Vetiver essential oil

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Musings on making scents with …vetiver essential oil is the kind of note that makes you want to lean in to get a better smell of someone. Vetiver encapsulates in its being all of what I aspire my perfume creations to be.

Common name(s): Vetiver essential oil, vetivert, khus, ruh-khus

Botanical name: vetiveria zizanioides

Supplier/Source: White Lotus Aromatics ?

Note: Base

Family: Wood/Green

Diffusion: 8/9

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: cassie, cedarwood, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, cocao absolute, cofee bean, frankincense, galbanum, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, oakmoss, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, tobacco absolute violet leaf, ylang ylang. (Eden Botanicals)

Both vetiverols and acetates have softer odours and fixative qualities, and are used as blender with high-class perfumery products. They blend well with ionone, linalool, cinnamic alcohol, oakmoss, vanila, sandalwood, patchouli and rose bases, and are frequently used in western type of fragrances having chypre, fougere, rose, violet and amber aldehyde base, and oriental fragrances and floral compounds. (Fragantica)

Chemical components: the chemical composition of vetiver oil is extremely complex, mainly comprising of sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpene derivatives, of which vetiverols, their carbonyl compounds and esters, are the main constituents, and their relative abundance normally establishes the oil quality. Three carbonyl compounds, _-vetivone, _-vetivone and khusimone, are considered the primary odor-influencing components; _-vetivone has the better odor, and is considered the most important, while its major isomer nordihydro _-vetivone has a strong, rich, woody-peppery note. (vetiver.com)

Interesting bits: Vetiver is deep and slightly sweet, with light smoky undertones. Its pronounced earth and root notes are well-balanced with its somewhat resinous character. It is an excellent base note with very good fixative qualities. Vetiver essential oil varies dramatically in aroma depending on where it is grown (soil type, country of origin, etc.). Also known as vetivert, khus, or khus khus, Vetiver has a long history of use and is very well known as the Oil of Tranquility.1 It is obtained from the roots of a tropical grass originally from India and Sri Lanka, but the plant is now grown in many tropical countries. From time immemorial, one of the oldest aromatic uses of vetiver roots is to weave them into mats which, when dampened with water and hung in windows like curtains, cool and scent the air with a pleasant aroma.2

Vetiver oil is thick and, like Patchouli and Sandalwood, improves with age; it is a premium base note and makes an excellent fixative in essential oil formulas. (Eden Botanicals)

Essence from the Eastern Asian weed grass Vetiveria zizanoid that falls under the woods category thanks to its musty, dry, woody scent with bitter chocolate and smoke facets. Very popular in niche perfumery and masculine fragrances. The reference vetivers are Carven’s, Givenchy’s and Guerlain’s classic renditions.

Vetiver is native to South India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It is also cultivated in Reunion, the Philippines, the Comoro Islands, Japan, West Africa and South America. The oil is mainly produced in Java, Haiti and Reunion. In World market the demand for vetiver oil is increasing day by day due to its unique odour, for which it is used in both flavour and fragrance industries. Moreover, this oil cannot be substituted with reconstituted oil and cannot be made through synthetically. Vetiver perfumes give pleasing aroma and has slow evaporation rate. Pure vetiver (Khus) root oil known in trade as “Ruh – Khus” and its use in scents since ancient time. Vetiver oil is the basis of the Indian perfume ‘Majmua’ and is the major ingredient in some 36% of all western perfumes (e.g. Caleche, Chanel No. 5, Dioressence, Parure, Opium ) and 20% of all men’s fragrances. In addition to its direct perfumery applications, vetiver oil in its diluted form is extensively used in after-shave lotions, air freshners and bathing purposes, as well as flavoring syrups, ice cream, cosmetic and food preservation. Khus essence is used in cool drinks, and for reducing pungency of chewing tobacco preparations, providing sweet note to other masticatories and incense sticks.(Fragrantica)

