How strong are your perfumes?
Are your perfumes 100% natural?
Are your perfumes certified organic by the Soil Association or a similar certification body?
I have heard that Sandalwood is an endangered species. Why are you using it?
Do your perfumes contain animal ingredients?
Can I buy a print of the book cover or print of your perfume painting?
How do I buy a copy of Alec Lawless’s book?
Order & Shipping Questions
What do you charge for Postage and Packing?
Why is your shipping so expensive?
I am a customer outside the UK. What will my order cost in my own currency?
My country is not in your shipment list, do you ship to my country?
My order is not accepted due to an error message
Can you accept orders by mail or phone?
Which credit / debit cards do you accept?
Are my credit card details secure?
Do you have a shop?
Click here to read about perfume and extrait strengths.
Our extraits are 100% natural.
Our perfumes are 99% natural. We use a maximum of 1% of synthetic fragrance compound to provide structure for our fragrances. These are a mix of petro-chemically derived and naturally derived (usually turpentine-based) fragrance compounds. 99% of the perfume is made from natural ingredients including a certified organic grain alcohol.
Click here to read our article about the natural vs synthetic debate:
The organic grain alcohol we use for our fragrance base is certified by the Soil Assocation. We are working with them to gain certification for the botanical softeners used in the Organic Fragrance Base so that we can use their logo on our website and on our labels.
It is quite difficult to obtain many of the perfume ingredients from an organic source, so our aim is to gradually increase the number of extraits and perfumes certified as more organic ingredients become available.
Sandalwood is an invaluable ingredient in perfumery. We source our Sandalwood from New Caledonia in the South Pacific, where the government has been controlling sustainable production of Sandalwood for over ten years. They grow an island sub-species of genuine Santalum Album. We also have a small stock of Mysore Sandalwood from India, which we laid down some time ago.
One of the chapters in Alec Lawless’s book, “Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose” discusses the sourcing of Sandalwood in greater detail.
We don’t use a number of other ingredients such as Rosewood as we have not been able to find a sustainable source.
For ethical reasons we do not use any animal based musks in our products. Instead we have developed a 100% natural botanical musk fixative, a blend of some very unusual essential oils, which we use at relatively low percentages to enhance the tenacity of the fragrance.
The only animal derivative we do use and supply is Beeswax Absolute Extrait.
The extraction processes for essential oils (steam distillation) and absolutes and concretes (solvent extraction) do not, in our experience, use animal products; nor does the distillation of grain alcohol.
The central panel of the perfume “mandala” painted by Fiona Owen is reproduced on the cover of “Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose” and is also used for our gift cards.
A full size reproduction of the original painting is also available as a limited edition print, signed by the artist. With a mount and border, this measures about 1m x 1m (33” x 33”) - a little larger when framed.
Because of the size of the print, we advise shipping internationally unframed at £395 plus postage costs. We ship in a large tube to avoid damage and to ensure that the print will unroll and remain flat.
For UK deliveries we also offer framed prints at £495 plus shipping charges.
Please email us for details email@example.com
See http://johnandfionaowen.weebly.com/index.html for more of Fiona’s work.
The book is available exclusively from Essentially Me, either on our website or via amazon.co.uk. We ship internationally.
We are also working to find a book distributor for the USA and Australia. Please subscribe to our mailing list for updates.
In Canada you can buy the book from our distributor – click here for distributor information: http://www.essentially-me.co.uk/distributors.php
Perfume making questions
The perfume is cloudy because there are particles in suspension that are not dense enough to sink. This is perfectly normal with natural perfumes where sediments and waxes from concretes and absolutes are unavoidable.
We recommend a process called FINING and COLD FILTERING to remove sediment from a perfume.
In fining, we add an odour neutral substance to the perfume. We recommend bentonite (a clay powder, also known as Fullers Earth). The particles in suspension bind to the clay and are then heavy enough to sink to the bottom.
This is how we do it at Essentially Me:
When we have finished a fragrance we allow it to marry at room temperature for a week to ten days. We then add some spring water to the blend - usually about 8%. After this we add about half a teaspoon of bentonite per 100mls of fragrance, put the cap on the bottle and shake vigorously.
We then chill the mixture in the fridge overnight. In the morning the bottle will have sediment at the bottom but the rest will be crystal clear. We then pour the blend through a perfume grade filter. We pour it out carefully, avoiding agitation, so most of the blend passes through the filter quickly. The sediment in the bottom can then be poured into the filter and the remaining fragrance is allowed to drain slowly. There is some loss due to absorption by the filter paper, which is why we add the water before filtration to minimise the loss.
