November 14, 2010

Outlaws -- Natural Perfumer's Guild - Dupetit Cannabis

As part of a cooperative event with other perfume bloggers and the Natural Perfumers Guild, we will be discussing a selection of fine natural perfumers who use substances that have been put on IFRA's (International Fragrance Association) restricted or prohibited list because they "might" cause some form of sensitization reactions in some people.

Many of these restricted ingredients are the important, classic, exquisitely beautiful and complex irreplaceable ingredients of perfume that have been used, like rose and jasmine for example, for more than two thousand years.   Many citrus ingredients, and one of my favorites, oakmoss, integral for the classic chypre formulation (the beautiful dark earthy scent that is distinctive in a chypre)  are also on the IFRA  list of outlaw ingredients.  Because of this their use has been reduced to such small amounts in the European Union that they have lost their significant contribution to perfume composition.  Synthetic substitutes which are much cheaper and chemically much simpler are being used instead.

The independent perfumers in the Natural Perfumer's Guild do not belong to IFRA but if they are in the EU or if they wish to sell in Europe they are affected by these policies.  There has been  lobbying to get the IFRA standards passed in the U.S., which will make life very hard for the independent natural perfumers, just as they are now beginning to become more well known and popular with consumers.  If these regulations are adopted in the U.S., the natural perfumers will become outlaws, because these restricted ingredients are so important to their palette and are the main source of the special beauty of the natural perfumes they make.  Suppliers of natural essential oils will also be affected  adversely, and the availability of natural essences may shrink or become even more expensive than they are already.

The list of ingredients is long, and actually quite shocking, because most of these ingredients have been known to have beneficial effects, even if some people are affected adversely by them in some way.  It is like saying aspirin should not be used except in very minute amounts because it can be counter-indicated for certain people.  Food products like peanuts and strawberries have a strong, even lethal allergenic effect on some people,  but we use labels warning that the machinery used in food product manufacture might have had contact with them, rather than outlaw or restrict their use across the board for everyone.

Full labeling would be a reasonable way of dealing with the issues of sensitivity,  but for the EU and IFRA, the answer is to  prohibit or restrict the use of such natural essential oils and substances to such a degree as to render them ineffective in a perfume.  Of course what we are left with then are the chemical imitations, which as good as they may smell, are nothing in comparison to the real thing, and perfumers of all kinds know this.

Here follows the essential oils and absolutes that are affected by IFRA, either because they are listed directly, or because they contain listed chemicals. Including essential oils prone to oxidation, there are some 200 materials impacted by the IFRA Code of Practice. This list has been drawn up to highlight the extensive repercussions of the guidelines, not to suggest that none of the listed oils should be in any way restricted.*

(I have emphasized my personal favorites):

Ambrette seed oil, Angelica root oil, Bakul absolute, Basil absolute, Basil oil (estragole CT), Basil oil holy) Basil oil (linalool CT), Bay oil (West Indian), Bergamot leaf oil, Bergamot peel oil (distilled), Betel leaf oil, Birch tar oil, Black tea tree oil, Boldo leaf oil, Broom absolute, Cabreuva oil, Cade oil, Calamus oil, Cananga oil, Cangerana oil, Cardamon oil, Carnation absolute, Carrot seed oil, Cascarilla oil, Cassia oil, Cassie absolute, Cinnamon bark oil,  Cinnamon leaf oil, Cistus oil, Citronella oil, Clary sage oil, Clove oil, Costus oil, Cumin oil, Davana oil, Elecampane oil, Elemi oil, Fenugreek oil, Fig leaf absolute, Galangal oil, Geranium oil, Ginger oil, Ginger lily absolute, Grapefruit peel oil, Ho leaf oil, Honey myrtle oil, Horseradish oil, Horsemint oil, Huon pine oil, Hyssop oil, Jasmine grandiflorum absolute, Jasmine sambac absolute, Karo karoundĂ© absolute, Laurel leaf oil, Lemon balm oil (Australian), Lemongrass oil,
Lemon basil oil,
Lemon leaf oil, Lemon myrtle oil, Lemon tea tree oil, Lemon peel oils, Lemon thyme oil, Lemon verbena oil, Lemon verbena absolute, Lime peel oil (expressed), Lovage leaf oil, Mace oil, Mandarin leaf oil, Marjoram oil (sweet)
Massoia bark oil, May chang oil, Melissa oil, Mustard oil, Myrtle oil, Narcissus absolute, Nasturtium absolute, Nutmeg oil, Oakmoss absolute, Opoponax oil,
Orange blossom oil, Orange blossom absolute,
Orange leaf oil, Orange peel oil (bitter), Orange peel oil (sweet), Oregano oil, Palmarosa oil, Peppermint oil
Perilla oil, Peru balsam oil, Phoebe oil,  Pimento berry oil, Pimento leaf oil
Pteronia oil, Rose absolute, Rose oil, Rue oil, Sandalwood oil (Australian),
Santolina oil, Sassafras oil, Savin oil, Savory oil (winter), Snakeroot oil, Spearmint oil
Spike lavender oil, Styrax oil,
Sugandha oil,  Taget oil,  Taget absolute
Tarragon oil, Tea leaf absolute, Tejpat oil, Thyme oil (thymol CT), Tolu balsam extract
Treemoss absolute, Tuberose absolute,
Vassoura oil, Violet leaf absolute, Wormseed oil
Ylang‐ylang absolute, Ylang‐ylang oils