Their nose: Deep, slightly sweet and resinous, with pronounced earth and root notes and light smoky undertones; an excellent fixative and base note (Eden Botanicals)

My nose: the best way for me to describe the opening note of vetiver essential oil is sublime! Gorgeous, full, thick, voluptuous, enveloping, warm. To me this is the real cashmere! 15min and it’s deeply earhy, very diffusive, satisfying, dusty, weathered, and loaded with energy and life – it’s like a forest explosion! After 30min it moves into nutty, thick, plump smell that reminds me of suede and cashmere. 45min leads to a fuller expression of vetiver, it fills the nostrills eve with two full sniffs. This note is easily underestimated so easy does it. It’s thought-provoking, deep, deep, deep. Solid, foundational, contemplative. The 1hr later and vetiver essential oil is thick with character, creamy, damp, mossy, wooden forest, mysterious and alive with nature and lays heavily on the smelling strip. This note isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 2hrs now and it’s beginning to seriously fan out! Very diffusive with a layer of extravagance and luxury that just remains clinging to the atmosphere, pungent, lush and very intriguing. As vetiver essential oil progresses through to the 3hr mark I am knocked over. Wow! This is a power note! Punchy, rousing, more raw and rugged now, it possesses a more textual quality than ever before. Entering the deeper parts of the drydown 7hrs later I wonder how is it that this note just keeps getting stronger and stronger? Sodden, thick, yet serene, stable and sensible, it is the essence of the Earth. I end the evaluation at 12hrs and vetiver is now like a warm, snuggly blanket, still very well-grounded, lulling to the point of being hypnotic. It’s a gentler, softer, much more refined reincarnation of its earlier self. This is the point where I would love it to come out and reveal itself everything previous seems over the top, too much almost. In comparison I judge this to be the finest hour of vetiver essential oil.

Today’s my 50th birthday (yeah!) so I’m going to celebrate by takeìing it easy and doing everything that I can to make myself happy! There’s already so much in my life that I’m grateful for that the impulse is not to do but to just to be. To sit quietly, take it all in and allow myself to be moved by the goodness of this life.

 Wishing you a wonder-filled weekend!

 MC


Aroma Profile: Sweet Orange 10 Fold

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Musings on making scents withsee the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Common name: Sweet Orange 

Botanical name: Citrus sinensis

Supplier: Alambica

Note: Top/Heart

Family: Citrus

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10

Blends well with: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Chemical components: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Interesting bits: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Their nose: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

My nose: At the first sniff my Sweet Orange 10 fold essential oil is more blunt than the 5 fold, not sharp at all, with the obvious citrus outlines, but barely though. This one is thick and deliberate, ponderous and even heavy. What a difference between the two folded oils! After 15min it’s now a lot warmer, thicker, where the 5 fold was thinner, still very identifiable as orange even if it seems to be only now waking up. 30min and it appears to be fading quickly — too quickly! I mean, it’s there but I am finding that I have to work hard to reach it. 45min now it’s a very, very sleepy orange. Still present but seems to have retreated somewhere inaccessible. At 1hr this is much, much softer than the 5 fold. It’s plush, lush, citrus and the orange-ness seems to be lagging behind, yet is quite comforting and warm which I find odd for a citrus. 2hrs later and it’s growing harder and harder to discern this scent! It appears more nebulous, almost gone, very understated and smells more like mandarin to my nose than orange at this point. At 3hrs it’s just about gone, there’s not much left but a delicate roundness too that remains like an aura. 7hrs now, just a very thin whispery layer left, I almost can’t sense it. The 12hr mark and strangely enough this is still around, but just a hint, a mere flutter or just my imagination? After 24hrs on a very deep inhale what I get is a sense of that round, sweet, softness before it disappears.

12/24 comparison: The 24hr strip is warm, soft and sweet still, even if all you get is a very short moment with it and then it’s gone. The 12hr strip is very much the same impression only it lasts for longer. But, it really is strange that a citrus is able to hang around for 12hrs and beyond.

