My current favourite perfume ingredient – galbanum

Galbanum was one of the first perfume ingredients I bought years ago – it sounded interesting. At the time though I was not ready for such an ingredient! Only now am I appreciating it’s full beauty.

Galbanum essential oil is steam distilled from the resin collected from the ferula galbaniflua flowering plant. Galbanum has an initial intense slap in the face fresh green aroma, with peppery nuances. It seems to be both hot and cool at the same time. Upon dry down it reveals balsamic wood notes.

Galbanum essential oil

Galbanum essential oil

As I mentioned in my previous post I am currently working on a green floral. I’m loving the versions with the intense green galbanum note but I’m mindful that there are going to be people who may not be up for the challenge of galbanum – just like I wasn’t at the start of my perfume journey. So, today I went for a trip to the department store to try out Chanel No.19, to find out how “green” does a commercial fragrance go. I certainly did detect some “green” freshness in the opening but I did not find it overly intense. So it leaves me to ponder whether to go intense or hold back a bit on the bracing greenness of galbanum.

I have fond memories of sampling the Aftelier Haute Clair a few years back (which is now a retired fragrance) and my assessment notes at the time say it was very green, peppery, fresh with a sweet floral heart. I do remember that the galbanum was quite pronounced and yet well balanced with the creamy floral ylang ylang.

I’m really enjoying working on this fragrance as it’s a departure from my preference for oriental style fragrances and spicy gourmands. So hopefully there will be a new èrlithe fragrance release in the not too distant future.

Kerry Che x

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Solid perfumes

Recently I went for a lovely drive to The Honey Farm located in Chudleigh, Tasmania. Chudleigh lies in a little valley with the awesome Great Western Tiers as the backdrop. Chudleigh is also very close to Mole Creek Karst National Park – an area renowned for underground caves, underground rivers, caverns and glow worms! It is a breathtakingly beautiful, pristine part of the world.

The purpose of my trip was to pick up some beeswax for my solid perfumes. The beeswax has a beautiful rich, honey aroma. Here it is:

Tasmanian beeswax from Chudleigh

Tasmanian beeswax from Chudleigh

And here are the solid perfumes made from the beeswax with jojoba, essential oils & absolutes: Solar, Rose Tea & Forest.

SOLAR: is a radiant blend of juicy citrus, jasmine grandiflorum, bitter orange absolute and amber.

ROSE TEA: is a bohemian rose & tea, with a heart of rose centifolia and damascena delicately surrounded by tea notes of bergamot, rooibos red tea and frankincense, on a base of patchouli and oud.

FOREST: dappled rays of citrus dance amongst the fir and pine trees, before casting light on an earthy forest floor of vetiver and incense.

These have been a real delight to make. There seems to be something calming and meditative about the preparation of solid perfumes – I think it has to do with the grating and melting of the beeswax! After adjusting of ratios, these have turned out to be a lovely creamy consistency that melt right into the skin leaving an intimate veil of scent.

These will initially only be available at the Launceston niche market. I should then have them available online in the new year.

 

Natural Jasmine Perfume recipe (formula)

Today I would like to share with you the formula for my own personal jasmine natural perfume. Formulas are not often shared so why am I doing this? Simply because over the years I have learnt a lot on the web about many topics that I am interested in, thanks to generous people willing to share their knowledge and experience.  It is in this spirit that I want to share a personal fragrance formula that I love based on jasmine.

Jasmine is a much loved flower, offering a rich and heavy narcotic floral scent with an animalic background. The sambac variety is deeper, spicier, less sweet and more intense than the grandiflorum. The grandiflorum variety showcases delicious sweet fruity notes. From an aromatherapy point of view, jasmine is uplifting, rejuvenating and energising with aphrodisiac qualities. The blooms continue to emit scent long after they have been picked from the plant. I can vouch for this – I picked a little sprig last Friday on my way to work. I popped the sprig in my top pocket and all day I was gifted with the most amazing wafts of jasmine. I kept forgetting I had it in my pocket and found myself wondering on occasion where the lovely smell was coming from! I still have the little sprig on my desk. The blooms are now completely shrivelled but are still emitting a scent – 5 days later, amazing!

