Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, July 22, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

White champaca - Michelia alba

Last week I showed you the beautiful golden champaca, this week I'm sharing a photo of the beautiful white champaca growing in my garden.  What a gorgeous, highly-scented tincture this makes!  It's so strong, I have to dilute it for standardization.

Do you have any perfumery questions this week?  I'll be here until 10 PM ET to aid you in your perfumery work.


  1. Can you tell me if it's possible to make a perfume with just essential oils? My feelings are that the aboslutes are chemicals because of the solvents used to make them.

    Thank you for being so helpful to novices!


  2. Dear Farrah:

    Of course you can make a perfume with only essential oils. Typically, it would be regarded as more of an aromatherapy perfume rather than a fine perfume.

    There are "absolutes" now being extracted with CO2 gas and other solvents that may be more to your liking. They're pricier and a bit harder to dissolve/meld in the compound and final juice, but well worth it if you wish to avoid hexane and other petrochemicals. Please know that the hexane and other solvents are completely recovered at the end of the process, unless a substandard extraction is done, and even then, the solvent can be vented off.


  3. What a beautiful champaca. I am an aromatherapist and herablist but sometimes my plants and herbs don't grow to love me the way I would like them too. My white champaca isn't growing so nicely no matter how much sunlight it gets. How tall is yours? I would love to know your secret, lips sealed!

    Happy gardening :)
    Amber Blue Skincare

  4. Dear Amber:

    Mine is a big tree in a big pot. They are very temperamental, as I learned by visiting garden websites like Dave's Garden. I have it in a pot so I can move it round the garden. It doesn't like to much water is the best tip I can give.



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