Michael Singels, a student from California, and a longtime member of the Yahoo Natural Perfumery group I host, posted about a new, simple process in the student chat group for my perfumery course that literally made my mouth drop open. I have read every post on the NP group for almost nine years, and I've been on many other forums, and I've never seen this.
Ready for this? What to do instead of using a bain marie process to warm up thick aromatics so they can become liquid and mobile for use, or transfer from one bottle to another? First, for those who don't know what a bain marie is, it's a water bath. It can be as simple as heating some water in a cup and placing the bottle with the thick stuff in it, or as complex as a true "double boiler" type of set up for a large bottle or container. The idea is to immerse the (closed) bottle up to about the neck until the aromatic is fluid, then remove it and pour it as needed. Problem? If you heat the water too much, the bottle may burst. Never happened to me, but I have heard of it. Second, it's messy, with water dripping - hot water - plus, some may get into the receptacle you're pouring into if you're not careful. Not good. But the absolute worst problem is that the water usually destroys the label of the bottle.
So what did Michael devise?
He heated rice, put the rice in a mug, inserted the bottle into the hot rice. Simple. Elegant. Clean.
Here's Michael's description in detail:
I basically just cooked the rice at low temp in the oven to dry it out, maybe 200F for about 20-30 minutes. I tried microwaving it once before heating in the oven and it clumped together a bit because of some of the moisture left in the rice. After it had been heated in the oven, I just popped it in a mug and heat it for a minute on normal setting for the microwave, stir it up, and set the bottle or jar in it until it is gently heated and more fluid. If the rice isn't warm enough after a minute, I will stir and pop back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. I haven't had to dry it in the oven again, the one time was enough. Also worth noting, it will burn if you cook it in the microwave too long! I got the idea from the old pillows filled with rice that you heat to apply to back, joints, etc. There may be a better material than rice to use, but it is what I could think of that I had on hand.
OK, I think we need to come up with a name for this new method. Bain michael? That suggests bath. Well, it's a "dry" bath. I'm stumped. Can somebody help by suggesting a name for this? Leave your comments before May 27 noon and you'll be in a random draw for a mini of one of my perfumes, your choice.
And the winner is, chosen by random.org is ruhkewda who suggested "Mike's Rice Device", LOL. I love it. Of course, with the randomness of human nature, the French will use their choice, there's the nod to Maria the Jewess, and just a lot of fun stuff in the mix. I hope everyone had a good time, and Ruh, you have to post here to claim it. If it isn't claimed by Sunday, it'll go to somebody else. But Mike's Rice Device will be enshrined as the first, most random name of all for the discovery ;-)