making perfumes with cistus absolute

cistus-absolute


My musings on making perfumes with cistus absolute are many today as I am slowly getting clear on the various products obtainable from the Cistus ladaniferus bush (like Labdanum absolute), but that’s fodder for a future post (yep, it’s on the list). From now on I’m going to provide a direct link to the page of the supplier.

Common name: Cistus

Genus name: Cistus ladaniferus

Supplier: Hermitage

Note: Base

Family: Amber

Diffusion: 5+

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: essential ingredient to amber bases and Orientals.  Use with citrus, cinnamon, pine, fir, florals, vanilla, oakmoss absolute, clary sage, black spruce, fir, juniper berry, myrrh, lavender, lavandin, bergamot, cypress, vetiver, sandalwood, frankincense, chamomile, benzoin siam, boronia, cassie, cypress.

Chemical components:  the most volatile fraction is made up of terpenes, alcohols, and of ketones (among those a-pinene, borneol, ledol, ledene etc. Diterpenes include Labdene-7,8-op-15, labdanolic acid, etc. Acids including benzoic, cinnamic (cis and trans), as well as fatty acids.

The chemical composition of labdanum contains around 250 compounds, 75 of which had been identified, including 25 phenols, 9 lactones and 8 acids. Weyerstahl et al. (1998) attempted to assign labdanum’s odour characteristics to some of the constituents. Dihydroambrinol contributes a powerful woody-amber, with an ambrinol-like nuance, while a-ambrinol is strong, amber and woody, having an exceptionally strong odour of damp earth with a crude civet sub note, which on high dilution gives a warm animal amber scent. Drimenone is described as powerful tobacco and amber, and various other components give soft, warm, woody amber notes, sometimes with animalic or resinous variations.  Weyerstahl et al. (1998) also reported the isolation of another key tone — 6,6,10-trimethyldecal-2-one — which they describe as ‘strong woody — dominant tonality — with a distinct note of damp earth, cellar, geosmin’ (Fragrance and Wellbeing by Jennifer Peace Rhind)

Interesting bits: The cistus absolute is obtained after the cistus concrete, itself the result of a hexane extraction of the young branches, is washed with ethanol. This unique plant with amber accents expresses its olfactory character in different ways, depending on the process: cistus essential oil, cistus Tradition quality essential oil, labdanum absolute, labdanum resinoid, and even labdasur…Products bearing the name “Cistus” come from the direct processing of the shrub’s young leafy twigs by distillation or solvent extraction. They include cistus essential oil, Tradition quality cistus essential oil,cistus concrete, and cistus absolute. (Albert Vieille)

Their nose:  Ambery, vanillic woody, terpenic, leather with spicy tobacco notes.  Warm, woody, spicy herbal, sweet ripe fruit and chamomile-like with a notable resinous, animalic and “cold smoke effect”.

The smell of Cistus is a fruity version of Labdanum, beautiful, green, fresh and mystic. (Profumo.it)

Distinct labdanum note, warm, balsamic, woody, spicy with herbaceous nuances. (Ventos)

It has a complex odour, usually described as rich, sweet, slightly herbaceous-balsamic (Lawless 1994); or powerful, sweet, and recalling ambergris (jouhar 1991); or as having a sweet, rich, balsamic amber character with warm, dry, woody back notes (Lawless 1994). Williams (1996) wrote that cistus oil has powerful, warm, agra-like top notes, and the body is rich, warm, agra and balsamic, with a  dry, balsamic dryout. (Fragrance and Wellbeing by Jennifer Peace Rhind)

My nose: the top of cistus absolute opens up with animalic, yet vanilla qualities at the same time! Warm with a hint of fruit, it fans out softly, lovely and bewitching. 15min and it’s soft, a bit vanilla-y, hint of cognac, oakwood barrels, warm and animalic, earthy, mesmerising. 30min later and now the vanilla note has taken centre stage, animalic next, I can also smell commonalities with Ambergris, and the most fantastic thing, my mind out of nowhere conjured up the smell of Black Spruce! Cistus is like a throb, a persistent, deep, pulse of the earth, to me it’s profound. 45min and the main impressions are earthy, settling down to a creamy, woody blanket, it seems to have retreated quite a bit…probably just resting. 1hr and Dalma called so I nothing to add. 2hrs later and there is a green quality, earthy, animalic, brown, a bit lack-lustre now, dry, with a hint of woodiness. After 3hrs cistus absolute is warm, and the vanilla is back, sweet, it seems to be moving into a much darker layer of itself, more open now, like an exploration. The 7hr drydown is warm, vanilla, and yes, still very much alive. This layer is much more earthbound, more well-defined than previous layers. 12hrs on and there is now a mere hint, the faintest of sorts, of a lemon quality, more like Elemi than actual lemon, very natural, not at all bland in the drydown, just more quiet, more thoughtful. 24hrs later and yes, there is still a hint of that lemon/Elemi quality, now everything is much lighter but this layer is still alive on the scent strip, without a doubt.

12/24 comparison: the 12hr scent strip is more pungent, bracing, it’s form is more clearly defined and it’s distinctly drier, too. The 24hr scent strip side by side only provides a hint, leaves a trail of that pungency, it suggests dryness rather than exhibits it. The impression is that this layer has been stripped in the sun, but has left a trail of warmth behind, like breadcrumbs so you don’t ever get lost or forget.

Have a wonderful week-end!

MC


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 :).