I’m a bit late posting today, life happening is all :). One long To-Do list and I was only able to get about 3 things done, oh well. Have a great Wednesday and Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

MC


Aroma Profile: Sweet Orange 5 Fold

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Musings on making scents with Sweet Orange essential oil 5 fold … I’m doing this profile while on holidays at my daughter’s place and it’s a first for me so I’m wondering how differently, if at all, the nose will react to a change in setting. In my studio I’m more sure of things, of myself, (well, at least I pretend to be :)) but here as I look around at unfamiliar objects and do feel a bit uncertain. This is interesting to note and be aware of…

Common name: Sweet Orange

Botanical name: Citrus sinensis

Supplier: Alambica

Note: Top/Heart

Family: Citrus

Diffusion: 7

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: cinnamon, coriander, clove, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, bergamot, myrrh, sandalwood, nutmeg, mandarin, tangerine, nerolidol, petitgrain.

Chemical components: Limonene gives citrus fruit their familiar aroma (Wikipedia); limonene (up to 97%!), a-pinene, sabinene, b-pinene, myrcene, octanol, linalool, delta-3-carene, decanal.

Interesting bits: First of all what is a folded oil? What I found out is that the folded essential oils are more concentrated and have a richer, more intense aroma than the oils produced through simple expression. Think croissant pastry dough how it gets gently folded many, many times into itself to produce that fluffy quality. 

Folded essential oils are those that have been further distilled and concentrated to create a more concentrated, and usually stronger smelling, essential oil. The oils should have a longer shelf life because some of the terpenes that contribute to oxidation of the oil have been removed, and they should be safer to use in leave in products thanks to the removal of those same terpenes. (Point Of Interest)

“A “folded” essential oil is an essential oil that has been further distilled and concentrated from its already highly concentrated form. Citrus oils (like orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, tangerine, blood-orange, mandarin, and bergamot) are the most commonly found in “folded” versions, and the most common “folds” are 5-fold and 10-fold.” (About Home)

Orange is a citrus fruit and a hybrid between pomelo and mandarin….Even though oranges remind us of distant tropical islands and exotic rainy forests, the sweet orange doesn’t occur in the wild. This hybrid species had been first cultivated in southern China and Europeans became acquainted with it in the 11th century, and used it widely for medical purposes. Italian traders have spread the seed to the Mediterranean area in mid 15th century, and since then the sweet orange has rapidly spread all around the globe, being quickly adopted as a delicious juicy fruit. The sailors from the Old Continent planted Oranges along their trade routes to prevent scurvy – same as the pirates of the Caribbean used lemon and rum, to make their favorite alcoholic beverage (and a natural remedy) called Grog. People of the freshly discovered Americas have introduced rum to the old Europe, while Europeans (Christopher Columbus himself!) brought the seeds of oranges, lemons and citrons to the Caribbean….one of the most commonly used aromatic ingredients in perfume industry, especially in floral and Cologne type fragrances….There are many different variants of orange and each of them possesses different olfactory properties. Bitter Orange, Blood Orange, Orange Blossoms and Mandarin Orange are most commonly found in fragrant compositions. Orange blossom and neroli are extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree (also known as Sevile orange or Citrus aurantium). The only difference between them is that orange blossom is extracted using the volatile solvents, while neroli is steam-distilled. Neroli has a wonderful and heady refreshing but spicy floral aroma, which makes it a great addition to all kinds of floral compositions, eau de colognes and skin-care products. Another derivate from bitter orange is the bitter orange oil that has a distinctive citrusy aroma placed somewhere in the middle of sweet orange and bitter grape. The leaves of bitter orange, as well as the flower buds, are steam-distilled to produce petitgrain, an essential oil that has a greenish woody orange scent. (Fragrantica)

Their nose: a delicious sweet, fruity, fresh and tangy smell (Fragrantica)

 … full bodied and has a deliciously sugary sweet, orange heart note. (Hermitage Oils UK)

