Featured Fragrance: Chopin

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I’ve never understood the parlour game of ‘guess my age’. In my mind, my age is just a map of when I arrived, and how far I get before I drop off the twig. I’ve earned my right of passage into middle age, and I’m not ashamed of being frumpy one bit. Every one of my 55 years has been an incredible tour of unfathomable wonders. Some years were bloody tough, some sublime, and all of it cherished.

I hardly ever wear makeup these days – I consider it part of the grand theatre of youth. Pouty lips and smoky, glistening eyes look great when you’re smoking hot, but I just look weirdly unnatural and scared to be me when I apply it now. I’m just a bit unsure of how to apply it, or how much, or even how I should try to look. I still know how to style others, and apply make up on actors when I’m shooting film or directing a play, but I just never have enough time or inclination to bother with my own grease-paint anymore.

I have several missing fingers and toes from a birth defect. I played electric bass for many years, and I type and paint and sew and sculpt and throw pottery and draw and pat horses and cats pretty well so it’s not much of a big deal.

What does all of this have to do with perfume?

I’m in awe of retro floral chypres. 294896_102533766515627_8282133_nAs a youngster in the seventies and eighties, I never had the means to venture much beyond the mainstream fragrance world. In those days it was pretty normal to have one bottle of perfume at a time. When that one ran out, you could try another, or go again. Lately I’ve been rediscovering many of my ol’ favourites:- Paris and Rive Gauche (YSL), Miss Dior, Diorissimo, Diorella, Eau Sauvage, Joy (Patou), Fidji (Laroche), Givenchy III, Helena Rubenstein’s Courant, Anais Anais by Cacharel. I kept a drawer full of hippie roll-on oils potent enough to fuel an entire mission to Mars and back. They seem to be long gone and replaced with much nastier stuff. How I loved Temple Bells and Aphrodisia by Spiritual Sky.

Revisiting these treats has stirred up so many memories. Visceral responses to old stimuli – leaving home, falling in love, falling out, touring in rock bands, waitressing, traveling, and leaving parts of me behind. At times, I was carried tenderly through my crises by the continuum of knowing I was OK purely by the way I smelled. Wearing perfume meant I was clean and fed and safe and home (somewhere) and still breathing. Those old fragrances have imprinted my unconscious mind with the cacophony of my past. Powerful markers of my life journey.

I wanted to create a jasmine chypre for my middle aged me. Not an ‘old lady’ perfume (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean), but a monumentally great floral chypre that gathers all of the best elements of my youthful memories in a contemporary (more natural) fragrance for now.

Chopin eau de parfum nods to the aldehydes of Rive G, Fidji, No 5 and A.Anais, only generated naturally by bergamot and clary sage. Chopin waves to the sheer luxury of Joy’s heart of jasmine and rose with a massive dose of jasmine grandiflorum and rose damascena. The leathery grounds of Miss Dior and Diorella are reproduced in Chopin with amyris, cypriol and vetiver, and the powdery musk of my halcyon days is created with Orris and Ambrette. Hippie-girl lives on through the plump and creamy base of pure Mysore sandalwood.

Why Chopin? My father is a master musician (4th generation student of Franz Liszt and 2nd generation professional pianist) and my childhood was sound-tracked by incredible music every day. My missing fingers meant I never followed in the family business of mastering etudes or nocturnes. 4 litres of Chopin perfume is my humble contribution to the circle of life.

 

MERMAID

 

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

 

 

 

 

Sword of Damocles

Every day I receive offers of SEO support from web-savvy developers who seem to love rubbing my nose in the fact that my website ranks down in the dumps of google (and whatever those other search engines are called). Some emails are very polite and others are just rude and shabby. My responses are varied – delete or ignore.

Why? The answer is simple and yet, also a little bit complicated. I don’t want to force it.

Although I’m a prolific hand-maker of things, I lack ambition. I deeply accord with the healer archetype and not the hunter. I reject all that adrenalised hype and pressure of jostling for first place; my head is ill-shaped for the twitter crown of economic rationalism. Some of the hidden costs of top ranking include increased economic scrutiny via targeted attacks from scammers and hustlers and shonks – all of which have had a go at my expense, other websites claiming to stock and sell my products (they don’t) and many disgruntled Americans – ‘where do I get this in the US? or Waddya mean you DON’T ship to the US?’ etc). To which I reply… ‘there’s already so much natural (and *cough* unnatural) perfume in America. Here’s a list of well-considered brands for you to check out…Have a Nice Day’

I need to survive, but I’m not very sales driven. I realise that such a bizarre reluctance runs counter to the capitalist obsession with ‘get-more, have-more and brag-more‘. Yet, our planet is becoming a husk. A galactic tumbleweed. It is heartbreaking and terrifying to me.

Perfumes and CrystalSo, I’m happy to languish on level -055 of Google’s ranking race. I’ll continue to write socially acerbic diatribes at the risk of utterly demolishing my serene perfumer persona. Whatever reviews or positive endorsements may have come so fortunately my way are truly remarkable, and as they fade into the sunset, I will still be chugging along – stirring, sniffing and swooning to myself.

TRNP is my bliss; I hope to enjoy making small batches of beautiful natural perfume for as long as I have a nose. I’m deeply grateful that a few gorgeous human beings on the planet like (and even love) some of my creations. I deeply appreciate their patronage more than I can ever express.

The ingredients I use are precious and ecologically fragile to the point that I totally reject the concept of up-scaling just so I can gain more personal comfort and prestige. That’s not me. I’ll continue to learn how to craft my own luxuries. I’ve been blessed by the true luxuries of abundant creative inspiration, resourceful thinking, careful planning, blending skill and the extraordinary gift of time.

Next to clean water, enough food and safe shelter for my beautiful family, they are the greatest treasures I’ll ever know.

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-top photo from The Serpent’s Book of Lamentations a 3 act play written and directed by Teone Reinthal ©2016

– other photos of early, one-off fragrances (some in hand-painted bottles)