Annene Eau de Parfum Award

Fine Fragrance Evaluation by Chippy McGill

It was apparent from the onset of this evaluation that I was indeed evaluating a remarkable fine fragrance.
The fact that it is an all natural blend, yet still has been classified as a true Au de Parfum by myself, has won it our very
rarely given ASOT certificate. ASOT stands for A State Of Trance as in order to be awarded this rare classification, the fragrance has to not only conform to
the strict fragrance family classifications, be GRAS (generally regarded as safe) and have “legs” that carry it well beyond the 8 hour mark, it truly has to be something quite
transcendental, hence the naming of the classification, A State Of Trance.

Perfumer’s Classification
Fragrance Family
After much deliberation, We have classified this fine creation as a Floral Oriental, or Floriental and is a full Au de Parfum
strength at approximately 15%-16% concentration.

Perfumer’s Description
Top Notes 0-30 min
An immediate infusion of delightfully aromatic spicy notes craftily blended to bring lovely citrus notes as their olfactory
pivot point. A rare but divine marriage between the distinct notes of Frankincense and Myrrh with Bergamot and the underlying citrusy African Ginger already making it’s presence known. The floral notes are beautifully toned down during this
phase to allow the heady impact of this gorgeous combination to make it’s entry known. Although the phase is relatively short lived, it’s statement is one of self assuredness, the fragrance reminiscent a boldness and independence. Transcending into the heart notes come the introduction of what can only be described as a liquorish note, which should be totally out of
place in a fragrance like this, but it is this oddity that lends a sense of security, warmth and comfort and also sets the stage for the heart notes to set in and follow for a remarkable 4 hours at test.

Heart Notes 30-240 min
As the volatiles of the top notes dissipate, come the heart notes of a rare fragrance indeed.

At the onset, the natural
Vanilla notes combined with the woody notes of Sandalwood and the bouquet of various Lilly species are carried forward for
a remarkable 4.5 hours in what can only be described as comforting stroll through a floral powdery woodland with notes
Vetiver adding a serene green rounding note to this wonderfully warm heart of this fragrance.

Base Notes 240-520 min
A beautiful rounding down with the Vanilla adding warm sensuality to the natural Jasmine, though present throughout,
the Jasmine’s crescendo peaks as the Sandlewood and Vetiver dry out and wind down into an almost sultry base period.

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Contact Antoinette on 072 134 9872


The beauty of Frankincense essential oil

Historically used as a high quality incense, Frankincense resin is steam-distilled to obtain its essential oil. Apart from its noble character and fresh, green, incense and spice notes, it has many healing properties.
As a celebrated cosmetic ingredient, the fab effects of Frankincense on the skin include wound healing, lessening the signs of ageing and enhancing skin elasticity, particularly for mature skins.
Ongoing research show Frankincense oil may zap tumours, while it also shows promise as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
The Incensole and Incensole acetate compounds in Boswellia carterii, are neuroprotective and have shown promise in treating anxiety, depression and the effects of head trauma.

The Gentle Power of Geranium

Geranium is a heart note in perfumery and useful to harmonise a perfume composition. It is frequently used to improve the skin’s appearance.
It has anti-inflammatory properties and protects the nervous system from certain toxic chemicals. It’s also used to treat neuropathic pain in diabetics and was shown to reduce stress and anxiety after a heart attack.
Its vapours are known to inhibit the influenza virus and fight mycobacteria and fungal infections, while also showing potential as an anti-parasitic drug.
Image: wikimedia (edited)

How essential oils support emotional wellness

Plants have the ability to precision-blend “perfumes”, which act as messengers. Just like bees, we are hard-wired to assimilate and decode these messages.
Inhalation of these essential oils can have rapid effects; it takes only 500 milliseconds for a scent to register!
The nose transforms chemical information into an electric signal, which is transmitted to the limbic system or “feeling brain”.
Scents, therefore, elicit emotions, memories and sensory responses. We know that:
• frankincense is a psychoactive anti-depressant.
• lavender, peppermint, rosemary and clary sage can decrease symptoms of anxiety and stress.
• pepper or rose oil affect our sympathetic nervous system and hormones.
It’s my passion to blend mood boosting perfumes just for you. Mood Perfumes (c) have been trusted since 2009 to support tough emotions. Call me to find out more.
#essentialoils #aromatherapy #mentalhealth #depression #complementarytherapy #emotion #mood

What is a natural perfume?

