Rebel with a Nose

Fashion is the fastest game of all. Nothing sassy or glam’ stays current or on trend for more than a minute.

Yet, people want perfume to be the same eternally. Same fragrance, same price, same packaging. There are so many factors that determine the path of change in a fragrance. Ingredients come and go. Companies come and go. License agreements too. Regulations, profit margins, good and terrible ideas drive the changes. And people mourn the changes.

Admittedly, some reformulations bully a fragrance into a mere shadow of its former self. Others are so artfully composed that the differences are minimal. Some fragrances even benefit from the change. Many civet cats and musk deer and beavers have breathed a large sigh of relief. (Whales don’t give a shit). A friend of my son recently burst out laughing as we were discussing the evolution of perfume (as you do). ‘Why put animal excretions in perfume?’ he asked, and it’s a very good question. The answer is, as always.. you guessed it… sex. Flowers are fertility flags, beckoning those winsome pollinators (the bees) with pollen for honey. Beavers and deer and civet cats exude their own fecund, feral, fertility pheromones and humans are just so greedy. We want everybody’s sex chemicals to be working for us. Aren’t we sexy enough?

There are many rules and conventions in perfumery. Most of them I ignore. I never wear a lab coat. For me, perfumery is art, not science. I definitely don’t work for the accounts department, the marketing division, the Board of Directors, stockholders, the customer, Solomon Lew or Rupert Murdoch. I only work to the whims of my nose. It calls ‘MORE’ and I comply. It says ‘STOP’ and maceration begins. My nose is sovereign. I trust it completely. It decides, detects, analyses, evaluates, accepts or rejects and I like to keep her happy. I’m not in this job for the money. I’m here for the perfume.

Some people love to suggest I make changes. Some people complain when I do. Some people demand special treatment, and others attempt to control and interfere and take over and dictate how I must operate. That’s just creative entrapment. I follow my nose.

There’s a lot of resistance to natural perfume in the main. I admit, I’ve smelled a number of natural perfumes composed by other noses, and frequently I find aromatherapy blends that rely on the good nature of rose or jasmine or ylang ylang etc to provide a pleasing scent experience. Often, however, combinations of ingredients are muddy. The ‘cold’ versus the ‘hot’. The sour volatile sharps against the viscous sweet. I too, have made many awful messes. At one stage I obsessed over making civet and leather accords from plants (combinations of agarwood/oud, birch tar, cypriol, patchouli, narcissus and tobacco). I wanted a plant-based substitute for traditional animalics so that no cute, furry guys suffer.

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Some formulas have taken a very long time to synergise. Some happened instantaneously. Some required tinkering for years until a most curious phenomena arose. All the lights came on. The fragrance was no longer a pleasing sum of its parts. It was a whole new being, an animal with its own name, a composition. Perfume.

I’ve recently reached a very different place in how I make perfume. Now I compose small batch jewels with very few ingredients. I’ve learned how to blend them without needing more and more complexity to fill the entire stadium. The right ingredients in the right quantities. It’s much more difficult to arrive at this landing when working exclusively with naturals because natural ingredients have a will of their own… their own spirit, personality and voice. Next season will be a new harvest. Different rain, different wind, different soil. Different climate, different growers, another set of harvesting hands and the next generation of masters of distillation and extraction.

Change. Evolution. Life Force. – It’s natural.

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Anyone interested in purchasing a share of my strictly limited edition, private collection compositions, please contact me. These small batch treasures are not for the shop. Purely for perfumistas. I have one litre of each (500mls of OM) and I definitely intend to keep some of these gorgeous fragrances for myself. I’m happy to sell 10 x 50ml vintage French crystal flacons from my stock of each of these (and 5 bottles of OM).

OM:- The fragrant centre of the universe. Taif Rose, Mysore Sandalwood, Sumatran aged Patchouli, Amber accord.

VERSAIILES:- Simply the very best tuberose fragrance. Grapefruit, Tuberose, Sandalwood, Neroli, Kashmir Lavender.

