“When I think about forever I get upset. Like the Land O'Lakes butter has that Indian girl, sitting holding a box, and it has a picture of her on it, holding a box, with a picture of her holding a box. Have you ever noticed that?”
– Sally Draper
Obsessed with the new surrealism in this video. Also, I didn’t expect the song to resolve into that cool hook. and run down the way it did. Excellent contemporary pop.
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Bad City : Hans Hendley : Hendley Perfumes • Do all teenage freeks, geeks and outcasts want to be superheroes, mutants and vampires? Something other…that might explain their difference or allow them to wreak succulent revenge on tormentors. I did. I wanted some sort of reason to continue, however ludicrous, gothic and fantastical. • I used to imagine myself wandering back streets, woods and eerie sodium-lit car parks haunting the boys who taunted me then plucking them into the skies, casting blood over scots pines and towering spruce. If I sensed danger I’d transform into a black and silver fox of course, melting into the night. What might I smell of? Bad City by Hans Hendley. • Bad City is #5 in Hans’ Laboratory Series of perfumes after Felt, Narcis, Jupiter & Linden, inspired by his viewing of ‘A Girl Walks Alone At Night’ the 2014 Iranian Vampire Western directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. The beautiful Sheila Vand playing the coolest, most enigmatic vamp in Bad City, an industrial dead end Iranian underworld. The Girl as she is known, wears her chador outside, skateboards, haunts shadows and listens to music in her apartment. The razor sharp monochrome cinematography recalls early Lynch but also seems brightly sensually of the now. If you haven’t seen it, do. It is startling and gorgeous cinema and the most perfect olfactive inspiration. • Bad City is Hans’ first proper foray into agarwood territory, a typical Bad City odour; he has transformed it into the fumed black and white backdrop of a vampiric hunting ground, smooth, sooty and addictive. There is a delicious mix of apricot, red wine and Davana, a boozy bloody triptych that smells woozy and trippy against that stark industrial oud. • I love the costus, stained with choya loban (a distinctive Indian frankincense distillate), such a weird effect, scalp and skin proximity. In Bad City, it’s that freekgeek me, following you in silence, lifting your hair and whispering ‘I loved you…’ • #perfumereview #thefoxinhales @hendleyperfumes @hans.hendley #laboratoryseries #badcity #agirlwalksaloneatnight #analilyamirpour #bloodonthetracks #theonlyloversleftalive #thehunger #agarwood
Darkness on the edge of town. Blood on the tracks. Don’t walk home alone.
Unsettling visions of wandering post-industrial badlands with midnight cowboys and romantic vampires.
Apricot, red wine, davana, saffron, cumin, choya loban, leather, agarwood, costus root.
9ml Extrait de Parfum. Edition of 33.
They say in Bad City there’s darkness on the edge of town and blood on the tracks.
Even though the factories shut down years ago, they still seem to billow black smoke.
I heard there are vampires lurking in the shadows, and they will follow you silently.
Don’t walk home alone.
Some updates from the Laboratory
The past couple of weeks have been a little insane. It seems I underestimated the demand for Bourbon - it had been sold out for a while and I knew some people were waiting for it but I was nearly overwhelmed with orders and basically the whole lab was turned into a shipping fulfillment center. I’m not complaining at all, but it can be intense when so much comes at once.
Now that I’m caught up on all that shipping, I’ve taken some time to source a bunch of raw materials needed to make some fresh big batches with the intention of having everything in the main line well stocked this fall and holiday season. Also working on some subtle packaging changes that will begin to roll out slowly. But more importantly for the sake of this journal, I’m shifting some focus back over to the Laboratory Series and its next release.
I think after Jupiter and Linden, I have the kind of “fresh” takes out of my system. I imagine some of you might not have expected releases like those but part of the point of this series is to try stuff out that I hadn’t done before. Now, I’m ready to go a little (or a lot) darker for the next release. I recently saw A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, a movie that has been on my radar a couple of times since it came out in 2014. This one really stuck with me, such a wild combination of ideas. I wonder if the atmosphere and feeling of that film could be captured in a perfume… I’ll be thinking about it.
Here’s a music playlist for those of you who might be interested. A collection of tracks from albums I’ve been playing in recent months.
Ambient blossoms, swayed under leaf, days go by.
Bergamot, tomato leaf, linden blossom, magnolia, cassis, vetiver, musk complex.
15ml Eau de Parfum. Edition of 33.
Laboratory Series Release #4 is almost ready to bottle and should begin shipping later this week. If you noticed the previous posts you may have guessed that it features a linden blossom note. I don’t have any memory of linden trees growing up in Texas. Maybe they aren’t as commonly occurring there, or I was simply oblivious to them. The smell of a blooming linden tree is distinctly a NYC experience for me. That ambient honeyed tea like smell has marked all my summers for the past decade here and will forever remind me of a slate June summer breeze in the city.
Pictured above is one of the two formula worksheets I used for developing this perfume. I do many 1-2 gram trials, making adjustments and adding additional materials. I always tend push the formula way too far before I back-track a bit and choose an earlier, simpler version as the final formula.
