Le Coffret…plus J.S. Bach and coffee candles

Hello everyone!   I’d like to announce the new Coffret Collection from 1000 Flowers.  As discovery sets are, this is a great way to explore the full collection, and includes one of each of the five fragrances.
(Retail price is $45 CAD, and is available in the online boutique at 1000 Flowers.ca)

In other local news, last weekend I had the pleasure to attend a concert featuring the music of J. S. Bach, in a beautiful location here in Grasse- the Chapelle Victoria.  This chapel was ordained by Queen Victoria, and the inside of the roof/ceiling is a dramatic and intricate structure of wood beams and curved ribs, reminiscent of the inside of an upside-down hull of an ancient galleon.  Quite impressive.

Coffee Cantata

In addition to the stunning music and setting, there was also the added sensual experience of scent and light, provided by my friend and peer, perfumer irina Jourihina.  Irina created specially perfumed candles for this concert- which were given out to most of the 150+ attendees just prior to the performance of Bach’s Coffee Cantata.  The rich, gourmand sweetness of the warm fragrance that exuded from the candles, combined with chocolate and coffee bonbons on the tongue (distributed at the same time as the candles), brought to mind a cozy multi-sensual evening with coffee and cream and cakes, beside a fireplace with Bach chamber music playing live beside you.  What a brilliant collaboration.

A description in French provided by the city of Grasse: “La saison musicale 2014 de “Notes & Parfums”, dans le cadre prestigieux et élégant de la chapelle Victoria, commence en fanfare cette année. Dans le prolongement du thème des fleurs et des parfums qui avait rencontré un vif succès l’an dernier, le programme débutera le vendredi 21 mars à 20h30 avec un authentique concert aux chandelles dans la tradition de l’époque de Jean-Sébastien Bach. Dans une programmation mise au point par Maxime Hagenmuller, le concert sera assuré par une dizaine de musiciens, tous solistes et experts de la musique baroque. En entrée, nous entendrons de mélodieuses arias pour chanteurs, flûte, cordes et basse continu. La seconde partie mettra en valeur la charmante et allègre “Cantate du Café” pour soprano, ténor, basse et orchestre de chambre. Cette oeuvre profane a inspiré la créatrice de parfum, Irina Zhukhirina, qui lui dédiera pour l’occasion un parfum inédit et original.”

And a little bit more about the chapel, as per their site: “The construction of the chapel of Grasse was completed at the beginning of March 1891. Queen Victoria, while staying in Grasse, was accompanied by a series of about fifty persons, where she met her dear friend Alice de Rothschild, owner of a large estate on the hills overlooking the old town.  Friday, March 27, Friday, Her Majesty was to attend a service in this new chapel of St. John.  Once back in England, the Queen offered a stained glass window to this English Church of Grasse, (ie Protestant), which contains the following inscription: “To the glory of God and in remembrance of her visit, Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, 1891.

That is why the church of Saint John came to be called the “Chapelle Victoria.”

Return to the Perfumed Pilgrimage

I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but it seems like 2013 flew by in the blink of an eye!   I had the strangest feeling the whole year that I was running behind, and it was with some horror today, when I checked into my blog, to see that the last entry was December, 2012!

Clearly, this is indicative of losing the rhythm of reporting on and sharing the ‘perfumed pilgrimage’ that has been my life here in Grasse!  And a big part of the reason for writing less, is that life has a way of becoming ‘normal’ no matter where we are.  Even life in the south of France takes on a certain normalcy after a few years, and reporting on the events that come and go becomes less motivating, since the events are less and less a novelty.

However, I am realizing (even just this week),  how important it is to look at life more objectively more often, to see how magical it really is, and to appreciate what a lot of hard work and sacrifice has been involved to arrive at the present moment. (and to be very grateful to be there)

So here is a first of more frequent reports to come… to once again share some stories of life here in the Alpes-Maritimes region, and specifically to fragrance related topics/events here in the Pays de Grasse.


New Fragrance Launch! (an Ode to Love…)

Today I am very happy to announce the launch of two new fragrances from 1000 Flowers.  The duo was inspired by a love story…
A love story began when a boy from the east, met a girl from the west,
when smiles and shy glances were exchanged, and their hearts leaned in
to each other.

