Ask the Perfumer Dec 28, 2013 and a Year-end Beauty: Golden Gardenia

by | Dec 29, 2013 | Anya's Garden Perfumes, Perfume From Your Garden book, raw materials of perfumery | 10 comments

This is the last “Ask the Perfumer” forum for this year. I’ve been busy with the winter garden in Miami, and have to play catchup with my blog posts. So, if you have any perfumery questions, I’ll be here until 10PM ET tonight.
Photo from logees.com

Photo from logees.com

We had a lot of rain last night, and my garden is so happy! This is a nice nitrogen boost for my plants, and the moistness makes for a welcoming soil bed for my Gardenia jasminoides var. “Aurea” – yellow gardenia. It looks like a yellow rose, doesn’t it? It’s a variety of the common gardenia we all know and love. When I enfleurage “regular” gardenias, and by that I mean G. jasminoides and G. vietnamensis and G. tahitiensis, they all turn that color a day or two into the process. Quite beautiful, yes? Do you grow gardenias? Have you extracted their scent? There’ll be more about the processes in my upcoming book Perfume From Your Garden. There’s a Facebook page for the book, if you’d like to join in.

10 Comments

  1. Hemla

    Happy end of year Anya, Thank you for being here, and sharing from your wisdom and experience.
    I started learning permaculture, and am falling in love with my newborn garden as well. slowly slowly I am building something.
    Wishing you the best of warmth throughout this winter.

    Hemla

    Reply
    • Anya

      Dear Hemla:

      Happy New Year to you (for those of us who celebrate two!) It’s wonderful to hear from you, and thank you for your kind words. I know you’re loving your new garden – and baby 🙂 I’ve studied gardening and sustainability, permaculture, organics for over 40 years, and still, the learning continues. It’s not slow, it’s continual!

      xoxo
      Anya

      Reply
  2. Barry

    Any tips about “mastic” (Pistacia lentiscus)? I obtained some of the gum when I was in the Mediterranean two years ago. Now I’d like to create a tincture or extract. Any experience with this?

    Reply
    • Anya

      Hi Barry:

      Of course, you can just chew some 🙂 The word mastic is from the Greek “to chew”. In perfumery, I love to use a tincture to help fix middle and top notes. Its unobtrusive odor is a plus for that purpose. I haven’t tried distilling the gum, and I have some EO of it that I must admit I’ve never played with. I detect more of a green sharpness in the EO. It is a classic perfume ingredient in either form. A Guild member who is from the island where it is grown got a few boxes for Guild members. It was quite pricey, so I treasure it. Play around with it, I’d love to hear your feedback.

      Happy New Year!
      Anya

      Reply
      • Barry

        So I’ll simply grind up some of the granules in the mortar and pestle and then tincture in 95% ethanol. Do you have a sense of how long it takes for the fragrance to get into the alcohol?

        Reply
        • Anya

          Hi Barry:

          Don’t forget to tincture by weight. I find 25% w/w is good for the mastic. I allow mine to tincture for several weeks, shaking the jar daily. That’s an old herbalist’s trick, to insure that the most surface area comes in contact with the solvent. Let me know how it turns out. Oh, don’t forget, it’s a weak scent, so don’t feel you have to do a lot of recharges, as you might do with another botanical to reach a desired scent level.

          HTH,
          Anya

          Reply
          • Barry

            I ground my mastic resin beads to a fine powder in the mortar and pestle and then it almost completely dissolved in 95% ethanol. I am keeping it in a warm place and shaking regularly. It looks like I’ll have to do a cold filtration after a few weeks because the resulting alcohol solution is very sticky and resiny. I think I had 5 grams of mastic in 15 grams of alcohol.

  3. Charlene

    Hi Anya!
    Does a concrete have more solvent residue in it than the further refined absolute?

    Thanks!
    Charlene

    Reply
  4. Anya

    Hi Charlene:

    Thanks for stopping by, nice to see you here! On p. 157 of your textbook, you’ll find:

    After the aromatics are extracted, the hexane is drawn off, leaving beind the waxy, fragrant material that is the concrete.
    The highly-volatile solvent is recaptured at the end of the process for reuse in subsequent extractions. Industry standards
    require that the final concrete only contains a
    small amount of solvent, usually in the ppm
    (parts per million) range. The concrete
    extraction process is too dangerous and
    expensive for an amateur to undertake, so
    production is limited to manufacturers who
    specialize in making concretes.
    —————–
    I believe that well-made concretes don’t have any solvent left. If you are concerned, just put the amount you want to use in an open container, and let it aerate for a few hours. Solvents are volatile, and they should be gassed off by then.

    HTH,
    Anya

    Reply
  5. Emily

    Beautiful! I’m so happy to have found your blog. I’m just at the beginning of my perfume journey but I live in an area of astounding scents, in Oregon, and am very interested in harvesting my own materials. The gardenia is just stunning, and unexpected. http://www.pioneerperfume.com

    Reply

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