Saturday, May 31, 2008

In Search of Scentless Ben (Oil) ;-)

Posted earlier today on various groups I host on Yahoo and one I don't, but my friend's group is dedicated to oils and herbs:

No, it's not a man, and if he was, I guess he'd be like the killer in Perfume, the book/movie. The image is of a camel providing the power for an ancient oil press, probably like the same one used centuries ago for moringa/Ben/Behn oil.

Oil of Ben or "Behn" is Moringa oleifera, loved for its many useful properties, not the least of which is its use as an extraction medium for flower scent in enfleurage. It has been used for this purpose, and as a perfume base, since the time of the Egyptians. The seed oil can also be used for cooking and lubrication and other purposes. It is believed to never go rancid, but I can't comment on that.

So I was rereading a bit of Piesse the other day and he comments on the "inodorous" Behn oil from Jamaica and notes its use as an enfleurage medium. A few years ago I got some scentless Ben oil from a NP group member who was importing it. The next batch had a noticibly nutty scent which rendered it unusable for perfumery. Then a friend in Hawaii was considering opening a store at the time (2005?) and she got a horrid stinky batch from a dealer in the US.

All this came to mind this past week when I was speaking with Steve, a group member and he was trying to source Ben oil, and he mentioned he got a particularly stinky one, and I popped up with the name of the US supplier and he said, yes, that was from them.

Many, many countries are now producing Ben oil - up from just a few sources a scant few years ago.

If we use the power of the numbers in this group, and y'all go out and source/sample various Ben oils, perhaps we can come up with a scrupulous source that has the scentless stuff we can use.

I guess we can start by googling moringa seed oil or ben oil.

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