new tincture evaluations


Today I filtered my Cepes (porcini mushroom) tincture, the Golden Virginia tobacco tincture, the pipe tobacco tincture and the Thuja berry tincture. Since they are four together I chose not to give a full 24 hour dry-down evaluation but stick to initial impressions only.

CEPES tinture — I was not expecting much with this one, I’ll be honest. I read about it on Mandy Aftel’s site somewhere that she either used it or sells it so I got curious and seeing as how during the summer these mountains are covered with all manner of mushrooms I thought, why the hell not? Holy cow, was I in for a treat! This tincture opens up with a very strong smell of mushrooms, but also of dampness, outdoors, brown colours come to mind and earth, rich and nourishing…I can definitely smell this in unison with Rock Hyrax or Ambergris or any of the raw, animalic materials to add depth and unexpected nuances. I don’t know why but I also get old books too. I am inclined to try this out in a wood accord. The colour is paler almost unnoticeable on the strip. Intensely diffusive –note to self: use with a very judicious hand!

GOLDEN VIRGINIA TOBACCO tincture — a pale yellow, this is what they call a blonde tobacco and it’s what LV likes to use to roll his own. Fruity, juicy then tobacco smell! Weird, huh? It’s a very soft blend of notes, raisiny, oak, sweet. A vision of an old English library and inside a beat up leather sofa with a rumpled newspaper folded and refolded many times cast alongside with an equally well worn blanket after an afternoon snooze. That sweet, raisin-like almondy aspect is very present. Dries out rather quickly, leaving a very pale, dry scent trail that is weak in diffusion. Would be great to try to recreate this but I am struck by the similarities between this tincture and my vanilla bean tincture (which by the way is on its 10th month, and that’s after being tinctured in the cognac). The smell is really short-lived and is more of a top note.

PIPE TOBACCO tincture — darker and more yellow than the Golden and now I am slapped with the smell of vanilla! Jee-pers! Very raisiny, this almost reminds me of brandy or cognac not tobacco. It’s sweetness is overwhelming. Raisin-like, so much so you don’t even realize you’re smelling tobacco. The impression is almost wet, Golden Virginia is drier, there’s a juiciness that makes my mouth water. It’s lovely and warm and dark — deeply pleasing, ahhhh. Hold on, I get brown sugar too! The sweetness isn’t just raisins it’s also brown sugar and molasses. What a surprise. Evaluating this makes me remember Cogolin. A tiny town in Provence that is well known for pipe making. There we found a retired Italian who spent his days at the shop making pipes. He explained to us that the process involves boiling pre-aged Erica roots for eight hours and then leaving it to dry for two years! Holy patience, Batman!

THUJA BERRY tincture — a deep yellow colour. This bites and prickles the senses at first. Sharp, piney almost medicinal this scent is also harsh and abrasive in the opening. But the sensation it leaves me with is fresh, cool, open, expansive wild territory. Snow. Cold and health. It is stimulating to my senses and I can see using this maybe in a Christmas blend as a room spray or something.

I love tincturing!