Friday, November 7, 2008

Sepia, Part Three

Same perfume inspiration, six months later - way different perfume. What is hopefully a more reserved, sophisticated blend from the initial caricature-ish sketch that I started out with.

I revamped the base, blending up a much dryer amber with musk ambrette and leather tones, and nary a whisper of labdanum.

A drawer-sachet accord of sweet orange and clove-smelling spices stands in for the bite of petitgrain I'd experimented with initially in the topnotes. Petitgrain (sur fleur orange blossom, in this case) just reads as so juicy and vital - even extremely diluted - an element that couldn't possibly have aged gracefully for six or seven decades, like a stained photograph tucked into a leather-bound book and forgotten - until just now. It didn't jive with the mood of the blend so I booted it. Ahh. Much better.

The heart remains the same.

And here's what we landed on (I never spell out all the ingredients in these lists - my thinking is that it would be too tedious, for one thing. I tend, rather, to stick to the more prominent notes that folks may have some fun picking out):

"Built around a leathery cassie/mimosa theme, this scents holds the rare and beautiful golden champaka flower at its heart.

Key Notes:


hiba wood
bitter orange


golden champaka
rose damask
rose maroc


tonka bean
ambrette seed

Accessory notes:

Leather/Floral. Nostalgic. Hypnotic.

All scent materials are natural, blended in a base of organic perfumer’s grape alcohol."

Inquiries regarding this perfume can be sent to

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fox on Pause

Illustration from Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia/Corbis

This weblog, which has informed me that it has no plans of retiring any time soon, has asked me to let you know that it is currently on hold - on hiatus, if you will.

Scents may be blended, a custom perfume or two may even be taken on (the queue if currently full - though I will certainly give word when I am open to commissioned bespoke work), essences may well be diluted, artifacts may be tinctured, mature perfumes may be filtered and decanted - but these events will take place, for now, behind the scenes, and nary a whisper will appear here during this hiatus.

It seems that this particular blog project has evolved to take on the fox as its mascot. Folklore tells us that foxes can be tricky, and difficult to hold in one place for two long, but they always seem to return in the end. At base - at least, in littleflowers world - they are loyal and dependable creatures.

Depending on how things unfold, Fox and I will most likely be back in regular touch late autumn '08. That is my best guess.

Meanwhile, there is plenty of chatter - and no lack of scent blends, including solid perfumes, infused oils, and perfumed body butters, as well as ways to care for your skin you hadn't even thought of yet and didn't realize that you needed - over at my other blog, which I urge you to consider in place of this one for this next stretch of time.

I hope you enjoy what you find there.

xox.Nicole & company

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Liz Zorn is an artisan perfumer who creates both natural perfume blends as well as "mixed media" scents (which incorporate small amounts of synthetic materials).

I really enjoy reading her blog, not just for the latest news and information on her perfumes and on perfume-making in general, but because she seems like someone who, to put it simply, truly does her own thing. Her life philosophies strike me as gentle and peace-filled, yet fierce.

You can read a new interview with Liz Zorn on perfume right here. There you'll find a link to the shop(s) where she pedals her magical scent concoctions.

Image courtesy of Liz Zorn/Soivohle

Monday, May 26, 2008



At the new site, you'll find info pertaining directly to all goods and services related to the littleflowers natural-skin-care shop: products-in-progress (there are currently 2 new little numbers that I'm particularly excited about!), sales, contests, gossip, shop updates. The works.

This blog, meanwhile, will remain alive and largely focused on, as it says in the moniker, the wilderness and thrill of natural perfume!

the sheer intoxication

of the sample bottle!

(especially the mini 5 ml one, let's face it.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sepia, Part Two

It appears that the masked ball was a success, at least if my "ghetto" high-fashion costume has anything to say about it. Man, the little girl in me who begged her mom for jelly shoes back in the 80's because they looked like princess slippers (and because anyone who was anyone was also wearing them, of course) has not changed. Any excuse to get dolled up; I am there. Somewhere lost on my long, scrolling list of text-tattoo ideas - if you squint hard and long enough, and way down toward the bottom - you will find FEMME TILL I DIE.

The costumes were unbelievable; I wish you could have seen them! Before each mystery guest burst through the curtain into the main hall, we were announced through a booming microphone. Jason, my partner in crime, was Death Walks Among You. I was The Scented Lady. And I got to wear my new prototype for Sepia perfume, formulated just for this special night. Sepia is still young; is still in its formative stage and has yet to find its "teeth" - but it boasts a beautiful heart heavy with spicy, incomparable rose de mai melded with a bit of golden champaka. In the head notes you might discern a flutter of petitgrain sur fleur (co-distillation of leaves and blossoms from the bitter orange tree), among other notes . . .

The dirty amber base weighed the composition down a bit, so I will need to work on lightening that aspect and integrating it more seamlessly with the heart. Time will help with this, in part; the rest is for me to (happily) puzzle out. Re: the base, I say "dirty" because I couldn't resist grounding my basic amber blend with a bit of vetiver - ahh, earth - as well as a generous bit of mitti attar, which is literally earth - mud, to be specific - harvested from the banks of the Ganges river and distilled into a receiving vessel of sandalwood.

A back-in-time perfume suspended somewhere in between politically incorrect freak show carnivals and the frothy gowns of debutantes' coming-out balls in the South. Between black-and-white and full color. Sepia is so beautiful to me; so nostalgic, and I will continue to chase it around my studio with a lovely glass flask until it holds still long enough for me to capture it in liquid form, and to clap on the stopper.

But first - sigh - I will wash off my makeup.