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  1. #1
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    Default White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    In an email exchange yesterday with Chris, the owner of White Lotus, he told me that he is retiring and closing up shop. All remaining products will be sold off over the next few months and the store closed, so if you are planning on placing an order you may want to expedite those plans.

    Also, does anyone know of any alternative small-scale sources for Black Spruce absolute, Silver Fir absolute, and Pine Needle absolute? White Lotus had excellent varieties of these and I don't know where to go now that they've gone dry.

  2. #2

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Black Spruce Absolute: https://www.etsy.com/listing/2525114...search_2&sca=1

    Pine Needle Absolute: https://www.etsy.com/listing/5425729...items_search_5

    ZOils on Etsy. Excellent customer service and a wide variety of high-quality materials. I use the Black Spruce Absolute and Cypress Absolute from ZOils and both are great. I haven't tried the Pine Needle Absolute but want to try it soon.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    OH MY GOSH! I loved them so much. It is so sad to see them go. They had super rare stuff like real attars, Jasmine Flexile EO, wonderful natural accords, and I loved their perfume formulas. This is so sad. But what a wonderful life's work on the part of the proprietor. Bravo to him/them.

  4. #4

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Agreed 100.000% on all.

    They also gave us many bonus years of their work, never really mentioned. I believe it was back in 2013 or 2014, when I was needing some material for a commercial project, that he privately warned me they planned to retire soon. It was more than deserved then after such a life work and even moreso now. Their continued work since then made a big difference for me.

    Not that it's a big deal in the scale of thins, not at all, but just as a timely illustration, my idea for the upcoming contest would not work at all without a particular White Lotus Aromatics material. Or at least it doesn't work with my John Steele of the same type, and it's hardly that John Steele isn't known for excellence also.

    In an ideal world, I'd have had the availability and money where I could have interned with them for free for a year, and been able to buy the business at whatever point they might wish to sell, whether years later or immediately. If that had been suitable for them. But neither was the case, and that was only ever a private thought. What a dream it would have been though if possible.

    So much thanks to Christopher and Suzanne for all they have done for us. It is no small thing to provide such quality so consistently and for so long.

  5. #5

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Noooooooooooo.... I loved that site, so much unique stuff. Even though I avoid naturals a lot, I still have most all of them as controls and inspirations.

  6. #6

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Is there a reasonable substitute in Rising Sun Botanicals? They seem to have a lot of rare wildcrafted stuff as well.
    /Pelle

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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Quote Originally Posted by bsouthers View Post
    Black Spruce Absolute: https://www.etsy.com/listing/2525114...search_2&sca=1

    Pine Needle Absolute: https://www.etsy.com/listing/5425729...items_search_5

    ZOils on Etsy. Excellent customer service and a wide variety of high-quality materials. I use the Black Spruce Absolute and Cypress Absolute from ZOils and both are great. I haven't tried the Pine Needle Absolute but want to try it soon.
    Thanks for this, I'll check it out.

  8. #8

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Filipsson View Post
    Is there a reasonable substitute in Rising Sun Botanicals? They seem to have a lot of rare wildcrafted stuff as well.
    /Pelle
    Seems shockingly pricey, over double Eden Botanicals.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Here is a post from Chris about the closing of White Lotus: (and I tried to clean up the format a bit)
    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher McMahon View Post
    The Sourcing Journey

    Now that the word is out that we are closing down White Lotus Aromatics, people are naturally asking me if we are selling it to someone else and if not would I reveal our sources to them. Both questions are logical and very reasonable ones and they will be answered here. the answer to the first one is short and to the second longer. I am sharing the answers on Facebook so those who are interested can read them in one place.

    The answer to the first one is simple.

    "No, we are not selling our business.” The reason is very simple. Suzanne and I developed White Lotus Aromatics from the ground up and wore all the hats of the business.

