USING YOUR OILS, CONCRETES, AND ABSOLUTE: part 2 Home Perfumery
CONCENTRATE Use them; use your oils by making blends, perfumes and scents. Always write everything down. Remember the secret word — time —. It takes time for a scent to develop. This means that you make your Bases to make the Accords to make the Notes to make the final perfume. Each step along the way, allow the bases, the accord, the notes, the perfume to develop with time. Be patient. [A base note is a note, it is not the bases.]
George Askinson was a chemist and had something to say about the blending of perfume materials. “Cologne water of the most superior and incomparable quality is made by dissolving the essential oils in the alcohols and then distilling it, then adding the rosemary and Neroli to the distillate.”
“It is not the number of oils that determines the fineness of a perfume, but the manner in which certain odors are combined.” … George Askinson, 1865 §
BASIC INFORMATION YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW: KNOW
DO: Be selective of where you purchase your essential oils. The quality of essential oils varies widely from company to company. Be sure to ask if the essential oils are 100% pure, natural, without carrier oil and not adulterated. See the Source List, Ch. VI of The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations.
DO: Pay special attention to all safety information on all essential oils that you use. Again, cross-reference the oils you are using in your textbook The Aromatherapy Book, p. 64, for any cautions the oil may have. This is even more important if you have a medical condition or are pregnant.
DO: Write down everything you do when blending. Keep a notebook handy to jot down notes, ideas and recipes for future reference. There is nothing more maddening than trying to recreate a blend you are fond of only to have forgotten some of the ingredients.
DO NOT: Do not buy perfume/fragrance/scented oils. They are NOT the same as essential oils from plants. Perfume oils are synthetic, they are made of chemicals; they do not offer the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. If you use aromatherapy simply to enjoy the aroma, essential oils offer therapeutic benefits while synthetic oils may make you sick. Remember, perfume oils do not have any therapeutic benefits.
DO NOT: Do not buy essential oil products with rubber dropper tops. Essential oils are concentrated, volatile and will turn the rubber gummy. Be careful to wipe up any essential oils that spill on any wood or plastic surface. They will stain or remove the finish. Do store your essential oils in glass bottles with orifice reducers or dropper inserts. Store in a cool, dark place, in a box or in the refrigerator.
Storage of Essential Oils
Essential oils do not go rancid, as they do not have any fatty acids. They can oxidize (change their chemistry). To protect your oils, they should be kept protected from the light either in clear glass in a lightproof container or in amber or cobalt blue bottles and away from heat and the sun. The non-science that says only amber bottles is not science, but people crowd sourcing incorrect information. Keep in clear, colorless glass and you can see what you have; and keep these bottles in a box or in a cupboard when not in use.
Blue oils (blue-colored oils) should be stored in the freezer. (Blue Chamomile, Blue Tansy, Blue Sage, Blue Artemis, Roman Chamomile, Yellow Chamomile)
Citrus oils can be stored in the refrigerator. (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Yuzu, Petitgrain, Neroli, Lime, etc.). The waxes that are in these expressed oils may settle out into tiny white bits. This is okay, just filter out those white bits.
Most oils should be stored in a cool, dark place, wine cellar or refrigerator. (Rosemary, Lavender, Marjoram, Thyme, etc.)
