Interview on Sniffapalooza about natural perfumery

Sailing towards new horizons

For the English interview just click  HERE

The interview features Natural perfumery aims, ethics and philosophy.

AbdesSalaam Attar interview with Raphaella Barkley

King’s folly

I received a request of help for a TV shows: what about cooking eggs with Ambergris?
An English cook (are the 2 words compatible for a French man) “recreates” dishes from the past and the show “culminates in a lavish feast”.
I do not like at all the “lavish feast” part. I just returned from Africa and hold god given food in too high a respect for appreciating it being made a show of waste for the rich.
I have seen in all my years of travelling before becoming a perfumer that humanity is divided in 2 parts: one part has problems for eating, and the other part has problems for losing weight.
I am convinced that if someone is hungry on earth it is only because someone else is eating his dinner.

Nevertheless, a true perfumer is always a cook as well, and this English trip tickled my French man’s curiosity. I said to my daughters: today I cook something special, the egg with ambergris.

I cooked my egg putting it in a pan with a little bit of olive oil, then I grated some ambergris on it and I covered the pan and let cook at very low fire until appears a white layer over the egg (snowy fried eggs).

We ate the egg and it was as good as usual, being happy a egg from my own happy hens, but the ambergris flavour got completely lost in that dish, and we all were fully deluded.
If that was the dish of a king, it must have been an English king (this is only the opinion of a French man though).
I was so incredulous that I started all over again, with more ambergris and taking care of cooking the ambergris even less.

Well, it is not because I am French, but this English dish is a complete flop.
A good news anyway is that Ambergris eggs seem to loosen your bowels. Was the king constipated?

Still I am opened to another English culinary experience, if someone cares to counsel me something really special.

Tridimentional Perfumery

My search for the real muskdeer scent has carried me in some of the farthest spots of the Hindu Kush but at last I found it from its fount.

I fully understand the need of all perfumers for a sustainable musk scent substitute, but the point maybe is rather about the use of an animal note in our botanical scents, such as Ambergris, Civet, Hyraceum or Castoreum, in order to obtain a perfume with a third dimension.

Like the small machines resembling binoculars through which you look in order to watch 3 dimensional photographs, there are only 2 images in the machine but the vision is truely tridimentional.

All these animal aromatic substances are pheromone molecules and they appeal to our nervous system and to our emotions as no vegetable really does. They do not need to be perceptible in a perfume, it is enough for them to be there. I remember a customer who recognized any tiny amount of rose present in any of my compositions because he hated rose due to some old traumatic memory. In the same way I observed that people recognize straight away in my compositions the ingredients that they particularly like or dislike even if I myself do not even smell it due to the tiny concentration of it.
I understood that our nose is really working like a gas chromatography machine unconsciously and that what we can perceive of a perfume may be very different from person to person. The search for third dimension of perfumery goes through animal scents but the use of them is a hard path, prohibitive high prices, difficulty to obtain and ethical dilemmas. So the first step was hair goat tincturing as a sustainable substitute for musk deer but more can be done.
I myself shall tincture a mutton this week, because yesterday I smelled a very nice powerful one at my neighbours. With a liter or two of alcohol and a big pan I shall rinse it to get his perfume. Mutton smell is somehow sweeter than the one of Billy goat, and certainly more acceptable to most people than civet. Knowing how civet can blend into marvellous perfumes, there is no reason that horse or mutton does not. Just imagine the amount of mutton absolute could be produced as a by-product of wool washing in Australia for instance.