Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, September 18, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

It's been a fragrant week in my garden, with Miami's hot and humid summer providing a richness of blooms that are almost - almost - overwhelming.  The dozen or more blooming trees and shrubs have provided a lot of materials for tinctures and enfleurages.  It's very satisfying being an alchemist perfumer, transforming the botanical fragrance into a liquid, usable fragrance.  Then there's the next step in alchemy, the synergy of artfully blending those liquids into a beautiful perfume.  If you have any questions about any of these steps, leave a comment.

8 comments:

  1. Anya, As a natural perfumer how many tinctures or oils do you frequently use in a chord for your notes? Also of the notes what is your favorite to work with?
    Thank you for your response.
    Sandi L

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  2. Dear Anya:

    I just received my samples of your perfumes and they are lovely! Are going to release any new ones soon? I am placing an order for the 3.5ml Temple pure perfume. Why is this not in EdP strength?

    Thank you,
    Lucy

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  3. Hi Anya,

    Could you talk a little bit about 'bridge notes' and perhaps give some examples?

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  4. Hi Sandi:

    Ah, how can you ask a mother which of her tinctures (note) is her favorite? LOL. Ok, there's always a pull towards jasmine!

    The number of notes in an accord is very subjective. It's depends on the intensity and drydown of the aromatics involved. That said, I've never made an accord with less than three (for balance) or more than seven, or they tend to start dampening each other out.

    xoxo
    Anya

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  5. Hi Fallah:

    Bridge notes can be defined several ways, but the quickest and easiest way to give an example is that you match an aromatic quality that is found in one level (top, middle, base) and find another, sympathetic or similar aromatic from the next level and use that one to 'bring over' the scent of the most desired aromatic, by playing with the evaporative rates, thus creating a bridge between the levels. They are used *very* sparingly.

    For instance, the very intense lemon myrtle works as both a top and middle note. It will compliment a citrusy top accord, and make itself known upon first sniff, and then is has a long enough drydown to outlast most of the other top notes, and bridges the lemon note into the middle notes. HTH.

    xoxo
    Anya

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  6. Hi Anya - not sure if I've squeaked in timewise (I'm time-zonally challenged), but thought I would try my question for you here. Is pink pepper essential oil usually distilled from the fresh or the dried peppercorns? Do you know of anyone who has written about/described the harvesting and distillation process of the Schinus peppercorns? Or is there any info readily available about it? (If I'm too late with this question, I'll post it again next week.) Thanks very much for any help!

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  7. Hi Johanna

    You made it with an hour to spare.

    I looked in my .pdfs of guenther and guildemeister and murray hunter, and i did find some references in hunter. I'm surprised that it yields 5% oil from the berries, and 2% from the leaves! Most peppers, including this looks-like-but-really-isn't-a-pepper-schinus are distilled dry.

    Hunter says a CO2 extraction is also performed. Of course, there is also an absolute made from the peppercorns. Besides the fragrance industry, where it's a relative newcomer, it's used a lot in the flavoring industry. Hunter also cites medicinal uses.

    I have my own story, circa 1975. I had a huge tree growing outside my house at the married student housing at the University of California. I was already studying ethnobotany, and couldn't find much on it, but I munched on some berries, didn't die, so I started cooking with them ;-) Our favorite was pink peppercorn encrusted steak, using them instead of the coarser black peppercorns.

    I'll be a dynamite tincture could be made of them. You'd just have to change the peppercorns a lot until you got the strength you desired. It could be used in perfumery and cooking!

    xoxo
    Anya

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  8. Johann, I meant to add that the 5% is a pretty good yield for a distillation.

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