Sunday, 10 March 2013
The Great Randello - a fruity toffee chypre
Not long ago, when I was about to give it up all and turn to watercolours, or something else that isn’t regulated to the point of strangulation by the EU, I was spending another evening attempting to get to grips with the multilevel database bespoke software I use to check that my scents are legal and produce all the paperwork.
I said to Nick Randell (AKA Randello), “Do you think I should just pack it in?” and he said, “If you were going to give up, you’d have given up long before now,” so I kept going, and a couple of sessions later I cracked it: legal labelling and a nice list of EU allergens for the three scents I was about to deliver to Les Senteurs. (Compared to the regulations, making perfumes is a doddle.)
So I thought he deserved a scent. The Great Randello was a Welsh magician, probably related to Nick as that’s where the London Randells came from some generations ago.
In 2012 I went on one of Karen Gilbert’s five day courses, which was wonderful. I needed to work with more synthetic materials - just getting access to them is hard for little perfumers – and this gave me a good crack at sniffing and using a load of things I’d heard of but not experienced.
One of the scents I made there I called my Friday Afternoon Chypre, a dark woody mossy fruity concoction, and I was pretty happy with it but wanted to do a bit more work. I decided to adapt it for Nick, taking out the blackcurrant base I’d used (because I couldn’t find out exactly what was in it) and adding a load of strawberry-toffee scent instead. The technical term is an ‘overdose’; what this really means is that you accidentally shake the measure a bit too hard and drop in three times what you meant to use.
The Great Randello turned out to be a deep dark chypre inside a sweetshop.
The depth comes from oakmoss, opoponax, patchouli and vetivert. In the middle there are clary sage, sandalwood, bergamot, synthetic musk and ambergris. The fruity intensity comes from raspberry leaf absolute – which is darned tricky to work with but I love it – raspberry ketone and a synthetic which has an amazing fruity cinder toffee scent. Then on top there’s a citrus blend I made up which includes lemon myrtle, lavender and tangerine.