Friday, March 02, 2007

Ye Olde Apothecary

I've started up the tincturing again. I now have new tinctures of ambrette seeds, ooey, gooey beeswax (including the cappings, royal jelly, dribbles of honey and hairy bee parts), and tonka beans.

I saved a single tonka bean to toss into a perfume, just to see what it would do. Still waiting on that.

All this tincturing reminds me of when I used to make vanilla cordials as gifts for Yule. I'd buy a couple of gallons of medium grade brandy or bourbon and load them with sugar and vanilla beans and let them stew in the pantry for 3 or 4 months. Decanting was fun. I'd buy beautiful flip cork bottles and paste old fashioned labels on them, then wrap them in shredded brown paper, then stuff them in cardboard wine gift boxes with lots of curly ribbon. The vanilla cordials were always very well received. The oddest thing is, I never saved any for myself.

Yesterday I received a small order of oils from White Lotus Aromatics. Have I told you how much I love White Lotus Aromatics? Just love 'em. I wanted to wax poetical over their frankincense oils ~ here I go:

Frankincense, Boswellia serrata, India ~ sweet, anisey, delicious, edible, sensuous. Pairing it with the merest hint of spices -- perhaps 1% dilute of clove or cassia -- cardamom, galangal, would bring out that soft anisette.

Frankincense, Boswellia carteri, Somalia ~ incensuous (ha!), resiny, spiritual, catechism (which brings a whole host of strange images to my mind about priests and cologne hovering in the folds of sacred robes and celibacy and lovers lost to God). All in all, Boswellia carteri is my favorite frankincense.

Frankincense, Boswellia sacra, Oman ~ spicy, peppery, hot, wind-swept red desert, dry lake beds and long, lonely journeys; warm, sweet anise tea with bits of gritty sand tumbling across parched tongues. This is a sad frankincense, yet it lives.

I also got cumin eo, which still reminds me of pit funk, tonka bean absolute and *choke* rosewood. Oh, I know. I promised myself ages ago I'd stop buying rosewood. I subbed ho wood with rosewood, or tried to, anyway, and it hasn't worked out for me. I will use my rosewood sparingly, and with great guilt, then I'll never buy it again. At least it isn't civet I'm addicted to.

Rose geranium and fresh ginger complete the small order from White Lotus Aromatics. The fresh ginger ~ ah! Beautiful. And, of course, so is the rose geranium. Top drawer aromatics.


  1. Must say you user verrrrraaahhhh lovely containers for your tincturing adventure:-) Here it's plain brown glass jars and an occational clear. Will open my bag of ambrette seeds today, inhale and dream little dreams.

  2. Cumin e.o. - please excuse me while I run off to go and barf in my mouth! I was bottling cumin e.o. for JR's essential oil kits and ugh. I ended up getting sick to my stomach from the aroma and to this day can not even stand to sniff cumin eo. yech.

    As usual lovie, I just am enamoured with your descriptions!!


  3. Ruby,
    I scour flea markets and yard sales for old alcohol and decanter bottles for only a few of my tinctures ~ the rest get Mason jars :) That's it ~ I've pulled all my tricks out of the bag ~ those few you see are the only ones I have -- for the time being.

  4. Pretty Poisons,
    It doesn't make me want to barf (I'll leave that to ylang-ylang), but it definitely has a high rank factor. Then there is that foodie aspect -- enchiladas or mole. The scent actually reminds me of a guy I knew way back when who was a prep cook at a Denny's; the way his white chef's coat smelled after a graveyard shift. Ew.



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