The Wider World
I started the AJA Botanicals range towards the end of last year and wanted to incorporate all of my favourite scents, the resinous and smoky, the deep forest fragrances, the spicy notes and exotic florals, to make a natural wax candle fragranced with essential oils. My first port of call was John Stephens, a world class perfumer based in the Cotswolds. Although he understood what I wanted, he explained that using too many essential oils in a fragrance just doesn’t work, in the same way that if you use ten different paint colours for one picture it will mostly likely end up a sludgy brown, instead he created two different but very complimentary fragrances. As I wanted them to be very natural fragrances, we removed as many synthetic elements as we could, in the end I settled with an 80/90% ratio of pure essential oils, as I learnt that some of the fragrances I love are too heavy in their molecular structure for a candle or just way too precious to burn.
It was at John’s suggestion that I look for a perfumery course as I knew what I wanted but I didn’t have the vocabulary or proper knowledge to translate it. To my joy I discovered that a brilliant perfumer and old friend, Marina Barcenilla was running an online “Advanced Natural Perfumery” course. Three months in and my olfactory world has been blown wide apart. There is so much to learn, chemistry, maths, the history of fragrance, the fragrance families and more, we are working with sixty-five essential oils and resins. It’s a fascinating world and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn again. I often choose brands that use essential oils, but have found that although many aromatherapy ranges are lovely and therapeutic, sometimes the fragrances can be a little simple. My aim with AJA Botanicals is to go beyond aromatherapy to make exquisite and luxury products that are accessible, affordable and effective, combining the powerful energies of nature and artistry of fine natural perfumery.