She shared with him her love of flowers and perfume (especially roses and violets), and he shared with her sensuous parts of his culture, such as incense and oudwood, and the fragrant spices of his eastern cuisine.

Together they began an exploration of the senses.

Love is Sweet represents the feminine in this story- full of roses, violets, vanilla, patchouli coeur, amber, and precious woods.

Ode to Him is the masculine counterpart- fresh with the cool notes of cardamom and coriander, richly layered with oudwood, cedar, and resins of faraway lands.

These fragrant compositions contain high concentrations of precious natural materials such as Rose, Vanilla pods, Patchouli coeur, Sandalwood, and Orris.

(The name ‘Love is Sweet’ is inspired by the song from Anita Baker called “Sweet Love”…)

Bergamot. Pink Pepper.
Bulgarian Rose oil. Iris.
Turkish Rose absolute.
Cinnamon.Purple Violets.
Opoponax. Patchouli.
Vanilla Pods.
Musk. Amber.

Coriander. Cardamom.
Immortelle absolute.
Rose absolute. Clove.
Sandalwood. Oud.
Frankincense. Myrrh.
Moss. Vetiver.


The fragrances are initially presented in Italian glass 15ml splash flacons and are now available online in the 1000 Flowers boutique at www.1000flowers.ca








Wishing you all a fragrant and happy holiday season!

Retail Pond and 1000 Flowers

I am very happy to introduce a brand new and very innovative company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, called Retail Pond.  They offer a new way to discover new products and artistic creations, and to purchase online.

One of their flagship collections is indeed fragrances from 1000 Flowers.  I am very honored to be part of this project.

Please take a look at a featured interview of myself, and then check out their philosophy and featured products. (you will need to access the site via Google Chrome or Safari).

RETAIL POND: Interview with Jessica Buchanan


Bulletin from the studio…

Hello everyone.  I wanted to write just a little note to say hello, and to let you know that I have not been swallowed up in some abyss under the old city of Grasse!  I have been working long hours/days/months on 3 perfumes- two for 1000 Flowers, and one for an up and coming company in Canada.

The process of fragrance creation, when done completely from scratch, without reference to existing fragrance formulae, and no access to Gas Chromotography etc for analyzation of existing fragrances, requires endless trials and extreme patience and persistence.  This is the only way to eventually arrive at a finished product that could be judged as being beautiful, well-balanced, interesting, compliant with safety regulations, and yes- marketable.   This is where the key ingredient of ‘passion’ comes in and is indispensable to fuel the journey!

The two perfumes for 1000 Flowers will be all about Love.  They represent a love story- a pair- one for him and one for her, although both are interchangeable.  Both are full of beautiful raw materials- precious woods (a touch of oud), spices, roses, resins, vanilla, and herbs.  They lean in the Oriental direction. They are sensual, absorbing, and elegant.

Also, the autumn sale will continue in the 1000 Flowers online boutique until these two new editions are officially announced, so take advantage of the discount.

As for me, after taking this little break to say hello, I must get back to the perfumer’s organ, and weigh out yet more trials.  Maybe today, will arrive the final and perfect version!

For the Love of Lavender

Today I am announcing the launch of a new and beautiful product from 1000 Flowers….. Pure, certified organic lavender (lavandula angustilfolia) essential oil distilled in Provence, in the south of France.  This is of the 2011 harvest, and is sweet and fragrant and one of the most beautiful lavender oils I have ever experienced.


This project has been on hold for a few months as I attempted to source a bottle alternative to the regular essential oil bottles with the insert plastic dripulator.  I have always felt that adding all that plastic to a beautiful organic essential oil somewhat defeats the purpose of it being organic in the first place!  After much searching and reflecting, I have decided to package the oil in the same flacons as the perfume collection from 1000 Flowers.  This is a 15ml Italian glass flacon with a very narrow opening in the neck of the bottle, allowing for drops without a plastic insert.  The only plastic to touch the oil, is the very small non-reactive seal on the inside of the lid.

The glass is clear, as opposed to amber or blue, so I suggest keeping the bottle out of direct light to protect the delicate oil from UV damage.

I have chosen lavender as the first pure essential oil from 1000 Flowers for the simple reason that this oil is truly the most versatile, gentle, healing of all.  As well, I feel it is extremely important to make available an oil of the highest quality, tested for purity (GC available upon request), as well as dated so as to know the exact vintage.