Essential oils containing “substantial amounts” of limonene or linalool should have antioxidants added to them. IFRA does not define “substantial amounts”, but adding essential oils containing 20% or more of either or both constituents to this list would grow it by 50‐60 further essential oils. Essential oils derived from the Pinacea family should also have antioxidants added to them. This would include a further 25 or so essential oils

*Source: IFRA/EU Boycott Primer 2007

Dupetit Cannabis EdT features what is probably the most outlaw natural scent of them all.  There have been  number of perfumes with this note recently, it is one that combines well with rose and sandalwood, as in Fresh Cannabis Rose and Fresh Cannabis SantalThe Dupetit Cannabis EdT is composed of the  true hemp flower absolute with strong top notes of Tskana neroli and petitgrain from Grasse which give it a beautifully sparkling citrus quality.  The cannabis effect is more in the fond and body than in the top notes.  Other notes in the composition are basil, bay, bergamot, birch tar, citronella, clove, geranium, ginger, grapefruit peel, jasmine sambac absolute, lemon peel, lemon verbena, lime peel, mace, nutmeg, orange blossom absolute, orange leaf, bitter orange peel, peppermint, rose absolute, rue, thyme and tolu balsam extract (see above list, many of these are on it).

This combination of so many citrus notes of all types, combined with the green jasmine sambac and the herbs, contribute to the overall sense of an almost effervescent energetic uplifting effect, unexpected in a cannabis themed product.  This is not an indolent, relaxing perfume, but an uplifting, energizing one that is smoothed by the cannabis absolute which holds the citrus notes for a long-lasting and intensified effect. Overall it seems related to a true Cologne or Acqua Admirabilis type, and I can see this as a strong masculine tho wearable as a feminine fragrance too.  The anchoring cannabis absolute is made from the flower rather than the leaves so it allows more modification by the herbal notes and the rose absolute while still retaining the characteristic sharp tang.  Brisk and clean, the scent does not smell like you've been getting high, but the qualities of the cannabis note have been thoughtfully used to both fix the citrus uplift and impart a unique kick of its own. The lasting power is quite long for a pure natural.   Those who would like to try it can leave a comment and I will draw at the end of the week so that the outlawed perfumer, Alfredo Dupetit-Bernardi, may directly send one of you a 5 ml give-away.  The site has this and other selections.

Please visit the other bloggers in this discussion of various Natural Perfumer Guild independent perfumers who are writing about the fragrances they have  received with a giveaway feature, and also the rest of the outlaw perfumes:
Gaia at The Non Blonde, Donna at the, Felicia at Fragrance Belles Lettres, Carol at Waft by Carol, Ida, Mark and Monica at Ca Fleure Bon, me of course, here at  Indieperfumes, Beth at Perfume Smellin Things and Pat at Olfactarama

As with the natural perfumers' Musk Project, I expect to get eight more interesting and beautiful natural perfumes, using the outlawed classic materials listed above, and will be discussing them here in my next posts.

Above photo of female cannabis flowers from Wikipedia, taken by Banana Patrol;
Above detail of a painting with what looks to me to be a poppy bud and the reverse of a carnation, (on the list) from a still-life of flowers by Willem van Aelst 


womo531 said...

Yes for the cause! Now cannabis to fix citrus sounds wonderful~

Ines said...

This is a much needed outcry against these regulations.
I'm still terribly frustrated over it and would absolutely love to try a perfume containing one of those "outlawed" ingredients. :)

Isa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Isa said...

All these IFRA restrictions and exaggeratedly alarmist measures make me so sad :(
If it can't be stopped, in some years the art of natural perfumes will have disappeared.
Thanks to the Natural Perfumes Guild for this initiative and for giving us the chance to try some of these outlaw perfumes.

Lucy said...

Yes, Isa and womo -- you will be entered in the drawing end of the week.
Dupetit is careful to be organic as well as natural in the ingredients used.

Matt said...

I'm very worried about the IFRA regulations being adopted in the US. I've been dabbling with natural perfumes for a while, and I would hate to see what the repercussions would be for artisan perfumers.

barry goldman said...

we are becoming so afraid to die that soon we will be too afraid to live!

JoanElaine said...

The IFRA's goal of restricting many essential oils and absolutes due to possible harm is contradicted by popular notions gleaned from the media that synthetic perfumes are killing us and the planet. I take issue with both sides.

I'm very excited about this project. Bring on the oakmoss. I love me some chypres!

Alfredo Dupetit said...

