STRANGE MAGIC PERFUME
A perfume of color-changeable tinctures from an organic garden in Miami, Florida. Read about a giveaway of this perfume, below.
The sustainable, cold-process extraction process of plant fragrance debuts
Launched May 31, 2017
Anya McCoy, perfumer, botanist, and founder of Anya’s Garden Perfumes in Miami has released Strange Magic, the first perfume composed of about 95% organic fragrant tinctures. Strange Magic is made with tinctures that reveal hidden colors in the flowers, leaves, and roots when they were placed in the alcohol. Anya has tinctured for herbal purposes for forty years, and for perfume purposes for twenty years. It wasn’t until she dropped snow-white Michelia alba flowers into the alcohol and saw the alcohol turn pink, then red, then dark red that she realized there were some hidden secrets in some flowers – Strange Magic.
The magic appeared a few years ago when she dropped a handful of white Michelia alba flowers into 190 proof alcohol. She wanted to make a fragrant tincture of this delicious smelling flower to add to her array of natural raw materials for her perfumes. As soon as the flowers started to sink into the alcohol, the alcohol took on a pink tinge. It was quite startling, and by the second day, the alcohol was a light shade of crimson. The more flowers added to recharge the alcohol with scent, the deeper red the menstruum got, eventually becoming burgundy/opaque. Some said it was the dyes or waxes in the flowers revealing themselves, but she said it was Strange Magic.
Plant dyes have been known for thousands of years, but the colors extracted are somewhat related to the original plant material’s color. Onion skins make a golden dye, blueberries a bluish dye, and so on.
This was different.
She’s tinctured herbs, woods, roots, leaves, and flowers for many years, beginning with simplers herbal tinctures. What an epiphany the white champaca flowers were. Numerous tinctures that had changed color now flooded her consciousness. The yellow ylang ylang flowers turned the alcohol olive green, and eventually opaque, like the Michelia.
White jasmines such as the sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany turned deep gold. White gardenias and tuberoses again – deep gold. She had been using the orangy/brown jasmine absolutes and concretes from the 70s, but never put the color change together until the white champaca. She’d never seen any talk of the color change on any of the aromatherapy or perfume forums she’d been on for decades, other than the color change mentioned was the blue azulene color that developed when chamomiles were distilled, everyone seemed entranced by that. The azulene is not present in the fresh flowers, but develops in the distillation process.But white jasmines turning orangy/brown? No. No discussion.
Ylang Ylang essential oil is pale yellow. The absolute of the same flower? Green. Her tincture? Dark Green. It’s the alcohol wash of the concrete that reveals the green color, and the alcohol menstruum I used.
Well, it’s time to honor the Strange Magic of color change that happens, don’t you think?
Here are a few color-changing plants in Strange Magic, but not all are listed – after all, magic needs a bit of secrecy:
|Aglaia: yellow flowers||Dark amber tincture|
|Orris: pale white rhizome||Bright coral, orange tincture|
|Chamomiles: white flowers||Blue oils when distilled|
|Gardenias: white flowers||Dark amber tincture|
|Jasmines: white flowers||Deep amber tincture (some, not all)|
|White Champaca: white flowers||Crimson red to dark red tincture|
|Ylang ylang: yellow flowers||Olive green to dark green tincture|
|Cashmere Bouquet Clerodendrum: white flowers||Deep red tincture|
|Vintage white ambergris from Vanuatu||Orange tincture|
Artisan perfumers can work with sustainable fragrance materials with a “grow your own” plan to harvest and tincture the fragrant plants. If they can garden, and have suitable space in the garden, it’s possible to lessen the carbon footprint associated with purchasing essential oils and absolutes. All that’s needed is 190 proof alcohol, and harvesting and recharging the alcohol to make the tincture strong with fragrance.
It is not a fast or rushed process: Anya and her assistants spent many hours over the years hand-harvesting the flowers, placing them in alcohol, straining them out, recharging them over and over. If you know the heat and humidity of Miami, you know the dedication this took. Some tinctures have been recharged dozens of times to reach the scent strength desired. Still, it is worth it because the cold process, with no heat destroying some of the more delicate floral notes, and the sustainability of producing some of the raw product on-site are dual bonuses of the eco-conscious perfumer.
Anya is currently in discussions with publishers about a book she has written Perfume From Your Garden. It’s the first of its kind, detailing extraction methods for the perfumer, soaper, gardener, hobbyist, or DIYer who wishes to capture the fragrant plants from their garden at the height of their beauty.
Samples and 15ml spray bottles of Strange Magic are available at https://anyasgarden.com/store.htm
Until June 20, 2017, there is a chance for you to win Strange Magic by registering and commenting on the Cafleurebon review of the perfume.
Founder and Instructor at Natural Perfumery Institute https://perfumeclasses.com
Owner and CEO at Natural Perfumers Guild http://naturalperfumers.com
Owner/Perfumer at Anya’s Garden Perfumes http://anyasgarden.com
Former Writer at Organic Gardening (magazine)
Former District Manager at USDA Soil and Water Conservation District (elected position State of Florida)
Former Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Design at Florida Atlantic University
Former Landscape Architect at Collier County, Florida
Studied Landscape architecture at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Masters Degree
Studied Economic Botany at University of California, Riverside Bachelors