Joint Blog Project with Mandy Aftel and Nathan Branch

Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes and Nathan Branch of the Nathan Branch Blog have been hosting blog projects in which Mandy and one other perfumer work on scents and post periodic emails to each other to describe their progress and thought process as they work. Mandy did the first with Andy Tauer on a linden theme, and then she and Liz Zorn tackled galbanum paired with ylang ylang, and most recently Mandy and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz worked on classical florals. Mandy and Nathan invited me to join in the next round, and we decided our theme would be to work with an ingredient we had never used before. I’ve chosen black and/or blue hemlock absolute (a 5% black hemlock dilution is pictured above). I’ve had samples of both black and blue hemlock sitting here for ages now and have been wanting to use them in a forest theme. You can head over to Nathan’s blog to read more about the scents that Mandy and I are working on. I’m excited to take part and hope a nice new scent develops from the process! (Note: I have removed the link to Nathan’s blog because he took his blog down several years after this post.)

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    1. Yes, the OJ will no doubt come to mind since it’s one of the most popular scents with hemlock, and it’s very nice. I want to use more earthy notes (the soil under your feet on the path), and I want to skip the heavy ISO E backdrop. Hoping I’ll come up with a different take on hemlock.

      Glad you’re enthusiastic! Thanks!

  1. How exciting! I love those collaboration projects on NBB. I’m thrilled you’re part of the next one. And the hemlock–yes, the only scent I know it in, off hand, is OJ Woman; I can’t wait to read about (and ultimately smell) what you do with it. (Also glad to hear you’re dropping the heavy ISO E, which I don’t always react well to–tho that’s just me.)

    Great news!

    1. Cedar notes do go well with the hemlock and help evoke the forest. So far I like the combination of Virginia cedar and Western red cedar, but I have some sandalwood and oak in the mix too. It’s a wood fest, lol, but I’m trying to balance all those woodsy notes with some soft floral notes and ambery undertones. So far so good!

  2. Okay, I am seriously excited about this. I do adore the hemlock note in OJ Woman, and reading your letters back and forth has me jumping up and down in my seat. Woody and earthy, you say? Yes, please! 🙂 (And I know this shouldn’t be a big deal, but my Canadian self is wavin’ that maple leaf flag. I already thought Incense Pure smelled like the Rockies, this is going to be good…..)

    1. Something I really like about the hemlock is the musky/earthy tone to the drydown. I’m trying to play on that with additional earthy notes and with some very soft animalics. I hope it’s not too earthy for people, but I’ll see what testers say. It does not have as strong a dirt note as something like L’Artisan’s Voluer de Roses (which I do like but isn’t what I’m going for here because VdR is much heavier on the patchouli).

      Glad it sounds like an interesting project!

  3. Laurie – you are as eloquent a writer as you are talented a perfumer! Brava. I loved reading your letters and Mandy’s responses – very informative. This should be a beautiful and refreshing scent to wear on a hot summer day. Can’t wait!

  4. Laurie,

    I’m looking forward to this fragrance! A sun dappled redwood forest is my idea of heaven. Love the description of the creative process.

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