Spotlight on Pearl Perfumery ~ Botanical Perfumes by Candace Gabelish

Hi scent lovers! In this mini-series I am featuring the perfumers who will exhibiting at the inaugural boutique event – the Australasian Artisan Botanical Perfume Expo on October 23rd in Sydney. Lets gets started with Candace Gabelish – Pearl Perfumery.


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Candace with a smile, a spotty dress and a gorgeous bottle

Candace with a smile, a spotty dress and a gorgeous bottle


Who are you?                                     Dr Candace Gabelish

What’s your business name?           Pearl Perfumery

What’s your website?              

What is your first scent memory?    the sea and Mum’s Arpege

What is your favourite botanical ingredient (right now)?      Boronia 


What a divine image! Makes my mouth water

What a divine image! Makes my mouth water


How do you hope your fragrances will make your customers feel?  

loved, happy, authentic 


Why are botanical ingredients more luxurious than synthetics?

Essential oils have a richness and complexity due to the presence of hundreds of components, which each add something significant to the overall scent. So each oil is like a fragrance in itself with, top, heart and base notes. This complexity is difficult to match with a synthetic. 


What is your “go-to” scent in nature to make you smile?    

lemon-scented eucalyptus


How do you apply fragrance?   

Wrists and décolletage if I’m wearing, backs of hands if I’m creating 


Candace, hard at work creating her beautiful perfumes

Candace, hard at work creating her beautiful perfumes


How is your business (and your perfumes) different?

My perfumery focuses on the individual. I want my clients to enjoy the whole experience from initial interview to the finished fragrance with unique name presented in a gorgeous hand-blown black glass bottle. My fragrances, including the exclusive ready-to-wear range, are oil-based, distinctive and long lasting. I also make customized fragrances and room sprays for the corporate sector. I feel a strong connection between colour and fragrance and make art inspired scents for exhibitions


What is your favourite scent to gift to your friends?

I like to give my friends gift vouchers for customised scents, the ultimate in luxury.


What is an unusual way you scent your home?  

I have developed a range of room sprays so sometimes use a different scent in each room. Splendour in the Bath for the bathroom, Where the Wildflowers Are for the entrance and hallway, Refresh for my teenager’s bedroom.


What inspires you and what inspired you to become a perfumer? 

I am inspired by people and their stories. Each customised perfume I have created was inspired by a unique journey, scent memory and taste in fragrance. I read “The Emperor of Scent” by Chandler Burr, the wonderful true story about Luca Turin, world famous scientist and perfume critic. Reading that book rekindled my passion for perfumery and my need to create.


Candace falling in love with a botanical ingredient

Candace falling in love with a botanical ingredient


Come to  the Australasian Artisan Botanical Perfume Expo on October 23rd in Sydney and experience Pearl Perfumery, by Candace Gabelish.

I’m looking forward to meeting this lovely lady, who has a great sense of style and authentic energy. Are you?

copyright 2016


Absolutes? Not Absolutely

the fragrant jasmine blossom

the fragrant jasmine blossom can be steam distilled or an absolute

Straight from Wikipedia I thought this was a good explanation of an absolute:

Used in perfumery and aromatherapy, absolutes are similar to essential oils. They are concentrated, highly-aromatic, oily mixtures extracted from plants. Whereas essential oils can typically be produced through steam distillation, absolutes require the use of solvent extraction techniques or more traditionally, through enfleurage.

So basically absolutes are essential oils derived from solvent extraction or enfleurage.

Enfleurage is a term to describe the extraction process. It can be cold or hot and unfortunately animal fats are used. Right off the bat that turns me off. I’m a vegetarian and have been for nearly 30 years. I don’t wear leather and try to be mindful of everything I buy or consume in my life. I don’t buy absolutes for this reason. This method was created hundreds of years ago specifically for perfumery. I really can’t think of anything worse than mixing botanical substances in hot tallow to extract a scent. Blah. And if you didn’t know –  hoofs and other materials from the bodies of horses, cows and pigs are boiled up to make things like tallow and gelatine.

I’m not even sure if this method is used in commercial production at all.

Adorable cow and calf

Adorable cow and calf

In both instances, once the fat is saturated with fragrance, it is then called the “enfleurage pomade”. The enfleurage pomade was either sold as it was, or it could be further washed or soaked in ethyl alcohol to draw the fragrant molecules into the alcohol. The alcohol is then separated from the fat and allowed to evaporate, leaving behind the absolute of the botanical matter. The spent fat is usually used to make soaps since it is still relatively fragrant.


Then there’s solvent extraction which usually uses some type of chemical to extract the scent. Often hexane is used which some people claim is safe, but I’m not quite sure about that. It’s usually alcohol that’s used and I suppose it’s relatively harmless. When this method is used a “concrete” is formed, which is then soaked in alcohol. When the alcohol evaporates, the absolute remains.

the structure of hexane - from wikipedia

the structure of hexane – from wikipedia

Gasoline has a high amount of hexane but I’m not sure about the origin of the hexane that used in absolute production. I’m unsure if it would come from petrol, or if it would be synthesized in a lab and sold by chemical companies. At any rate, I’d prefer to buy a steam distilled oil, or an oil produced by CO2 extraction which is also called Super Critical extraction. That sounds a bit wrong but the CO2 method seems to be an environmentally friendly way to extract aromatic compounds. I’ll do a separate article on that.



Oils that you may find as an absolute –





Lotus – pink and white






Tomato leaf

Violet leaf



And there are probably lots more too. It’s totally up to you as to what oils you buy but I prefer to choose oils that have a more simple extraction method.

Your thoughts?

oakmoss - is this sustainably produced?

oakmoss – is this sustainably produced?


copyright suzannerbanks 2013