Resinous oils may be stored anywhere but not in the cold. (Frankincense, Myrrh, Labdanum, Cistus)
Bibliography and Book Resource ~ Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin Calkin, Robert R. and J. Stephan Jellinek. Perfumery Practice and Principles, Wiley Interscience, 1994. Guenther, Ernest: The Essential Oils, volumes I-VI, Krieger. 1949. Mabberley, D. J. The Plant Book McMahon, Christopher. AROMAtherapy 2037, Fall 97. “Tuberose Treasure” ———. AROMAtherapy 2037, Summer 97. “Extraction of Floral Concretes” ———. AROMAtherapy 2037, Winter 97/98. “Mimosa Harvesting”. Ohloff, Günther: Scent and Fragrances, Springer-Verlag 1990. Translated by Pickenhagen and Lawrence Piesse, G. W. Septimus. The Art of Perfumery. 1867 Rose, Jeanne: 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols; Frog, Ltd. 1999. — Natural Botanical Perfumery Workbook • 2018 — Writing of the Rose, 1998 — AROMAtherapy 2037. Winter 1997/98 — The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations 1996. — Herbs & Things, Last Gasp. 2002 — The World of Aromatherapy, 1996. Thompson, C. J. S. The Mystery and Lure of Perfume. Lippincott. 1927. Wildwood, Christine. Creative Aromatherapy. 1993. Williams, David G.: The Chemistry of Essential Oils, Micelle Press. 1996. The Oxford English Dictionary.
Synopsis ~ How do you make perfume? Here is a plan to work at home and how to begin, how to start, and what supplies you need. Use naturals. Here is what do you need to know.
Home Perfumery – WHAT YOU NEED & WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
part 1.By Jeanne Rose, 2020
INTRODUCTION ~ So you want to make perfume? You plan to work at home and just don’t know how to begin. How do you start? What supplies will you need? Are you going to use naturals or synthetics? Do you know the difference? What do you need to know?
Home perfumery is gaining widespread popularity all over the world and is gradually moving towards the mainstream. It is especially strong as a niche scent concept in the United States of America. The use of scent as perfume cuts across gender, social, and racial classes, because it is emotional, it is physical, it is social, and it can smell divine. Annual sales of basic ingredients and perfume end products are staggering. An important driver in this upsurge in scent acceptance is due to its status of being thought a natural product with the people thinking it is low toxicity, it really works, it is very accessible, easy to do, prepare and use.
Since the beginning of recorded history, humans have attempted to mask or enhance their own odor by using perfume, which they hope will emulate nature’s pleasant smells. Many natural and man-made materials have been used to make perfume to apply to the skin and clothing, to put in cleaners and cosmetics, or to scent the air. Because of differences in body chemistry, temperature, and body odors, no perfume will smell exactly the same on any two people. The United States is the world’s largest perfume market with annual sales totaling several billions of dollars.
This article is about making perfumes with natural, botanical ingredients – only. No synthetics.
Getting to Know Your SPACE – Oils
Space, Supplies-Oils, Preparation, Recall, Focus, Time
SPACE ~ What You Need •
If you are making perfumes from natural ingredients at home – you will need to think about your basic space and equipment.
Make a space to do it. It helps to designate a special area set-aside for storing your equipment and blending your perfumes. It should be a well-ventilated, well-lit area or room. However, air conditioning is not advised as it takes the scents out of the air. Designate a specific long table or desk as your workspace and demand no one will put any food or objects on it. There should be shelves or cabinets for storing your essential scents and finished fragrances; ideally, they should be stored in a room where the temperature is about 55° (a wine-type room). Store your essential oils in glass bottles, I prefer clear glass to be able to examine and look at the colors of the oils, but they should ultimately be kept in a cool, dark storage space. All oils should be out of direct sunlight or covered in boxes. Oils/absolutes should not be subjected to changes in temperature.
The kitchen is not the best place for blending your perfumes, even though it may seem ideal because of access to cabinets, a table, sink, running water and utensils. And working around an open flame and stove burners can be hazardous as essential oils and alcohol can explode.
SUPPLIES ~ Have the correct supplies and tools at hand for blending to make the process easier and more precise. The following is an idea list of perfumery supplies that you should have at hand:
Alcohol, Neutral grape and grain spirits (for making perfumes, colognes, splashes)
Bases (make and keep as many as you want, label them fully with the ingredients)
Carrier oils (for alcohol -free perfumes)
Distilled water (for making splashes)
Alphabetical – Keep your products/oils/bases/accords in alphabetical order or by style you prefer.