LIGHT:- Bardo of transformation and bliss. White Lotus, Frangipani, Jasmine Sambac, Mysore Sandalwood.

SUR L’HERBE:- Romantic Expressionism circa 1862. Citrus, Herbs and Woods

JESSAMINE:- Blossoms shivering with the weight of raindrops. Murraya Paniculata, Neroli, Orange blossom, Turkish Rose and Tonka

 

Place

I’ve seen a nice place, just over there. I’ve decided to pull over, get off the rushing road and clamber over the fence just to stand in the centre of this one particular field that really speaks to me. Maybe its the way the evening light filters through the trees and the soft feathery tops of wild grasses appear so pink and golden as they wave in the breeze. The soil is alive with minerals and nutrients because the trees near the creek across the field are magnificent. A flock of birds fly overhead, chasing rain.

I love this place. I want to stay here, and put down roots and stop roaming and snatching at the phantasm of adventure and excitement and conquest and the business of battle. I deeply yearn to just sit and breathe and be still in the glorious light of this place.

Just now, after a long and difficult day, I finally feel centred and calm, deep down in the core of my being. I’m answering emails from people all across the world about my fragrances. The connections are gentle and sweet. People ask me to describe my work…

I explain that I have composed a collection of fragrances that tell my story. Each one is a scented chapter of meditation on some of life’s challenges:- the triumphs and losses.

In contrast with mainstream, commercial perfumery, some of my fragrances remain closed until… just the right moment. And then they bloom. Some of my fragrances are Sumo wrestlers. HUGE. Some of my fragrances are coy, waiting until the right conditions arise to summon forth the story within. Some fragrances take a long and winding road to deliver the heartfelt message that lives inside each bottle. Each fragrance is complex, some more than may ever be realised. Some fragrances have taken me up to 5 years to complete. Some recent compositions will not fully mature for years.

I can wait. I’ve found a beautiful place just to sit and breathe and dream. A timeless place of pure and natural wonder. Just a field on the way to … no place in particular.

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-top photo the park leading to Humayan’s Tomb New Delhi TR ©2012

-this photo Coming home from Beaudesert. TR © 2010

 

Kate’s Word: – Hello Darkness, my old friend!

There are times I fall headlong into a place of internal darkness. Now, before you say anything, I need to tell you that I have tried all manner of exorcist attempts to rid myself of that place. I cannot. Not without huge expense to my poor brain. I have learned that I must take the dark with the brilliance. I find it is the people around me who cannot cope with my retreat into darkness.

Our culture isn’t equipped with ways to legitimise our darkness. Freud and Jung tried to make some repatriation with the depths within, and Wittgenstein and Nietzsche recognised it is a part of the human condition. Still, popular culture has made the dark night of the soul something to be afraid of and to rid one’s self of, more so. Our response has been to incarcerate people who tread the dark side, shock them with electricity and the current trend is to dope them up with pills to escape through numbing.

I trawled through my perfume collection to find something that speaks of my dark mood and to express, in olfactory terms, my need to sit in the dark for a bit. I found nothing. Zilch. Everything I own is bottled sunshine, an afternoon in a blooming garden or straddles the melancholy aura of a church congregation in contemplation. I picked up Antaeus but it is too upbeat masculine. My tuberose scents are either flirty feminine or morose. Not at peace with the dark. I had to settle for Floriental by Comme des Garcons. It is the closest I have to sombre deepness.

I don’t want a scent that mourns the passing of a loved one. I don’t want pseudo Goth black that really masks a love for rose and incense. I want a scent that says it is safe and okay to be still in the dark and to descend with full knowledge that I will return to the light eventually. It has to be the scent that Hades, Darth Vader or Osiris would wear. Something that symbolises their life on the dark side.

Life isn’t happy ever after. Life ducks and dives into places that makes us uncomfortable. We don’t celebrate our journeys into the darkness. We hide these journeys in the beer we drink, the pills we take and the silent tears at night.