I offer this oil with pride and confidence that it is of the
highest quality available in the world today.
Truly a treasure and a perfect perfume in its own right.

Milano and Esxence


Once again, it has been far too long since I’ve written.   I’ve been here in Grasse since August, and life has been so full and exciting and stressful and all-consuming that blogging has fallen rather by the wayside.  However, yesterday was my birthday, and one of the resolutions I made for this new year, is to once again share with you what life is like here in the Country of Grasse (Le Pays de Grasse).

Let me begin, by speaking about a trip to Milan last weekend that I had the good fortune of sharing with 2 perfumers who also live here in Grasse (one French and the other Russian).

This year was the second year of the Esxence- The Art of Perfumery event that takes place in the centre of Milano, Italie.   This magical city is only 4 hours by car from Grasse, so on the morning of the 31st, we set out early so we could have the afternoon to begin exploring perfumes.

We arrived around lunchtime, and after we had installed ourselves in our lovely apartment in the region of the city where there are canals (empty this time of year) designed by Leonardo de Vinci (we rented a place through http://www.airbnb.com), we made our way to the Esxence event via the Metro.

Love locks on a bridge over the canal

Nothing could have prepared us for the immensity of this event. Two expansive floors of booths showcasing hundreds of niche perfume brands.   We hadn’t even made a dent in the exhibition when it was closing time for the day.  We were however, invited to a private launch party of the new collection of fragrances from the renowned French perfume house, Piguet.  This was held in an amazing wisteria covered outdoor patio at the Sheraton hotel not far away.

After champagne and some wonderful conversations with old and new friends of the perfumed world, we were famished.  At a certain point, food must become more important than perfume.  It was already 11pm when we found an adorable and packed full (the Italians eat late) little restaurant, where we stood in line until a table came up.  It was worth the wait, and dinner was delectable.

The resident chihuahua eyeing down another dog that had come in with a customer...

The next morning, I was determined to make a thorough tour of the event and get my nose around as many perfumes as absolutely possible.  This would also include an extended visit to the Osmotheque booth to smell vintage perfumes composed in their original formulae.

I also attended a very interesting conference on the subject of the synthetic raw material, Hedione, presented by the man from Osmotheque- Bernard Bourgeois, which was very interesting indeed.

The most unusual booth I saw at the event was of the brand Nasomatto.

To make a long story short- I was far too ambitious in my attempts to take in almost every single booth.  Later that evening, as I reflected on the day when we were finally enroute home to Grasse- I realized that it was almost a complete blur. I had taken in far too much information, both visually and olfactively.

I did however, leave with a sense of being inspired by the finesse and beauty of the presentation of fragrance brands.  This is a luxury product- in an artistic, refined, expensive, and beauty-based kind of way.  Many flacons are works of art and design in themselves.  The careful choices of colour, of shape, of texture to present an alurring identity of a brand, that then must somehow be balanced with the beauty and appeal of the juice inside the bottles themselves.  To be honest, often I found that the fragrance of the juice didn’t captivate me as strongly as the visual impact.  I would be wowed by the bottle, the artwork, the logo, the display, and then the perfume would somehow fall flat and be disappointing in comparison.

There was one brand however, who stood out to me, that presented a luxury, haute gamme beauty, with beautiful hardwood cases housing golden flacons of scent.  These fragrances I also found quite gorgeous.  This was Maison Dorin from Paris.

So for the future, I would recommend preparing beforehand for an event such as this, in order to maximize the benefits.  This for me, would include studying the list of exhibitors, and choosing the ones that I would specifically like to see.  If any time was left over after that, I could make a more general tour.  I would not repeat, however, my attempt to take in everything as I did in Milan.  Lessons learned by a first-timer!

As a closing note, I must say, that I LOVED Milano!  It was not what at all what I expected.  It was artistic and active, with little funky boutiques lining cobbled streets, vintage clothing shops, graffiti (both banal and amazing) everywhere… and lots of young people dressed in wild and creative ensembles.  At one in the morning, the streets were full of people of all ages out socializing.  I was reminded in a way of the arts scene in Vancouver, Canada… and in that, was touched by my experience.  My impression of the Italians in general, is that they are much more expressive and fearless in the creative process than (dare I say it?)…. the French.  Also, they are extremely friendly and warm.  All in all, a super weekend!