of saffron abs or co2 is fake.
Nizan, speaking of your flag, you are in a part of the world where the lebanese cedar grows, and I know more than one here who would be delighted if we could find a good source for its oil.... Any ideas?
The Lebanon Cedar have a bit sweeter and more terpenic/lighter/more pine needle type scent, by a small margin, as compared the the Atlas.
I've tried many Atlas versions, and never warmed up to it.
No, I don't know of the Honeysuckle GCMS progress, or even of it's existence.
Gecko - I have a twig that someone brought me.. Other then that - they dont really grow here..
They need colder weather, and I can't really contact our northern neighbors.. But maybe theygrow in Turkey..
Paul, I hear what you are saying and to an extent I agree, if the odor profile is favorable and it does what you want it to do at a cost you are willing to pay then it shouldn't matter... but it does. If the material is Safranal then tell everyone it is Safranal and don't pass it off as something else. Is Safranal less expensive than the saffron abs? Are they intentionally taking people for a ride or turning a blind eye in the name of profit? if yes then I have a problem with it. I purchased saffron abs because I want to know what REAL saffron does in a perfume blend, I want the reference and the experience so that I can learn how to simulate it's effects or discover why I should chose an EO over an AC in a particular instance. If the saffron abs from Liberty is a forgery then it's a good one and it makes me wonder about MedicineFlower too, theirs is quite a bit more expensive than Liberty's. What about the people who might use saffron abs for culinary reasons? Do they exist? Would they be able to tell a difference? COuld I tell the difference if I tasted it? Would it make me sick if I tasted it? I also have the ambergris abs from MedicineFlower. To be honest it smells a lot more fecal than I ever expected Ambergris to smell, maybe it's a lesser quality ambergris, maybe it's baby shit in a bottle blended with some AC musks, if it is I'd certainly like to know because I can make that for myself at next to no cost.
This is one of the problems, as I see it, with being "on your own" so to speak. I don't have a one on one teacher with real ambergris they personally harvested and tinctured, or purchased from a trusted source, showing me what true Ambergris is. I purchased ambergris and saffron abs to have a historical reference point for "the real deal" from which to work. Not because it's some super magic mystery whale poop in a bottle or because it's hand picked by shamans. If it isn't real then I don't have a close to genuine historical reference point to work from, only a relativistic reference point set by someones creative and modern interpretation of ambergris that they are trying to pass off as ambergris at exorbitant cost. That is like me trying to paint a portrait from someone elses painted portrait, of a painted portrait... I also don't REALLY have any idea if an AC should be used over a natural in these cases because all I know is the relative reference that may be an AC anyway.
To be honest this is the kind of crap that makes me want to turn away from natural touting carpet-baggers altogether because at least the aroma chem people aren't trying to sell me safranal as saffron abs at ten times the cost. They are up front with the fact that it is an aroma chemical and it cost's X amount, pay it or don't pay it, what you smell is what you get. From now on I won't recommend any particular vendor and I feel disheartened by the idea that I can't really trust people enough to make a safe recommendation. I'm not sure why I'm surprised, I've already had this lesson in other aren's of my life; perhaps, just for once, I wanted to feel a little less guarded
Unfortunately the herbal medicinal industry is rife with these problems too. With the herbal products industry it's not just smell alike herbs used in potpourri, it's look alikes and smell alikes labeled and sold as a particular medicinal herb and capped up as pills that people rely on for their health. Sometimes what's in the caplets might be saw-dust and it doesn't have the same effect (or any) on the body as the real herb would. My wife has worked in the industry, we know which brands to trust but most people just buy what's cheap, assuming some watchdog or government agency regulates this stuff. Unfortunately as soon as you bring in any kind of government regulation then the entire industry becomes subject to corporate lobby money "helping" to dictate what can and can not be sold legally to the general public. But without regulation and without open and honest public education about the subject then the industry goes to the dogs and becomes filled with snake oil salesman and thugs and people buy blindly from someone who is being intentionally misleading in order to make extra $.
JEB - After realizing this market two weeks ago I also felt cheated. However,
I consider is an opportunity in learning discernment and paying attention to
gut feelings. I used to just ignore them, but I think it'll be a good practice to
listen to them (not necessarily abide by them). The global market thing allows
people who aren't really scam-artists, but just scams, to get away with a lot
more than they could have face-to-face.
JEBeasley, I see MedicineFlower sell "Ambergris Absolute" at $13.58 for 1 gram. Just for comparison, the only other supplier I know of for ambergris absolute, Douglas Stewart / Scentsual Antiquities, sells it at $150 for 1 gram. His smells like very fine ambergris and it is a solid, crumbly material. What kind of consistency is the product you received from MedicineFlower?
Don't be daunted by this experience, JEBeasley. There will be some more discouraging lessons on this path, so keep a stiff upper lip!
