Before quilting there was Botanical Perfumery and even though I might not know a lot about common perfumery, I do know a lot about natural materials. I’ve even been to a Summer School in Grasse for two weeks, where I learned the bases of perfumemaking either it was done with naturals och sythetis………..One of the best experiences in my life 😀
Quilting kind of took over and I have only made 2-3 blends during the last years. But happily I have someone to nudge me back into that glorious art – a little while ago my oldest (Sam) told me it was time for me to get back to perfumery. Knowing my subtle son, I understood that there was a “hidden” meaning to that and yup, he wanted me to make him a perfume that smelled vanilla. If he had had his way, it would only smell of vanilla, but hey – that’s no perfume” per se, it’s a one note something.
A real perfume has three building blocks – top, heart (middle) and base chords. Top is what meets your nose when you first smell a scent – mostly (but not only) citruses is used – bergamot, lemon, lime, mandarin etc. The heart enters when the top has evaporated and has most of the flowers – jasmine, rose, aglia, magnolia and lotus flower to mention a few. In the base (which is what lingers for hours, if it’s a good fume) goes all the heavy duty notes like pathcouli, woods, vertiver, agarwood and ambrette seed – the list of botanical materials that goes into each chord is too long to name here.
So I of I went happily into my studio (sadly neglected place except for nail polishing) and started to play: vanilla tincture, vanilla absolute, vanilla oleoresin ……and vanillin ;-o Even though some perfumers don’t think of it as a natural material, it is extracted from wood and that is natural – neh? At least the one I got is. While going through my chest of fragrant treasures I found a small vial with vanilla CO2 extract, tempting as it is, I’m not going to use it. Treasures are ment to be treasured – right? Then the smallest amount of sandalwood (Vanuatu – we do care about the environment) which lends an almost soapy quality, a smitheren of aged patchouli – earthy, wee bit mysterious and some citruses including the tang of a very small amount of pressed fruit rind of the Japanese fruit Yuzu – not that easy to find. So here I am – only top and base notes and no heart at all……But hey, that’s not entirely true – I did use petit grain and a minor amount of cinnamon leaf (the bark can be very sensitizing) and to some authors, they belong to the middle notes. It is so amazing that everybody and his mother who is something in the perfumery industry has such different opinions about which botanical category each botanical material belong to. Like just cinnamon and petit grain 😉 I used the smallest amounts (for patchouli and cinnamon I even used diluted essential oils) but can stillhas it’s have a substantial effect on a scent.
- The Juice
I did some tweaking last night (more of vanilla tincture, vanilla absolute and vanillin. More bergamot, more green manadrin, more,more,more – and added a bit more perfumers alcohol (96% – but you can’t drink it ;-o) I dipped a scent strip and put a tad bit on the inside of my wrist and know what? I hardly could stop sniffing – strip-wrist-wrist-strip. I even put a drop on before going to work this morning and the scent waffed more than pleasantly, happily almost exuberant wafting into my nostrils. Soooo, even though I couldn’t come up with much to put in the heart, I am (so far) mighty pleased with the outcome. Now it only need to be zapped in the zippy zapper (ultrasound machine) for a few times and then frozen and filtered before it can be decanted into a nice sprayer bottle. “A bottle of my own” Sam said pleased as punch.
The name of the scent? “The Essence of Sam” – of course 🙂