Tell me of perfumes you know that tell of time spent in the underworld; ones that you took from your time there.

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Peintures sans frontières

My visual art pays homage to non-stereotypical archetypes of human beings; cherishing the beauty in real shapes and sizes and colours and ages and cultures. Phooey to all that mass-marketed, hyped up Hollywood idea of what’s hot. If we have a pulse and a heart-beat… that’s hot.

My friend Monica has encouraged me to make some of my visual art available as fine art paper prints and also printed on silk scarves. The images below are now available for takeaway. The art paper prints will arrive rolled in a cardboard tube and the silk scarves come folded in a TRNP box. Borders on the images below are part of the scarf design but paper prints of my paintings have no borders.

Series 1 ELEMENTAL is now available https://teone.com.au/product/prints-and-scarves/

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Beggar’s Belief

For most of my life I’ve been surrounded, miraculously, by incredibly generous family, friends, colleagues, teachers and unforgettable angelic strangers. It is extraordinary to me to observe people’s choices to be givers or takers. One human energy field radiates and expands and the other sucks and contracts. I can only imagine that the ‘taker’ is a teacher offering free lessons in what ‘lack’ looks like.

In business, I strive to practice generosity by giving more than I promise, …to give without expectation, to create joy and surprise, to promote the spirit of goodwill and of course I give to promote my art. I want people to feel good. It hurts when I see meanness in the world. Food vendors that skimp on portions, fragrances that have become insipid and less-than, expensive clothing that falls apart after one or two washes, suppliers that …. don’t supply.

When you really really love something as much as I love perfume, then it follows that you just want to share it. As an artisan, when you create a fragrance that works for you, you want to know how others feel about it too. Making perfume for me, has never been about ‘going into business’ with a plan to make a financial ‘killing’. If people liked and even loved what I’d made, I made more.

The ‘cosmic’ element to practising generosity is that the very act of giving is an act of receiving. It rewards the giver with the glow of physicalising the desire to make another person feel special, feel important and loved. Even if you’ve never met and never will. Gifting is akin to making an offering, honouring the person for whom the gift is destined. In so doing, positive energy flows. The gift is merely a concrete manifestation of the idea that ‘I appreciate you’. This may be a simple hand-drawn card given to say ‘I care/Get Well/Be Happy’ etc, or the perfect impulse to share your sandwich with a homeless, hungry man on the way back to work in a busy lunch hour, still hungry, but filled with an encounter with a Master of compassion on the street.

Gifts are tests of the inner self, tests of our humanity, tests of our belief in the inner state of unlimitation, especially tough in the face of so much oppression from consumerist tactics that would convince us otherwise. Shopping malls are elaborate temples. ‘Feel Ugly?… Lacking?… Not Good Enough?… Better buy something to fill that void’.

Human beings have been swindled into thinking that getting more, and hoarding more, and showing how much more, and bragging and swaggering around in ‘look what I’ve got’ t-shirts is da bomb. The opposite is true. It’s infinitely more exciting and empowering and amazing to unpack the infinite wealth of our inner resources: – imagination, determination, innovation, commitment, creativity, capacities, intelligence, failures, findings and reinventions, and to share these gifts out in the world. The David Bowie factor.

I plan to arrive at the end of my life, whenever that may be, completely emptied of every resource, strategy and precious jewel of an idea that ever dropped into my consciousness from the hand of universal benevolence. I want to leave behind the invisible energetic scratchings of my problem-solving and solutions, a map of where I went expressed via beautiful natural fragrances, a few paintings, some pottery, films, couple of stories, and the loves of my life – my children. I want to drift away knowing that the ripples of my life are the result of having given more of myself than I ever took. It’s tough, because I have received so much. And I am forever grateful for all of it.

I choose the card of the queen in beggar’s clothing, …seeing the truth, smelling the world, hearing the night birds, and gently touching the hearts of others along the road. I reject the mirror of the great queen in the palace, hoarding and pampered, anxious and alone in the dark with the plush company of luxury.

