Monday, January 30, 2012

Millefleurs - When a perfumer knows that to waste not is to want not

If you have bits of essential oils and absolutes made from some of the flowers and fragrant leaves above - aglaia, roses, stocks, frangipanis, eucalyptus, carnations, chrysanthemums, citrus leaves - don't fret over bad mods, bits left in the bottom of the bottle - make Millefleurs!
Here's a very helpful tip to the beginning student, and perhaps even experienced perfumers may find this useful.  Waste not, want not!

Millefleurs - French, def: a thousand flowers.

The definition from my Natural Perfumery Institute's textbook:

Millefleurs – A Creative Use of Aromatic Odds and Ends

Millefleurs is an industry term for the creative reuse of bits of unused or slightly degraded oils and dilutions, where any left over amounts of aromatics or discarded blends are poured into a bottle together for later use, rather than being thrown away.  This creates an impromptu, happenstance mélange that often smells quite nice.  It can be used as a room spray, put into a diffuser, used to scent potpourri, added to laundry rinse water, or placed on a blotter and used to fragrance drawers.  Or you can apply it to your wrists to wear just for fun.

If you sense that one of your dilutions has degraded, merely pour it into a blending bottle and label it “Millefleurs”, and then make a fresh dilution.  Additionally, when you use up a bottle of an aromatic, you can add a small amount of alcohol to the empty bottle, swirl it around to dissolve the last remaining drops in the bottle, and pour that into your millefleurs bottle.  In this way, you can make certain that none of your aromatic material is wasted, even if it’s only a drop or two.

This helpful information is in my Basic Natural Perfumery Textbook from Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute.  You may sign up for the textbook-only option, or the online, interactive option.  Click here to read more at


  1. This is a great idea, thanks!

  2. Millefleurs are fascinating to observe as you add more to them. After about 9 months of additions, my jar had turned into something really spectacular. After the next addition, it went changed a lot for the worse. So I will keep adding, and hope for some of that random alchemy to turn it great again.

    Thanks for sharing Anya!

  3. Dear Queen:

    Glad I could help. Millefleurs can be so soul-satisfying - no waste and if you're lucky, something that smells great.


  4. Hi Michael:

    That's happened to me, too! Maybe we'll both stop at the spectacular the next time, and start a second batch with the new stuff instead.



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