On the saffron: in Germany you don't get saffron absolue as it comes under narcotic regulations. Saffron is also called the laughing death. In small amounts it's thymoleptic, in overdose it's lethal. You would have a truly trippy experience, though it might be your last. Given it's not a fake. Otherwise, we'll see you back like this:
My experience told me when it comes to EO there is no such thing as a bargain or goedkoop. I now buy mostly certified organic EOs when they are available. More costly, but better quality. Certified organic in Germany means something quite different than in the US. The labels here are really reliable and comparatively strict (though some have lower standards than others).
This is something that astonishes me about Medicine Flowers. Their offers of certified organically grown flower absolues do not state the country of origin. Usually in Europe they are very, very accurate concerning this, otherwise they couldn't proof its organic cultivation. Plus, at MF they are not remarkably more expensive than the conventionally grown stuff elsewhere.
Regarding the AC I'd like to know if there can be differences in quality. When one supplier in the UK sells 10 ml Aldehyde C12 MNA for £7,99 and another supplier in the Netherlands 10 ml for 3€ – well then I don't hesitate and order my stuff from the latter. And this comparison makes me certainly wonder how it comes to the pricing of the EOs on the UK seller's page. Maybe it's a question of their own source, how expensive they buy their stock.
http://www.medicineflower.com/abmefl.html - is because their products are sold in a local health market a few miles from me, they have a large display filled with sample bottles. All of their essential oils seem high quality and hold their own compared to many other "quality" oils I have. So, this then makes me question the quality of ALL of the vendors I've ever purchased from. Has technology become advanced enough that rip-off artists can fabricate a VERY VERY convincing product? If so then what guarantees do we have AT ALL?
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Last edited by JEBeasley; 29th November 2013 at 07:04 PM.
Looks like updating the Suppliers' sticky is a priority....in progress, please bear with.
Last edited by lpp; 29th November 2013 at 08:07 PM.
Seems that for me, that's the only way these things penetrate my thickI love learning opportunities but learning how to mistrust people isn't the kind of learning opportunity I would willingly pay money for.
I purchased Civet paste and Castoreum from a trapper site so that I could compare the "real" ingredients with the synthetics. In these cases I believe that I have the real deal because the ones I think are natural(s) performance is very different from the synthetic. The Castoreum blend from PA is nowhere near as deep, rich and dimensional as the "real" trapper castoreum. The PA version is flatter, more dull, card-boardy and lacks something I can only define as "dimensional transparency" compared to the castoreum tincture from the trapper site. The civet I have fills my whole downstairs floor with civet smell and lasts for weeks on a smelling strip. That said, I have no idea if I've been fleeced there either. While the trapper versions seem to be of MUCH higher quality, more transparent, dimensional and more complex who is to say that the trapper versions aren't just more well blended synthetics or partially synthetic? I'm not an expert in castoreum or civet, and for all I know every material I own EO or AC is entirely overpriced muddy trash not suitable for perfumery.
There REALLY needs to be some kind of vetting process. Having a suppliers sticky is a good start but that too relies on me (everyone) assuming that there isn't some kind of financial incentive for recommending certain suppliers (crap product or not) over others. I have no problem paying for quality materials but as a newbie if I can't blend a quality perfume due to materials being muddy, rancid, old, oxidized, etc then I don't know the difference anyway, right? How do I know that AC's purchased from PA aren't oxidized if I've never smelled a fresh product? I'm not calling anyone out or wanting to poison anyones well and perhaps my question is merely philosophical but for that matter why should I trust anyones opinion here, or anywhere who sells their own product? Anyone with a profit motive has incentive to refute the claims of the competition in order to funnel business in their direction. I have no problem buying from someone I trust and I actually WANT to support members here who are helpful and supportive but if I'm being fleeced from every direction then how do I know which end is up and how can I be sure that the products I'm buying are usable in a way that facilitates quality or artistry in perfumery? In this hypothetical case I could be beating my head against a wall that never has any give and the only way I'll know for sure is when I'm suddenly on the "inside" which usually means "when I have enough money to pay like the big players do"...
When I talk with kids wanting to learn how to play guitar I tell them to buy the best quality guitar they can afford because a poor quality instrument is hard to play, is pitch innacurate and is extremely discouraging to the learning process. The quality of a good guitar is dependent on some very clearly defined material, stability, connections, parts and accurate measurements. Perfumery materials are similar with respect to the artistic principal but the evidence of usability and quality are more esoteric. If everything I buy is rancid, muddy and poorly crafted fakes then everything I blend with them is going to smell muddy, a newbie doesn't know how to compensate for any undesirable or foul notes in a blend, they are still trying to understand the materials. How can anyone learn this discipline without any guarantee of quality?
