Tra­di­tion­ally us­ing a mix of beef fat and lard from pigs.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Hoem - Grown,Hand Made -

ex­haled by the flow­ers without us­ing any heat that would in­evitably dam­age the most del­i­cate odour com­pounds. The scented fat (the so-called ‘pom­made’) is then washed in food-grade ethanol (96%), shaken daily for three weeks un­til the al­co­hol is sat­u­rated with its scent. Fi­nally the al­co­hol-fat mix­ture is drained to re­move the now scent­less fat, whereas the al­co­hol gets re­peat­edly fil­tered leav­ing us with the so-called ‘ex­trait’ (ex­tract) from en­fleurage.”

In per­fume pro­cess­ing fac­to­ries in France in the 19th and 20th cen­turies, a mix­ture of beef fat and lard was used. A 50-80cm square glass plate in a wooden frame was smeared with the an­i­mal fat, and the flow­ers – mi­nus their cal­ices – were laid on top. Sev­eral of these frames were stacked on top of one an­other. You can see the process car­ried out in the 2006 film Per­fume: The Story of a Mur­derer when lead char­ac­ter, Jean-bap­tiste Gre­nouille, goes to Grasse, the home of the per­fum­ing craft, and learns the process of en­fleurage.

Af­ter the req­ui­site pe­riod of time, the flow­ers were re­moved and fresh flow­ers were laid. This process was re­peated, up to 30 times, un­til the fat had ab­sorbed the fra­grance.

The en­fleurage process is ideal for ex­tract­ing the fra­grance from jas­mine and other flow­ers, like tuberose and lilacs, but it’s a long-winded process. The mod­ern method ex­tracts these scents with the use of sol­vents, like grain al­co­hol or hex­ane at a low tem­per­a­ture. The hex­ane is then re­moved or the al­co­hol al­lowed to evap­o­rate and you’re left with the oil.

If this all sounds too lengthy or com­pli­cated for you, tinc­tures and in­fu­sions are a sim­pler means of ex­tract­ing scents from botan­i­cals. Herbal­ist Donna Lee of Cot­tage Hill Herbs in Up­per Hutt runs a per­fume work­shop that utilises or­gan­i­cal­ly­grown herbs.

“There are many, many herbs and spices that may be used to make per­fumes: anise, cin­na­mon, vanilla, car­da­mon, balm of Gilead, fra­grant pelargo­nium, lemon grass, lemon balm, mints, cit­rus, sweet woodruff, an­gel­ica, in­clud­ing flow­ers, leaves, fruit, root and seeds. They can all be tinc­tured into vodka or witch hazel or per­fumer’s al­co­hol, and also made into hy­drosols, in­fused oils or pressed into fats and ex­tracted that way.”

You could also try your hand at ex­tract­ing es­sen­tial oils.

“The beau­ti­ful pure es­sen­tial oil of melissa, for ex­am­ple, is more pow­er­ful than the fresh herb – a small bot­tle of es­sen­tial oil re­quires around 70kg of leaf for ex­trac­tion by steam.

It is pow­er­ful, but very gen­tle, hav­ing won­der­ful anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties, plus its anti-vi­ral won­ders, so is use­ful in creams, oint­ments and lip balms, etc. The gen­tle hy­drosol is also most ben­e­fi­cial for skin­care.”

Per­fumes can be made as solids, oils, creams, colognes and sprays, us­ing var­i­ous bases and what­ever ex­tract or ex­tracts are ap­pli­ca­ble to the prod­uct.

“Es­sen­tial oils, in­fused oils, tinc­tures and hy­drosols can be added, for in­stance, to cre­ate a cream per­fume with in­ten­sity of fra­grance and can equal, in my opin­ion, an ex­pen­sive store-bought per­fume,” says Donna. “Fra­grant oils (ph­tha­late-free) may also be used in com­bi­na­tions with pure es­sen­tial oils, as this is how per­fumes are cre­ated.”

Vanessa, who also runs per­fume work­shops, mainly uses es­sen­tial oils, resins and ab­so­lutes to scent her nat­u­ral botan­i­cal per­fumes, with the oc­ca­sional un­usual fra­grance such as sea­weed tinc­ture and birch tar. But she also has a pas­sion for de­vel­op­ing a specif­i­cally New Zealand per­fume cul­ture. She’s one of four artists-in-res­i­dence at Stu­dio One Toi Tu in Auck­land, where she is pur­su­ing her in­ter­est in New Zealand per­fumery.

“Part of my project as an artist-in­res­i­dence this year is seek­ing out new per­fume ma­te­ri­als, both indige­nous and in­tro­duced. I’m in­ter­ested also in scented plants and flow­ers grown and pro­cessed here. Some peo­ple don’t re­alise that flow­ers re­flect ter­roir. So, for ex­am­ple, lavender that’s grown here in New Zealand smells dif­fer­ent to lavender that’s grown in France or in Spain or in Eng­land.”

If you’re look­ing to sniff out a com­mer­cial op­por­tu­nity from botan­i­cals grown on your block, why not look to nat­u­ral New Zealand scents? Much

if you’re look­ing to sniff out a com­mer­cial op­por­tu­nity on your block, a uniquely nz fra­grance might be an op­tion.

like Nz-grown sau­vi­gnon blanc wines have found favour on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, it’s pos­si­ble the fra­grance of a Nz-grown plant could do the same thing. Vanessa rec­om­mends ask­ing pro­fes­sional per­fumers what they might want, and get­ting in­sight from the cos­metic, toi­letry and can­dle in­dus­tries.

“Avail your­self of the wealth of knowl­edge in the com­mu­nity; there are some re­ally help­ful Face­book groups, and per­fume fo­rums, for ex­am­ple, with pro­fes­sional per­fumers happy to help.” And take a course. “As with any art or science, it takes time and prac­tice to gain skill. At­tend a work­shop or a class; you will learn a lot in a short space of time and it will give you con­fi­dence to start your own ex­per­i­ments.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.