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,