Last edited by JEBeasley; 29th November 2013 at 08:38 PM. Reason: clarity
I want to make it clear that I don't have a problem with Liberty naturals, in Fact, I recommend them.
This Saffron issue is an industry wide situation, not unique to Liberty. I've gotten similar responses to my own when posting this idea/question to other perfumers in India and a couple of other countries that I can't remember.
As far as Ambergris goes, the variability in odor profile is very wide, PLUS, adulteration and substitution is rampant. This is a definite Caveat Emptor, (Sorry for the Latin again JEB...)
Some comes sweet, some more like poop. Ambergris is in fact a digestive tract product that exits out the back door, and so needs adequate time to remove the poopy smell while bobbing around in the sun.
Liberty is on there already, Paul - there are a few others that people here also use that aren't included properly in the main post as yet.
All suggestions welcome please!
Last edited by lpp; 30th November 2013 at 06:50 PM.
I ordered some stuff from Bristol Botanicals.. Can't really tell if it's
synthetic, but I can say that it's better then some stuff I got from
India. Some of their absolutes are 3 figure numbers for 5ml, so
they might be legit. Or expensive..
I think that the sticky was possibly originally more USA oriented & it doesn't yet include Hermitage or other places used by people here.
Sorry, no expert as I'm just a member here so my experience of buying oils hasn't extended to many places as yet!
- its 4.40am, sat reading this thread - mainly your posts - with great interest, you are a fascinating mind that’s for sure. I just want to say I kind of feel bad for you man but at the same time welcome to the club. Anyone who buys the unusual is going to get their hands burned on occasions – it’s part of life, sucky yes, but part of life.You should still trust and have faith though fella, you are in the USA and you have some truly awesome suppliers. I'd happily vouch for White Lotus Aromatics - they are a rival of mine, they play by the book and you would be fine with them. Also my arch rival Oshadhi is in the USA - so maybe try them out. Keep your chin up fella you will be alright.
- so subtle!! Made me chuckle, no issues with you outing me at all fella if you feel the urge. So first of all the synthetics - why am I higher in price than Jan in the Netherlands? This is why - I am partnering with Chris Bartlett - part of that price is for his expertise, simple as that.
As for pricing of naturals, what is it about the pricing that you are questioning please and I’ll gladly answer – are you comparing me to Jan again btw – if so and said respectfully, but I don’t regard him as my European competition for naturals – never have - and as such I don’t monitor him nor would I make changes to my pricing based on anything he may be doing. Jan is three to five years behind me for his naturals offering.
Thanks for your wise input, Adam!
I totally agree that buying anything unusual is likely to be more prone to difficulty than finding suppliers for the more 'run of the mill' stuff.
The part of the Suppliers thread still in Huddlerville, for example, has (I think) some detailed info. on the hazards of sourcing Blue Lotus oil - hopefully, that info. will be returned soon and we can add a few more suppliers in the mean-time.
Last edited by lpp; 30th November 2013 at 09:13 AM.
My advice is to buy very small amounts of material at first. Many suppliers sell 1 - 2 ml quantities of expensive things like absolutes. If you dilute these you can actually get a lot out of them in terms of testing. If possible, get samples from different suppliers. Also, research as much as you can about the material in question - what it's supposed to look like, smell like, how long it's supposed to last on a smelling strip, etc. Look at Arctander, Good Scents, Google it, search Basenotes for it, compare prices. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether the material is authentic, fresh or otherwise up to standard.
It's quality control, something that even big companies have to spend time and money on. Still, I wouldn't be discouraged. There is a world of amazing materials out there.
On the ambergris absolute, I really can't say what it is, but like you said, from the price alone you would have to have serious doubts about it.
I didn't intend inciting you to make statements about whom you do not perceive as a competitor and why. I feel those notes are a little misplaced here.
[QUOTE=JEBeasley;3003708]and they both smell identical to true saffron strands that I have in my kitchen, only concentrated. They stain yellow like saffron and are far more complex than safraleine. /QUOTE]
Safraleine isn't going to match Saffron, but Safranal will...
Graphite –I’d like to think I have more than followed the thread and am actually a part of it. Price does not dictate quality btw; it just provides an idea as to what maybe legit and what may not be legit so long as you have knowledge of the trading price of the natural material. No one pricing formula exists - each business will have numerous variables to take into consideration when working out there price and of course many will try to charge as much as they can in the name of profit. Adam
If Safranal is such a near identical substitute for saffron EO/abs/CO2, why is it not more readily available? Pricing?
Safranal in bulk is $1500 per kilo.
In the industry, it is highly restricted for IFRA regs: .
2,6,6-Trimethylcyclohexa-1,3-dienyl methanal (Safranal) should not be used such that the level in consumer products exceeds 0.005 %. This is equivalent to 0.025% in a fragrance compound used at 20% in the consumer product.