    We did not employ anyone but ourselves. In the very beginning we decided if we could not handle it between ourselves then we would not do it. Such a business model is not for everyone but that is what we followed and it is what worked for us. It means that we sourced the materials, imported them, inventoried them, developed the web site for them, created profiles for the oils. Wrote stories about adventures with them and many many other things. It was a passion for us and very fortunately I married someone who had a practical head on their shoulders and could manage the many details of accounting, invoicing, packing etc. Suzanne was and is amazing on every possible level. So our business has been a business of the heart, first and foremost and we early on decided that when it concluded White Lotus would vanish like a Tibetan Sand Painting.

    Now I say we did this and we did that but the story is much bigger. It is also the story of all our customers who lovingly supported what we did. We have literally had hundreds and hundreds of incredibly beautiful and kind people who have bought oils from us over the years. It is a very heartwarming story in itself. And then there is the story of the man who was my fragrance mentor, Mr. Ramakant Harlalka. White Lotus Aromatics could not have succeeded without his guidance and inspiration. Even though we have not traveled together for many hears and only occasionally email, still that friendship and sharing remains alive in an unspoken language transcending time and space. He continues to work tirelessly in India on aromatic projects and has inspired many many other people from around the world by taking them into the heart of India’s aromatic world.

    And there is something much much deeper than all of the above. That thing cannot be talked about in words. It involves a mystery of which we are all part and is much much greater than any so-called individual achievement or effort. It has something to do with something that is at the core of all life and of which we are all apart. That is all that I can say on that subject.


    The answer to the second is-

    “No we will not be sharing our sources in a specific sense but I will be giving a few general guidelines as to how to embark on that journey if one is sincerely interested in sourcing essential oils and absolutes directly form distiller and extractors. It is a far different world then buying essential oils etc from any of the many companies that specialize in them here and abroad.

    In my opinion sourcing natural essences is an intensely personal journey from beginning to end and impacts ones life on every level physically, emotionally and spiritually.


    If that idea doesn’t resonate with the reader then there is no reason to read further. It is entirely possible to buy and sell essential oils strictly as a business and be highly successful if one is well grounded in sound business practices. But for me that wasn’t the purpose of White Lotus Aromatics. It was entirely a story of being passionate on every level about what one was doing while still having to learn about how to make a business work in a practical sense which was a difficult challenge for Suzanne and I as neither of us had a business background.

    So let me start with a few practical points.


    Even if I was to recommend a specific source for a particular oil or oils it would not work because one has to find the person or persons in that distillery or extraction unit that one resonates with. One has to first of all decide in their heart what it is the really want to know and then search for people who share that passion. They exist in all levels of the fragrance industry but one can only find them if they have tapped into that passion and enthusiasm in their own hearts. Once that has happened then by slow degrees doors begin to open. In other words the search for sources of quality materials is much more than just a search for beautiful essnces it is a search for beauty and mystery in ones own heart which in turns brings one in contact with others who share that same feeling. Those people are everywhere but we cannot see them if we cannot see what is within our own heart.

    On the outer level one needs to learn a whole host of lessons about wire transfers(often for large sums of money as most expensive absolutes are sold by the kilo or liter), then how to work with US Customs, what to when international shipments get lost, how to provide all kinds of paperwork to Customs agents-and that is just scratching the surface. It was really difficult for me to learn but without this practical knowledge it is impossible to get to the creative part. Roughly 90% of ones time will be consumed in the many practical and technical parts of running a business in order for the 10% creative part to exist.

    Years ago I did provide on several occasions to folks who wanted to source directly and it proved very troublesome because I was then expected to solve all their problems which inevitably occur in international shipments. In short, this is a journey that one needs to make for themselves based on their own keen desire to procure quality materials.. It requires a good deal of stamina and courage along with idealism and the willingness to make mistakes and on occasion lose a lot of money. I was ill suited for doing this type of thing because every conceivable variation of what could go wrong happened and for better or worse often I lost a lot of sleep, got upset when things were lost in transit, perturbed when US customs demanded obscure paperwork, etc but through all these obstacles gradually began to accept and work with a complex world in a more balanced way. This in turn led to contacts with some extraordinary people who shared deep feelings of appreciation, respect and wonder of nature’s aromatic botanicals. In order for those feelings to develop an mature one has to go through all sorts of obstacles. There is no other way. It would be lovely if knowledge and wisdom could happen without effort but it seldom works that way. So this is a journey each must make for themselves so that one grows on ever level of their life.