Give and go free.

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Giveaway UPDATE

It’s a great big blue/red/super moon with an eclipse. And it’s pouring rain and we can’t see the moon at all. Sigh….

I decided to use random.org to choose the winner and I asked Mischa (my son) to call out a number between 1-12. He chose number 11.

I added everyone’s name to the randomiser and asked it to reorder the list.

Number 11 is Rianartemis. Congratulations!. Please send me your address by email and I will send your prize on Friday.

Thank you everyone for entering. I don’t like to disappoint, so I decided to host an exciting 50% off sale on my full range of Limited Editions. I have new labels coming soon, and I thought now’s a great time to share the love on my amazingly beautiful artisan range of Limited Editions as I won’t be including them in my new packaging and labels (they are too scarce to warrant having big print runs) so they will have the original labels. These fragrances are rare and precious treasures.

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Thanks everyone that entered, there will be more giveaways to come… I promise!

 

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Simple Pleasures

Lights of EireI’ve mentioned already that I’m preparing to launch 4 new colognes – Nature Lovers (Atmosphere, Biosphere, Evolution and Wildlife). I thought it might be worthwhile to unpack one of them and offer some explanation for what’s emerging at TRNP.

Many fragrances within my existing collection of eau de parfums and oil parfums were composed with the sole intention of discovering how plant-based aromatics could produce beautiful, contemporary fine fragrances. Not aromatherapies – nothing about being ‘good’ for you or calming or safe to use. Real perfume made the old fashioned way. Many of my fragrances incorporate hand-tinctured botanical ingredients, and I also liberally include numerous ingredients that are banned or restricted by IFRA (eg oakmoss, rose, jasmine, citrus oils etc). IFRA’s recommendations are adhered to on a voluntary basis in Australia, and I choose not to abide. I’m in agreement with numerous other natural perfumers who established an ‘outlaw’ perfume category in the USA. I’m not a member of their guild, just appreciative of their courage and commitment to their craft. So, I exclusively use natural ingredients and I advise my consumers to patch test my fragrances on first use. Common sense stuff.

Perfume originates in the garden, yet over time, we have become culturally trained to recognise and identify lab-synthesised aromatic compounds as ‘rose and oud’ et al. From a business perspective, synthetics are a no-brainer. They offer control, they increase the profit of a product, and they stabilise fragrance components so that mass quantities can be produced over many years and satisfy the consumer market with product continuity. Yet, a dreamer like me just believes that’s just not how real life is. Everything living changes. It ages. It warps and struggles and it ends. Perhaps it has an infinity component that journeys beyond life, but it’s time as a leaf, or Little Lord Fauntleroy has expired.

I reached a point a little while ago where I had amassed a collection of 70 TRNP fragrances. Not the largest catalogue by any means, but considerably diverse enough to satisfy my greedy desire for a comprehensive wardrobe of perfume choices. One day, I suddenly decided it was time to stop making perfume for a while and to go outside, begin to enjoy wearing (not testing) my perfumes.

I was occupied with refining some and discontinuing others when I realised that the fragrances I was most drawn to when choosing my SOTD were rugged, raw, big vista scenes, not massive macros of petals explored from the bee’s perspective. I wanted landscapes that would roll out in front of me – causing me to feel infinitesimally small. I wanted to see Planet Earth, I wanted to experience the whole horizon, read the entire seasonal vocabulary, sniff the big picture, fly through eons of time and space. I wanted oxygen, sunlight, water and soil. I needed to enter the forests, witness the volcanoes, the tsunamis, the earthquakes, the meteors and comets, the floods, the fires, the migration of all life – from above. Beyond time. Beyond me.