So there's not much incentive to increase production and reduce the costs, because of these restrictions
If only suppliers would provide more information about where their products come from, how they were produced, and what precisely they contain we end-users would be far better served.
For instance, let's take something like orange flower absolute, which is available from various suppliers. I know these guys like to keep a lot of their business secret, but here's what I'd like to know:
1. Where did he get it (i.e. who is the supplier, and even more: did that supplier get it from someplace else, and if so, where)? Finally, what farm did it come from, how was the flower (or other plant material) picked/harvested and treated? After all those questions are answered, the next question is:
2. How was the oil/absolute/or whatever made? If it is an absolute, what solvent was used, what temperature was used to drive off the solvent, or was it evaporated cold under vacuum? All this would be useful to know. If it's a distillate, how was it distilled? What is the state of the equipment? Is it new, old, clean, refurbished, copper, glass, stainless steel? What temperature does it operate at? How many fractions where taken off the column, and at what temperatures, and how were these blended? And on and on. If only we end users could know this.
3. What has been the provenance of this oil? When was it actually distilled/extracted? What temperature was it kept at? What kind of containers? How was it shipped? Was it kept cool in shipment? etc. How long since it was made? Where has it been stored?
4. Can we please see a GC/MS report on the stuff, preferably in comparison to a known fine standard and with a certificate of authenticity from a registered authority, preferably a natural products chemist with some certification from some international society of chemists?
It's only like this that we will get the knowledge we need to make informed decisions. I notice that the real pros do all of this. You can read this in blogs such as Andy Tauer's blog.
Finally, why can't we find suppliers who have their products certified by organizations such as Ecocert? This would be very useful. I don't see this at any of the EO suppliers mentioned in this thread (White Lotus, Eden, Hermitage). Instead all we get is touchy-feely, "Hey I'm your buddy", and "You're going to love this" kind of stuff, with no evidence, no proof, no actual information whatsoever. If you are lucky, they will tell you the country of origin. But even this is suspect. E.g. White Lotus's current newsletter touts a new gardenia oil that originates in Tahiti but who knows where it was processed? India? And to try it, just a sample costs over $50!!
No wonder JEBeasley and Nizan feel the way they do. I concur with them completely. Just for instance, here is a sentence from a description of Orange Flower Absolute at a typical hobbyist EO supplier website: "This solvent extracted absolute differs greatly from the steam distilled Neroli, locking in all the water soluble compounds that are lost in the steam distilled offering." Anyone with rudimentary first year university chemistry knows that a *solvent* extract will contain very few "water soluble compounds" due to the non-polar nature of solvents used in the making of absolutes. As JEBeasley has so keenly observed: most of the people in this business are foremost businesspeople and not fragrance chemists, nor does it appear that they even have consulting chemists or other professionals on staff helping them out.
If only we could order small amounts from true professional firms such as Givaudan, Symrise, Robertet or Firmenich so that we can obtain pure certified ingredients of known provenance with documented evidence of exactly what it is. I wish there was a company that provided this service to the amateur DIY perfumer. Maybe something similar to how Surrender to Chance does it for mainstream commercial perfume products. Without that I'm afraid we are all just stumbling around in the dark. It can be fun, but we cannot take it seriously until this DIY industry gets the rigour that I have outlined in my 4 points above. Without that, it's a crap shoot, and I do mean that sometimes we end up with rather expensive crap. And the good stuff can often not be reproduced because we don't really know what it was!
It would be really helpful to be able to get samples of how real stuff
smells. I'm comparing this to oil colors - only there things are much
easier. You buy a tube, mix it with stuff, paint with it, and wait till it
dries. The cheap stuff always falls at one of those stages. With oils,
it's hard to tell - I can't tell if things smell funky because it's just
chems instead of EO, or if the EO actually smells like that.
Maybe the solution could be technological - instead of shipping bottles,
maybe the molecules can be embedded in some kind of plastic
that starts emitting them upon scratching or slight heating. That
way even small amounts can be shipped.
Another point - bshell - there can be something as over
regulation. Since we're talking about art here, are you sure you
want to bring that American bureaucratic attitude into this?
Maybe a simple international law against selling chemicals as
natural products could be applied instead.
It doesn't seem like there are THAT many suppliers. After falling
with the crappy ones, you won't go back to them, and that's it..
I have read your post, yet again someone else here having a dig, what is it with a section of you BaseNotes faithful eh, the mind boggles.
First take a deep breath Barry. Next, stop with the insults and show some respect for yourself and for those that are trying hard to serve you and others well. If you know it all and seemingly you do, then maybe do away with being an armchair critic and set up a business yourself in Canada – hey presto, problem solved.