    Having said that I will give a general suggestion: Go to the Good Scents Company Web Site (if you are interested in absolutes in particular) go into their category section on absolutes and click on the link, then investigate the link for that absolute and it will take you to a page where all sorts of information is available about that absolute including suppliers.

    For instance, Carnation absolute: http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/data/ab1014511.html

    I have personally worked with 5 of the companies listed there and each had some wonderful products. But I am not saying who they are because this is the adventure the reader must make if they are interested. It is the burning enthusiasm in the heart that will eventually open the doors one wishes to enter into. Many many unexpected things will begin to occur if one is not daunted by disappointment.

    Lastly, I would suggest reading Steffen Arctanders book-Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin again and again and again. I started reading it in 1976 almost 45 years ago and it has been with me ever since. It is his book that opened the eyes of wonder to the world of natural aromatics on a mental level and Ramakant who opened it on a heart level. Arctander’s book can be read for free at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?...39015000804453... It can be bought from Amazon and used to cost hundreds of dollars for a copy but is now available for a little over $25. It is a precious, precious work and indeed it is through reading it that I learned about some lovely materials of the past that were no longer being done and I on several occasions developed friendships with distillers who started distilling those oils again.

    On the home page you will see many of the companies that sponsor the site. We have worked with many of them in the last 20 years.

    Amongst them you will find some real jewels. In fact each has their own speciality. No one company has it all. You need a broad base of distillers/extractors to draw from.

    Start investigating their offerings. See if they have some things which you need. Remember that one absolute or rare essential oil or co2 extract will cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars per kilo or liter(and the shipping of even one kilo of material can cost hundreds of dollars so one needs to bare that in mind) Get samples of those materials and be prepared to pay for them if necessary which in itself may cost a few hundred dollars.

    Be sure you are resonating with the people you are interacting with.

    Then get the sample and evaluate them from an olfactory standpoint. that in itself can take many hours. If all that matches up then embark upon your journey to get it to your business where many new adventures come into play. Be sure your are familiar with all paperwork requirements both for buying and selling. More technical issues are coming into play each year. I think we are moving into an era where more and more paperwork is going to be required on every level.

    I am not saying all this to daunt you or anyone else but just to emphasize the point that one needs to be ready on every level for functioning in that world. It is sometimes difficult to justify, at least it was for me s because what I really loved about the subject was the beauty of the plants and their aromas, the rich cultural history regarding them in their country of origin, the poetry and literature surrounding them, the environments in which they grew, the people that grew and harvested them, what they could be used with in natural perfumery(after one had deeply investigated and learned about the many faceted aromatic personality of each) etc. I did not like dealing with the the actual procurement side of things because it sometimes obscured my appreciation of the essence itself(which was my own fault of course)

    All the above challenges are worth it if ones vision of beauty is strong and fortunately that remained intact through all the buffetings the came about on the practical side of things. I even was able to get directly involved in sponsoring some distillations and extractions that had seldom been done or had been done in the ancient past. That was super cool and unforgettable.

    And I think, above all, do try to find a country or place where you can go and explore the world of aromatic plants directly so that the heart becomes filled with the beauty of the processes involved-the people, the plants, the environments, the distillation and extraction processes. For me that was the key to everything. I was very very very fortunate to come in contact with Ramakant Harlalka in the beginning of my quest and what a blessing that was. Ramakant took me under his wing and patiently taught me about the magical world of aromatic plants of India. We traveled together for 10 or 14 days together through the remote parts of India, him teaching and I gratefully listening as he opened up the different facets of the subject as we stood amidst the plants themselves, watching them growing, being harvested, distilled and/or extracted. The details of all that are to be found in the journals I kept and are in the newsletter archives of White Lotus Aromatics.

    Ramakant frankly told me not to consider selling even one oil until I had traveled with him numerous times to different parts of India. He said told me to first gain direct knowledge and then share that knowledge while presenting the oils to others. So I cannot claim that I did anything. It was he who inspired me to do what I tried to do.

