Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

 I'll be here for your perfumery questions until 10 PM EST.  In the meantime, here's an update on Little Frankie -
Little Frankie out of the shipping box Dec. 2011

Little Frankie May 2012
So many fragrant flowers are in bloom here at Casa Jasmin!  A neighbor walking his dog stopped to mention the fragrance, and I pointed out several of the beauties responsible for scenting my street.

But perhaps the sweetest victory, unscented, is the thriving health of Little Frankie, my frankincense sacra plant.  He arrived defoliated, looking like a sick little stick in December, and how he's sprouting out all over.  Typical of frankincense "trees" he's going to have a weird, twisted shape that is just fine with me.  I care about his health, and the wonderful chance to nurture such a rare historical plant. 


  1. Gregory Scarborough posted this, but blogger ate it, so I'm posting for him.

    Not sure if I post my questions here or somewhere else because I'm new :). I am wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of two ways of blending- some people I know are tincturing their materials (essential oils, absolutes etc) first and others and working with the whole materials blending directly into the alcohol - this is confusing to me... Should I learn both? Are they used for different purposes? Is one wrong and another right? Thanks for the insight!

  2. Dear Rachel:

    I'll pass your encouragement on to Little Frankie! He's on the patio now, his second day out of the house. A lovely little tropical almond plant is blooming, and drooping its sweet-smelling panicles over him.


  3. Hi Gregory:

    Sorry for allowing blogger to eat your post. I emailed you to see if you'd repost, but maybe you didn't see it, so I posted it for you.

    I think what you're calling tincturing is actually diluting. Tincturing is when you take the plant material, like rose petals, and put them in specific ratios, eg. 1 part petals to four parts alcohol, to extract the scent. Diluting is when you take a raw material, like and EO or absolute, and dilute it to specific ratios in alcohol.

    Diluting is what I do and what I teach my students. It makes blending mods very inexpensive, since you're not using the 100% jasmine absolute, you're using 10%, and the benefits is also that you've "opened up" the raw material, which makes it much more true to what it'll smell like in the final blend. Also, don't look at alcohol as merely a diluent, it causes a chemical reaction with the raw material, and upon making mods, you'll see good - or bad - results because of it.

    So, then after you have selected your mod made from diluted aromatics, you need to know about specific gravity and then you can convert the diluted drops to "whole materials" as you call them, i.e., undiluted EOs and abs by weight and make the compound, which you will then dilute with alcohol to the proper amount for the desired result.


  4. Hi Anya,
    Would you share with us pictures of your studio? so curious to see how it is designed for ambiance, user friendliness and as your 'office space' for your income (as opposed to my little 'hobby' desk in the corner of my husbands' and mine's shared work room)
    Thank you

  5. Hi Hemla:

    I'm in the middle of redesigning my studio, starting with the perfume organ. The one I have is not ergonomically suited to me. I'm moving the bookcase into another room, and replacing a table, so it's not ready for photos yet. Oh, I'm also painting the walls and hanging different art. Check back in a few months!


  6. Nice pics :)
    I have a question about authenticity and suppliers. I am generally pretty skeptical when it comes to finding rare aromatics on supply sites. But occasionally, I find something that I really want, and am not sure if it is pure or not. Even if a supplier has a good reputation, with certain oils, I still am hesitant. I occasionally will find a more experienced member of the aromatics community and they will tell me if they know if my interest is pure or not. But sometimes they won't tell me due to not knowing. So besides buying and doing a gas chromotography ( can not afford that, and as you know, that doesn't always prove purity), what can I do to find out. I have about three things I am looking at at different sites. Sorry for being really longwinded, (very detailed person)

  7. Hi Aer:

    You're a member of the big NP group and that's a good place to ask. Members can share their first-hand accounts of dealings with suppliers - no "I heard" is allowed. Also, even with trusted suppliers, always ask for samples, and be prepared to pay, if necessary. Sometimes aromatics can vary from year to year, and supplier to supplier. Of course, you can always feel free to ask here, especially if you wonder if certain aromatics, like linden blossom or honeysuckle is real :-)


  8. That thing is serious! I would put it smack into the middle of my edibles garden so there would be some structure there instead of just a big odd space! Gosh, it's really beautiful.

    Garden Centre Astbury


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