Guild's Anniversary and New Logo

This month, the Natural Perfumers Guild is celebrating one year to its re-opening. The Guild was originally founded by natural perfumery pioneer and author Mandy Aftel and was called "Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild". In June 2006, the Guild was passed on to natural perfumer Anya McCoy, also a pioneer in the field who initiated and run an educational natural perfumery discussion group for 5 years now. In celebration of the Guild's re-opening anniversary, the name was shortened to Natural Perfumers Guild and the new logo was launched, to reflect the spirit of the members of the organization - bringing together ancient traditions into modern times.
Tune here next week, for an interview with the Natural Perfumers Guild director, Anya McCoy.

The Apprenticeship Program - Second Term Began Today

Off to Work: Gion, originally uploaded by mboogiedown.

I hope I am not exhausting everybody with posts today, there just seems to be so much going on, so much to write about and all in such a short time!
Today, March 1st, is the first day of the second term of the Apprenticeship Program at the Artisan Natural Perfumers’ Guild. I felt very fortunate to be offered the role of Program Coordinator at the Guild last August, and do a service to the growing field of Artisan Natural Perfumery and the Natural Perfumery community. The
The reason I would like to talk about it here on my blog is two-fold: Firstly, I believe it is a fantastic program (and if you read more about it, you will understand why); and secondly, I can’t even count the instances where I received emails with inquiries about perfume education, requests for problem solving, etc., that I thought it would be nice to announce this on my blog:

a) The Apprenticeship Program is in existence and is open to all Guild members in the enthusiast level, so if you consider joining the Guild this is one of the most amazing benefits the Guild offers.

b) There is a study group on Yahoo, hosted by the Guild’s director, Anya McCoy, which is open to all levels of natural perfumers. This is a very friendly community with members anywhere from the professional master perfumer to the novice. A great place to network as well as find many questions answered (the group has archives of over four years, complied of tried and true information from working perfumers and enthusiasts).

c) If you want to receive in-depth Natural Perfumery education that is tailored to your level and your needs, one of the best thing you can do (besides work really hard) is find a perfumer who would be willing to either teach, or take on an apprentice. I happen to be one of them, so if you are interested in studying natural with me, contact me to receive more details and to register.

The Artisan Natural Perfumers’ Guild offers an Apprenticeship Program to its Enthusiast members. The Apprenticeship Program is a six-month period (AKA term or semester) in which an Enthusiast enters into a Mentoring agreement with a Perfumer, wherein the Enthusiast submits one question per month. The program is free of charge. The Apprentice may, upon submittal of application, continue on in the program for more semesters, after review by the Guild President and the Apprenticeship Program Coordinator.

The philosophy behind the program is to maintain, nourish and evolve the tradition of Artisan Natural Perfumery. The Apprenticeship Program provides a structure in which new generation of natural Perfumers will receive training and guidance from the wealth of knowledge of a working Perfumer in the field.

The Apprenticeship Program provides an opportunity for beginner Perfumers to enhance their knowledge and strengthen their skills in all areas of Perfumery: aesthetics, technical, business and marketing, as well as sourcing of materials. The Mentoring Perfumers get the exciting opportunity to enhance their teaching skills and network with members of the Natural Perfumery community.

The Apprenticeship Program is inspired by the model of the classical Apprenticeships programs of the Guilds in the Middle Ages: hands-on experience and personal interaction between Mentor and Apprentice are key to a deeper understanding and internalizing of the subject matter. In this new era of advanced communication technologies, we use the internet, email, internet phone and webcam conferences as means of communications when the Perfumer and the Apprentice are not from the same city.

This structure encourages curiosity, exploration and supported self-learning accompanied with feedback and assistance on an as-needed basis. Despite the fact that the Guild’s members are from everywhere in the world and cannot meet in person very often, we use advanced methods of communication via the internet, email, phone and internet phone and chat software, in order to make the experience personal and meaningful. This is complemented by an exchange of perfumes made by the Apprentice and the Mentoring Perfumer in the duration of the Apprenticeship.

P.s. For those of you curious why the Geisha photo - I picked it because I like it and it is showing a master of an art with her apprentice, and although both are continuing an ancient tradition they seem to be quite in harmony with the modern environment.

Artisan Natural Perfumers' Guild Press Release re IFRA's 40th Amendment

-Boycott Called to Halt Adoption of International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) 40th Amendment by UK-based Watchdog Organization Cropwatch Gains Momentum with Online Poll and Petition. Poll by Perfumer and Flavorist newsletter P&Fnow shows a landslide for Cropwatch with 85.1% of the vote.

-USA- based Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild joins in effort to Demand Opening the Process Up for Public Input and Review of the Process before thousands of small perfumery and toiletry businesses are adversely affected by restrictive, unfair compliance standards.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MIAMI SHORES, Fla./February 8, 2007. On February 7, 2007, fragrance and flavor trade magazine Perfumer & Flavorist released the results of an online poll showing 85.1% of readers in favor of boycotting proposed fragrance industry guidelines that will heavily limit the use of natural essential oils in perfumes and cosmetics.