Dear Lucy: I thank you for this review. The long lasting top citrus notes of Cannabis ® by dupetit are done with two natural aldehydes (C10 and C 9) extracted from citrus and much more essential oils as you write.

Lisa BTB said...

I am very glad this project is taking place. Natural perfumery as an art cannot be lost and I look forward to more reviews.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think it has more to do with trying to once again edge the "Little Man" out of the business field to leave more room for the multi national corps to get ALL of the $$$

Who would benefit the most if these regulations are put into place?

Always FOLLOW the MONEY$$$

This is similar to the "Organic" label required to say that you grow organic. Who can afford to pay the $5K for that labeling?

Follow the MONEY$$$

Another instance of this is the new rfid tagging proposed for livestock, ALL livestock. Who can afford to pay for each animal to be microchipped?



Anonymous said...

I loved Dupetit's contribution to the Musk Project, so I'd love to try this as well. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to protest what is happening in perfumery, and to show how it can be done right!

Lucy said...

Dear Barry, Well said!

Dear M'sieur Dupetit -- I am glad to have the opportunity to try your perfume --

Dear Lisa, I am also looking forward to the rest, last time with the Musk it was quite the thing - really discovered some beauties

Dear Amanda,

I am afraid you are quite right about the money issue

Dear Marla,

Great -- you are entered, as well as the others who comment -- should only get even more interesting with every post and every perfume

Anya said...

Lucy, what a wonderful write up on the project and Alfredo's perfume! Looking forward to many more lively discourses.

Lucy said...

Dear Anya,
Thank you for organizing the project -- it's been great to have access to a wide range of natural perfume I otherwise would not have known

Carol said...

I agree with essentualalchemy, seems the bottom line is always about the $$$. We have to keep up the good work and get the word out. I would love to try the Dupetit Cannabis is sounds divine!

Anonymous said...

Great grassroots movement. And I'd love to enter the contest, too. :)

Lisa Ashby said...

I'd love to enter the contest. Dupetit Cannabis definitely has my attention. :)

Lucy said...

Hi Carol, jen and Lisa, thank y ou for your comments, I will add your names to the mix. I have learned that there will be more than one winner based on the generosity of the Dupetit company -- so I look forward to the draw --

Anonymous said...

I also forgot to mention:

Let us not forget Mr. Dow, and Mr. Dupont, of said chemical companies, and also mention that Mr. Hearst owned thousands of acres of logging interests. YOu know what it takes to make wood into paper? Lots of chemicals…To convert cannabis into paper, know what it takes? WATER. That's it. So there was a great deal of money at stake here. Also Bayer was just figuring out that you could isolate compounds in plants and use them for medicine. We don't want granny using the Cannabis tincture for her back ache when she could use Asprin now do we? Again lot's of money involved here.

What we need is some sort of campaign to scare folks into getting this banned. Because we have a lot of money invested in paper. So Mr. Hearst kindly started the era of yellow journalism, telling people about this "evil" devil weed marihuana…used by Blacks and Mexicans…whip up the hysteria and pay enough congress people off and push this legislation through in the middle of the night, (literally they passed this at Midnight) and our profit margins are safe…for another 80 years.

So IFRA…follow the money, to find out WHY all of a sudden these things are bad for us.


Anonymous said...

Synthetic chemical fragrance is not natural and the body knows it. The immune system is more easily activated by the foreign (not natural), forming an antibody, that once activated, can then more easily react to any form of that same constituent, though not necessarily.

Also, nature balances its wares. That is to say, an essential oil is more whole and interacts with the body in its whole-ness, which is what the body is geared for.

After 20 years of working with perfumes and natural aromatics in the clinical setting, using knowledgeable dosing, and avoiding more than 14 days of consecutive use, I have seen exactly 4 reactions to essential oils.

And why are we not looking at why so many people have immune issues? What else are they doing to their bodies? Where do they live? Let's ban artificial food ingredients before we leap to banning such long lists of natural substances.

Currently, the field of medical science is too often corrupted or dysfunctional, which is deeply disturbing to me: Quality studies are buried, peer reviews are politically and financially driven, and studies that begin to show results that are not favorable to the corporate interests are stopped. Dosages in the studies will be purposefully inappropriate to show lack of efficacy and much more.

Further, poor reasoning is often applied to data analysis. One can usually find evidence for what one is looking for. We see what we want to see. We cherry-pick the data. At any rate, the data analysis is often too narrow-- and who decides who gets to decide, and what data will be analyzed?

I am not saying that there are not reactions, but I distrust the "data" that is supposedly driving these regulations. I think there have been too many unsubstantiated and falsely-reasoned extrapolations from what studies there are.

What are the real numbers here? In the polluted web of life that we are all living in, it gets harder all the time to isolate solid data.

Are we going to buy into the idea that artificial chemicals, proven to be seriously harmful to life, are safer than natural ones? This is at best, a complete loss of common sense and poor scientific diligence doing the advising of the rule-makers, and at worst, this is the dark work of special interests.

I agree with the person who said, "Follow the money $$$".