My nose: from the opening sweet orange 5 fold fans out immediately with a sweet smell, almost like mandarins! Sharp, orangey, rind, yet plush. 15min and it’s still very sharp, tangy, pungent, rind odour, although I have to lean in a lot closer to get at it. 30min later the smell is nice and bright and alive on the strip. It seems to be leaping out at you. Now fresh and citrusy, succulent even. At 45min it’s still alive and awake on the strip, smelling more like the peel now, thin, but still orange. 1hr later and sweet orange 5 fold essential oil remains a very citrusy orange, the projection is less but still very noticeable although a bit more bare bones. After 2hrs on the strip it is very orange-y, now more luxurious, smooth, less bracing and splashy than in the beginning. 3hrs and wow, this is still hanging around! Very much an orange odour, it has a nice hold and this layer is drier, but still appears whole and intact, definitely not disintegrating as I assumed it would. 7hrs later and it is a lot greener, thinner, delicate and yes, still orange. 12hrs on and sweet orange 5 fold essential oil is now much more worn out but one can still make it out. I’m quite amazed it’s still present. Smells dry and satisfying, comforting too. The final evaluation at 24hrs and on the strip this still has a life of its own, but much softer and sweeter somehow, drier and more brittle.

12/24 comparison: The 12hr strip is more noticeable and in a direct comparison the 24hr one seems nonexistent, which begs the question: did I imagine it?!

Wishing you all a wonderful beginning to your summer and remember your sunscreen!

MC

Aroma Profile: Nootka Tree

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Musings on making scents with Nootka Tree essential oil… gotta admit, I bought this one out of pure curiosity but am not at all disappointed. What I learned is that Nootka tree essential oil isn’t really a true cypress, read on to see what I mean.  This note threw me a few aromatic curve balls which I still haven’t quite grasped. While writing this and sniffing anew I tried to pick up what those errant aspects were, but I suspect only time and experience will reveal them to me. No longer frustrated, I’m quite okay with leaving it a mystery till then.

Common name(s): Nootka Tree essential oil, Alaska cypress, Yellow cedarwood

Botanical name: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart-Base

Family: Woody

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: patchouli, vetiver, fir, grapefruit, bergamot, cardamom, juniper, labdanum, lavender, mandarin, orange, pine, etc.

Chemical components: Nootka essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes. The main components are valencene 15%, nootkatone 2%, nootkatene 57%, carvacrol 6%  

Interesting bits: Nootka is a majestic conifer that grows in British Columbia and Alaska. The tree is of great importance to the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest who use it for many of their carvings. In fact, it’s from the Nootka Tribe that the Nootka Tree gets its name. And curiously enough, it’s from the Nootka Tree that Nootkatone (the grapefruit ingredient) gets its name. (North West Aromatics)

There are many other species of cypress used to produce an essential oil; however, C. sempervirens is considered superior (Lawless 1992). Other Cypresses. Those trees referred to as cypress that are not true cypresses include the Port Orford white cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana); the Nootka sound cypress or Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatesis); and the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), famous for its southeastern U.S. swamp growths. Frequently used in landscape plantings, the Leyland cypress is a hybrid of the Nootka and Monterey (Coombes 1992). (Agora)

Their nose: Warm woody with a sandalwood top note. Leathery and smoky with patchouli and vetiver notes. Aromatic. (North West Aromatics)

Fresh, dry, precious woods bouquet with a powdery resinous undertone (White Lotus Aromatics)

Woody, spicy, cedarwood, leathery, minty, cumin, thyme (Hermitage Oils UK)

Spicy, smoky, juniper and pine-like aroma (Agora)

It smells like a quieter cedar wood oil (commenter on Basenotes)

