Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, May 22, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Late start today due to gardening duties.  I'll be here until 10 PM my time to answer any questions you may have about perfumery.


  1. Dear Anya:

    Can you tell me what is the difference between vanilla tincture and vanilla absolute?

    Best wishes,

  2. Hi L:

    Lazy Sunday. Sorry it took so long to get back to you.

    A tincture is when you place plant material, in this case, chopped vanilla beans, in alcohol and allow them to steep in alcohol for a few months so that the scent molecules can blend into the oil.

    Then you strain the plant material from the alcohol and use the alcohol.

    An absolute of vanilla is typically made by processing the chopped beans in a solvent, such as hexane, which first produces a concrete. Then the concrete is mixed with alcohol, and the alcohol is distilled off, leaving the absolute.

    The solvent step may release more scent molecules than those released by the alcohol in the tincture. Not only more, but different ones that are trapped in waxes.

    The absolute is much more concentrated than a tincture. The tincture may be of more use to the hobbyist perfumer, the absolute the professional perfumer, but both are valuable in perfumery.

  3. Hi Anya

    what are the threee rarest raw materials in a natural perfumers palette

  4. Hmmm... this may shift over time.

    Tahitian gardenia, still very elusive
    Golden boronia - if anything happens to the only fields in the world where it grows, it would be a calamity.
    For the third - a tossup between Blue Lotus and Night blooming jasmine (Cetrum).

    All precious flowers! I couldn't limit to three, that's just me ;-)


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