adventures in tincturing – tonka bean

Tincture1

I love tincturing my own aromatics! There’s a special kind of delight that comes from taking something from its raw ingredient to something you can actually wear on your body that just sends me. Today I want to talk about my experience tincturing Dipteryx Odorata a.ka. Tonka Bean.

So, here’s how I did it and some thoughts and impressions during process:

Tonka beans: they are these little shrivelled up black beans and when I cut them up there was this glorious vanilla smell that rose up to tickle my nose.  I cut up about 50gr of beans with a knife, the beans I got from De Hekserij in Holland and then I added 200ml of 96% ethanol.  I used a mason jar and put it away in a cupboard and shook it every day – of course sniffing as I went.

I love that part; shaking and sniffing (…sniffing, sniffing, sniffing – headache!), everyday the smell is different! All of my tinctures I find to be so satisfying, I’m not even really sure why but they seem to leap forward and speak to me.

Decanting it I am totally struck by how much it has in common with Vanilla!  I haven’t gotten the essential oil yet so can’t compare but this smell is so soft. I value tinctures in my perfumes because sometimes I want a watered down effect of an essential oil, something just slightly different and tinctures give me this flexibility, this nuance.  And there’s a certain gratification in knowing I made it.

When I first started tincturing I was so anxious, what if I screwed up and had to throw everything away?! But what’s important to note is that tincturing is not an exact science, that’s what’s fun about it, just trust and follow your nose.

I have yet to use fresh ingredients. It was my intent this spring to use the fragrant petals of our rose bush but my mother-in-law, sweet woman, lay claim to it for her her soap making.  That’s okay, she needs to keep busy and I’ve got enough on my plate…next year.

image credit: freshpickedbeauty.com

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5 thoughts on “adventures in tincturing – tonka bean

    1. Amen! And I think it’s wrong to expect “sameness” from perfume. Composing perfume has taught me this.

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  1. How wonderful to find a kindred spirit! I am just tincturing my first batch of tonka beans, and while I have been frustrated by the lack of information and advice on how to proceed, it is so gratifying to be on this unique journey of discovery in the realm of scent

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    1. Welcome, Nicole! I know what you mean about finding a kindred spirit in the world of perfumery and tincturing. I swear I am tincture crazy and anything with a remote smell is at risk of ending up in ethyl alcohol! Nice to have you here!

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