Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ask the Perfumer Sunday Oct 14, 2012

Tincture a perfume material that's a purèe?!  Yes, that's the advice I saw someone give on Facebook.  Dear Readers, there are lots of people on the Internet putting themselves forth as an expert, and they're making it up as they go.  I teach my students, and I've been sharing with the general public for years, the proper way to make tinctures.  No, I won't advise you to tincture applesauce to get an apple-scented alcohol ;-)

I'll be here until 10 PM ET today to answer all your perfumery questions, as I have been for several years.  This is a purèe-free zone. snark off/

An "artsy" photo I made of a deerstongue tincture I made in 2005, with the window screen forming the pattern in the background.  Isn't that color beautiful?  Deerstongue is a vanilla/coumarinic-scented herb and I love it.

43 comments:

  1. Do you remember what the first perfume you created was? Or what the main scent was? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Anya! When I read tincture from puree, I got very curious but thank goodness, we have you to guide us.

    <3 Naheed

    ReplyDelete
  3. It sounds like they're confusing comminution (pureeing or finely chopping herbs and blending along with the menstruum to create a greater surface size for the extraction) commonly done for herbal medicinal tinctures with something that will work in perfumery. LOL @ applesauce and applesauce scented alcohol.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It sounds like they're confusing comminution (pureeing or finely chopping herbs and blending along with the menstruum to create a greater surface size for the extraction) commonly done for herbal medicinal tinctures with something that will work in perfumery. LOL @ applesauce and applesauce scented alcohol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Leann:

      I don't know what they googled or ehow'd ;-) There have been many instances of posts that were very odd, on a yahoo group. When pressed, he vamoosed and turned against the association.

      I went to your link and see you're in Colorado. Are you need Indian Hills/Arvada? I have a dear soaper friend there, maybe I could link you up. She said she hasn't found many natural soapers since her move to Colorado. She's raising goats now and making goat milk soap.

      xoxo,
      Anya

      you're in the running for ambergris tincture!

      Delete
    2. I'm in the southeast corner of CO, above Raton and Taos, NM, but two hours east of Colorado Springs. I'd love to meet up with anyone near the area!


      Leann

      Delete
  5. Dear Blue Moon:

    I clicked your link to find your name so I could personalize my response, and i didn't find it, but I really like your blog!

    I remember the first dozens of perfumes because they were all terrible! I kept making the same mistake most make - overuse of accessory notes. In my case, base notes, like patchouli, vetiver, etc. They overwhelmed the middle and top and made the perfume muddy.

    Then I remember when I first learned true structure and balance - balancing the ratios - and I named the perfume Lotus, after a long-departed beautiful Siamese cat I had in the 70s. The perfume was in the early 80s, about 8 years after she died.

    Thanks for asking,
    Anya

    you're entered in the draw for the ambergris tincture! No puree, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Naheed:

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, pureeing (my laptop won't allow me to put the accent over the 'e') a wet sea plant - unbelievable. This persons used to find a topic, look on ehow and google and present the work as his own - and often it was as wacky as pureed sea plant.

    xoxo
    Anya

    you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anya: What if you puree something aqueous (such as seaweed or applesauce) and then let it dry out in a warm place, until it gets kind of dry and caked. AND THEN you tincture in alcohol. Would that result in something useable?
    Barry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barry:

      The best route is to dry the seaweed, or purchase dried seaweed. With apples, buy freeze-dried applies and tincture them in alcohol for the best results. As with the dried seaweed, recharge the alcohol until you find you have the strength you want.

      HTH,
      Anya

      Delete
  8. LOL -- there is lots of humorous advice on the internet. What a waste of perfectly good seaweed :) I am taking serious note of your comment to Blue Moon about accessory notes, BTW -- I've been known to commit this error!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andria:

      Glad to see you drop by. The sad part is lots of people might listen to this man! He's 'out there' as an expert on all things aromatic, always raising questions and controversy to draw people in. I have a vision of people trying his methods, failing miserably, and being turned off.

      Take care,
      Anya

      you're in the drawing, yada yada ;-)

      Delete
  9. The problem is that there are a lot of people outhere who try these kind of "precious" advices. Applesauce tincture :)))))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dian:

      I think we've hit on a new phrase for this type of lack of knowledge/touting that 'knowledge' - applesauce tincturers. ;)

      xoxo
      Anya

      you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture, as are the few posters where i forgot to add that sentence.

      Delete
  10. What 3 herbs/materials do you enjoy tincturing that are not available as a readily usable perfume ingredient (EO, CO2, SCO2, Abs, etc)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JK:

      I can't grow it here, it's a wild foraged plant, so that wouldbe the deerstongue. I can grow, and harvest Vietnamese gardenia flowers and Grand Duke of Tuscany jasmine sambac flowers.

      xoxo,
      Anya

      Delete
    2. forgot to add you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

      Delete
  11. Right now I'm doing FD strawberries in both alcohol and oil, but I think I should have used Jojoba and not FCO, the FCO is ever so slighty soapy, but I have a very sensitive nose. I am addicted to Vanilla in the hugest way, so now that I see Anya's description of deertongue, I'm afraid I am going to have no choice but to try that. But I definitely will not be doing seaweed, especially pureed fresh . I am imagining little creatures floating in it too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debulous:

      I've never infused FD fruit, so I can't help you there. Did you crush them first? Did the strawberry scent come over into the oil well?

      About the deerstongue: I've been getting mine from Penn Herb for decades, and quality can vary. I returned a pound last year because it was so weak. They sent some stronger stuff, but it's been years since I've gotten the *really* strong stuff. So be aware when you get it that it should be strongly scented.