What then happens is you discover you can’t obtain all the answers you are seeking, likewise your prices rise due to the work involved obtaining some of the answers. Now you tell your customers you charge more because you can tell them xyz, they say I don’t care Barry your prices are a rip off and you are a tool and I’m buying my stuff elsewhere. Next your competitors laugh at you, steal your supplier contacts, rip off all your research that you are so keen to share, and two months later you’re broke, sitting in your armchair, scratching your behind, drinking your cream sherry, eating your roasted peanuts and wondering how it all went so badly wrong.
Maybe put your ideas to your friends at the NPG Barry and let’s see what happens when that cult tries implementing such requirements over its supplier friends!
Admittedly I was blowing off a lot of steam in my previous posts but in all of that I was trying to demonstrate clearly where my frustrations lay whether my assumptions are real or not.
You've brought up many good points. The way I see it, and perhaps I see it incorrectly, is that due to the proprietary nature of the processes associated with creating these products and materials, and the need and desire for securing profits, I highly doubt any solutions will come to light. It's a tough world out there for small business fighting to stay alive just to have some semblance of stability. Anything that jeopardizes the "edge" one company (big or small) has over the competition sometimes can be the deciding factor between just staying afloat and thriving/growth vs closing it's doors forever. Unfortunately sometimes the "edge" or even market share is not a proprietary process or a better product but instead obtained by nefarious means (lying, cheating, false advertising, diluting, etc) or through brute strength persuasion (buying market share through lobby efforts, large scale advertising or "endorsements" from pop vulture icons who sway public opinion) but due to the proprietary nature of "processes and patents" the governance in many businesses such as this is mostly self realized which can eventually lead to protectionism by some of the bigger players in order to stay afloat or maintain "exponential" growth for their investors. Regardless, a lot of what we are talking about is standardizing processes, certifications, vetting and regulating through "industry approved" third parties or some kind of appointed governments. All governing bodies are comprised of people and all people are capable of corruption, intentional or not. So, how will this certification or governance happen and who will do it for free? How do we guarantee a standardized product when many of the variables with plant products come from nature (something we have no control of)? Who will watch the watchers? And how will we keep it from becoming another politicized or corrupt process?
At some point we are faced with how to wade through the land mines to find whatever semblance of solace we can muster for ourselves in order to have a solid foundation from which to work and learn, this can be difficult and very frustrating. This is where it helps to have teachers and mentors because they have achieved some level of success through their own process and they can help their students navigate through the labyrinth. Unfortunately not all of us have access to teachers but are reliant on books and the internet which can be a veritable minefield of learning unto itself (misinformation, lack of personalization, being in ones head too much, poor focus, no guidance, no established process for learning a system, distractions...).
As Paul pointed out in a previous post, if I understood his point correctly (perhaps I've extrapolated a little ): to a certain extent it almost doesn't matter because we only have so much control over these processes, we have what we have and we don't know what we don't know so we just make the best of what we've got. The same can be said for any artisan in any walk of life and any artistic discipline in general. A true artist creates because they have to and they use whatever materials they have available to them. Adam said "don't stop trusting", I think this is inevitable (not trying to be a wise ass Adam, just sayin' I agree). We have to trust SOMEONE (the only alternatives aren't pretty and can lead down some very dark roads and lonely paths) and if we keep trusting we probably will eventually get ripped off again but in the process, hopefully, we find people, friends and products and processes that work for us/me/you that make up for it.
Unfortunately we are dealing with huge variables and EO quality can change drastically from supplier to supplier, year to year, extraction process to extraction process... I don't think that is going to change and this highlights, at least for me, the need to understand the theory behind perfumery well enough to be able to compensate for these variables the best we can. As has been pointed out many times by many of the advanced perfumers around here, the best way to learn is by trial and error, learning your materials and making (and learning from) mistakes. It would be damn nice to have some quality guarantees but I don't see how this can be accomplished. As for the rest, personal solace and confidence come from within and that is the only guarantee we have at the moment. That's my opinion anyway - I'm doing my best to learn and understand this stuff too.
Justin E. Beasley
Nizan: I started DIY perfumery about 3 years ago. In that time I've obtained oils from quite a few suppliers--maybe about 10 by now--and contrary to what you are saying, there are a huge number of them, even just within the United States--even within just one state there can be a dozen or more. There must be hundreds of them worldwide. It would be possible to go through them all and figure out which ones are honest and which are not. Maybe we can organize a group of us at Basenotes/DIY to do this and catalogue everything we learn in a database available to everyone. But the problem is: even the honest oil suppliers might be getting stuff that is adulterated from THEIR suppliers. How can we know this if they don't even know it themselves? Most of these sellers are not trained chemists. In fact almost none of them are. Some don't know the difference between absolutes and concretes, often confounding the two. They certainly don't know the difference between hexane and pentane and the many other solvents. The general ignorance about ethanol in this industry is astonishing. With few (or no) trained chemists or a good system of standards, or a certification system, there's little chance of knowing truly what you are getting from any particular supplier, even from batch to batch. I know that a lot of effort on the part of professional perfumers goes into this side of the business. As hobbyists we cannot hope to get to this level, or to obtain materials from good sources. It's just luck.
