Friday, July 11, 2014

Perfumery Tour Links

Here are links to subjects covered by

 this Saturday's perfume tour:

Scientific Articles on Scemt

University of North Carolina Perfume Class Syllabus
Why Certain Smells Trigger Positive Memories | Psychology Today
The Science of Scent | Psychology Today

Luca Turin 
Luca Turin is an accomplished perfumer and a maverick biologists whose theories on scent and scent perception were at first rejected and are now being embraced by the scientific community. 
Luca Turin: The science of scent | Talk Video |

BBC Documentary on the Perfume Industry
Part 1 The history of perfumes. 
Part 2 The current state of the perfume industry (go to 20:20 for a very interesting vignette on perfume design and memory).
Part 3 The future of the perfume industry. 

Perfume Notes notes page

Do It Yourself Perfume
Perfumers Apprentice Perfume Kits for Learning the Basics
Essential Oils (K-L) - Essential Oils & Extracts - Our Products
A to K Certified Pure Essential Oils - Wholesale Supplies Plus

Perfume General
Basenotes - independent online guide to 20,000+ fragrances, with articles, fragrance news, fragrance reviews and more...

Allergies and Perfume
Allergic reactions trigger blow to perfume industry | euronews, reporter
BoDD (Botanical Dermatology Database) Home Page; for looking up plant allergies. 

Perfumers Who Took the Tour
Roxana Illuminated Perfume: We were privileged to have Roxana, a natural perfumer, on the tour with us. Roxana detailed the fascinating creative process she goes through in designing a perfume. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Machete Time

Q. I live in Senior Mobile Home Park in Orange County. I have three exceedingly large agaves which the park owners want me to remove. They are spiny and intimidating. What's the best way to get rid of them? 

Danny Trejo in 'Machete Kills' courtesy of

To answer this question I took some inspiration from a movie hero who is also spiny and intimidating: Danny Trejo's 'Machete'.

A. Use a machete. Just hoist machete over your head, take aim, yell "MACHETE!" and bring the full wrath of your machete against the bases of the agaves leaves, starting from the bottom and working your way up, cutting them off close to their bases on the main portion of the agave.

After you've cut all the leaves (which at certain times of the year can be roasted and eaten) off you are left with a pineapple-shaped agave heart. You can do one of two things: 
  1. Dig out the 'pineapple', and throw it in the trash, or if not small enough to fit in the barrels, take the whole mess to a landfill; composting the fibrous leaves and heart can be impossible unless you have a chipper that can deal with palm leaves. 
  2. Dig out the 'pineapple' and roast it in an appropriate sized fire (please check local fire regulations first)  until it is heated through and through. Chop open the 'pineapple', scoop out the wet pulp (see the 'Cooking with a Broad' blog entry detailing this), strain it, ferment it, and enjoy the mexican alcoholic drink 'pulque'. After you've had your fill of pulque take your machete, raise it in the air and yell "MACHETE!" Make sure your machete is stashed away and your hands are out in the open when the police arrive.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

How Do I Tame a Pushy Mushroom?

Mushroom, probably a Pisolithus sp., cracking through solid asphalt. 

Q. Once every year or two, this guy devised to push up, right through the asphalt in our parking lot. In the past we have dug out what we could and patched the asphalt.

Any suggestions? Is there an anti-fungal or something we could spray to knock it back before it pushes up more asphalt?

A. The mushroom is probably a Pisolithus species (commonly known as the 'Dog Turd Fungus' for its passing resemblance to canine excreta). The fungus that produces the mushroom lives in and on tree roots and is a ‘mycorrhizal’ mushroom that benefits the tree by helping it to absorb nutrients and fight off infestation of disease causing fungi. You have three options as there is no known fungicide that will kill it -and some fungicides, like Benomyl, actually make it stronger:

  1. 1. Remove the tree that provides the root for the mycorrhizal mushroom to grow on. This could be a problem if there are more than one candidates or the tree provides much needed shade.
  2. 2.  Replace your asphalt with concrete. I have yet to see one penetrate through more than 3" of reinforced concrete. 
  3. 3.  Keep replacing the asphalt and consider the mushroom’s appearance evidence of the tenacity of nature.

Spot treatment with bleach, creosote or some other grossly toxic agent? Since the fungus is present on and in most of the roots of the host tree you might be playing ‘Whack-a-mole' with it until you've killed off enough of your trees roots to cause some serious damage -to your trees.