Bentonite, perfume-grade filter papers and funnels are available from us here: http://www.essentially-me.co.uk/lab_funnels_filters.php
Alec Lawless’s alter ego, Boris the Perfumer, has made a video explaining fining and cold filtering which you can see on You Tube. Click here to watch Boris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwVcFczU6i4
Yes, we do. We have two types, from two different types of alcohol, and we call them fragrance bases.
One of them is perfumer’s grade alcohol and the other is certified organic grain alcohol - the difference in price is simply down to the duty paid to the government in the UK. Perfumer’s grade alcohol is duty exempt, whereas the organic one is not. We have to have a special license to buy the organic grain alcohol.
Both in their pure form are quite harsh and have an odour that needs softening before using, so we add some botanicals and age for 6 months. The botanicals also make it kinder to the skin.
Click here to buy fragrance bases
As far as we know, the last time violet flower absolute was made is thought to be 1909 and its price was 80,000 German marks per kilo (estimated £265,000 per kilo in today’s money). Orris root has a delicate, violet note and is often used instead.
An absolute can be extracted from carnation flowers but it is very hard to find genuine material. Carnation absolute is very high in eugenol - the main constituent in natural clove oil. So much so that the absolute smells very much of clove but becomes closer to the smell of the flower in dilution. It is possible to buy very sophisticated blends of natural raw materials that replicate the odour profile of carnation. The best of these blends use eugenol derived from clove bud absolute. As this is more cost effective than extracting from genuine carnations, it possibly limits the demand for genuine material to such an extent that it is no longer being made.
At present we do not buy any carnation absolute because we cannot find one that we are confident is authentic.
Placing an Order and Shipping
Click here to see our Delivery page for Packaging and Delivery Charges
We try to make our shipping charges as fair as possible by matching them as closely as we can to our real costs for packaging and shipping – we don’t aim to make a profit on shipping.
We pay our staff fair wages, the credit card company and bank take their cut and as a small company we aren’t in a position to negotiate cheap rates with shipping companies or post office, especially for small parcels sent abroad.
It’s an imperfect system but we’d rather let you see the postage and shipping charges than charge higher prices for everything in order to be able to absorb the costs. We review the charges regularly to ensure that they are in line with our actual shipping costs.
We charge for all orders in British Pounds sterling, which will be converted to your local currency by your credit card company. We usually use Google’s Currency Converter or a similar on-line tool to estimate the cost based on the daily exchange rate.
We ship internationally; although in some countries we have a distributor who sells Essentially Me products on our behalf.
Please check our distributor page to see if there is a distributor in your country. http://www.essentially-me.co.uk/distributors.php
If not, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add your country to our shipping list.
Here are a few things to check if you receive an error message on your order:
- Ensure that the invoice address is the same as your credit card billing address (you can add a separate delivery address)
- Ensure you have filled in all fields marked with an asterisk *
- Ensure you have selected the correct country and the region / county selected corresponds with that country – both in the invoice and delivery address.
- Put only numbers in the telephone number fields. Punctuation characters such as dots, dashes or brackets are not accepted.
If you still experience problems, email us on email@example.com with a copy of the error message and we will endeavour to help.
We can accept orders over the telephone Monday - Friday between 9:30am-5pm (UK time) +44 (0)1453 882525. You can pay by bank transfer or credit / debit card.
If you would like to order by mail, please write to us at Unit 16, Griffin Mill, London Rd, Thrupp, Stroud, GL5 2AZ. We can accept UK cheques only.
We accept Mastercard, Visa Credit and Debit cards, Maestro and Solo. We regret that we can’t accept American Express cards.
We use Sage Pay secure credit card processing, which means that your credit card details are stored only on their secure server. They comply with all the latest standards set out by the credit card companies and they encrypt your credit card data using 128 bit SSL technology during transmission. We do not hold credit card details electronically anywhere at Essentially Me.
Yes. We welcome visitors at our showroom in Griffin Mill in the Cotswolds during our normal working hours of Monday – Friday 9:30 – 4pm. We are also open by appointment or for special events at the weekend. Our perfume courses are also held at Griffin Mill.
Do come and see us!
Unit 16, Griffin Mill, London Rd, Thrupp,
Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2AZ, UK.
Please note, if you are planning a special trip, it is worth calling on 01453 882525 to make sure we are there.
If you are interested in stocking our products in your shop or on line, please contact us