Justin and Nizan: It's not clear to me why there ought to be opposition to standards and certification within this industry of fragrant natural product sales when we do have this in virtually every other sector of human endeavour. I mean: foods, drugs, liquors, paints, building materials, water, automobiles, and virtually everything I can think of. Strange that anyone would oppose such requirements in a field where people are putting this stuff on their skin, or even in their mouths.
Adam: Nobody has mentioned you in any post. Apart from the thread starter, people have been kind and careful to avoid mentioning any particular supplier in this discussion. However, you keep inferring and identifying all references to Hermitage, thereby bringing attention to yourself. Why? Is this a marketing technique. I am retired and have no intention of working for a living anymore, so I won't be competing with you or anyone for anything. I'm just going to "drink... sherry, eat roasted peanuts," and enjoy smelling beautiful things for my remaining few years on this amazing planet.
Justin: Agree with you totally. I just wish EO suppliers were not so "wild west" and more like all other industrial processes with appropriate industry standards and controls as we have with nearly every other human endeavour--especially ones involving human health and wellness.
Barry you are welcome to the last word on this but just a quick heads up.
You have mentioned suppliers by name – you have quoted from my site. You have also made lots and lots of assumptions about companies and an industry you clearly don’t understand. Your book smart but your street smarts are absolutely none existent.
You mention the “pro” companies like Robertet – that to me demonstrates you are best to keep drinking the cream sherry and eating your peanuts. Why? getting in-depth info out of them – forget about it – they are more secretive than the MI6 and if they won’t pass on the information how on earth can the resellers do so. Yet the resellers – people you come in to contact with – have to take a mouthful from you about standards. You want to know the percentages of what is in a Robertet product for example – especially ones like the Lisylang and bois de ecens and so on – no chance – proprietary information. Don’t believe me – ask them.
Next you talk about White Lotus and there Tiare and suggest it could be processed in India. If we are all guessing then the chances are that will be from Firmenich Barry – directly or indirectly - another respected company in your eyes. Again the info Firmenich are offering for that is as good as non-existent. The price is astronomical – 5 figures GBP PK - and yet you are annoyed about product information and the price WL are asking for breaking it down and offering you a teeny weeny size. Air your gripes with Firmenich and see how this company you respect respond to your requests – they will not give a stuff and that’s the truth. To those companies your status is dependent upon what you spend – these are sales orientated companies and there only responsibility is to the shareholders and making sure the fat cats within those organisations get there Christmas bonus – regardless of how they dress it up. I have no issue with it at all, I get how the game is played with those big companies, I don’t fight it, I accept it and try to get the best from it. But it’s that idea you praise these types of companies over the smaller resellers who bust there hump and wallets to enable the likes of you to have a 1ml of this and a 1ml of that which really grates on me.
Your questions are excellent Barry – no doubt at all about that – but you want the impossible. Far too many people are in this food chain. And your ideas and suggestions if implemented would also kill off small independent artisan producers and resellers in the process and that would be a travesty – more so for those of whom are playing fair and trying their best.
You ask why am I interfering – thanks for making me feel welcome as always – unlike you I know real time trading prices, I buy and sell 400 plus naturals, I’m in the loop and can offer factual information in this regard. I also made it clear that the eod honeysuckle was a fake due to it containing a non-naturally occurring material. I also made it clear Saffron resinoid is a 5 figure purchase which helps others in determining if that USA seller is offering the real deal. A marketing tactic - speechless, answer is no, I’m just a fan that’s sick and tired of having to jump through hoops to prove his worth to people like you in total honesty – but I try anyway!! - Actually shouldn’t you ask this question to perfumers who come here that own perfumery businesses and are trying to build brands. Adam
Justin E. Beasley
One imagines that most people here build up a few suppliers with whom they can work, or ask around in respect of other stuff.
I must be one of the most infrequent dabblers here and I've bought a few dodgy things in the past (not from any sources so far mentioned) - so I'm more careful now.
That is surely part of the learning process in any hobby - it certainly was a pretty steep one for me when learning about sourcing natural turquoise and other stones some years ago!
It doesn't take long to build reliable contacts.
With naturals any database here would never be up to date due to harvest/batch variations, etc.
As this conversation isn't helping the O.P. in any constructive way, it might be an idea to continue the discussion about areas beyond the scope of this Forum by the utilising private messaging facility please!
Nizan - thank you for starting the thread - as you may have noticed from other threads, people here do try to help others with their specific questions wherever possible so please hang around & keep sniffing!
Last edited by lpp; 2nd December 2013 at 01:51 PM.