A natural perfume is a composition made of a blend of essential oils, absolutes and isolates made from natural aromatic compounds present in the seeds, roots, wood, bark, sap, resins, leaves, flowers and fruits of plants and trees, dissolved in an oil, wax or alcohol carrier.

– Essential oils are mixtures of volatile aromatic molecules synthesised in plants in its most concentrated form. They don’t dissolve in water (hydrophobic). They are the least bio-compatible (body friendly), because of their high concentration and need to be diluted to be safe to use.

– Essential oils are perfumes in their own right. Each perfume ingredient has its own character and complexity. Every batch of oil will also be different depending on the supplier and the chemotype (difference in plant oils due to plant species and family, geographic character, seasonal variations, climate, production technique and purity).

– Perfume carriers (fixed oils) are vegetable oils, nut butters, vegetable waxes, beeswax and alcohol.

– Synthetic “ingredients are mostly (95%) derived from petroleum. Natural essential oils contain vastly more compounds (sometimes hundreds) than synthetics, which often contain less than 5 aromatic compounds. Scents produced by chemicals are much cheaper than scents produced naturally.”[1]


What is an aromachologist?

Different from aromatherapist, an aromachologist is a formulator who works with essential oils for their aromatic and physical effects and is an expert in the way essential oils can be blended and articulated together to create “behavioral fragrances” to establish the positive effects of aromas on human behavior including feelings and emotions.[1]

To understand the effects of perfume on the emotions has been my passion since 2009, when botanical perfumes[2] changed my inner landscape forever. Since then, I’ve studied and explored the fascinating world of plants and their effects on the body, mind and spirit. It is a privilege and pleasure to share these discoveries with you.

Read more about Scent and Emotions – Your Scent Brain.

To experience the effects of perfumes on emotions for yourself, call Antoinette on 072 134 9872.

  2. A perfume made of aromatic plants.

Plant Aromas for Love, Romance and Sensuality

Plant Aromas for Love, Romance and Sensuality

UPDATE 2019: As seen on the Bachelor SA. If you’d like to experience a romantic couple’s perfume event, read more here.

What is love? Everyone has an opinion, right? I’ve got the power, magic and mystery of love on the brain.

Being in love with aromatic plants, I compiled a list of plants that are reputed to evoke romance and sensuality.

Rare and precious, Rose, the symbol of love, beauty and purity, The rose has been revered for its many healing properties since ancient times. It has been used in ceremony as an ingredient of sacred anointing oil to connect the devout with the divine and is referred to in many ancient scriptures.

Rose’s numerous healing applications are legendary and it is known to heal the heart, both physically and metaphorically, and eases depression, grief, nervous stress and tension.

Sensuous Mysore Sandalwood oil from East India has a sweet-woody, warm, balsamic aroma and is a known aphrodisiac that is grounding and relaxing. Apart from its aphrodisiac effects it harmonises and calms the body and mind.

Jasmine flower oil from South-East Asia has been associated with love for aeons. Its powerful effects on the emotions and mind, makes a go-to oil to increase feelings of romance, sensuality, self-confidence and optimism.

Sweet Basil leaf and flower oil from Asia and Africa is remarkably relaxing, tonifying yang energies, arousing sexual instincts and is an uplifting and energising oil.

The seductive, intensely sweet and floral Ylang Ylang flower oil from South-East Asia, is a known euphoric and aphrodisiac through its ability to calm and soothe the nervous system, giving self-confidence and reminding us of our joyful, sensuous nature.

Warming, spicey Cardamom seed oil from tropical Asia, is considered to be an aphrodisiac and have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Tonifying of our natural Qi or life force it is also used as a tonic for the nervous system to alleviate nervous tension and depression.

Earthy and woody Vetiver root oil from India is known to have sedative and relaxing properties and is used extensively in perfumery as a base note. It is known to balance hormones, is calming and invokes feelings of worthiness and safety.

Intoxicating herby, floral and sweet-fruity Clary Sage leaf and flower oil is thought to decrease inhibitions and is well-known for balancing hormones and strengthening Qi, while inducing feelings of clarity, creativity and joy.

Juniper berry from Central Europe has a rich-balsamic, woody-sweet fragrance and it is a powerful tonic, calming the nerves and purifying the spirit, while assisting with the release of accumulated toxins from the body. If you’re worried, prone to overthinking and distant, this oil is one to consider in your blend. (Don’t use for extended periods of time).