My nose: Nootka tree essential oil opens with a definite pencil shavings effect. Pungent — no, blunt edged, it doesn’t reach out to you but remains held in check somehow, reserved and on the aloof side (must be its majestic origins). Then 15min later I get thin, scrawny, hint of gasoline/fuel. How weird is that?! At any rate, 30min later there is a sharp, thin, rough smell that reminds me of work. A gust of wind growls and I am sent memories of school days in childhood, and old pencil sharpeners, the ones you had to get up to to use because they were nailed to the wall! 45min now it’s austere, thin yet radiant, candid, it is what is, it hints at unpretentious, simple roots. 1hr into the journey and on a thin wispy layer of terpene, I am in the middle of dusk, though the note still has zip and exuberance. It gives you the feeling of being spirited away at any moment. Nookta tree is still sharp and pungent after 2hrs, but it’s stripped bare now, very singular in expression. 3hrs finds the note to be strident, shrill and me astounded that it’s still so insistent! Dry, bracing, peppery quality, too. 8hrs takes me into base note territory and holy mackerel this note has gone all dark, moody and enigmatic! Brooding…what?! Yes, there is something else hiding behind the obvious…but what is it?! I have to let it go, frustrated though it makes me and move on. 12hrs later there is only a slight pencil shavings facet but something else is affecting the overall impression…dry, pungent, thin, crisp, yet warm. At the 24hr mark there is a weird off note happening and the pencil shavings thing is still there! 

12/24 comparison: Very pungent, very much like pencil shavings at 12hrs. Dry, cracked, brittle — this is mainly what comes through for me. Somewhere between this and 24hrs there’s an off note that presents itself, something akin to gasoline.

That’s all for now, my nose is pooped, needs a rest, so the weekend is a welcome pause. See you Monday!

In-joy,

MC


Aroma Profile: Cypress essential oil

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Musings on making scents with cypress essential oil… yikes! I have two and I can identify the supplier of one but not the other. I think it’s one of the first I started to purchase about 3 years ago from a herbal shop here in town. After doing a full profile on this oil my curiosity has been roused and I’m going to order some Cypress absolute asap. My process is to do a full profile and a few days later write up the post; then as I’m writing I like to revisit it from a fresh point of “view” with the aroma of the note touching me every once in a while just to see what else my nose picks up without trying. This time around my main impression of Cypress essential oil is fresh, and I can pick out a citrus facet that I didn’t the first time!

Common name: Cypress

Botanical name: lat. Cupressus sempervirens (cupressaceae family)

Supplier: Essential Oil University

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Mossy (and I would add Green)

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: benzoin, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, most citrus oils, clary sage, ginger, lavender, ylang ylang, agarwood, ambrette seed, cypriol, cinnamon, choya nah, choya loban, choya ral, frankincense, sandalwood, poplar bud, rose, tonka, *vetiver, labdanum, juniper, bergamot, petitgrain — this, just to name a few!

Chemical components: a-pinene, camphene, sabinene, b-pinene, d-3-carene, myrcene, a-terpinene, terpinolene, linalool, bornyl acetate, cedrol and cadinene. (Esoteric Oils)

Monoterpenes: approximately 40-50 % of alpha-pinene, 15-20 % of delta-3-carene and up to 2 % of the sesquiterpenol cedrol, contributing to its aromatic profile. The Spanish oils from Catalonia have a similar odour profile to the French cypress oils as their higher cedrol content gives a woodier character to their fragrance. Oils from Murcia are lower in cedrol and therefore more terpenic or pine-like. (Scentcillo)

Interesting bits: Cypress is a name that relates to the plants of the cypress family Cupressaceae, growing in the temperate regions of the world. This is a very ancient family of trees that grew more than 200 million years ago on the supercontinent Pangaea. Today, Cypresses are found on all continents except Antarctica. (Fragrantica)

Regions of cultivation include the South of France, Catalonia and the Murcia region of Spain, Morocco and Corsica; the crop period lasting from December to February. Harvesting of the sprouts and young branches from the tree tops occurs initially approximately 5 years after planting, allowing regeneration of the plant and continuing annually during its long lifespan. Roughly 70-80 kg of foliage and branches will yield 1kg of cypress essential oil. In perfumery cypress is utilised in chypres, fougeres, amber accords and colognes. Like cedarwood Atlas, its virile character makes cypress a popular choice in men’s fragrances. (Scentcillo)

