Monday, April 21, 2008

David Mark to Speak in Private Perfume Class on Ancient Egyptian incense Kyphi and its fragrance properties

David Mark of Renaissance Aromas (website TBA shortly) and an Associate Member of the Natural Perfumers Guild will be a Guest Expert in my online Natural Perfumery class. David's topic will be Kyphi incense, the ancient Egyptian blend whose mystique and legend persists to this day. There are many "recipes" for Kyphi and for the Module 1 History section of my class, I give the students the option of choosing an ancient perfume or scent formula to recreate so that they get a hint of what was fashionable then. Overwhelmingly, they choose Kyphi. David has conducted scholarly research into Kyphi and graciously offered his services to me. I'm very thankful for his generosity, as it will give my students access to a great repository of information.

Here's how I broke the good news of David's schedule being firmed up in our class:

Well, guess why David can't meet with us this Saturday? Because he's going to a fabulous Egyptologist convention in Seattle! How cool is that?! Our Kyphi expert is right in the thick of it and I'm sure will be brimming with incredible facts and recipes to share.

So I've booked him for Saturday, May 3, 6PM Eastern US, 5PM Central US (his time) and late night in the EU and early morning the next day on "the other side of the world" for our far-flung student body. David says he's longwinded, and will stay on board as long as you want him. ;-)

I think he might prepare a written outline for y'all before the class, and I'll post it here if he does. Then the questions will all be open freeform style.

Sounds great!


Here's a quick Kyphi recipe I googled:

Kyphi is a mixture composed
of sixteen ingredients; of honey and wine, raisins and galingale, (pine) resin and myrrh, aspalathos and seseli; moreover, of mastic and bitumen, bulrush and sorrel, together with the two kinds of juniper berries (of which one is called major and the other minor), cardamom and sweet flag. And these ingredients
are not mixed by chance, but according to instructions cited in holy books, that are read to the incense makers while they mix them. Plutarch

yet another recipe:

"[Take 273 g each of mastic, pine resin, sweet flag, aspalathos, camel grass, mint and cinnamon.] Place the items in a mortar and grind them. Two-fifths of this will {turn out to} be in the form of liquid to be discarded. There remain three-fifths in the form of ground powder. [Take 1.5 lb each of cyperus, juniper berries, pine kernels and peker (unidentified)] Reduce the ingredients to powder. Moisten all these dry ingredients with [2.5 lb] wine in a copper vessel. Half of this wine will be absorbed by the powder [the rest is to be discarded].

Leave overnight. Moisten the [3.3 lb] raisins with [2.5 lb] oasis wine. Mix everything in a vessel and leave for five days. Boil to reduce by one-fifth. Place [3.3 lb] honey and [1,213 g] frankincense in a cauldron and reduce volume by one-fifth. Add to the honey and frankincense the kyphi macerated in wine. Leave overnight. Grind the [1,155 g] myrrh and add to the kyphi".

(Lise Manniche, Sacred luxuries, p. 51. See also Lise Manniche, An ancient Egyptian herbal, pp. 57-58.)

I'm so very pleased to be able to offer a glimpse into an ancient fragrant incense recipe from an expert in the field. These classes are so exciting!

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