How to turn gar­den plants per­fume and weeds into

It seems ev­ery celebrity has their own scent to sell, but you could make your own with a unique Kiwi flavour.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Hoem - Grown,Hand Made - Words Jane Wrig­glesworth

Per­fumes have en­joyed high re­gard in ev­ery era, from the ear­li­est frank­in­cense and myrrh of­fer­ings, to the celebrity fra­grances of Bey­once and David Beck­ham.

To­day, it’s even more so if the in­gre­di­ents are nat­u­ral. Global sales of nat­u­ral cos­met­ics were close to $US30 bil­lion in 2013, grow­ing by 10.6% ac­cord­ing to re­search by the Kline Group (2014), and con­tinue to grow ahead of the av­er­age rate for the cos­met­ics in­dus­try as a whole.

It’s some­thing you might be able to take ad­van­tage of if you head into your own back­yard and find a plant with a per­fume – sub­tle or oth­er­wise – which acts as an aro­matic ‘tonic’. Bot­tle that scent by way of dis­til­la­tion, tinc­ture or en­fleurage (see page 42) and you could find your­self in the per­fume busi­ness.

Ar­ti­san per­fume maker Vanessa York cre­ates en­tic­ing scents in her mi­crop­er­fumery in Wa­iake on Auck­land’s North Shore. Her per­fumes con­tain no syn­thetic prod­ucts, but the raw scents can be as beau­ti­ful and evoca­tive as per­fumes that do con­tain syn­thet­ics, she says.

Any­one can make nat­u­ral per­fumes from plants in their back­yard. Flow­ers, fo­liage, seeds, bark, resin, roots, rhi­zomes and rinds can all be used. Even weeds can be turned into re­mark­able scents.

“Jas­mine, hon­ey­suckle and wild gin­ger flow­ers all smell amaz­ing,” says Vanessa, “And by har­vest­ing the flow­ers you’re also help­ing to stop the spread of these pest plants.”

If you look at the price of jas­mine ab­so­lute on the mar­ket, you might think you’re on to some­thing. For 25ml you’ll pay around NZ$370.

But the sheer vol­ume of blos­soms needed may put you off. It takes up to 1000kg of jas­mine flow­ers to make 1kg of jas­mine ab­so­lute – or 8000 flow­ers to make 1 gram – and they must be hand-picked in the dark and early morn­ing when the per­fume is strong­est.

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