Thursday 22 August 2013

Making Scents

It's been quite a while again.
I made a pact with myself just a short while ago about doing blog posts at least once per month.  I guess I broke my pact.
Ah well.
Over the course of the last 2 months I have had a bit of a struggle concocting scents for my Autumn release.  I wanted to create 5 new scents this year as the release is coming out in two parts.  One for the start of Autumn and one for Halloween.  Sure I could have just kept last year's scents and by now would have completed the whole release, but...well....I like to change things up some. *eyeroll*
What I wasn't prepared for was the onslaught of failed scents, soap batches and body whip batches to boot.
I shan't elaborate on the failures but more so on how I managed to gain some much needed inspiration for the 5 new scents I will be releasing tomorrow night (Friday 23rd August).  Yeah, I made a mistake in the newsletter.  Tiggy wouldn't be Tiggy unless she made mistakes! (I had put the 20th!)

I took a trip to a beautiful old English Manor House, Witley Court on the outskirts of the City of Worcester.
As you leave the city and move closer to the countryside you notice old Victorian houses, black railings, old lamp posts, gateways and everything in between.  It's as if time has literally stood still around here.
Our little town of Evesham is a half hour drive away, and whilst it has it's own lovely & quirky buildings, there is something about seeing old Victorian city streets and houses, which does something inside of me.

Witley Court was once a very popular Manor House for the English gentry and housed many a party for the rich and (probably) famous.
In 1937 it was ravaged by fire and left to enter a state of decline.
It has been taken into the hands of English Heritage now, which is a really good thing as it means it should stay standing for a long time to come.
The house is but a shell, with old underground passageways, and multiple levels above.
You really do have to let you mind wander to imagine what it would have looked like once upon a time.

I took my trusty journal and my pen and arrived at 10am, just as they were about to open.  Best time!  Quiet, not too many people and the perfect time of day to get a good feel for the place.

It is said that a picture can tell a thousand stories, so without further ado:
(it will pay you to click on each pic to blow it up and see this place in it's full glory)

There you have it.  A head full of inspiration no?
I came away with enough info to make up 3 new scents in addition to the 2 I already had on hand.

The three scents in inspiration are:

Witley Court: 

The Story: Witley Court - A derelict country manor house, long ago ravaged by fire and left to fall into decline.
The basement full of dark passageways that carry the ghosts of housekeepers and children, it's grounds covered with majestic trees and scurrying wildlife, and the cackle of Green Woodpeckers filling the outside air with their mischievous laughter.  A combine in the distance casts clouds of orange dust as it cuts through late summer barley.

The Scent: Oak leaves, Lemon-scented Fir trees, Black Spruce & Scotch Pine, Hay absolute, Copaiba balsam, Labdanum & Frankincense with hints of sticky Benzoin, Oakmoss and smoke.  Utter perfection and England at it's glorious best.


The Story: Made to mark the beginning of the Gaelic harvest and to welcome the changing colours of late summer/early autumn.
A lakeside walk, Indian balsam leans towards the water, a canopy of Gunnera leaves creates shade from the ever-hot sun.
A mighty oak stands proud at the front of the old Manor, it's protective branches reaching out as far as the eye can see.
Rhododendron bushes, gnarled and as old as the hills line the pathways,  Pine cones nestle in amongst long summer grasses, the last of the summer flowers, vibrant and sweet smelling, bloom one last time & walnuts sit green in their coats as they ripen on the bough.  Crystal clear trickling water ambles on downstream and open Waterlilies rest casually on top of the lake water. 

The Scent: Patchouli, Frankincense, Labdanum & Ho Wood sits beneath Lavender, sparkling Orange & Lime with heart notes of Geranium leaf, Black Spruce, Rose absolute and the barest hint of woodsmoke on the wind.

Mama Didn't Listen So I Told The Bees:

The Story: An early Autumn evening, a melancholy air mists your being.  Saddened and feeling quite alone you take a walk.  
Deer & muntjac graze their way across an open field, buzzards fly overhead, closely followed by rooks & crows.  Across the way you see the farmer walk out of a copse at the side of a deep wood, pipe casually resting at the side of his mouth and followed by trail of smoke from smouldering burlap & pine. 
As you approach the wild hum of 40,000 bees fills the air.  
You sit at the foot of the hive and begin to tell them your thoughts, and seemingly they listen.  Slowly, relief washes over you and happiness prevails once more.

The Scent: A heavy blossom honey, the nectar collected from Myrtle bushes, Orange blossoms, Ylang Ylang blooms & Jamarosa grass, the hive made of Himalayan Cedar & Camphorwood.  
A deep resinous base aroma of Myrrh, dark Vanilla, Cypress, Bergamot and Vetivert.

All three are 100% essential oil blends where I have used over 10 different oils in order to perfect the scent.

Other scents available in the Autumn line up are:


The Story: A curious carved wooden box found in an old curios shop in Summertown, Oxford, UK.  
The lid closed & the box locked for all eternity, until.....
You prise it open, as the lid is slowly lifted hundreds of tiny fireflies grace the air. A tiny slip of paper falls to the floor. A spell conjured long ago reads 'Remember the law of three, and only good things will come to thee'.

The Scent: Sugar-dusted Orange wheels, Italian Mandarins, Dark & Sweet Amber resin and Black Madagascan Vanilla beans.

Owlett's End:

The Story: A corn field long past its cutting date houses a derelict old town house, black beams exposed & dull white paint slowly peeling off the brickwork. 
Owls nest in the eaves, dust-covered cobwebs hang over the windows, a rustling wind whistles through the old back porch, old books piled high along with half-finished paintings, old mirrors & rusting signage.  As you look up the faces of children in the upper windows reflect your gaze.
Sitting in the seat of a rocking chair rests a lovers keepsake box - the inside full of curious spices, long forgotten spells & dried tears.

The Scent: Simmering Black Tea, Clary Sage & Coriander leaves, Nutmeg dust & Cinnamon sticks, sticky dark Orange oil and Blackened Cardamom pods.  

Toffee Moon Face:

Inspiration: Do you remember The Magic Faraway Tree?  Then you will remember Saucepan Man, Silky & Moonface too!
Housed inside the tree are many 'lands'.  Our favourites include The Land of Spells, The Land of Topsy Turvy, The Land of Magic Medicines and The Land of Goodies.  
Our soap is particularly inspired by Mr. Moonface - who loves to eat Toffee!

The Scent: English Butter Toffee shards, Baked Mandarin rinds & Spiced Apple compote, topped with a Caramelised Sugar nest.

All scents will be available as Handmade Cold Process Soap, Olfactory Bathing Grains, Bubbling Sugar Buff, Body Whip & Aromatic Oil.
I have also made a short run of 4 different whipped soaps, scented with Autumn inspired scents (not the ones above) such as Pear, Plum, Cider & Vanilla.

Halloween will follow soon, details of which will be available as soon as I know what I'm doing!

And with that I am off to see my printer to pick up the labels for all the products I have made.

Thanks for reading