Earth Alkemie Crafting Notes: Crafting Chen perfume, part 1

I didn’t get to post earlier as planned (I am sorry for the delay; I got caught up with family and personal matters). So here’s my long awaited first post on crafting Chen perfume!

Although I am still currently on hiatus, I have been crafting on and off. Right now I have mostly been crafting perfumes. I made a few perfumes for a perfume swap I was in, and I am also working on Chen: my Year of the Dragon perfume. Perfumes take many weeks to months to make plus they also need a lot of time to age properly, so hopefully by the time I reopen (I still am not sure when that will be but I am hoping sometime very soon, this summer, if all goes well), Chen will be completed and become part of Earth Alkemie’s product line. 🙂 I need to make fresh batches of other Earth Alkemie perfumes and products too, so will be working on crafting those in the coming weeks!

I have talked a little bit about perfumes and perfume crafting in a previous blog entry but I thought I would write a bit more about it since a question on research and my Chinese astrology perfumes was asked on the forum many months ago. So I decide to write a few entries on crafting Chen and general perfume making; this is the first post (more to come)! (For info on the perfumes I made for my perfume swap, I posted about that on my eco blog, Solarkat’s Eco Blog).

Since I have previously formulated and offered perfumes for the Year of the Tiger (Hu) and the Year of the Rabbit (Tuzi), I started work on my perfume for the Year of The Dragon earlier this year. The Year of the Water Dragon started in late January, so I hope everyone is having a wonderful year so far! If you are interested in reading more about Chinese astrology, I have posted about a few good Chinese astrology resources on my eco blog, in past years.

So the first two entries will be on the steps I go through to craft a perfume for the business, and the last entry will be about Chen in detail. 🙂 Here is part 1!

Concept and names:

My Year of the Dragon perfume first started with a name and a concept. Like my other Chinese astrology perfumes, every single ingredient (except for the base/carrier oil) is a plant associated with the Year of the Dragon or the elements associated with the sign. There are five Chinese elements, and each sign has a fixed element (that is the same every year) and also one that changes each year. So the fixed element for the Year of the Dragon is the element of Wood. And the element (that changes) for 2012 is Water. So that makes this year the Year of the Water Dragon.

Not all of my perfumes or products start out with a name: often my creations don’t get a name until the very end. Sometimes the names will pop into my head immediately and other times it can take me weeks to think of the perfect name that captures the essence of my creation. However since my other Chinese perfumes were named after their signs (Hu means tiger, and Tuzi means rabbit in Mandarin Chinese), I have naturally chosen to name this perfume Chen, which means dragon.

Initial research:

Research for a product can take a long time. For my Chinese astrology perfumes, I searched through all of my Chinese astrology books and essential oil books (I have a lot of books on essential oils which range from cosmetics, medicinal to spiritual uses. For astrology or the elements, I tend to look at the more spiritual essential oil books for that information). Next I looked at online sources, mostly websites by authentic Chinese astrologers. I searched for plants, flowers, food, scent/ fragrance, drinks, perfumes, etc that are associated with the Year of the Dragon or the elements of wood and water. I also looked at plants associated with both the western elements and Chinese elements (since although there are differences, there are also some similarities too). I entered all of the information into a database.

After I finished my initial research, I looked at my database and cross compared resources. I then decided on the main heart note or heart accord (often I build perfumes around a flower or flowers that are strongly associated with the sign). For Hu, I decided to make a perfume that centers around carnation and violet absolutes, along with jasmine since those plants are linked with the Tiger. For Tuzi, I created a heart accord of chamomile, lavender, and rose, since those flowers are strongly tied with Rabbits. For Chen, it is a floral bouquet with a bit of spice and citrus, and so far smells amazing!

Part 2 will be notes about initial and final formulation and will be posted in the coming weeks. 🙂 Over the next few days I will be posting about articles and also product giveaways, so please check back for many more new posts!

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Li is a long time environmentalist and the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural skin care and mineral makeup company.