Sunday, April 03, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 3, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

It's a hot and steamy day in Miami, the peach-scented frangipanis, Vietnamese gardenias, gardenias, white champaka and long-petaled jasmine, next to the Confederate jasmines, are blooming.  I'll be enfleuraging and tincturing all day, but will still love to answer your perfumery questions.

Oh, and once I sort through all the entries, write the respondent's names down, cut the paper with the name into strips, I'll choose the winners from the Guild- and ginger-helpful respnses this past week.  Well, one name will be selected because I like the name they've suggested for the non-fresh ginger. First, though, coffee!


  1. Margi Macdonald4/03/2011 9:22 AM

    Hi Anya
    apart from wishing I could be a bee in your garden... :)
    My question relates to tincturing fruits.
    I've been aiming for very strong tinctures; but I'm starting to wonder about the sugar content.
    Is there such a thing as too much sugar in a tincture?
    If so, what's the worst thing that might happen? Fermentation? Anything else?
    Thanks Anya!

  2. Hi Margi:

    You know, I have never seen this question brought up before. Alcohol itself converts to sugar, did you know that? Well, when people ingest it, it converts to sugar.

    What I can relate to you is that I have also never heard of any problems with fruit tinctures, such as fermentation. Members on the NP yahoo site have been writing about their adventures in tincturing fruit (myself included) for probably six or more years now, and there have been no reports of problems. And problems are always reported, since they know the general membership might come up with a solution. I hope that puts your mind at ease, Margi.


  3. Good Afternoon, Anya!

    Spring is trying to come to my part of the world, and you write it's already hot and humid where you are. I'm jealous!

    My question this week is about storing and using citruses. Do they really go bad quickly, and can I tincture citrus peels to use in perfumes?

    Love, M

  4. I like margi would love to be a bee in your garden.
    My question do you, as a perfumer follow a specific ratio of notes in your compositions? Or do you let your nose by your guide? I so love your Starflower ;-)

  5. Hi Margaret:

    Did you know that citrus oils may be six months old or older when they reach you? They've been sealed in sterile 55 gallon drums and kept in a cool area. The greatest threats to the sparkling top notes of any citrus are heat, light and oxygen. You read about this in the textbook you have as part of my course.

    Another really bad thing to do with citruses or any other oils? If you keep them in the refrigerator, taking them in and out a lot, so the temperature fluctuates a lot. Take them out, quickly put them back in.

    Yes, keep them cold. Keep as little head space in the bottle, so if you are seeing a gap between the oil and the cap, repour into a smaller bottle.

    Heat, light, oxygen. The biggest problems with our oils.

    You may also wish to add a little alcohol and/or T-50 to slow oxidation. Many suppliers already add a form of Vit. E or T-50 to their citrus oils. If you have questions about T-50, search my blog, as I answered a lot about it previously.


  6. Sandi, the bees in my garden sometimes are very defensive of their orange jasmine or other scented flowers. I just back away when I see they're vexed that I'm trying to harvest "their" blossoms, LOL.

    I teach my students a rather rigid ratio, because I believe in a firm foundation in the basics. However, Intermediate and Graduate students learn all about the finessing. It's almost like 3-D chess, working out the t/m/b notes of each aromatic, it's intensity level and it's substantivity (dry down timing).


    PS are you Sandi that won Arctander's CD?

  7. If I am I am unaware. Haven't been online alot, dealing with health issues with my Husband. I wish it were me...

  8. Sandi W won the CD. Are you Sandi L? I kind of wish I had wordpress, which is much better and ID'ing folks. Helps when folks win something, too, in case they don't write me, unless I know who they are, and they don't read the winning announcement, they miss out.

  9. Congrats to Sandi W. Yes Anya I am Sandi L.

  10. Hi Anya, This isn't a question, just a comment that like Margi, I've been tincturing some fruit. I notice that my fig tincture (in organic grape alcohol) feels sticky from the sugar.

  11. Margi Macdonald4/03/2011 8:59 PM

    Thanks Anya... I had visions of super-fermenting fruit tinctures going bang in the night { like my Grandma's fruit and floral wines under the house }.
    My herbal med and AromaRx training gave me an adequate, but not great foundation in biochemistry - in theory but not practically.
    Hopefully then, my biggest challenge may simply be keeping feral Aussie ants away from my super-fruited tinctures.

  12. Feral Aussie ants! I'll pit our Everglades insects against yours any day ;-) Here's the odd truth, Margi - I don't have one insect in my house. Years ago I saw a few spiders, maybe 3? Once we had some bugs invade when they dug up the back yard, but I got an organic, natural pest company, and I haven't seen one pest since. Knock wood!


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