We’re in the throes of one of the most intense heat waves I can remember here with many parts of the city loosing power during peak demand. I’ve got my studio windows blocked out and the A/C on blast. A perfume cave to hide in.
I know that this isn’t directly part of the Laboratory Series, but I did send you all samples and I know at least a couple of you ended up with bottles. Since I don’t really have a blogging platform elsewhere I figured this was the best spot to tell the whole story.
Dave Kern from American Perfumer asked me to do an artist edition sometime during 2017. I understood he was envisioning a series of limited editions from american perfumers based on a specific place or experience from their lives, but ultimately he wanted the perfumers to work with total creative freedom to create something special. I agreed, saying I would think about some ideas and see if anything clicked. Time passed and and I had a few loose ideas but the vision wasn’t really clear for me. I was also made aware that the first two editions were confirmed to be composed by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes and Maria McElroy of Aroma M - two of the original pioneers of independent artisan perfumery. I knew if I was going to have to follow those two it would be an honor and I better make sure the perfume was really really good.
Then one day in 2018, I got an unexpected package from my father containing a cedarwood oil that he had distilled from the heartwood of an eastern red cedar tree that had gown on our family land in east Texas. This was a total surprise, especially since my dad doesn’t really practice distillations or extractions regularly so as far as I know this jar was a one-off experiment. The oil was extremely dark and viscous, and reminiscent of cade or birch tar, but with a distinctly different woody quality. I then remembered a tincture I had started from some chunks of pine fatwood that I collected when I was visiting my folks. It suddenly became clear that I needed to go back behind the pine curtain and revisit the smells and memories of my childhood, using the two signature materials sourced directly from the landscape where the memories were held.
The idea for this perfume dictated that it be limited since I had only small quantities of the handcrafted materials I wanted to use. In addition to dad’s cedar oil and my pine tincture, I wanted to use an artisan distilled pinyon pine needle oil, and a house made five-year-aged vanilla bean tincture.
I mentioned the idea to Dave and he told me to go for it. I made a few dozen trials over the next few months - I wanted to place the cedar note front and center in attempt to capture a vivid, woody naturalness that I hadn’t smelled in a perfume before. The final result is a supremely rich, dark, cedar perfume that paints a certain rugged yet pastoral terroir, dappled sunlight beaming through the canopy, scattered with sawdust and imbued with woodsmoke. A life hewn from trees behind a pine curtain.
We settled on the name “Bloodline” and a production of fifteen 30ml bottles of parfum (30%) for the edition since I didn’t have enough raw material to make a whole lot more than that. I think there were also a fair number of bottles remaining from the other two American Perfumer editions and Dave and I agreed that a small edition would be better than sitting on extra stock. But then things changed a bit when we found out that Dawn’s American Perfumer edition called “Colorado” was nominated for an Art & Olfaction award. We had originally planned to release Bloodline a few weeks earlier but with knowledge of the award nomination we decided to wait and let Colorado have it’s moment. Colorado ended up winning in the independent category. This big recognition added some rocket fuel to the flames and suddenly the American Perfumer editions become a bit of an olfactory event.
Since everything was already finished, we decided to go ahead with the fifteen bottle edition knowing that with the increased visibility it would probably sell through quickly, especially since some of the early feedback on Bloodline was quite positive. I predicted it would take at least a full day to sell out, but turns out I underestimated that by a lot. The bottles went on sale June 5th at 11am EST and were gone before noon.
I must say that I’m blown away by the enthusiasm towards this release and I am so humbled to be in this position. I’ve gotten a lot of messages from those disappointed they missed out on a bottle of Bloodline, or the Laboratory Series etc. I feel sympathetic because it’s never been my intention to make my work unattainable or super exclusive, at the end of the day I’m just trying to make the best work I can with the modest resources I have. But more often than not this results in a small scale and limited amount of products. I’ve come a long way in the past five years of having a perfume brand - farther than I could have imagined, but there’s still a long way to go and much to improve upon.
Thanks for reading and joining me on this crazy journey,
I put a sample of a new perfume called Bloodline in each of the Laboratory Series packages that went out this past week. It is built around a cedarwood oil distilled by my father from trees grown on our family land in east Texas.
Bloodline was commissioned by American Perfumer and will be sold through their shop and website. They have all the stock in hand and it should be live on their site within the next few days.
I’ll make an official announcement with more detail when it’s available for order.
Golden apple. Pale blue dot. Summer swallowed us whole.
A refreshing, clean citrus perfume to be used with joyous abandon.
Bergamot, red mandarin, neroli, vanilla bean tincture, cedarwood oil, musk complex, ambergris.
30ml Eau de Toilette. Edition of 33.
Recently I had the pleasure of a wide-ranging conversation with Dave from American Perfumer.
We discuss a bit of my history, perfumes, music, photography, trees and a lot more.
The episode should be on the major Podcast apps also under American Perfumer.