Today, I collected a much larger bunch, which will keep the house smelling fantastic for days.

The following formula I do not sell. This is because I use a few ingredients that can be hard to come by and so I reserve it for my own personal use. I apologise that it is not a perfume formula that you can whip up today. If you don’t have an extensive perfumers palette you may not have some of the ingredients on hand and so will need to purchase before you have a go. In addition I have used a handmade organic peruvian cacao nib tincture (aged 4 months before filtering) and vanilla bean tincture (aged 9 months) in pure natural grape alcohol as the base for this perfume. It is well worth going to the effort of making these tinctures.

If you are not inclined to make your own perfume, I hope it gives you a little insight into the process I use to create perfume.

This perfume is what I’d describe as a rich oriental spicy floral – my favourite!

JASMINE SPICE NATURAL PERFUME

Measure in a sterilised small measuring glass (30ml glass) using disposable pipettes.

Cacao Nib Tincture 83 drops

Vanilla Bean Tincture 72 drops

To this base add the following:

Balsam of Peru eo 4 drops

Australian Sandalwood eo 3 drops

50% Opoponax absolute 3 drops (equivalent 1.5 drops)

2% Indole (natural isolate) 10 drops (equivalent 0.2 drops)

10% Blackcurrant Bud absolute 5 drops (equivalent 0.5 drops)

25% White Cognac eo 3 drops (equivalent 0.75 drops)

10% Violet Leaf absolute 4 drops (0.4 drops)

Jasmine Sambac absolute 4 drops

Jasmine Grandiflorum absolute 2 drops

Jasmine Grandiflorum Concrete 1/64 teaspoon – just under

Rose Maroc absolute 2 drops

Bitter Orange Flower absolute 2 drops

Cardamon absolute 1 drop

Pink Grapefruit eo 2 drops

Blood Orange eo 3 drops

Bergamot (bergaptene free) eo 4 drops

5% Basil absolute 10 drops (equivalent 0.5 drops)

Blood Cedarwood eo 2 drops

Stir together, pour into a bottle and allow to marry for at least a week – preferably 2 – 3 weeks. After this time, strain through a funnel lined with unbleached filter paper. Decant into a 4ml bottle.

This makes just under 4mls of perfume at around 15% concentration.

Multiply as required to scale up. For larger volumes I would recommend converting the drops to weight to ensure accuracy in subsequent replication.

Jasmine Spice natural perfume

Jasmine Spice natural perfume

NOTES ON SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS

I use Opoponax absolute – not the essential oil. There is a vast difference in smell! The absolute is much richer and deeper. It is also the consistency of syrup and so it is best to dilute before using.

Indole is a natural isolate and even at 2% dilution is quite strong – smells a bit like moth balls. It occurs naturally in jasmine and helps add a little radiance. I’ve only added a dash, so it wouldn’t hurt to leave out as there is already plenty of jasmine in the perfume. If you would like to know a little more about indole, Victoria on her blog Bois de Jasmin writes beautifully about all things olfactory.

Blackcurrant Bud absolute – I adore this, although some liken it to cat pee! I don’t smell that myself. To me it smells earthy, fruity and wine like. Only a small amount is needed to prevent overpowering.

Cognac essential oil – this has a dry, tart, wine like aroma. It is used as a modifier to add a bit of lift to the blend. It is only needed in minute amounts, unless you really want the full dry, tart experience.

Violet Leaf absolute – has a very cool, green, leaf like aroma. This has to be added very carefully, otherwise your perfume will become a very “green” scent. Just a little bit, hints to the freshness of leaves whilst adding a long dry out to the perfume.

For the citrus oils I like to keep them in the 2 – 3% range in the finished perfume due to the issues with photo-toxicity. For this reason, I also only use distilled oils (not expressed citrus oils) and choose bergaptene free bergamot. Nonetheless, I recommend that perfumes containing citrus are not applied to skin that will be exposed to the sun or UV rays within 24 hours.