Their nose: From my reading, it seems that cypress wood has a pungent, woody, spicy aroma that can also be sometimes resinous, coniferous, or cedar-like. (Kafkaeque Blog)

The aroma of cypress can be described as fresh, lingering, pine-like, resinous, slightly smoky with a sweet, balsamic undertone. The scent is very evocative of a forest setting, bestowing a soothing and refreshing ambience. It acts as a top to middle note and equaliser in a composition, adding harmony and smoothing out rough edges in a blend. (Scentcillo)

My nose: cypress essential oil opens clean, clear, cool, crisp and light. Outdoors, piney, pungent, bracing, like plunging your hot, aching feet into a cool stream after a long mountain hike. At 15min now it’s much thinner, piercing, very green and all I get is this overwhelming impression of the great outdoors, wild and untamed. Clean. 30min and what I get is a bit more naked, bare, more razor sharp, also it’s less urgent, more settled, anchored so to speak. 45min leads me to a thin, sparse, clear, solitary note that is also awake, bright, alive and bracing! Imagine a 4 year old jumping on your bed at 06:30 shouting “mamma get up! mamma can you make me breakfast?!” as they twirl and bounce this way and that (and, no, you are not allowed to strangle them). After 1hr cypress is softer, more tangy, which is odd! It seems to be peeking through the openings like the sun would through a mighty cypress bough caught by a stray gust of wind. It’s drier now, too and somewhat “piccante” (I guess that’s why it could be a good partner with black pepper). 2hrs later and this is getting much more one dimensional, which is a bit disappointing, basic, coniferous, piney, woody, smell that is sharp, clear and up-lifting. Into the heart note now at 3hrs and it’s beginning to disperse, growing much more intangible and ephemeral by the minute. The impression is woody and slightly resinous. 8hrs on it’s much softer, bare and barely there, thin, woody, yes, but also I am stunned by how absolutely beautiful it is now! It takes that long to come into its own. After 12hrs cypress essential oil is dry, crisp, cool and beginning to smell a tad medicinal now. I get aromatherapy — nothing wrong with that only it’s a bit lack-lustre. A full 24hrs later reveals a pale dry, brittle, thin note that is still discernible as cypress. It leaves a nice trail which isn’t at all unpleasant.

12/24 comparison: the 12hr cypress is still strong, of course, you definitely know it’s cypress, and there is a distinct edge to it. Whereas the 24hr strip barely has a hint, but it’s there, clinging to the rocky cliffs of my olfactive landscape.

Wishing you a wonder-filled Wednesday!

MC


Aroma Profile: Sweet Gale

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Musings on making scents with Sweet Gale…did you know that the word myrica comes from the Greek which means “fragrance”? Sweet Gale is one of those notes that I am keenly motivated to do justice by, I hope one day to execute an accord that at the very least hints at her hidden splendour. I am in love with this note.

Common name: Sweet Gale, Bog Myrtle

Botanical name: Myrica gale

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Herbaceous

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: hop, cannabis, lemongrass, mastic, schinus molle, juniper, nutmeg, most citruses, lavender, coriander, thyme, ho, neroli bigarade, lavandin, bergamot, osmanthus, geranium bourbon, petitgrain, genet abs., clove, black pepper, ylang ylang…and that’s a pretty good start!