I realised that so much of the fragrance speaks to my unconscious mind. My mind is decoding and decrypting and deciphering the stories of organisms that are written or recorded in the juice. The soil minerals, the climatic changes over generations of harvests. The air quality, the density of particles in the water and the hands of humans that have sown, cultivated, harvested and distilled the plants into essences. These are not perfumes. They are a living library of nature. Tiny flasks of life and growth and change and fecundity, and ultimately of death. The fragrances don’t behave like perfume. They speak internally to the mind of being in life, being alive, being here and now. They drift in and out of awareness, at times being timid vapours that appear to be pleasant and then evaporate. At other times they are bold and penetrating and stay present for hours and hours. They shape-shift on the body. They need to be worn and broadcast as biological beacons from a sapphire-blue oasis that spins majestically around the sun.

Biosphere is a delicately fragrant, peaceful day on Earth (Spring or Autumn). It’s that timeless day spent really, truly being ‘at home’; cherishing the bounty of perfect and fresh ingredients for a family meal, some just-picked from the kitchen garden. There is a true sense of comfort and tranquility all around you; birds and insects are actively zooming about their business. A feeling of pure joy washes over you as you rinse the soil away from your harvest and begin to fill your home with the delicious aromas of love and sustenance and heart-connection. People you love are here. You breathe in deeply. All is well in your world. You give thanks for just being alive and present in this moment.

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Spearmint, Juniper, Basil, Clary Sage, Neroli, Egyptian Geranium, Cypress, Fir Needle, Australian Sandalwood, Mysore Sandalwood, Amyris and Oakmoss.

 

 

photos above – 1. London from the inside of a moving train. 2. First sign of Ireland appearing through the mist from a moving ferry. TR ©2005

 

 

 

Kate’s Word:- on Perfume and Pica

A few months ago, I told Teone about a strange sensation I have when I wear a few perfumes. I get a desire to eat my perfume. Yes, I know ‘drink’ would be a more apt word, but the desire is for me to eat something that the scent triggers in me. There are two perfumes that evoked this sensation quite severely. Others to a lesser degree.

The offending scents are Joy (edt by Patou) and Jardins de Bagatelle (edp by Guerlain). Over time, I discovered that Teone’s Blue Lotus in edp form brought out a strong desire for me to bite my wrist where I had sprayed. I did some research into smells and autism and found something called Pica. I knew it was something that commonly affects pregnant women due to nutritional deficiencies, but I was not sure why these perfumes were causing Pica for me.

Through trial and error, I now know that Eau Premiere and No 5 edp, both by Chanel, cause a slight feeling of wanting to eat flowers. I used to eat certain flowers as a 7 yo, possibly even younger. I learned it was not a socially acceptable thing to do and stopped a while later.

Discovering that the common theme was floral, I knew there had to be something about them all to cause me to want to devour my bottle of perfume. Given the shrieking metallic narcissus note of Jardins de Bagatelle and the jonquil beauty of Joy were what I sought in each of those scents, I assumed it was tuber type flowers I craved. But, interestingly, I don’t get Pica feelings when wearing Giorgio, Alien or Chloe Narcisse. (I do a little with Chloe, but it is a dull ache.)

It was only speaking with Teone about it all that I realised the common element is ylang-ylang. Wearing Blue Lotus in oil form gave me the desire to crunch some banana lollies by Allens. It may be that these lollies are flavoured with, or coloured by, ylang-ylang. That requires more research, but final confirmation came when I applied a drop of ylang-ylang essential oil on my skin. All those feelings brought about by Joy, Jardins, Blue Lotus etc were contained in this very oil!

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Ylang Ylang blossom borrowed from the internet

Knowing this, I have to be careful when I apply these scents. I crave Blue Lotus and Chanel No 5 parfum at times. And it helps to know why. I can only wear the heavier ylang-ylang scents when I am fully in control of myself. I have to be able to impulse control. I tend to revert to impulse when I am tired or stressed. So, I avoid Joy, Jardins and Blue Lotus edp on such days. If I feel the need for a little giving in to cravings, then I know I can apply a smidge of Blue Lotus oil or No 5 parfum.

Next thing for me to do is to investigate ylang-ylang’s role is in my nutritional profile. In a way, I don’t want to rectify this Pica issue because I quite like the sensation. It would be an academic exercise to appease my brain and learn how to control my Pica.