Basil absolute should be kept at less than 2% of the fragrance concentrate. Here it is used at 1.5%.

I normally have the base ingredients representing a higher ratio in my formulas, however, the tinctures here are acting as a base. To help the longevity of your fragrance, make sure your skin is well moisturised with an unscented product where you will apply the fragrance. This gives the perfume something to hold on to.

If you give this a try I’d love to know how it went and what you think. Also, if you make any adjustments, I’d love to know what they were and how they turned out.

Hope you have a shiny, happy day x

P.S. 23/06/15 I just thought I’d add the following in case readers were unaware: natural jasmine absolute is restricted in commercial fragrances by IFRA due to the potential for skin sensitisation. Jasmine Grandiflorum absolute is allowed at a maximum of 0.7% in the finished fragrance and Jasmine Sambac absolute at 4%. Rose absolute is restricted to 5% of the fragrance concentrate. The above recipe has the Jasmine Grandiflorum at around 0.9% of the finished fragrance and the Rose Absolute at around 6% of the fragrance concentrate – so both are above the IFRA limits. The Jasmine Sambac is ok at around 1.8%. As this is a recipe for personal use, if you choose to make it, it is at your own discretion. If you are concerned you can halve the Jasmine Grandiflorum and Rose absolute and see how it smells.

As a precaution, I think it is good practice for personal safety to always check that online fragrance recipes are using ingredients within recommended usage limits by IFRA and if they are not, at least you are aware and can make an informed decision as to whether to go ahead and make the blend. (When I was starting out years ago I followed an online lip balm recipe. The cinnamon essential oil looked a bit too much so I halved it – thank goodness I did, because even with using half the amount of the cinnamon my lips instantly swelled to twice their size and became extremely red!

The Good Scents Company is also very good for such information.

 

Strawberry Tincture

Tincturing is something I’ve been experimenting with since the arrival of my vast amount of 190-proof, natural grape alcohol. My latest tincture experiment I thought I’d share with you is a strawberry tincture.

I took some freeze dried strawberries and placed them in a sterilised glass jar. I covered them with the 190-proof natural grape alcohol and gave it all a bit of a shake for a couple of weeks. The freeze dried strawberries transferred their colour and aroma over to the alcohol quite quickly, so I possibly could have removed them a bit sooner. I filtered off the strawberries and now have a beautiful strawberry smelling alcohol to use as a base for future perfumes. I’m finding the strawberry aroma adequate after just the one lot of strawberries. In fact, it’s a lot stronger than I had anticipated.

Late last night I opted to use my strawberry tincture to make a perfume rather than going to bed early! I’ve been contemplating what approach to take to make a Tuberose perfume for myself for a little while now and so thought I’d see how the strawberry base works. I’ve never been partial to Honore des Pres Vamp A NY bubblegum take on Tuberose preferring Aftelier’s tempering of the sweetness with Cepes Absolute in Cepes & Tuberose, but over time I am actually starting to appreciate the cloying sweet component of Tuberose.

So, late last night I had the idea of a fruity Tuberose, chocolate truffle type perfume. I included Cepes absolute but in a trace amount only, added Cocoa absolute to a base of Vanilla, Labdanum, Oakmoss, Sandalwood and Benzoin and then made a heart of Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Bulgarian Rose and Linden Blossom. I chose Linden Blossom as it has this amazing fruity rum ‘n’ raisin like vibe and I took a punt that this aspect would marry nicely to the strawberry base, Cocoa absolute, earthy Cepes and sweet Tuberose. For the top notes, I’m using citrus with a dash of Peppermint for subtle freshness. So far so good. The strawberry is actually the first thing I smell, with a definite rum ‘n’ raisin back note.

I also thought I’d give a little pictorial update on the Vanilla Bean Tincture. Here it is, looking dark and delicious!

