Says Alice: Scent Story 3

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The story of Says Alice

At Karen’s course (See The Great Randello story) one thing that she and I played with – quietly in the corner while the others were getting the hang of things - was a base that’s rumoured to be at the centre of a lot of high street perfumes.

(When we talk about a base, that doesn’t mean a base note, it means a blend that makes a recognisable accord, which you keep as a standard tool in your perfumery toolbox and use in different creations. It saves starting from scratch every time. I often like to start from scratch but most professional perfumers working to a client’s brief don’t always have time for that so their bases come in really handy. You build up your own library of them, and I added this one to mine.)

Karen hadn’t put it into practise before, so we mixed it up, then I added a few fruity features and a flower or two and Lo! - we had a scent that could have fitted nicely into a couple of well known ranges.

The base is kind of an industry open secret, made with three well known synthetics plus one natural material, but I’ll not be the one to give it away. Besides, my version is very probably different from the original. You could wear it by itself, and I’m sure some people do. I named my version Mr Fixer.

Then Nick’s cousin came to stay, and he was looking for a scent for his sister Alice’s 21st birthday. I took my base, then added some fruits and an accord I’d been working on. This is the part that makes it different from the high street stuff. It’s rose absolute, jasmine absolute, honey absolute and sandalwood essential oil – the seriously costly stuff all in the same bottle. I can’t stand jasmine by itself, or jasmine soliflore perfumes, but I do like to use it at strengths that make a difference to a scent but don’t dominate it.

For me, the natural materials give a scent a soul. Synthetics can smell lovely but they just don’t do anything apart from smell. The naturals make you feel different; that’s why it’s such a shame that they are being restricted and gradually driven out of perfumery. But that’s another story.

The name, Says Alice, is borrowed from A.A. Milne’s poem about Christopher Robin’s nanny.

The materials

On top of Mr Fixer, we have grapefruit, peach, rose, sandalwood, raspberry, mango, honey and jasmine.

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  1. Iana

    Reading about your process and discoveries is so helpful. The further I go into my own process the more your posts make sense and the useful tidbits multiply, making me want to go back and have a fresh look at my ? failures?. Thanks so much!

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