Friday, July 2, 2010

The Mystery of Musk: Verdigris, from Bellyflowers Perfumes

First, a word or two, or more, about the paintings. They are watercolors, with some additions of pastel pencil, colored pencil and ink. They’re all 4” wide by 6” high, and I gave myself a maximum of an hour to do each one. This was so they would be abstract, gestural, not bogged down with detail.

Musk, to me, is red-brown. There are many red-browns in the painter's palette, like burnt sienna, Caput mortam violet, brown madder and so on. I like to mix a natural red earth called “Hematite” with a tiny bit of quinacridone violet, which is (I have to admit) about as synthetic as it gets, to produce a warm purple-brown, but that’s only one way to get it. There are many.
Pigments are very like perfume ingredients, ranging from all natural earths mixed with gum arabic, linseed oil or other time-honored mediums (watercolors and oils) to completely synthetic pigments mixed with plastic resin (most acrylics). Like perfume ingredients, the natural pigments are more subtle and more forgiving in mixes. (Any new painter who has ever added more than a tiny speck of phathlo blue to any other color can tell you that!)
“Verdigris,” by Bellyflowers Perfumes, is no shrinking violet. I thought about my first cup of matè tea on the initial sip, hay-like, different, but compelling.
This is a forest-floor scent, earthy and cool in the beginning. In my notes, I wrote “browns, greens, violets” even before I planned to do these paintings. I look at the painting now, and it’s a sort of green fire, fueled by the musky undertones, for which I chose the browns you’d see on a forest floor here in Georgia. Pine needles, brown leaves, natural humus; siennas and umbers. This would be a cool fire, not a campfire. It would be a fairy fire or a woodlands illusion. 
On me, this scent dries down fairly quickly to the earthy base notes, with a warmth and a lovely hint of sweet resin, very close to the skin.
The ingredients for “Verdigris” include fir balsalm absolute, green mandarin essential oil, clary sage essential oil and ylang-ylang essential oil (top notes); Lavender absolute, clary sage absolute, violet leaf absolute and opoponax absolute (heart); Patchouli essential oil, ambergris tincture, labdanum absolute, African stone tincture and benzoin.
“Verdigris” is available from Bellyflowers Botanical Perfumes in Pembrooke Pines, Florida, USA.  Elise Pearlstine is the perfumer. Bellyflowers can be reached via email at elise at bellyflowers dot com.

NOTE: As part of the "Mystery of Musk" project, Bellyflowers Botanical Perfumes is generously donating one bottle of "Verdigris" to be given away by me. 

So, leave a comment -- on this or any of my posts associated with this event -- and you'll be entered to win!

Media used in this painting: watercolor, pastel pencil and colored pencil.
Painting by Pat Borow a.k.a. Olfacta, all rights reserved.

Other bloggers participating in this group project are: 

I Smell Therefore I Am - Abigail Levin
Indie Perfumes - Lucy Raubertas
Bitter Grace Notes - Maria Browning
Olfactarama - Pat Borow



Tamara*J said...

Oh please do enter me.

I adore fir absolutes in fragrances.
I wish there were more to be had.
My favorite is Velvet & Sweet Pea's Fir-Ever Young. Laurie's dark green gem makes me swoon everytime I smell it on myself.
I would love to try Bellyflowers version.
Thank you for a lovely review.
Truly, Tamara Jackson

Monica said...

love your paint pigment/ botanical scent analogy I really feel the textures of the forest in your words. you make Verdegris sound so very intriguing Goddess like!

ElizabethN said...

I'm so excited by this event - I hope to find a new musk to love as a result. Verdigris sounds fascinating, and it's nice to hear about a perfumer I've never heard of.

Bellatrix said...

To me, musk is light brown color :) Sometimes even see-through :)

chayaruchama said...

How exciting, Pat !

This is so fun to read and think about.
I love your perceptions.

Big higs !

Anonymous said...

OOh I'd love to be entered in the draw, it sounds really good!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks of different scents in terms of color. Some stuff just smells ... orange, or purple. And it is more about feel, not about the flowers used or whatever.

em me said...

Please enter me in the draw, Verdigris sounds lovely. Some scents appear as colors to me but not all for some reason. I like that you paint your impressions. It adds another dimension to reading about a scent.

womo531 said...

brown, green, and violet eh? Green fire suggest a sense of passion, a spark that is exciting, but perhaps special because of its ephemeral nature. I think for most of us, sometimes we'd like the top notes to stick around longer, but I bet if we got our wish the fragrance would lose part of its mystery and charm. Love your reviews!

anatole said...

Great paintings!(Love the Graine de Paradis one) And I like your description of Verdigris, which is kind of calling me.. so please include me in the draw.

Gina said...

I would love to try Verdigris, please enter me in the drawing. Thank you for all the lovely reviews.

Fernando said...

This sounds like something I would like! I love the dark green and brown scents that sit at the back of the room and growl softly.

Vincent said...

I'd love to participate in the draw, please count me in. Thanks.