Chemical components: Alpha Terpineol 11%, D-Limonene 53%, Geranyl Acetate 5%, Linalool 4%, Linalyl Acetate 4%. (Hermitage Oils UK)

Aromatic components in the essential oil prepared from the leaves of cultivated Myrica gale var. tomentosa were compared with those from oil derived wild plants by using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). We found that essential oils from both the wild and cultivated plants contained similar aromatic components such as β-elemenone, selina 3,7(11)-diene, myrcene, limonene, cymene, 1,8-cineole, and β-pinene, but the content ratio of the oil was significantly different, which might yield differences in the aromatic properties. The aroma impact components of the essential oils were also determined using GC/MS-Olfactometry (GC/MS-O) and aroma extract dilution analysis. Eight aromatic compounds, including linalool, limonene, and 1,8-cineole, were shown to contribute to the aromatic properties of cultivated M. gale var. tomentosa. The strongest aromatic note was defined as linalool, followed by limonene, 1,8-cineole, and β-elemenone. (PubMed.gov)

Interesting bits: “This is very special material supplied to Hermitage by a Scottish artisan distiller.” (okay, so I was hooked after that) “Clear in colour, of a thin viscosity and produced via steam distillation of the flowers and leaves with twigs featuring sparingly in this particular distillation.” (Hermitage Oils UK)

Sweet gale rarely occurs as a single plant, more usually forming dense thickets from numerous suckers…Sweet gale thrives in acid soils along the margins of lakes and ponds and in peatlands and swamps (BC Living)

A natural predator of bog myrtle is the sheep and the deer; the young tender shoots presumably are a welcome change from their normal diet…Bog myrtle likes to be near running water, from where it derives much of its nourishment…you can still find high class restaurants that prepare fish and chicken dishes when it’s young and in season, though its culinary uses are now generally quite rare. There are breweries that use it to make a sweet heather ale, and some home or small brewers do the same according to their own handed down recipe, though unless they have bog myrtle growing nearby they find it difficult to buy. It’s got a very pleasant and very different taste to regular ales, even real ales, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find a heather ale even on your supermarket shelves, as well as on tap in a surprising number of pubs in Scotland. (Bog Myrtle From Scotland)

Their nose: The top notes of this material are candy-sweet and ice water fresh. In the heart a suave floral-sweetness takes charge, the sweet notes reminiscent to me of a Bergamot Mint and Bois de Rose infusion. Slowly but surely I unearth a really gentle sweet-herbaceous note that playfully wonders in and out of detection. For the perfumer the value is chiefly within the top note, imparting distinctive freshness that would be of extra value to anyone creating an oriental themed perfume. Sweet Gale is a marriage made in heaven with most spice materials along with fruits such as Bergamot and Cedrat and with floral and herb materials including Lavender, Lavandin, Rosemary, Hyssop and Clary Sage. (Hermitage Oils UK)

My nose: Sweet Gale opens — sweet, with a strong note of nutmeg, spicy, pungent, full-bodied, happy, alive, and very warm. It’s like a big warm hug! 15min later it’s more like honey, thick and delightful. It’s nutmeg and light and warm and comforting. I look like an addict inhaling so deeply, greedily; I just can’t get enough of this scent. 30min on and it’s soft now, a hint of pencil shavings is coming through but the main impression is nutmeg and “sweet”, sticky and golden if I could give it a colour. At 45min it’s warm, honied, glowing, golden and all I can “see” is honey being poured out slow and deliberate as it spreads out to claim a surface. 1hr now and it’s still sweet and unhurried, woody now, it’s like a nuzzle you get from your pet when they want you to caress them; sweet nectar of life. After 2hrs we’re into the heart notes now and Sweet Gale is like a golden liqueur, balmy, creamy, seductive, like honey on tap, close by always. 3hrs later and now it’s sweet heaven, dwindling but ever so slowly, still thick. After 8hrs I can still describe it as sweet, soft, not as thick but very much what it was 5 hours ago only softer, more whimsical and I find that sort of tough to pull off for something that at its heart is spicy. At 12hrs it’s still so warm and approachable, inviting, feminine, round, curvy, spicy but now only just a bit. The final drydown after 24hrs is still soft warm and sweet on the strip! Great tenacity but also something definitely spicy makes itself felt toward the end.

12/24 comparison: This 12hr strip is lush, vibrant, spicy and even now it’s warm and inviting. At 24hrs on the other hand, although definitely weaker, it maintains the warm glow effect nonetheless, drying out in a very integral way, very uniform in the way it exists.