    At one time he said to me-Christopher-even if we were to study the intricacies of the subject day and night for a hundred years we would only scratch the surface of this intriguing subject. This was coming from a man who actually did that. He was a man of tremendous learning both intellectually but equally of the heart. He and his family had their own distillery north of Bombay(and since more distilleries have been established in different parts of India by his sons and family members). They were not ready made distilleries but ones which he devised and constructed from his knowledge as an engineer. He even constructed his own gc/ms machine from scratch many many years ago to analyze a few essential oils that he was growing along the western coast near Goa in the early days of his business. What can I say about such a person. Brilliant on every level and most brilliant of all in his kind heart who was willing to teach a Westerner who did not know anything but only had a burning love to understand the subject.

    So we traveled and he taught for weeks at a time. I would then come back to the USA and earn some money for the next trip and a few months later would return and he would take me to some new place and he would teach as we traveled. Today I have only tears of gratitude for all that he did.

    So in the end this is what I would like to say-the sourcing journey is only as meaningful as what is in your heart. Anyone can buy and sell oils. That is also perfectly Ok.

    But from my perspective that would not work me a think ones work needs to have passion for beauty and mystery at its core. One time we were in deep South India and we came to the shop of a master incense maker. He told us something very meaningful. He said some people came to him asking them to sell the formula for some of his incense blends. He told us that, in truth, there was nothing of particular merit in a formula. The whole beauty of any formula was dependent on the consciousness of the person who was blending it. It is worth thinking about as there is something deeply meaningful in what he said and it applies to every sphere of life.

  10. #10

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    "He told us that, in truth, there was nothing of particular merit in a formula. The whole beauty of any formula was dependent on the consciousness of the person who was blending it. It is worth thinking about as there is something deeply meaningful in what he said and it applies to every sphere of life"

    In 3 sentences...the one and only true secret of perfume is revealed.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Amazing. They will be missed.

  12. #12

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    xyz
    Last edited by -db-; 9th November 2020 at 04:49 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    I suspect the intended application wasn't commercial perfume formulas but the sort of person one needs to be to consistently produce quality single-material or few-material naturals.

    To use a currently-reminded example, the kind of person who would post that all the suppliers he knows in the business are "cockroaches" and would call Mumsy "greedy" to consider marking up tinctures over her cost by more than a pittance, while his own markups are to the moon, and so forth is the same sort of person who just might -- by which I mean absolutely would -- sell a fake or absurdly-diluted genuine product at sky-high price just to pocket some extra coin and feel powerful for being able to pull it off.

    That is you could say a spiritual quality, or a character quality, not a matter of degree of technical expertise. Once i saw him say those things I was done with him even had I not known of fake product.

    Or, a person who is honest but more focused on money than product may, without perhaps even knowing he is, take shortcuts that boost productivity or cut costs while tellling himself and perhaps actually believing the product is just as good as ever, when someone with a different perspective would spot the subtle differences, which may add up with time to be an overwhelming difference.

    E.g. in a non-perfuming example, look what junk Coca-Cola is today. Corn syrup and probably not a drop of the lime oil, lemon oil, orange oil, cinnamon oil etc that used to be in it, or if any are still used, they are vastly reduced and there is no apparent quality whatsoever. Someone such as described above would not have made those changes.

    I cannot even begin to explain how polar opposite WLA and the place of the above person are to me, and largely I think for the reason said. WLA was wonderful.

  14. #14

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    xyz
    Last edited by -db-; 9th November 2020 at 04:48 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    I did read the word as written and did not misinterpret as "conscientious."

    A drone can be conscientious but would not be suited to this art. A person of the sort who sometimes rips people off may be quite conscientious to detail as a personality trait while unreliably conscientious with regard to ethics. Not at all the word either written or what I meant or implied.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Quote Originally Posted by -db- View Post
    is going to be really annoyed when he finds out he just wasted a couple grand on his rare parfum GCMS project.
    Ah, but, someone already did.
    Paul Kiler
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    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Quote Originally Posted by pkiler View Post
    Ah, but, someone already did.
    I bet you have some interesting results at least, haha. I'm fortunate enough to have free access to a university mas spec, which I definitely don't take advantage of enough.

