Sunday, February 06, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, Feb 6, 2011 - 10 a.m. to 10 PM EST

Ah, Bob Marley's birthday!  Any hemp oil related questions? Maybe pimento oil (the best is from Jamaica)? I'll be in and out throughout the day, enjoying the highest temps in the nation right now.  Miami rocks in February!


  1. Hi Anya:

    I'm taking your course, and I'm loving it. There is just so much there, I got lost when I just tried opening pages to the textbook and reading, than I now know to follow it through systematically. It's working!

    My senses are all engaged, and the lectures really, really help.

    My question is about the journal. You say keep a journal, and because I am also keeping the three ring binders with all my organoleptic studies, I think everything is in there. I hate to carry stuff around, I only use a small purse. Will I hurt my chances by not journaling?

    Thanks much,

  2. Hello from frozen Maine

    Can you recommend plants to grow in Maine that can be used in perfume? I read about your tincturing and enfleuraging and I can't help but wonder what I might be able to coax out of nature.


  3. Hello, Anya

    Can you please tell what can I use as a natural preservative for my homemade perfumes? Thank you very much.

  4. Hi Margaret:

    Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget we have the student's private chat group on Yahoo, too.

    I kept a diary for maybe two years when I was very young. Then, in graduate school, we landscape architects were told to keep design journals to jot down our impressions of landscapes, the built environment, plants, theories, etc., to aid us in our work.

    Many perfumers also keep journals for the same reason, as you are reading in the course textbook. The truth is some people just don't like journaling! For whatever reason. Some figure they have photographic memories, others like you, don't like to lug a book around.

    Maybe a technological gadget can help you. There are pens that record what you write, and then you can download it onto your computer as text. You can write on any surface, from a tabletop, your leg (!), etc. Might you consider that? I could help your development as a perfumer, especially if you don't have a photographic memory ;-)

  5. Hi CR (not your real name, I guess)

    I've never been to Maine, but I do know that friends who live in Washington state tincture poplar and balsam buds. Are there fragrant shrubs?

    Of course, in the summer, you can grow many fragrant plants and tincture or enfleurage them at that time. Roses, peonies, night-scented stocks and fragrant petunias come to mind.


  6. Hi Diana:

    There are two ways to look at "preserving" your aromatics and perfumes.

    Add up to 0.1% gamma tocopheral form of Vitamin E to essential oils, especially those containing linalool and other chems that may oxidize. Don't add too much, it'll speed oxidation!

    Many suppliers are already adding it without telling you. Don't worry, it's natural and does not adversely affect the oil.

    Then there's the addition of 190 proof alcohol to many absolutes and essential oils to prevent rancidity. Ambrette seed can go "bad" because of the fatty acids in it, so adding alcohol really helps prevent this. Add up to 5%.

    I will now answer your question directly, as you see I concentrated on giving you pre-perfume oxidation/rancidity preventative measures.

    Since you have added the alcohol to your compound, the perfume is now preserved to a great degree. Just keep it out of sunlight, away from heat, and tightly capped, and you should be fine.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Hi Anya

    How nice of you to offer.

    My question is where would I start to put together a simple perfume project I could do with kids?



  8. Thank you for putting my mind at ease. I love the course and I'm learning so much! I will look into the pen you mention, because it sounds wonderful.

    Thanks so much,

  9. Hello Anya

    My mum is quite the gardener, I'll ask her to grow some fragrant smellies for me this year! Right now we're just in hibernation.

    I'm considering your course and wonder if you go into detail about tincturing and enfleurage during the coursework?

    CableReady is my moniker, lol.

  10. Hi Annie:

    I've never hosted a perfume event for children, but I know of someone who has, and she also sells aromatics in little amounts that would be the perfect size for such a class. She's Linda at the Perfumer's Apprentice in CA. Here's her website:

    Linda is very helpful and I hope you find everything you need with her.

  11. Hi CR:

    There are extra bonus modules in the course where I go more into detail about tincturing and enfleurage, and the subjects are covered in detail in the textbook also.

    If you're not already a member of the Yahoo NP group I host, you might want to join. There are files in there on the subject, and constant chat amongst the members on the subjects.


  12. Hi Anya,
    In regards to the amount of alcohol to preserve blends, that that go for blends that I use carrier oils with? I didn't think you could use alcohol with jojoba, etc. I also need to know where to get the best alcohol.
    Thanks and I'm glad you had a warm day down there in sunny Fla.

  13. Hi Stefanie

    I's not necessary to add alcohol to jojoba. Jojoba is a wax that doesn't go rancid or oxidize.

    The EOs that go into the jojoba need some help, though, see the previous post about gamma tocopherals and alcohol.

    What state do you live in? That would help with the alcohol answer. However, I can recommend Alcsol aka Organic Alcoholic in Oregon. One gallon is the minimum, and the hazmat and taxes are pretty high. Other states sell 190 proof Everclear. Google Shoppers Vineyard in New Jersey. They sell the Everclear in liter bottles.

  14. Margaret, I just saw that QVC sells the pen online. Of course, there are other brands and prices, but I know that company is well-regarded and has a good return policy.


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