Ahhh, feels good to be back. Happy sniffing and a wonderful weekend!

MC


Aroma Profile: Ledon essential oil

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Musings on making perfumes with Ledon essential oil: Hmmm, this would be a tricky note to master within an accord but satisfying once achieved. I love the many hidden qualities that seem to jump out at you unexpectedly with Ledon – this note can definitely spark a fire to try something new.

Common name: Ledon essential oil, Ledum, Labrador Tea, Marsh Tea

Botanical name: Ledum Groenlandicum

Supplier: Florihana (organic, wild, country of origin Canada, steam distillation from the flowering plant)

Note: Heart/Top

Family: Herbaceous

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Citruses, nutmeg, black pepper, carrot seed, fennel, Elemi, Cistus, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, lavender, clove, ginger, vetiver, helichrysum, myrrh, patchouli…

Chemical components: The monoterpene family is represented by sabinene as a major product. The limonene concentration depends sharply on the vegetative period, being more important during the flowering period. Terpinen-4-ol and myrtenal are the main compounds of a variety of oxygenated monoterpenes (Wingedseed.com)

Some of the most prominent chemical components straight from the Florihana Chromatography sheet are: alpha/beta-pinene 8% each, sabinene 25%, a-terpinene 3.5%, g-terpinene 10%, limonene 1.6%, p-cymene 2.7%, b-selinene 7%, a-selinene 2%.

Interesting bits: Florihana is a great company. Not only are their products organic or of wild origin of superior quality, but they provide all the necessary documentation you could ever need: MSDS, IFRA certificate, and chromatography.

Their nose: Ledum has a very complex odor profile, herbaceous with cuminic notes and a dry, leathery backnote, as well as faint Citrus notes. It is a very pleasant, strong aromatic, somewhat similar to the Rhododendrons. Dryout is cuminic, seedy and soapy with woody aspects. (Wingedseed.com)

My nose: The opening of Ledon is somewhat like cypress, pencil shavings-ish, thin, warm, and sharp. Outdoors, cool, but with something floral to it. After 15min I find that something goes straight inside and touches me deeply with this note, it’s direct. There is still the suggestion of a floral with the pencil shavings, only slightly though, a faint sweetness and it’s calming and soothing. 30min into the top notes and Ledon is pristine, sheer, light, enigmatic, perhaps because it’s unfamiliar, exciting and titillating, which I attribute to it’s cool effect. 45min now and I get warm, sharp, spicy, but which spice? More like a carrot seed spicy. Cumin spicy. There’s something peppery about it, even slightly citrusy and astringent. 1hr on and you get this wonderful peppery-ness that gives a feeling of expansion and opening, it rustles like dry leaves in the fall, it’s a fall retreat in the mountains. 2hrs and we’re heading into the heart notes which start off soft, romantic and luscious. I sense this now opening up and becoming confident, like it’s spreading its wings and it’s delightful. Just around the corner, a few steps beyond the sharp quality there is serious side to this note. At 3hrs I find it absolutely gorgeous! It is still pulsating with life and feels wonderfully content. Entering the base notes after 8hrs there is something more interesting going on here than just the obvious pencil shavings quality, there’s a hint of the citrus, tart and tangy, that add depth and interest. 12hrs later and what the hell? Holy pencil shavings and cumin! Sharp, spicy, pungent, fast, thinner now with a lot of character. But, aren’t these notes supposed to die down after 12 hours?! The final 24hr mark still reveals a spicy, peppery side, like cumin. Quite strong still but the sweetness, the soft floral-ness is gone, leaving just a sharp note. Wow. Totally wasn’t expecting that.

12/24 comparison: The 12hr strip is very cumin-like, pungent, cool, dry and brittle even. The 24hr strip in contrast, is almost imperceptible, the predominant aspect is the pencil shavings effect.

Happy perfuming!

MC