adventures in tincturing: cardamom and coriander

cardamom-&-coriander

During my break I did try to keep my nose in shape mainly just by being consciously aware of smells, noting them and mentally cataloguing their impressions and being aware of my nose as a very important instrument in how I perceive my world.

Spices have always been a part of my childhood and they are some of the first ingredients I reach for in my mind when mentally formulating, or wishing. So it comes as no surprise that on a visit to D’s place in April I purchased some organic coriander and cardamom to tincture.

I had intended to leave them till July to filter but after performing these evaluations I think I’ll have to filter tomorrow.  At any rate here are my olfactive impressions so far on the scent strip:

Cardamom: This tincture opened sharp, smelling obviously of cardamom, spicy, tangy, fizzy and cool.  From one nostril I captured a lemony, bright facet and from the other a sharp, luminous, also lemony side.  After 30 minutes it begins to warm up, the spiciness unfurls even more, I get India, an opening, calming, goodness.  After an hour I’m shocked that the tincture hasn’t broken down yet, but is still rather fresh, in tact and holding its own!  It starts to fade around 2 hours, after 3 there’s but a hint of an impression.  But the amazing thing is after 24hours if I breathe on it I can still get it! Wow!  Not bad for a tincture.

Coriander:  On the other hand, this one I had higher expectations because about a month ago when I tested it it was perfect so I think I should have filtered it then and there.  But no, I had to push it and so ended up with this:

First impression is a bit unpleasant. Out of one nostril I get flour!  No, not flour, but dough! A sort of yeasty-ness. Out of the other nostril I get a bit of green, clean and soapiness.  30 minutes out and it has a very metallic, thin, soapy impression but less than before and it’s still giving off a greenness.  After 1 hour it’s barely discernible. Now it’s smelling like something I’d smell in food.  At the 2 hour mark its gone.  Ba-bye.  Sayonara.

cool stuff and new stuff on the way!

cool-stuff

“..because I’m HAPPY! Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.” Yep, totally in love with Pharrell’s new song!

AND my new smelling strips wheel is finally finished.  Elisa of Eligiart (and no, she doesn’t have a website up yet), the marvellous, creative, creature that makes my hand-bound journals and such, made this for me!  I saw it somewhere on a website made of plain paper used for another purpose and when I was in Elisa’s studio I saw the map just laying around and had an aha! moment and here’s the finished product.  This baby can hold a ton of smelling strips and all in an elegant design.  I love it when form and function combine into perfect harmony!  No little clips to fiddle with, just slide them into a fold anywhere.  Love, love, love it!

The other news is I’ve ordered the following new oils from Hermitage (UK) and Proxisante(France) and can’t wait to bury my nose deep in their mystery.  Here are the descriptions of what’s on it’s way (source: Hermitage and Proxisante), hopefully this week:

Cardamom MD (molecular distilled): Guatemala. Fresh, fusing, green, spicy, very true to fresh cardamom seed. This note is very clean, avoiding any initial camphoraceous and sometimes valerianic impressions often found as a background note in traditional extracts of cardamom.

Éclat de Cedrat: Italy. This essential oil is a sparkling zesty, fresh citrus aromatic. This material is a creation produced from Italian cedrats, bergamots and lemons; useful in the creation of fresh colognes, woody-vetivert accords and adds a sparkling top note to florals.

Guaiac Coeur MD: Paraguay. Produced by molecular distillation of Guaiac essential oil, with the focus being to concentrate the woody and lactonic notes with a floral and sweet-spicy connotation. The aroma is therefore very woody, lactonic, amber, with a soft spicy-floral and suede connotation. Less smoky and cleaner in aroma compared to the essential oil.

Patchouli Coeur MD (Select): Indonesia. The opening is warm, full-bodied, with lots of rich winter fruit notes spiced with hints of sweet oriental powdery musky incense. The heart and base notes are sublime. The rich musk incense notes blossom into a glorious creamy, ambery, woody, musky floral comparable to the heart notes of an aged Indian sandalwood, cedarwood atlas with a sprinkling of white florals and musk.  Honestly, getting this one was a no-brainer, really…how do I love thee, patchouli, let me count the ways.

Poplar Bud Absolute MD: France. Fruity-apricot, flowery-osmanthus, woody, leathery, liqueur-like davana notes with prune and fig undertones. Ideal for floral bouquets, oriental, fruity and leather notes.  I mean really, how could any perfumer say no to this novelty?!  Can’t you just smell it?

Vetiver Coeur (fractionation): Haiti. The main idea of this material is to allow the grassy and rooty nuances found in the heart to play the dominant role in the aroma.  A much lighter, fresher, brighter, crisper version of cedarwood atlas with a richness, warmth and weight associated with materials such as Cambodian oud and maybe Chinese cedar wood.

Sweet Gale essential oil: Scotland. 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 of a Bergamot Mint and Bois de Rose infusion. … a really gentle sweet-herbaceous note that playfully wanders 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. The main constituents are Alpha Terpineol 11%, D-Limonene 53%, Geranyl Acetate 5%, Linalool 4%, Linalyl Acetate 4%.  I am so totally intrigued, sounds like a love affair.

Elemi Coeur (fractionation): Phillipines.  A very specialist material that of course is rose floral, pink pepper spicy and marine like in aroma. For the perfumer this material brings a very fresh, zesty, pink berry, pepper and peony top note to modern floral bouquets.  I have a tincture I made about a year ago and fell in love with Elemi.  Now this I have to try.

Santalol (natural isolate): Australia.  The aroma is sandalwood clean, creamy, masculine, rich bodied, full of natural sandalwood character without the phenolic and aldehydic notes one experiences with the all Australian essential oil. This will be invaluable to the perfumer creating floral, oriental, woody and ambery compositions adding real volume and substantivity.  And, folks, it’s bloody expensive at €8,95 for 1ml!!!

Cistus Absolute: more on this one when I do my own evaluation.  Something I’m also going to do is try to untangle the confusion around Cistus, Ladanum, Labdasur, and Éclat de Ciste (or Cistus Burst), ’cause my head’s spinning.

Éclat de Ciste (Cistus Burst).  See above.

Labdasur See Cistus.

I think that’s enough rambling for today, don’t you?  Off now to do some evaluations, heal my stiff neck and make a cup of tea…probably not in that order.

Have a gracious day :).