Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ask The Perfumer - Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Ask the Perfumer - July 18th - please post your questions any time before 10PM EST USA and I'll help you with your perfumery questions.


  1. Hi Anya,

    I remember reading a few weeks ago that you recommended adding vitamin E to Ambrette Seed to help preserve it. I had no idea I should do this! Could you compile a list of oils that you would recommend adding vitamin E to help preserve? Would using an opened gel capsule of vitamin E work?

  2. Hi Charna:

    It wasn't Vit. E to the ambrette EO, it was alcohol. Top it off with about 2% by weight. The Vit. E is for most of the oils that might oxidize or convert to peroxides. That includes most citruses, lavenders, and a list of others. For them, 1% Vit E or T-50, as a mixed alpha tocopherol is sold to the cosmetics industry, would do. I just don't have time to compile a list, sorry, with the 1000 things I already do in a day. You can research the easily-oxidized oils (most) and the peroxide ones. No, I wouldn't open a Vit. E capsule, although many do. I use T-50.

  3. Charna, I posted that when I just got up from a nap! The alcohol for the ambrette seed EO should be 10%. Ambrette absolute is made from the EO, believe it or not, and has the oil portion that will go rancid removed, so must ambrette abs. are OK, but as I'm a nervous cat, I would put the alcohol in there, too. I get by on ambrette EO and my own tincture however, and all is well.

  4. Anya,

    If I have access to Hemp seed, what's the best way of going about getting some Hemp Butter from it?


  5. O.K. Got it. I guess when I wrote "compile a list" I was assuming there were just a few oils that you added vitamin E to (or actually alcohol since I had it backwards.) I know you're busy! Thanks!

  6. Hi Anya,

    I'm struggling with my lovely tobacco leaf in a solid I'm making! I am pairing it with Cocoa and Labdanum and I seem to muddy it, lose the agrestic warm feel of it which is what I want to have come through. Thought of Hay maybe? Any suggestions for a lift? I posted last week but it must have been too late!!

  7. Hi Anya, I've got my Gardenias in the front yard, and want to tincture them, Joanne Bassett mentions to lay them out on paper towels to dry them off, then to dry them before tincturing. It's 105F today, so they're not wet at all. So do you dry them off from environmental moisture, or moisture content, And what's you best method for Gardenias?


  8. Hi Amanda:

    I don't have any experience with extracting hemp butter. AFAIK, getting the oil or butter from seeds may require some sort of grindstone and collection vessel. Sorry I can't be of more help, but I don't make body products, especially not from scratch like that, even for myself. I'd buy the oil or butter ;-)

  9. Hi Francesca:

    It seems you're using too many agrestic base notes and yes, you're winding up with mud. Hay would only act the same way. Don't forget that perfume needs dark and light, sweet and tart, etc. - in essence an interplay, otherwise you get mud - or too much light if you were using all light and sweet stuff.

    You say you need a lift, and that's the key - hay is not a lift. Why not cut out the cocoa, too, and look for a blender like copaiba balsam, or a lighter wood, like amyris?

  10. Paul, with the 105F desert heat, no worry about the environmental moisture. If they're bright white, allow them to 'wilt' the tiniest, tiniest bit until they are a bit flaccid and perhaps have a slight beige color. Very slight.

    I prefer to enfleurage gardenias, and have had great success. I use the organic unhydrogenated palm oil from WF. It's got a hard consistency. I found many were too soft and greasy, and the flowers sunk into them. Same procedure as above - slight wilt, maybe slight color change. In enfleurage, they will eventually go orange! Then I remove them.

  11. Hi Anya
    I am working on correct percentage uses of essential oils in my blends for safty reasons.Please can you recommend the best way to access these percentages for correct blending! I have down loaded an excel work sheet for blending but I'm now concerned I may be using the wrong amounts of certain oils in my blend.
    Many thanks Maxine

  12. Hi Maxine:

    I would advise you to get Robert Tisserand's book Essential Oil Safety. He has information on safe amounts, backed by research studies. Also consider getting Martin Watt's Plant Aromatics. It may still be available from

    Ongoing self-directed research into the latest credible information out there is critical for your blending. You may also consider a warning label if you use oils that may be phototoxic, sensitizing et al. as it will help the consumer make an informed decision. For instance, if you know you have a blend where the bergamot exceeds the recommended amount, warn on the label that it is not to be worn on exposed skin during daylight hours. The customer may then choose to wear it under clothing, in their hair, or save it for nighttime use.

    Oakmoss may be a sensitizer for some people, not for others. Tell them that on the label.


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