      HTH,
      Anya

      Delete
    2. you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

      Delete
  12. Does Ambergris get better and better as it ages?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ginger:

      Ambergris needs at least six months of tincturing to age until where you can use it. Yes, it does get mellower and deeper with age. I, however, like classical perfumers, don't love it for merely its scent: we use it in minute quantities to 'marry' or 'exalt' the other aromatics in the perfume, so minute that it's often not noticeable. It's got some magical qualities.

      HTH,
      Anya

      you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

      Delete
  13. Does ambergris get better and better as it ages?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi!
    I was wondering about bay rum aftershave... I tictured (I guess!) some allspice berries and a cinnamon stick and some black peppercorns and some rosemary (all dried) in some rum. My question (after that long preamble) is how do I get that yummy smell to last on my skin?
    Thank you so much!
    From a constant lurker,
    Ariel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi ariel:

      Allspice isn't bay rum, it's a relative of bay rum. Still, it's very nice for a substitute. Bay rum leaves, not berries, are used in classical aftershave. Aftershave isn't supposed to last a long time, and especially won't if it's made only with tinctures, no EOs or absolutes. I'd recommend adding some vegetable glycerin (up to 5%) and a few drops of water.

      HTH,
      Anya

      you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

      Delete
  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi if you have limited funds. Which are the most important items to start with?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Channette:

      Carefully select a balanced array of top, middle and base notes. Then, to stretch your funds further, do what I teach my students: make 10% dilutions of the notes. That way, you can make lots of mods for pennies on the dollar. You'll need bottles with droppers and a scale and some beakers. Good luck!

      HTH,

      Anya

      you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

      Delete
  17. If you want to tincture rose flowers will you dry them first or use them wet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like both! For fresh, allow them to wilt a little bit in a shaded, cool, well-ventilated place. Maybe just an hour or two. For dried - they will soak up the alcohol like crazy, so do the tincture in a wide-mouth jar.

      Both types have their own peculiar qualities and I treasure both.

      HTH,
      Anya

      you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

      Delete
  18. Hi Anya,
    I went to the LA Artisan Fragrance show a couple of weeks ago and met many natural perfumers. I told them I am a NPI Student, and they all think very highly of you!
    Question:
    I made a blend in April, mostly out of curiosity. 2 weeks ago I measured 1 ml. out of the blend and decided to add a drop of distilled water so I could see/experience
    "louching" or "bouquetting". I added 1 drop of water and it went cloudy, however I couldn't believe my nose. It completely transformed the blend and was very beautiful! Is it normal procedure to add water to perfume blends and if not, do you think people may miss something if they don't? Does that make sense ???? I then let the water evaporate and what was left smelled incredible, better than if I hadn't done that step.
    Thank you,
    Kristie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kristie:

      How wonderful you got to experience the works of a number of natural perfumers! Many don't get that chance, so you are fortunate.

      Water can be a bit transformative, perhaps not as much as you experienced. It raises the perfume to a new high, gives it 'lift' and also can help it last longer on your skin. See my answer about ambergris, above - something doesn't have to have a scent to work magic on a perfume!

      xoxo,
      Anya

      you're in the drawing for the ambergris tincture - made from aged, dried ambergris ;-)

      Delete
    2. It was very inspiring! My mind was ticking away with ideas for blends and tinctures! Yesterday I collected some sap from a pine tree and put it with some alcohol. Today it's a fresh light scent!
      Thanks to you Anya!

      Delete
  19. Anya: Is there a difference between Jasmine Sambac and "regular" Jasmine? What makes a Jasmine into a Sambac Jasmine? I understand organic chemistry, so the more detail the better. E.g. are there certain aroma molecules in the Sambac that are not found in regular Jasmine? Otherwise, if you can simply describe the difference in the organoleptics that would be great, too. --Barry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi barry:

      It's simply a species of jasmine. Jasmine grandiflorum and officinale are the 'regular' jasmine. Sambac is a deeper, more sensual jasmine. Yes, there are different aroma chemicals in sambac. The officinale and grandiflorum are very similar in scent, and they're 'morning' jasmines, harvested before noon. Sambacs generally (but not all) have more indole, and are harvested at night. Grand Duke isn't indolic, it has a light, airy, fruity scent. Then there's auriculatum, quite green with a sharp note.

      HTH,
      Anya

      Delete
  20. Hi Kristie:

    Tincturing is addictive! I'm rewriting the Tincturing and Infusing FAQ for the NPI website, due to advances in knowledge in the past few years

    xoxo,
    Anya

    ReplyDelete
  21. hmmm, somehow I didn't know about the FD fruit tincture angle. I may have yet another addiction on the horizon. Nice to read all the posts. We should talk soon! N

    ReplyDelete
  22. Noelle! Yes, these scented addictions just seem to grow, don't they? ;-)

    Yes, chat soon

    xoxo,
    Anya

    ReplyDelete
  23. If there is such a thing as a 'tinctureholic' that would be me :-) I've been tincturing all fresh herbs growing in my garden and not only do they smell great, they have the most beautiful colors!!!
    I can't wait to try the water 'trick'!
    Thanks again for so generously sharing your knowledge.
    XO Suzinn

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Suzinn:

    Tincturing is just so satisfying and so tied in with our art. I truly don't understand any natural perfumer who *wouldn't* tincture!

    In my perfumery course, I teach students how to successfully incorporate tinctures into their perfumes.

    xoxo,
    Anya

    ReplyDelete
  25. The winner of the ambergris tincture is Luann. Luann, please use the contact page at http://anyasgarden.com to send me your mailing address.

    I know you'll love this treasure!

    xoxo,
    Anya

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You didn't by any chance mean Leann, did you? (((fingers crossed)))



      Delete
  26. Have you used tinctured freeze dried apples in a perfume? That sounds beautiful. Thank you for your continued professional advice. It can be hard to sift through all of the information on making perfume that is available online.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.