Sunday, August 05, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, August 5, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

I'll be around all day to answer your perfumery questions, just popping in and out as I have a meeting or two. Here's some photos of the vintage candy molds I'm using for my Room Candy wax melts. The wax melts smell soooo good!  Read my previous posts to find out more about them.


  1. Hi Anya,
    Congratulations on your beautiful new creations!

    Is there a difference between benzoin & styrax?
    I have benzoin in resin (tears) form and wondering what a good ratio for tincturing it in small batches would be? I've been experimenting and love the way it smooths and sweetens the grain alcohol.

    Also, do you have a recommendation a lab equipment source?
    Thank you!

  2. Dear Suzinn:

    Yes, there is a difference, and the two resin exudates are often confused.

    Benzoin tears are from the tree Styrax benzoin from Sumatra and S. tonkinensis aka Thai or Siam benzoin and they have been used since the beginning of time for the lovely warm, rich, balsamic fragrance and medicinal properties. It is a lovely fixative for alcohol, as you have found. Typically, I add it at 5% w/w.

    Confusingly, it has been called benzoin, liquid storax, styrax and liquid amber.

    Styrax or storax is from Liquidamber orientalis and L. styracifula. So, Benzoin comes from S. benzoin and S. tonkinensis and styrax/storax from the Liquidamber species. It's the common names that confuse the issue.

    Benzoin is quite lovely for perfumery, styrax not so much. I find it has a plastic scent, but in combination with benzoin and other balsamic "ambery" aromatics it can be used in an amber accord.

    As far as the lab equipment, I tend to buy from suppliers on the East coast to save on shipping, except when someone out West has a good sale that makes it worthwhile. It depends on where you live, so if you tell me I can narrow the choices.


  3. Hi Anya:

    What is the best way to blend with coconut absolute? I find it disappearing into my perfumes! I really like the coconut smell and want to make a beach perfume.

    Thanks you


  4. Thanks for the info on Benzoin. Yes, just like in horticulture, it's the common names that get confusing.

    At this point I am self taught and hoping to take classes as time/$ allow. I'm not familiar with the term w/w (does this mean with water?
    If you have any recommendations on sites with info on tincturing I'd love to know about them. I've enjoyed BellyFlowers and Providence Perfumes blog posts on the subject. Do you have any posts on tincturing? I've been tincturing various flowers and leaves in my garden this summer and so enjoying the results!
    Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with me :) XO
    I live in Portland OR, come visit anytime!

  5. Hi Suzinn:

    The w/w means the ratio of weight to weight, e.g., 5g benzoin, 95g alcohol if you were fixing 100g of alcohol. There's also v/v (volume/volume) and w/v (weight/volume). They're all explained in my textbook and examples given as to why choose one over another.

    I have many, many posts here about tincturing, just use the search feature. Some are answers to Ask the Perfumer questions, but many are about tincturing. For instance, goat hair tincture - I'm the first one to write about that ;-)


  6. Hi Michelle:

    Coconut absolute has a very low aromatic rating, maybe a 1 out of five. You could try to make your own tincture by buying the most fragrant dried coconut you can find, and re-charging the alcohol with subsequent amounts of coconut until you get the scent level you desire. Also, toasted coconut makes a great, unique tincture!


  7. Thank you again! Now I really need to buy a scale.
    And I must find out what Goat Tincture smells like asap! ;) XO

  8. Yes, toasted coconut does make a wonderful tincture!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.