Screen shot 2018-01-26 at 4.47.30 PM*These locally grown ylang ylang flowers are drying in the sun after being removed from the ethanol tincture I prepared for my next batch of Blue Lotus. Here about to be ground into powder for my hand-rolled incense. Waste not!…

 

 

Hard Core Colognes

THE FOLLOWING POST IS BLATANTLY AND UNAPOLOGETICALLY PROMOTIONAL.

I’ve decided to launch a new range of fragrances:- ‘Nature Lovers‘ which are – in theory – a little bit along the lines of Guerlain’s Aqua Allegorians – less expensive splash or spray colognes (30ml spray atomisers/$45 and 100ml splash-on/$100) that bring great joy and refreshment for less money than my uber-luxe edps and parfums.

How? Nature Lovers are exclusively made with pure essential oils, resins and tinctures. No super-costly floral absolutes.

Why? I just believe there’s really a place for beautiful, affordable all-natural colognes that really serve to refresh, revive, resuscitate, rejuventate, re-energise, replenish, revitalise, restore, re… I’m running out of ‘re…’ words.

These will probably totally appeal to men, and also to women who really love the raw and potent scents of trees and fresh herbs. They are perfect in hot weather, fab’ after a hard day’s work or workout.

Nature Lovers behave very well, in that they don’t just waft off after ten minutes but definitely sit closer to the skin than most synthetic fragrances. These colognes project discreetly in corporate environments, they won’t irritate others but definitely imbue the wearer with a subtle radiance and fresh appeal.

“Gosh, Mr Marabito sure smells good.”

 

COMING SOON…

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Recipe for Today – Myrrh

 

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I’m sharing this *recipe because I’d like to demonstrate how this particular fragrance is really so much a scented journey through the ubiquitous marketplace/souk/bazaar. Follow your nose as you wander past colourful mounds of spices and mysterious and precious fragrant treasures. Be stimulated by the incredible array of colours, textures, vibrant sounds and the generally amazing atmosphere of the market’s exotic mystique. Beautiful textiles, handcrafted ceramics, jewellery, handmade carpets, incense, bakhoor, perfume bottles, cosmetics, as well as dried fruits, flowers, nuts and sweets with spiced tea being served. Exquisite overload.

Top Notes:

1gm Lime essential oil

2.5gms Bitter Orange essential oil

1.5gms Italian Neroli essential oil

Heart Accord:

.5gm Sweet Fennel essential oil

.5gm Clove essential oil

.5gm Spearmint essential oil

.5gm Coriander essential oil

2gms Cardamon essential oil

1.5gms German Chamomile essential oil

1gm Saffron absolute

1gm Artemisia essential oil

2.5gms Champaca absolute

3.5gms Rose de Mai absolute

5gms Rose Damascena absolute

1gm Kewra absolute

1gm Ruh Khus/Vetiver absolute

Base Accord:

15gms Mysore Sandalwood essential oil

20mls organic Vanilla Tincture (or 5gms of vanilla absolute)

10gms Sumatran Patchouli essential oil

20gms Myrrh essential oil

10gms Frankincense essential oil

10gms Benzoin essential oil

Method: Depending on how potent you prefer your fragrances to be you can decide to dilute your ‘cordial’ into 250mls – 300mls of ethanol (or fractionated coconut oil). Add in 5mls of pure filtered water if using ethanol. Mix the ingredients together gently in a slow rolling motion for a few minutes and then store in an amber glass flask and keep in a cool, dark place. Allow it to rest and mature for at least 1 month. If necessary, the final fragrance can be filtered through coffee filter paper, although it may not need it.

I have 4 litres remaining of a 5 litre batch of Myrrh eau de parfum which has now been maturing for 4 years. It just keeps getting better. I look forward to wearing it for many, many years to come. Curious to see how it behaves 15 years from now.

*I know it’s usually called ‘the formula’, but I just prefer ‘recipe’.

 

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