Compliance with these guidelines (the IFRA 40th Amendment) requires that listed essential oils and naturally occurring constituents be kept to certain minimal levels in consumer products. At the core of the Amendment are safety issues in regard to skin reactions. The ANPG and Cropwatch fully support sensible safety guidelines to protect the consumer, but do not believe IFRA has proved that many of the essential oils affected present the supposed risk, nor have they allowed input from the impacted concerns, especially small businesses.

Although IFRA guidelines are only mandatory for their members, they have become the industry norm globally. Consequently, the livelihood of many small businesses is being threatened by an organization that does not represent them. Adhering to the complex measures not only requires sophisticated computer software, which most small natural products businesses do not possess, it also unfairly targets natural ingredients. Without a level playing field, these small businesses cannot be expected to compete. Approximately 200 essential oils will be controlled by IFRA if their 40th amendment is ratified.

Previous IFRA guidelines have been responsible for the reformulation of many classic perfumes, essentially destroying works of art that existed in liquid form. It is asserted that perhaps a warning label would have sufficed in allowing the original perfume, scent intact, to remain on shelves. Just as demand for natural toiletries and fragrances is growing worldwide, the 40th Amendment could do damage from the level of growers, distillers, up to suppliers and manufacturers. The end result may be the destruction of businesses and the absence of genuine naturally scented shampoos, creams, lotions, perfumes and soaps from store shelves.

To illustrate how the existing and proposed regulations from IFRA do not make sense, ANPG President Anya McCoy recently blogged on Peanuts vs. Perfume. Peanuts can kill susceptible people, yet their sales are unrestricted: Some perfumes may cause a rash, yet the International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) 40th Amendment wants to severely limit the public’s access to them. Consumers are allowed to make informed decisions about peanut products, yet with IFRA and EU (see the related FAQ) guidelines and regulations in place, consumers will no longer have the freedom to make informed decisions about which scented products they wish to use. Access to aromatherapy essential oils may also be limited.
The ANPG believes the amendment may be unreasonable because the measures are based on questionable scientific premises, and they are decided behind closed doors without any possibility of public discussion or debate. Since the call for a boycott was proposed two weeks ago by little-guy Cropwatch, 549 people have signed an online petition, backing the challenge to the Goliath IFRA. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ifra40/signatures.html

Therefore, the ANPG joins Cropwatch in asking for a moratorium on the IFRA 40th amendment, until these issues have been fully addressed. We ask that a review of the scientific methodologies that were used in the original determinations of skin sensitization be examined, that the compliance requirements be reviewed, and that warning labels on products be considered in place of prohibition or restriction. Guild Founder, noted natural perfumer and author Mandy Aftel, and Guild President, perfumer Anya McCoy will be working with others in the industry to challenge the IFRA stance and open the amendment adoption process to the public.

For more information, you may download a detailed FAQ from: http://artisannaturalperfumers.org/cropwatch_ifra.htm

Anya McCoy, President
Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild
P.O. Box 245
Miami Shores, FL 33153
PHONE. 305-756-0065
Website: http://artisannaturalperfumers.org

email: http://artisannaturalperfumers.org/contact.htm

2006 in Natural Perfumery

The year 2006 has been a significant year for Natual Perfumery. In this tightly-knit community of professionals from around the world, old bonds have been strengthened by the re-opening of the Artisan Natural Perfumery Guild. New connections were created as the Guild attracts new members, and new members keep joining the Natural Perfumery study group (a free discussion forum hosted on Yahoo). At the same time, more recognition is garnered, for individual perfumers and their work, as well as the movement of Artisanal Natural Perfumery - in mainstream media as well as online - and this is happening world wide.

As the Guild’s Mentoring Program Coordinator, I was fortunate to meet and interact with teachers and working perfumers from around the world, as well as eager enthusiast members who are working hard on developing their olfactory skills and mastering the art of Natural Perfumery.

There were many new releases this year in the Natural Perfumery world – a few of them I will briefly mention here, but you will be better off visiting Natural Perfumery.com or the Guild’s website and visit the official sites of the perfumers to get a true picture of what we offer: innovative approach to perfumery, with the advantage of artisanal quality and the many new and exciting raw materials that were not available in previous centuries. Each perfumer has their personal touch added, their own unique style and at times their own unique raw materials, often from the place in the world they are from.

The following are brief reviews of what was launched this year - even though I haven't tried all of the scents, I know the body of work of most of the perfumers and can attest to their integrity and passion about their art. It's interesting to see the evolution and change in style and approaches, the new concepts that are conceived in the aterilers of my fellow perfumers. Despite the fact that we all create with a similar pallette of naturals (which is far more limited than what you'd find in the labs of a commercial perfumer using synthetics), the styles are completely different, and each of the perfumers seem to have their own unique "fingerprint" - a signature that can be recognized within the structure or style of the perfume (even if we don't necessarily have a signature "accord" a-la-Guerlainade).

