The First Flower (For my Mother)

Today, ¬†I am very happy to announce the launch of a new fragrance from 1000 Flowers!¬† ¬†For the last year or so, I had been carefully developing a different perfume for a Spring launch this year. ¬†Then I found myself here, in the mountains of western Canada watching the beauty of Spring emerge … and I realized that there was another perfume that must be materialized first.

For the last few weeks, the new season has been filling our senses more every day with the freshness of unfurling green leaves, of blooming hyacinths, wild violets, magnolias, and the scent of the cool wet forest waking up from its winter slumber.

This First Flower, the fragrance that has been inspired by this ambiance, is dedicated to my Mother.  Without her, I would not be who I am.  It was she who taught me about Nature, about plants and flowers, and about artistic expression.  It was she who passed on to me the First Nations (Chippewa) sensitivity and awareness that continues to shape and inspire my life.  We trace this blood matrilineally, from my Grandmother, Great Grandmother and beyond, and I wish to honour this line of all my Mothers, many of whom were accomplished artists.

This new fragrance is a reflection of the joy and love of Nature, of melting snow and the first flowers of Spring, of new beginnings, and of the wild forests of Canada.

Introducing Fleur No 1 eau de toilette…..

Notes of narcissus, magnolia, rose, mosses, the forest in Spring, new baby leaves, wild violets, melting snow, and wet earth.

Also, there is an important aspect to this day that I would like to acknowledge.  Ninety years ago today, on the 5th day of the 5th month- May 5th, 1921-was the launch of the iconic perfume- Chanel No 5.   I find Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel to be an inspiration.   Her fragrance, created by the master perfumer Earnest Beaux, is still the top selling fragrance in the world- consistently for 90 years!

This first floral fragrance of 1000 Flowers, will be a limited edition for now. ¬†It is loaded with precious floral absolutes and is a perfume that must be formulated in small batches. ¬†Fleur No 1 will be offered in a 15ml glass splash flacon, in an eau de toilette concentration. ¬†The 1000 Flowers website will be updated in the next few days for purchase… but please send me a message sooner if you would like to reserve a bottle. ¬†(nectar@1000flowers.ca)

Wishing you all a fragrant and bright Spring, filled with flowers and endless dreams coming true. (And remember,  a walk in the forest, breathing the fresh air, can bring a sense of calm and ease that makes all the stress of day to day melt away.)

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(All images and text are copyright by and exclusive to 1000 Flowers‚ĄĘ and Jessica September Buchanan ¬©2011… All right reserved.)

fairy-tale evenings

A quick little hello to say that I am once again immersed in a busy week of school- the chemistry studies have begun and we are still managing to memorize more raw materials.  We are now covering about 3 new ones per day bringing the total as of today to about 300.  We are being tested constantly which proves to be the best method of keeping the knowledge fresh and accessible.

We spent the weekend exploring the area, including Eze, which is a place I have been saving.  This is a stunning little stone village perched way up above the Mediterranean.  We had lunch there and then descended the 1500 feet vertical mountain-goat trail to Eze sur Mer, just before the rain began.  That night, we stayed in Beausoleil, which is basically Monte Carlo, which is Monaco, and went out dancing until 5 am.  What fabulous medicine for the soul!  So many beautiful young people, so charming and fabulous.  A fairy tale place really. I am in love with Monaco, I have to say.

Fragrant thoughts full of love and spring to all of you………………….keep the comments coming!

the Symposium

I was out for a walk this afternoon and just happened to spot in a store window a poster for the most amazing event….the 9th annual International Symposium of Aromatherapy and Medicinal Plants being held from March 16-18th here in Grasse!!!!!¬† It will be held in the beautiful Palais de Congres.¬† Suffice to say that I will be in attendance!

Here is the link to the program so you can see some of the facinating subjects that will be covered.

http://www.ville-grasse.fr/aromatherapie/pdf/programme_2007.pdf 

What can I say?¬† Life is pretty amazing….

