Enfleurage is a very time-consuming method, and labour intensive,
Also, the two jasmine flowers that are mostly used to make absolutes are Jasminum grandiflorum and Jasminum sambac, neither of which we have here in NZ. What we do have is the weed Jasminum polyanthum, although it’s not (yet) on the National Pest Plant Accord and in many parts of New Zealand it’s not officially a pest plant.
NZ also has Jasminum azoricum, and both of these plants can be used in perfume, though they won’t deliver the same notes as the two more powerful ones (grandiflorum and sambac). However, a Jasminum polyanthum extract derived by enfleurage is available on the Australian and UK market, with a 10ml extract priced at $AUS128.
Adam Michael of Hermitage Oils describes it in flowery terms.
“This material is the most enchanting and soulful floral I have experienced this year. The aroma is a summer breeze of soft, delicate, harmonious, Italian grown Jasminum polyanthum flowers. The Italian producer in my heart is an artist and this joyous material is a labour of complete dedication and absolute unequivocal love. The result is a spiritually comforting aromatic masterpiece.”
Enfleurage was a method traditionally used for flowers such as jasmine and tuberose which are too delicate for distillation, or where the flowers continue to produce volatile oils after being picked. Harvested jasmine flowers, for example, produce 4-5 times more volatile oil than is present at any time in the fresh flower, and tuberose up to 12 times more. If distillation was used, the heat would destroy the flowers and the stillproducing scent.
“Delicate flowers such as jasmine and tuberose do give up their scent more readily and beautifully to enfleurage,” says Vanessa. “It’s a very time-consuming method however, and labour-intensive; you need to recharge the flowers up to 20 times. Tincturing is much more straightforward – prepare the materials, cover with alcohol, and shake every day. Some tinctures are ready to use in a couple of weeks, others take months, and may go on improving for years. It gives wonderful results with some materials, and disappointing ones with others. I’ve found jasmine tinctures disappointing, myself.”
Although time-consuming, there could be a market for enfleurage in New Zealand, but consider the process first. Adam Michael describes the method undertaken by the Italian makers of the Jasminum polyanthus extract.
“The freshly-opened flowers only are picked in the evening when their scent is pretty intense and gently laid down on a tray with a very thin layer of wild shea butter smeared on it. The flowers are then allowed on the fat for maximum 24 hours and then replaced with fresh ones, and this process is repeated at least 20 times. This way the fat absorbs the scent
it gives wonderful results with some, disappointing with others
Lilac. xxxxxxxxxx Jasminum polyanthum Tuberose.