  18. #18

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    xyz
    Last edited by -db-; 9th November 2020 at 04:47 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Read the posts above as to why. The value of the quality Chris espoused as so vital were being downplayed in favor of all about formula, and the example I gave is the best relevant one I have of what happens when the person himself is not as Christoper and Suzanne are, or other wonderful people such as say Christine.

    The person and their consciousness do matter.

    Illustrations help communicate including illustrations of what happens when it's the opposite.

    Why not ask why the other posts diverted from thread? I was bringing that diversion of back to the excellence of WLA and the importance of Christopher's quoted point.

  20. #20

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    If somebody fumbles the ball out of bounds, it means nothing. If somebody fumbles the ball and somebody else picks it up and runs with it, then it matters.

    If somebody tries to divert a thread and nobody picks it up and runs with it... 🏈

  21. #21
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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    “No we will not be sharing our sources in a specific sense but I will be giving a few general guidelines as to how to embark on that journey if one is sincerely interested in sourcing essential oils and absolutes directly form distiller and extractors. It is a far different world then buying essential oils etc from any of the many companies that specialize in them here and abroad."
    ....

    "Start investigating their offerings. See if they have some things which you need. Remember that one absolute or rare essential oil or co2 extract will cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars per kilo or liter(and the shipping of even one kilo of material can cost hundreds of dollars so one needs to bare that in mind) Get samples of those materials and be prepared to pay for them if necessary which in itself may cost a few hundred dollars."
    Me, who doesn't have 500,000$ to buy samples of elderflower absolute from
    30 different regions in France until I find the right one:

    Untitled.jpg

  22. #22

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    deleted

  23. #23

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    xyz
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by -db-; 9th November 2020 at 04:36 PM.

  24. #24

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Hopefully the producers have the means to find retailers such as Perfumer Supply House, Eden Botanicals, Liberty Natural, or others and introduce themselves, mentioning their time with WLA as part of their credentials.

    While I have no information, hypothetically Christopher might have advised them on potential retailers to move to, rather than try to sell the contacts. Speculation either way, except not speculation that he didn't sell his contacts, so it seems a little rough to crticize on speculation (not saying above hypthetical must be correct either, just that we don't know.)

  25. #25
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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Sure we can and can't speculate, but even if the suppliers moved, not everyone may readily know that their material was moved to that location, because by looking at the message they wouldn't announce where they are going anyway. As -db- says, it seems pretty unfair to the clients that have earned their reputation. It is also unfair to the perfumers who must now struggle to aquire the exact replacement of their materials they use in a formula, especially if they are selling their work.

  26. #26

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    On commercial, Christopher advised me years ago to not be dependent on any of their products as they planned to retire. Your other points are well taken, but at least in my case (not that I am a real perfumer but I did have commercial use) he looked out for me on that, and perhaps others were advised as well.

  27. #27

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Quote Originally Posted by -db- View Post
    That was the one and only true secret?
    To invest your consciousness into it?
    And formulas are without merit?
    Uh oh...
    Devilís Son in Law is going to be really annoyed when he finds out he just wasted a couple grand on his rare parfum GCMS project.
    You should ask me my definition of 'secret'. 'Secret' = can't be communicated...can't be understood the same way by any two people. Not accepting this 'secret' is the reason we swear there must be some special ingredients out there or some perfect ratio that stops us all from being master perfumers.

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    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    I'm wondering - has anyone felt close enough to them to craft a fragrance for them to honor their contribution? From this thread it sounds like they have touched many a perfumer in their time, and I can't think of a greater gift and show of respect.

    I would be down to chip in whatever way appropriate.

  29. #29

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    That was the reason many items has been deleted. will be missed

  30. #30

    Default Re: White Lotus Aromatics Closing

    Hadn't seen this yet.

    I am really sad. My best materials have come from White Lotus.




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