I just hope nobody was offended by me directly or indirectly. If so -
I apologize. This forum is awesome, and I feel it's pretty essential
to have this type of community when starting out on such an "out
Thanks, Nizan - no, I doubt if anyone was offended!
The experts here do give their time & energy to help other members & it's always great to see enthusiastic new members around - good luck!
I have tried cheap Honeysuckle from reputable sources and have learnt to avoid it- until recently. There are thousands of tons of Honeysuckle grown in East China mainly for herbal medicine (but watch out for pesticides), and some is coming our way as CO2 & solvent extracts. I think this started in 1999 with a natural cosmetic preservative made by Campo in Singapore from Lonicera Japonica and Lonicera Caprifolium.
Robertet appears to offer a similar CO2 extraction (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=1&theater as the previous company mentioned is a Campo distributor). Aftelier, a friend of Robertet, is offering a honeysuckle abs from Italy but it looks suspiciously cheap at $65 for 5ml (Hermitage Oils were thinking of offering an african abs at £42 for 1gm). But if Paul Kiler seems happy with it, then so probably am I.
I'm a bit confused here. Would you care to mention which company sells which
species? (I guess the Chinese one is a different specie?).
hmm...ok. The question was about Honeysuckle Absolute. The material we are aware that has been produced is the Extrait – by definition at least not an absolute – by A.Fahkry. That is who I would have gone to Nemenator had I gone forward with it. As for the FaceBook image - You are opening a can of worms here my friend.
First its misleading as you could be mistaken for thinking Robertet produce Honeysuckle abs – I checked for the sake of it in the Summer – they do not and neither does Charabot. What this dude is saying is a past employer confirms it’s legit and that’s it. Does that mean the past employer produced it and if so why on earth wouldn’t you go to the past employer for the statement? I suspect because by using Robertet’s name the idea is that will shut people up – I think the bully at the NPG hierarchy in this instance. However would you go to http://www.phoenixaromas.com for the statement – I don’t think so as it does not carry the same weight behind it – a past employer of the vice president according to Linkedin. I think it is totally suspect statement/photo image and answers nothing and should be deleted from that resellers product line.
Also at 130 dollars for 10grm you are roughly talking about retail 10K GBP. Gut instinct and 8 years’ experience suggests a 50% margin – so doubling up – that means a cost price of 5K GBP per kilo of Honeysuckle Absolute. Most here can real off a list of materials costing more than that which are easily available. Everyone knows true Honeysuckle Abs would be pure gold – it would be wholesaled at way more – I reckon I could command 500-600GBP per 10ml myself – with utter ease - and I’m a blooming dot on the map compared to the reseller in question.
Facts are we all screw up, yet some continue with cover stories and in doing so question marks over there credibility and motives will come into play. When all’s said and done though – people believe what they want, the NPG have their brainwashed faithful, the reseller has her believers and the cream sherry drinker who hates on the small fry here has his peanuts. Its all goooooood!!!
The truth may have to run a marathon but the truth always comes out. Adam
Are we on the verge of having technology that makes "natural" or extracted essential oils obsolete from a perfumery perspective? Obviously the aroma therapists and "natural" purists will still drive demand but the question remains: Is it possible to know the complete aroma chemical formulation of an essential oil AND be able to recreate them to the point that fakes are not discernible from real EO's? I can visualize a future where this is possible but are we pretty much almost there? The IFRA is banning certain molecules and the big perfume houses are securing their formulations and patents. It seems to me that there might be a little more going on behind the scenes. I'm not talking conspiracies or anything, it's just business as usual and opportunism. It would make logical sense to me that if the big perfume houses are privy to changes in the tech sector that we are not aware of that they would position themselves in such a way to take advantage of the situation. When captive molecules suddenly make the difference between a perfume smelling well blended or not and the price of EO's has gone through the roof because demand is down then "natural" accords and very convincing fakes sold at prices meeting or exceeding the rising cost of the real deal would not be out of the norm, this is how business is done with big companies. So, in this hypothetical scenario, captive molecules and "natural" accords become very expensive making it more expensive for small, craft perfumers to stay in business and the big companies can control how much competition they have through price control of captives, accords and the rising cost of EO's due to diminishing sales (supply and demand)... Is this scenario a doomsday science fiction fantasy or is there some truth to it?
Last edited by JEBeasley; 3rd December 2013 at 06:57 PM.
Justin E. Beasley
That's a pretty sad prospect, as far as I'm concerned. There's some
of the plant's spirit in the oil.. Not sure they can recreate that. At some
stage in life I stopped caring for commercial perfumes, and I guess it's
because of the excessive use of chemicals.
But if you're not into this spiritual mambo jumbo - maybe this prospect
is promising.. Though I see no point in trying to reproduce plant scents
instead of creating new ones.