Production and Picasso

Today is Sunday and in Grasse, it is raining.¬† Spring has sprung it seems and the recent erratic weather- windy, rainy, winter¬†treessunny- reflects this shift in seasons.¬† I saw buds appearing on the stubs of a hydrangea yesterday and the days that are sunny feel like early summer by Canadian standards.¬† The trees are all still bare and stark looking, but it’s only a matter of time until they spring back into life.¬† The temperatures are abnormally high according to the locals, but that seems to be standard the world over these days. That said, it is still chilly at times, and I look forward to the summer.

at the¬†distilleryThis week included two wonderful adventures.¬† The first was on Wednesday when we took a class trip to the production facility of a company called Payan Bertrand. (www.payan-bertrand.fr ) They are located very close to our school (walking distance actually) and they are currently in¬†full swing mimosa oil/concrete/absolute extraction.¬†This is a huge production facility and we saw massive steam distillers in action extracting other botanicals such as ambrette seed and patchouli, as well as concrete extraction stages of osmanthus and black tea.¬† We were shown all stages of the processes, the distillers and condensers,¬†including the lab with the gas chromatography, refractive idex¬†and other technical equipment¬†that is used to thoroughly test all the finished products produced and imported by the¬†company.¬† There¬†was a warehouse full of the¬†raw materials; bales of orris root, dried patchouli, and oakmoss as well as crates full of benzoin resin from Indonesia.¬†¬†Also a huge stack of bales of hay that will be¬†distilled and refined¬†to produce the precious flouve¬†or hay absolute.¬† I didn’t realize that it was good old fashioned hay that is used!¬†

the house of the perfumersWe were also given a tour of the house where the in-house perfumers work producing formulas for other companies.  We got to see perfumers in action, at the perfumers organ with the sensitive scales, blending from hundreds and hundreds of available chemicals. (a small roomful actually, with shelves lining the walls from ceiling to floor and endless tiny bottles)   

 I loved the whole experience; the air smelled amazing, botanical and fragrant, and house of perfumersalthough photos inside were forbidden, the images of this place will be burned into my memory forever.  My favourite part of the tour was when I spotted a perfumers organ off to the side in the bottling warehouse; comprised of all naturals, many in old fashioned amber glass bottles with glass stoppers and there again were hundreds of bottles to choose from.  I sat in the chair at the helm of this magnificent control centre and for a few minutes imagined the universes I could pilot it to.  Wow.

Adventure two was yesterday when several of us went to the Musee Magnelli -Museum of Ceramics in a ¬†town called Vallauris near Cannes.¬† This is the centre of the pottery world and full of little shops run by the artisans.¬† Picasso came here to study and learn pottery and worked in the building that now houses the gallery. We were there to see the exhibition by the incredible American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.¬† After being wowed by that display, we went upstairs in the gorgeous old building to see two more floors of work by Picasso, Magnelli and others.¬† This was my first time seeing actual Picasso¬†pieces and in particular his pottery, original clay tablet etchings¬†and prints.¬†It was really moving and I felt so incredibly inspired to be exposed to such work. In awe really.¬† the eyes of¬†PicassoAfterward we made our way through the little inner courtyard to the National Musee de Picasso permanent installation called La Guerre et¬†La Paix (War and Peace).¬† He created this as a result of fighting in and being deeply impacted by the Korean War.¬† It is a small cathedral with a simple arched ceiling¬† and on one side he has painted the horrors of war with blood and dark figures of¬†men fighting¬†and spiky insect looking creatures (symbolizing biological weapons) facing off with a naked man bearing a white shield with a dove and the impression of a woman’s face (Picasso’s¬†wife at the time). Portrayed on the other side of the arch is Picasso’s vision of a world of peace with all white human figures, a winged Pegasus kind of creature in harness with a child holding the reins (his wife had told him that in a true world of peace, absolutely anything would be possible), women dancing and nursing babies, and food being prepared.¬† The two sides of the arched room¬†are in such stark contrast to each a place of¬†visionother and I was moved to tears by the beauty of Picasso’s vision of a peaceful world and by how he portrayed and¬†loathed the absolute horror and ugliness of war. I had no idea of this side to Picasso and I am now a huge fan.¬† I feel deeply touched by him.

We then headed back to Cannes to go to an amazing perfume boutique called¬†Taizo (the full Frederique Malle collection as well as many obscure and fine fragrances from Italy and France).¬† I bought an Italian perfume called Wild Lavender by the perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi from Firenze.¬† Then, after a bit more browsing through the stores, I¬†found a beautiful traditional cotton bedspread for my soon-to-be new home, and we headed back to Grasse.¬† Starving, we had a¬†delicious¬†dinner at a new restaurant that just opened a¬†week ago in the old part of the city.¬† It was divine and I will elaborate later this week when I do a specific culinary postings.¬† So far I haven’t said much about the food in this country of gourmet, and I’m sure you’re wondering……

¬†Studying awaits- tomorrow is a whole new week with a whole new set of materials to learn.¬† My memory and olfactive capabilities are becoming quite tuned, but I mustn’t drop the thread; this is really delicate work!

A bientot!