The first tincture flowers are in the jar. The slightly-wilted second recharge flowers are in the foreground.

The first charge of flowers is in the jar. The slightly-wilted second recharge flowers are in the foreground. The liter jar holds about eight flowers, and they give color and scent immediately to the alcohol.

If you have Ylang Ylang growing, you must tincture it, it’s so beautiful, so easy.

My ylang-ylang is blooming here in Miami, and I gathered flowers in various stages of maturity, from green to the “ripest” with yellow petals and a red throat, and put them into 190 proof alcohol. Within a few minutes, they had surrendered their perfume to the alcohol. I let them sit for a day and then recharged the alcohol. The flowers are slightly wilted, as you see, and that is the best way to prepare them for the alcohol, as it ensures the minimum amount of water is introduced to alcohol.

Now, if you just want to make a beautiful room, linen, or body spray, use 100 proof vodka, no need for the 190 proof alcohol I use. I use it because it is for use in perfumes, and that’s the standard proof we perfumers need. For a spray, you can even dilute it a bit more with water when you are done recharging. You may wish to recharge many times to get a really strong extract. Have fun!

The scent of picked ylang-ylang flowers is sweeter and more delicate than the concrete, absolute, or various essential oil grades, it’s just lovely. I encourage my students to make extracts of many fresh and dried perfumery ingredients, it’s a rewarding adjunct to buying essences from suppliers.  Details on how to extract scent are in my book Homemade Perfume, available on Amazon.


  1. Josefina Jimenez

    Where do I subscribe for this blog? Thanks.

  2. Anya

    There is a “Subscribe to Blog by Email” link at the upper right column, under Search.


  3. Jenny

    That sounds lovely! What about gardenias and jasmine, etc… can they be tinctured as well?

    • Anya

      Hi Jenny:

      Yes, they can be tinctured. You will need to strain out the flowers after a few days and recharge the alcohol with new ones, until you reach a scent strength you like. I outline using a gadget for measuring the strength in my upcoming book.


  4. Ferris Ègoïste

    i am just getting started experimenting with mixing/blending essentials oils and such and I really enjoy reading your perfume making tidbits you write about. i wish i had a garden full of different flowers I could tincture.
    i have a bottle of ylang ylang essential oil and it is incredibly strong and very ling lasting even when diluted to 5 % and 10%.
    how strong is the ylang ylang tinture when you do it yourself? Are you able to tinture paper whites and narcissus as well?

    • Anya

      Hi Ferris:

      My ylang-ylang tincture is very strong, like an EO. I don’t grow paper whites or narcissus, as they’re more for northern gardens.



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