Mandy Aftel of Aftelier (the founder of the original Guild and author of the landmark book Essence and Alchemy) has released two new perfumes – Orchid (a solid perfume based on orange blossom) and Tango – a mélange of champaca flowers and the sexy smokiness of roasted seashells (aka Choya Nakh).

Anya McCoy of Anya’s Garden, the reviver of the Guild, and the founder of the Natural Perfumery study group on Yahoo as well as NaturalPerfumery.com has finally released to the world her ready-to-wear perfume line inspired by botanical gardens from around the world. Pan is the first perfume to have ever used a unique cruelty-free animal essence of goat-hair tincture which adds a unique qualitiy to this herbal, ambery, rustic perfume. Her other creation, Fairchild, isn’t any less unusual in its choice of Mitti attar (baked earth from India), pure ambergris and pandanus (a heady , gigantic tropical flower), and tinctures of many different varieties of jasmine flowers as well as other tropical blossoms. The depth and richness of Anya’s creations are a reflection of her work as a landscape designer, and her passion for perfumes that started when she was as young as two year old. And her perfumes have the same playfulness about them ;)

This year I had the fortune to meet in person a special guest to my town – Lisa Fong of Artemisia Perfume and get an early sniff of her new creations. This year she created Voile – a delicate, fragile jasmine scent that is ethereal and impressionistic; Edwardian Rose – with a base of Tonquin Musk (the real thing!); and Anumati, a rich perfume tribute to the Indian Moon Goddess, bearing the unusual marking of Kadam tree blossom, black cumin and cepes.

My own line has flooded the world of aromatics with several new creations. I won’t bore you with the details now, as I am planning a whole post to summarize my own personal perfumery year. But you can read about all of them if you click here.

Isabelle Aurel of Desire in Sunlight created Gragie, an Italian memoir; Champagne, with pink grapefruit, kewda and cognac (sounds champagne like indeed!); Nandi – a Chypre perfume; and Sex in the Surf, with boronia and seaweed. She also added many delicious flavours to her fragrant Chocolat Ganaches!

Joanne Bassett of Le Bijou recently opened her own retail shop in La Jolla, Callifornia. She also launched her new French Collection, tributes to classy and sassy French woman and each perfume represents a different personality – and they all start with a “C”.

Nick Jennings of Sharini Parfums Naturels from France has a beautiful site that is worth visiting – as his creations don’t only look delicious and are beautifully packaged - they are also organic and are prepared in organic alcohol. The four perfumes are:
Floriental, with spicy and citrus top notes, floral heart notes of jasmine, ylang and magnolia, and a base of vanilla, cedar and patchouli;
Potion d’Amour, a love potion with notes of bergamot, mandarin, rose, jasmine, magnolia, lavender, benzoin and vetiver;
Mediterrane, a chypre with notes of verbena, bergamot, geranium, lavender, rose, oakmoss, vetiver and patchouli;
and Rhapsodie, a masculine scent with notes of bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, jasmine, ylang, sandalwood and frankincense.

Alexandra Ballahoutis of Strange Invisible Perfumes released two special edition scents - Anthony and Cleopatra, which must be doing well since it seems to be out of stock; and Agape, an oil-based perfume with jasmine and rose and cocoa. Her new scent, Magazine Street, celebrates the cultural mélange of New Orleans with notes of magnolia, vanilla, patchouli, vetiver and musk and donates 8% of the retail sales to Katrina Releaf.

Liz (Zz) Zorn of Zz’s Petals released her first ready-to-wear collection, and also opened her own boutique at her Peace Angel Farm in Cincinnati, Ohio. And she also released another new line of organic scents called Fussione’ Parfume. I have only tried one of Zz's perfumes, Jazz Trio No. 1, and am curious to try all of her other creations, which like Anya's, are very special in their quality as she uses her very own tinctures of aromatics that cannot be found otherwise (as an essential oil or an absolute). Blueberry tincture, Champaca wood tincture and maple syrup are just a few examples of scents that Zz puts her heart into tincturing and adding to her scents.

I think I am not alone here in feeling that the next year bears many promises for my niche of perfumery. And I am looking forward to it. What we are offering is refreshing, original and unique. Definitely something to look forward to in the New Year. What sets us apart from other perfume houses, including some other niche houses, is that we are completely
independent (unlike some niche houses which "borrow" a nose from the large perfume companies such as IFF, Givaudon etc.), thus having a full creative control over what we do. Our advantage is that we respond very fast to what our clients want and need (i.e.: creating custom perfumes and at times even adjusting formulas and concentrations to suit the customer's particular body chemistry and improve the performance of the scent on their skin). We also put our heart into every aspect of the process, from tincturing our own essences, to every detail in the packaging - both design, and the physical decanting, labeling and last finish of the look of what the final product is. This involves lots of work, sometimes till late at night or early in the morning, as most of us work alone or with very minimal help. The results shows in every part of the product, from the packaging to the very last drop of essence as it touches your skin and interacts with who you are.
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