One thing for sure though Nizan, when IFRA regulations banned and restricted certain chemical constituents and EO's from perfumery it meant that the big perfume houses WILL be using less of the real EO's. This means production/growing natural plants and distillation will go down (decrease) if farmers and distillers can't sell their products to someone/anyone in large enough quantities. If production goes down then prices will go up because good EO's will become a rarity. This also means that with the rising cost of certain EO's, if the price of captives and AC's haven't caught up for some reason, then there will be a lot of people trying to capitalize on the state of affairs and diluting or "fixing" EO's according to what will sell better and for more $.
None of this scenario even takes into account the fact that perfume houses are going to be creating perfumes in test tubes from bacterial cultures meaning that they will be the sole patent holders. Even aroma chemicals might start diminishing in sales if the big perfume houses are successful with large scale production and marketing of those perfumes. There won't be any blending of aroma chemicals or EO's by the big houses. So, how far off are we from that reality?
If I'm completely full of beans I'd like to hear about. I tend to get a little "creative" while running with scenarios sometimes but I think my logic is somewhat sound on this.
- - - Updated - - -
According to those articles this bio-technology will make obscure aroma's more available, more reliable and possibly cheaper but it kind of all depends on who owns the biotech companies (Allylix, Isobionics, and Evolva) doing the producing and how badly they want to eliminate the competition.
I want to say that I don't mean to piss on anyones parade, I'm just trying to spark discussion on the subject and bouncing ideas off this board. I don't have a crystal ball or any kind of magic sight or anything and I'm not trying to persuade anyone of anything. For all I know we are just going through massive growing pains and experiencing future shock, maybe the biotech molecules will be "all that and a bag of chips" and maybe we'll have access to them in small enough quantities and cheap enough to be able to have a fun hobby or lucrative small businesses, who knows. For now I think a lot is happening and it remains to be seen how the dust settles.
Last edited by JEBeasley; 3rd December 2013 at 10:05 PM.
Justin E. Beasley
Wow, what an intense thread…there is not much I can say that hasn’t been said in the previous posts, but I’d like to add my two cents here since I’ve been caught up in the honeysuckle trap before, many moons ago when I didn’t know much; last year I almost fell for it again when I saw it sold by somebody I thought would be reliable but at the end of the day I thought better of it. As a friend of mine told me at the time, we are all learning, always.
Honeysuckle EO, absolute or CO2 is one of those natural aromatics that everybody wants, who wouldn’t want that scent in a bottle? Over the years I have seen it sold by many suppliers who claim to offer “only the best quality natural oils”. Some of them didn’t know what they were selling and when they found out they stopped offering it, others choose to be naïve or wilfully ignorant, and unfortunately many know exactly that they are selling cheap crap, not even a quality aroma-chemical, but they simply don’t care because all they want is (your) money.
As Adam said, if honeysuckle abs. is being produced it will be in very small amounts so the majority of what you find will most certainly be fake.
I’ve had the fortune of sampling the honeysuckle extract produced by an Egyptian company and let me tell you…it was not what I was expecting. It has a strong green vegetative scent and a hidden honeysuckle floral nuance, but it’s probably not what most people are looking for.
I believe the saffron situation is similar; whatever genuine natural is available will be extremely expensive, and anything else will still be expensive and also most likely adulterated or completely fake.
Regarding quality assurance and certification, please don't be fooled by big names and companies such as Givaudan, Robertet, Firmenich, etc.; they have many secrets and they will not disclose them, they are money driven, period. I have personal experience with one of those companies and I can tell you the person carrying their precious expensive materials didn’t know anything about them, other than what she had been fed in order to sell them.
Regarding price, it can be a good indicator of quality; if it sounds too god to be true it probably is and you should steer clear of it. Unfortunately there are unscrupulous sellers who will charge high prices for what they know is fake, so how do you know? Well, use your nose, common sense, gut instinct, and make sure you build a good relationship with a trustworthy supplier. A genuine business will not shy away from your questions and will be happy to say “I don’t know” or “I will find out”; you should also be able to ask questions and get some form of answer, even if it’s something like “I cannot tell you that information because of A, B or C”.
Nizan and JEBeasley, I only work with naturals because I LOVE them, and I’m speaking from the heart here…please don’t be disheartened by the ugly side of the business. Realise that there are companies run by passionate people who share your love for true natural ingredients and are as genuine as they can be; when they make a mistake they put their hands up and rectify it, they don’t lie or hide behind others; believe me, these people exist, so persevere and enjoy the growing number or naturals that we have access to these days.
I’d say that if you buy from companies such as White Lotus and Eden Botanicals in the USA (also Liberty although they can be a bit hit or miss in my opinion), or Hermitage Oils in the UK, you will be as ok as you can be.
Sorry for the long post, it was more like 20 cents than 2…Wake up now!