Neroli citrus oil from India and China has a powerful, refreshing and floral note that soothes and uplifts the spirit, calms the heart and enhances sensitivity and clarity.

South African Rose Geranium has a distinctive green leafy-rosy scent, that invokes calmness through its ability to balance stress hormones and strengthen the flow of Qi in the body.

Warming and balsamic Cedarwood from Morocco and Algeria symbolises everything that is fertile and abundant. It gives us confidence to deal with life’s stresses and strains and has known sedative properties.

Seeing as there are so many kinds of Love, your experiences and the scents that invoke these states of love for you, are as unique as the petals of a flower.

Join me for a fun and romantic perfume event just for you two, read more here.

Book an appointment with Antoinette at 072 134 9872 or fill in the form below.

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Scent and Emotions – Your Scent Brain

The Mood Perfumes range was created in 2009  to support me with difficult emotions. Their effects were so transformative and immediate, that I felt urged to study and gain an understanding of the effects it had on me and others.

The “scent brain”  or Limbic system is the seat of subconscious drives and where scent is processed in the brain. Your sense of smell is a tool you can use to self-heal and release old, unhelpful patterns and heal painful memories.

Scent and emotion are intimately connected on a biological level. As a matter of fact we are hard-wired to have an association between the two.

Naturally, we create most of our first scent memories as children and this explains why so many scents bring up childhood memories. This process starts in the womb. The scent and tastes your mother are exposed to and even her favourite foods are hardwired in your brain before birth.(5)

When you first smell a new scent, you link it to an event, a person, a thing or even a moment. Your brain creates a link between the smell and a memory, for instance, associating the smell of vanilla with ice-cream on hot days or Lily of the Valley with Grandma. When you smell the same scent again the association is instantaneous, bringing on a memory or a mood, be they happy or sad.

We will only experience a trigger of emotion and memory if the scent has been hardwired by an emotional reaction, which I’ll elaborate on in a bit. This explains why we have such strong reactions to some scents and none to others.

The olfactory bulb is the link between smell, memory and behaviour as it’s seated in the limbic system closely connected to the amygdala, which processes emotion and the hippocampus, which creates associations.

The pathways of the olfactory system come together in the Limbic system. The limbic system is made up of 122 regions.

It is a “bridge” between the two brain hemispheres and it enables fast responses that affect the central nervous system and the body. It initiates and governs primitive drives and is a part of the Primitive/Reptilian-brain; the seat of memory, emotions, sexual drives, hunger and thirst. It also causes us to behave in certain ways and can drive states of anger, sorrow, revulsion, sexual attraction and fear.

The result is that a smell can instantaneously bring on strong feelings and memories and affect your behaviour and performance without your conscious control.

Both sides of the brain are stimulated by odour. The left brain identifies an odour and is affected by some scents in ways that increase logic, concentration, judgement and reason. The right brain responds in turn with memories, emotions, images and moods.

The amygdala and hippocampus, all part of the Limbic system, play important roles in memory.

The Amygdala is an almond-shaped mass of nuclei. It decides which memories are stored and where they’re stored in the brain. We’re not exactly sure why some memories are stored and others not, but it is thought that the intensity of emotion we associate with a memory has something to do with this. It’s involved in emotional responses, hormonal secretions, and memory.

The Hippocampus sends memories to the correct long-term storage place in the cerebral hemisphere and also retrieves them when necessary. We may be unable to form new memories when this area is damaged.

Part of the forebrain known as the Diencephalon is also included in the limbic system. The diencephalon is located beneath the cerebral hemispheres and contains the thalamus and hypothalamus.

The Thalamus is involved in sensory perception and regulation of motor functions like movement. It connects areas of the cerebral cortex that are involved in sensory perception and movement with other parts of the brain and spinal cord that also have a role in sensation and movement.

The pearl-sized Hypothalamus is an important component of the diencephalon. It controls many important functions such as waking you up and pumping adrenaline into your bloodstream in a crisis. It’s also an important emotional center, controlling neuropeptides that make you feel happy, sad or angry. It plays a major role in regulating hormones, the pituitary gland, body temperature, the adrenal glands, and many other vital activities.

The Cingulate is a fold in the brain involved with sensory input concerning emotions and the regulation of aggressive behaviour.

I feel our sense of smell gives us access to the subconscious mind, by bypassing the ‘critical factor’ or gatekeeper to the critical mind. Just as some healers induce trance-states to access the subconscious, our sense of smell can induce altered states of being and create opportunities for healing.

l have utterly embraced this association between scent and emotion as a gift to use to support the healing process of painful emotional conditions such as stress, anxiety, mania, depression and C-PTSD. My belief is that natural perfumes can be tools to aid in emotional and physical healing.

