Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Celebration of the Perfumes of the Earth and the Art of Those Who Love Them

Aztec Gold Plumeria aka Fragipani

Natural perfumers have an innate love of nature, flowers and the beauty of this planet. I say that after years of observing the posts by them on a Yahoo group devoted to natural perfumery. Most like to get their hands "in the soil" and grow herbs and flowers so that they can enjoy the harvest as tasty food or as an ingredient in a perfume they create. I'm one of them. I've been a gardener for many, many years. I wrote a paper on organic gardening for a class back in 1972, and later wrote for Organic Gardening magazine. Passionate about herbs, fragrant plants, veggies and tree crops, I've grown plants in Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Florida - talk about spanning growing zones!

The photo of the white and gold plumeria above, the variety known as "Aztec Gold" was taken in 2003 in my garden. I've been tincturing the flowers for years, obtaining a beautifully golden fragrant extract that I use in my perfumes. I encourage you to click on the top photo to see it enlarged, when the exuberant nature of the flowers can be more completely appreciated. This year I'm enfleuraging the flowers for the first time, and with only three changes of flowers in the nonhydrogenated organic palm oil shortening, the fragrance I'm collecting is fantastic - much more peachy than the tinctures. The fresh flowers smell like ripe peaches, and the enfleurage fat does, too.

Vietnamese Gardenia

Another flower I'm enfleuraging is the showy and delightful Vietnamese Gardenia. Not at all like the gardenias we're very familiar with here in the States, it has a distinct ylang ylang note, albeit subdued, and a hint of what I can only describe as Beechnut gum! Floral and spicy, this knockout flower absolutely captivates me.

I'm not sure if I'm correct, but I may be the only person in the United States enfleuraging these flowers. That is part of the unique niche we natural perfumers find ourselves in. We're always seeking the next great sniff, and we try to extract it ourselves if it isn't on the market. Many report about the dried fruits, soil, mushrooms, rare flowers and sticky resins they're exploring via extraction processes.

The future will see many more artisanal extractions like this coming from natural perfumers. The regulators may try to clamp down and make us only buy from narrow-channel sources, but I know we'll just keep on our artistic and outlaw path. It's just what we do.


  1. Dear Anya, So lovely, I love taking pictures of flowers, some are just ornamental, but I love...would love to get my hands in the soil. One day, a old sir (gardener) and very pleasant told me that a good therapy is just planting, getting my hands in the soil and see how is wonderful to stare some life blooming...
    Be blessed,

  2. Sweet Anya, your post is very inspirational... Woww, make me absolutely inspiring to plant flowers and learn natural perfumery.

  3. Dear Anya.

    Nice Photo!

    Can I buy products from internet via paypal?

  4. The diversity of Nature never fails to astound me! I can virtually smell the blossoms as I look at the pictures. I am without a doubt, a floral person. Thank you Anya for sharing the delights of your garden. I imagine it to be a floral paradise.

  5. Dear Anya,
    Here in Bulgaria we have beautiful and sweet-scented roses, but as I see the pictures, I wish I have just one minute to enjoy these beauties. I adore gardenia... its scent makes me feel I am in heaven!


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