Tasmanian Boronia

Tasmania ‘the natural state’ is renowned throughout the world as one of the cleanest places on earth, boasting one of the last pristine temperate wilderness areas. Around 45% of Tasmania consists of reserves, national parks and world heritage sites. It is the destination for anyone wanting to experience the magnificence of nature and unique flora and fauna.

Tasmania is the place of dreams – a place people wish they could live, but due to low employment opportunities, most only get to experience the magic of Tasmania on holidays. I therefore consider myself incredibly lucky that I have the opportunity to live here and be inspired by Tasmania’s beauty in the creation of my natural perfumes. I could rave on forever about how amazing Tasmania is but I will now get to the main discussion point of this blog entry – a natural botanical perfumery ingredient that once again puts Tasmania on the world map, Boronia Absolute.

Boronia Absolute is produced from the flowers of a native shrub – Boronia megastigma (brown boronia). It is an evergreen shrub with intensely rich, fragrant flowers. How intense?  INTENSE!! Yesterday I visited a local garden nursery to pick up some vegetable seedlings and seeds for my new veggie patch. As I was wandering through the nursery an amazing sharp, floral, tangy, zesty smell wafted my way. I stopped dead in my tracks, excitedly sniffing the air! I knew that smell! Following my nose I found a table holding around 7 plants – BORONIA!! I was beside myself with excitement. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, this is Tasmania after all! However, I have not actually seen and smelt the real plant before and have not as yet come across a nursery that had it in stock. I grabbed 3 of the plants like there was no tomorrow! The fragrance is amazing, smelling just like my boronia absolute at home! I carried my beloved boronia’s with me around the nursery as I gathered what I had actually gone there for, all the while their heavenly scent surrounding me. The car was filled with the intoxicating boronia aroma for the drive home and my lovely plants are currently sitting on a table outside delighting me with their fragrance each time I pass.

There are around 90 – 100 species of boronia. Boronia megastigma or brown boronia is the type that is used for the production of boronia absolute. They grow to about 1 meter x 1 meter and have delightful purple-brown bell shaped flowers with a striking yellow/lime green colour inside. I also chose a yellow boronia with yellow bell shaped flowers, still fragrant but not as intensely fragrant as the brown boronia. Apparently they can be difficult to grow, tending to be fast growing and short lived – not particularly good news for a non green thumb such as myself!

The shrubs are commercially grown in a number of locations throughout Tasmania – around 12 plantations are located in the North and East of Tasmania, totalling around 45 hectares. The flowers are mechanically harvested between August and October each year. The concrete is produced from the open flowers by non-chlorinated solvent extraction. Traditional alcohol extraction of the concrete produces the absolute. There are around 150 chemical constituents that naturally occur in Boronia, with beta-ionone and dodecyl acetate being the two main components contributing to the aroma. The aroma is typically described as an intensely rich and floral aroma with an initial opening of the natural green freshness of cassis and the character of ripening hay followed by exotic fruit undertones of yellow freesias and a woody dry-out. The persistency and intensity of the scent has made it highly valued in the perfumery world and is also used in the food industry as an addition to citrus and berry formulations.

There is only 1 producer here in Tasmania that I am aware of. The high demand and small supply makes boronia absolute an incredibly expensive, if not the most expensive, botanical perfumery ingredient in the world. The producer only sells to those capable of buying in large quantities – to then buy from these suppliers is very costly, a very recent quote for just 50 mls of absolute will set me back AUD$1750!!

For those who follow this blog, you’ll be aware that I make and sell 030 Orange Blossom and Boronia Natural Perfume – I occasionally worry that I won’t be able to secure enough boronia to keep making this perfume, but I guess that’s just the way it is sometimes.

030 Erlithe Boronia perfume

030 Boronia perfume amongst the Boronia!

At least I have my very own boronia shrubs for now and who knows, maybe I’ll work out how to extract my own boronia absolute – dreaming! : )

Have any of my readers ever seen and smelt real boronia? If so, what did you think of it?

Kerry Che x