There are many details that go into the creation of a perfume. It is almost like a writer crafting a novel: it needs to tell a story and of course it also needs to be engaging. First impressions last. The scent needs to envelope the senses, but it also needs to settle down to something memorable, if not magical, for the wearer.
Each oil in a perfumer's palette has its own purpose and personality, and depending on the type of message the scent is to convey, we choose oils that help capture this.
Woody Fig was created to be a sophisticated, yet versatile and easy-to-wear perfume. I wanted it to have a level of maturity that made it suitable for all occasions.
"Fig" perfumes are generally playful and fun, and often more for daytime use. I find some fig perfumes lack complexity, whereas I am always drawn to scents with a greater sense of mystique. The woody component in the Woody Fig scent brings in a level of depth and sophistication.
Woody Fig was completed in 2017 after several months of development. I have refined the scent over the years and reformulated it as my skillset has developed. I believe crafting perfume is a journey and sometimes we look back at our work and make improvements to enhance the sensory experience. There are no further reformulations planned.
The Crafting Process
There are countless ways to produce a fragrance, and I have developed my own methods over the years, which in one way or another has informed all of my perfume creations.
First I create the base of the perfume, usually by adding various tinctures and oil blends together. I also add vitamin E oil and glycerin to keep the scent vibrant (it helps prevent the oils from ageing too quickly). Then the finer oils are added and the blend is left to macerate for a period of time, before bottling.
For Woody Fig, the base notes of the scent are where the magic happens. I pour resinous benzoin with organic ethanol and then let this settle for ten days. The benzoin and amber add a real richness to the scent. Once the benzoin resin has solubilised, I add an oil blend of woody oils and mix these together. I blend Australian sandalwood, rosewood, Morrocan cedar absolute and amyris to create a smooth woody character.
The maceration process takes four weeks. A lot of perfume brands tend to speed through this process, whereas I find a longer maceration process tends to fortify the base notes, ultimately leading to a more richly nuanced fragrance.
The resulting blend is a dark golden-brown colour. I filter this to remove any natural residues.
The heart of the scent is an accord of Siberian fir, black pepper and cardamom. I guess you could say the warm spices impart an exotic quality to this scent. Once added to the perfume blend, I let this age for a further two weeks before adding the citrus oils.
After adding the citrus oils, I let these fortify within the blend for a further ten days.
The vibrant citrus notes work harmoniously in counterpart with the dense woody notes, while the slight sweetness in the mandarin oil helps offset the sharpness of the yuzu oil. The lemon rind is lively and the herbaceous basil takes me back to my times on the Greek islands. I use a substantial amount of bergamot, clementine and orange blossom. Each oil has its own personality, and for this reason I like to allow the oils to find their place.
After a couple of days, I add 2% fig oil. This oil is composed of a range of natural and synthetic compounds. The perfume would not be Woody Fig without it, and as it is such a small amount, I class this scent as a 97%+ natural perfume, as the oils are all of natural origins except for this one.
After combining the fig oil with the mixture I wait one more day, then the scent is ready for bottling.
Woody Fig variations
Woody Fig was one of the first scents I created and it has undergone several refinements over the years. It has been described as having a woody, almost caramelised quality, like a ripened fig scorched in the Mediterranean sun.
I have created a special summer variation of the Woody Fig perfume, and can arrange this for our customers upon request (I don’t usually advertise this). This version has the top and middle notes enhanced to create a slightly more playful scent.
Various mediums - such as lotions, oils or solids - will emphasise certain accords of the perfume. For example, the scent's citrus and heart notes are emphasised more in the body lotion. The body lotion is an 88% organic base, which we blend with 12% pure perfume oil. This creates a scented body lotion perfect for layering, or even just for use on its own.
The solid perfume is great for those who want a stronger version of the scent and this comes in a small tin which you can apply during the day. I usually recommend applying the solid perfume on the wrists and patting them together. It lasts quite well on pulse points.
My personal favourite is the Woody Fig perfume oil, as it can be used all over the neck, body and even through the hair. The oil is as concentrated as the EDP spray, and comes as a 10ml roll-on or in a 50ml bottle (which you can pump into your hands and apply generously). The base is Jojoba oil, which is very close to the natural sebum already in our skin. The scent translates beautifully in the oil, although the projection is not as strong as the eau de parfum. I tend to recommend layering the oil with the EDP, or even alternating between the two depending on your mood on the day.
A labour of love
It takes several weeks to craft a single batch of Woody Fig. I do this several times throughout the year so that customers always receive a fresh bottle. The fragrance has received wonderful reviews both in Australia and overseas. One of our biggest advocates for Woody Fig is London-based beauty entrepreneur, Trinny Woodall. We have had the perfume featured in a number of Australian publications too.
Producing a fragrance like Woody Fig is certainly a labour of love. The scent is rich, sophisticated and uplifting. The beauty and joy it brings makes it all worthwhile.
If you are yet to try, you can order a small size of Woody Fig online, or even try one of our Discovery Set, which includes 6 x 1.5ml (sample size) bottles of the complete collection.