Here’s more info on the emotionally supportive natural perfume preparations for calmer and integrated emotional states.

Seeing as fragrance association is so personal I’m here to create bespoke preparations just for you. Call me on 072 134 9872 or fill in my form below.

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2. Upledger 1998
3. Pert 1997
6. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy – Salvatore Battaglia ISBN 0 646 42896 9

Influence of Personality on Natural Perfumery

Contact Antoinette on 072 134 9872

Perfume can bring balance to the emotional body or cause intense discomfort. Our unique responses are on a spectrum that may can cause intense feelings of attraction to aversion or conversely, pass by without notice.

We assign deep meanings and associations to certain aromas. Our cultural conditioning, memories, environment, health and emotions all play a role in our relationship to scent.


Perfuming with natural botanicals explores the concept of relationship. The relationship between elements in a blend and our deeply personal history with those scents. Early childhood memories can create strong associations. Scent creates ‘time capsules’ stored in our personal scent library, filled with emotions and memories, people, places and events.

We have a relationship with our cultural history and environment. We are influenced by our heritage to identify certain aromas as pleasant and desirable. The context of our scented encounters provide unique meaning and associations.

We also have a constantly evolving relationship between our bodies and the botanical elements we use in our blends. From objective analysis we know that Lavender is supposed to have a sedative and calming effect on us (3), but for some it may not have a pleasant physical effect at all. A scent you used to love in the past may not work so well for you anymore.

There is a relationship between the aromas themselves. Some aromas don’t combine or “dance” well together, as they may blend undesirable qualities and create a note that is jarring or overpowering. Or they might not have the desired therapeutic effect as they are not in synergy with your intention for the blend. The result may turn out just plain blah 😉

The carrier material and the blend of aromas are also relating. As an example, a perfume in a balm will capture the perfume as a static moment in time, whereas a perfume in alcohol or jojoba will develop and change over time. Some carriers we choose might not be ideal for our intentions of use, such as a carrier for a massage oil vs. a carrier for a perfume oil. Every carrier also has its own scent profile, which might interfere with the desired result.

Plant Personality Profile

Our forefathers sometimes ascribed personalities to certain plants, based on millenia of oral history and experiences with these plants.

For instance: “Atlas Cedarwood’s personality is someone gliding through life as if they had a royal charter. They may actually appear haughty and just too grand to approached about anything mundane, but this assumption is usually incorrect as they are a tower of strength in almost all situations. Cedarwood personalities instil confidence and security in people less able to cope with life’s stresses and strains.” (1)

Ylang Ylang personality is said to be a seductive, passionate, temperamental, confident and radiant personality, that likes to wear colourful clothes and bright jewellery.(2)

You might find are drawn to perfume with certain plants, because you need more of these qualities in your life.


Classification Systems

There are numerous systems in existence which we may choose from to gain a deeper understanding of our scent personality. One such a system is the “fragrance wheel”. The wheel categorises fragrances as fresh, floral, oriental and woody aromas; each with their own subdivisions.

We could include other systems such as chakras, colour therapy, yin/yang, astrology, Ayurveda (vatta, pitta, kapha) and the elements (Fire, Earth, Air, Water, Ether).

Have a look at the families or systems your favourite fragrances or oils belongs to. For instance, see which “colour” fragrance you like. Do you like green perfumes or brown ones? Is it woody or powdery, do you like florals or floral orientals?

You may have a few synthesized perfumes as favourites. To get a better idea of potential natural alternatives and to get to know your likes and dislikes, Fragrantica is a good place to start. You can do a search for the name of a favourite perfume and read the interpretation by other perfumers and noses. As we discovered, scent is subjective and what you read on Fragrantica about a perfume’s scent profile might not be the same as your interpretation and response.

It is a pleasure to share my experiences. If you need assistance in determining your unique scent personality and to make fragrances that transform your  perception of reality, please fill in my form or call me on 072 134 9872.

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1. Worwood V. The Fragrant Mind. Doubleday, Great Brittain, 1995
2. Fischer-Rizzi S. Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Sterling Publishing Company, USA, 1990

3. Diego et al. 1998 International Journal of Neuroscience Essential oil of Lavender and Rosemary.

4. International Journal of Neuroscience, 119:263–290, 2009