What Oils/Absolutes Should you have to START? This Is A Simple Supply List to Start With…
1.Bergamot, I prefer the whole Bergamot not the bergaptene-free. – SD 2.Cardamom – SD 3.Cedarwood, Atlas – SD 4, Champaca CO2 or Osmanthus CO2 5.Clary Sage, Russia – SD 6.Cocoa Abs 7.Frankincense CO2, India 8.Geranium Abs (Pelargonium x asperum) Egypt or SD Pelargonium graveolens from Madagascar 9.Grapefruit, CP, Pink or white 10.Jasmine Abs, India 11.Lavender Abs or high-altitude SD Lavender 12.Neroli Extra, – SD 13.Labdanum Abs (diluted 50/50) 14.Orange, Wild or another citrus – SD 15.Patchouli, Dark is best. Lighter color Patchouli has less scent. – SD 16.Petitgrain Abs 17.Rose Abs, Morocco 18.Spikenard, Green or Vetivert – SD 19.Vanilla Abs (you may need to do a 50/50 dilution on this one) 20.Ylang Ylang Complete, Fine – SD
ABS = absolute; CD = cold-pressed; CO2 = cold-pressed; SD = steam distilled These 20 are good to start with but there are hundreds more that you can add. I prefer to use only pure and natural plant matter; the best that is available. I buy by quality and not by price and recommend you do the same. Mail-order. www.primafleur.com and www.edenbotanicals.com are my go-to and recommended places.
The above are the oils that are available to use in the JeanneRose Natural Botanical Perfumery class. You may choose to have all or only some of these in your perfumes. This is an expensive undertaking so choose well. It may be best to dilute all your oils/absolutes to 50•50 with95% neutral grape spirits. That way you can blend and then at the end after your perfume has aged, just add an equal amount of the 95% neutral spirit to have a 25% blend of your perfume. Just right for application or can be further diluted to 10 or even 15% with the addition of more alcohol. Always age your perfume before making the decision. You can always dilute but you cannot make it stronger.
PREPARATION ~ Have paper towels handy. You will need scent blotters, pipettes, a pen, pencil and your notebook. Do not wear any scent on your body and tie your hair back. Dress appropriately as if you were in a lab setting with your arms and shoulders and feet covered (against harmful lab spills).
Train the Memory by Developing the Limbic System through Smell
Know your oils/absolutes/concretes by their name, smell and intensity. Throughout Steps 1 Through 6, Take Notes.
Step 1. Less is More. To get the full spectrum of odor you may wish to dilute everything to 50•50 with the appropriate type alcohol.
You’ll want to do this exercise in stages. No more than 4-5 individual oils at a time. Save your other oils for later in the day, or the next day.
Step 3: After 30 minutes, go back to each scent. Smell. Are there other notes in the fragrance that you recognize? Record your impressions and any changes that you notice.
Step 4. Go back to your original 5 strips. Cover the names and pick one. Smell. Do you recognize the fragrance? Repeat this with the other 4 scents. Familiarize yourself with your fragrances this way, until you can recognize each scent by name without looking at its bottle. “By their scent you will know them” …Jeanne Rose 1979
Step 5: Two hours later, go back to each strip. Pick one and smell. How has it changed?
Step 6: The next day, go back to each strip. Pick one and smell. Has it changed? How has it changed?
You are learning the effect of dry down on each scent and how it may operate in your finished perfume.
Step 7: Let your scents rest, if making a blend, let the take time to integrate and to become a perfume. This does not happen in the moments that it takes to mix a drop of this or a drop of that.
TIME ~ It takes time to make a good perfume.
As George Askinson said, “It is not the number of oils that determines the fineness of a perfume, but the manner in which certain odors are combined”
. …Perfumes and Cosmetics — Their Preparation and Manufacture By George W. Askinson, Dr. Chem.1865
The Entrance to Laurie Stern magical home perfumery – photo by JeanneRose