Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winner of Hyacinth Giveaway!

Is Felicia of Montreal, Canada ~ please email me at with your address so I can send this bottle off to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered. If anyone is interested in purchasing small bottles of this hyacinth evulsion, please refer to The Scented Djinn Etsy Apothecary.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Today I will be putting rosemary in the ultrasonic to make a big batch of rosemary evulsion. In 2008, I planted rosemary at the farm and this year it's just gotten crazy huge. So, though it may be off season for harvesting, I'm tipping the rosemary (taking the new green ends), and cutting a few of the older, branchier parts, now. While I am able to. The next few days' posts will be comprised of that endeavor. At some point I'd like to distill some of this rosemary, but I haven't reached that point yet :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ye Olde Evulsion Maker

This is an ultrasonic. An ultrasonic is an invaluable tool in a Natural Botanical Perfumers' arsenal of nifty thingamabobs.

This is a relatively small ultrasonic, about a 2L capacity. For home use, you can get big ones -- 7 gallons, 10 gallons, way bigger than you need. For me, though, this little baby does just fine. It has provided me immeasurable hours of aromatic bliss. And just so you know, not only do my children tell everyone that my perfume studio is a meth lab, they also tell them that my ultrasonic is a vibrator, so . . .

How does one use an ultrasonic in perfumery manufacture? It's easy, really. Ridiculously easy considering the end result.

A Primer in Evulsions ~

In Steffen Arctander’s textbook “Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin”, he writes:

"A tincture is a prepared perfumery material, flavor material or pharmaceutical product. Tinctures can be considered alcoholic extracts of natural raw materials; the solvent is left in the extract as a diluent. Consequently, tinctures are not exposed to heat during preparation. There is no general rule governing the strength of perfumery or flavor tinctures."

Of ultrasonic extraction, he writes:

"Ultrasonic extracts are prepared flavor materials, or in a few cases, perfume materials. Several methods of extracting natural raw materials with the aid of supersonic sound vibrations have been described in scientific literature, and many extractors have been patented. A few European flavor and perfume material suppliers specialize in such extracts, e.g. Camilli, Albert et Laloue in Grasse, France. It is claimed that this method:
1) gives higher yields,
2) reduces the amount of solvent needed,
3) greatly improves the flavor or odor in the sense that they become more true to nature,
4) reduces the extraction time considerably,
5) makes possible an extraction with water or low-proof alcohol where this is otherwise not too effective.
. . . The finely ground raw material is suspended in the menstruum (solvent/alcohol) in the extractor. High-frequency vibration is applied, and in an amazingly short time, the drug is exhausted. Due to the better yield given by this method in comparison to ordinary extraction, the ultrasonic extracts are often cheaper in use than the old types of extracts. This method is particularly useful for extraction of flavors from sensitive (heat-sensitive) raw materials, e.g. coffee, spices, etc., but flowers and herbs are also treated by this method now, e.g., mimosa, thyme, etc."

Because the end-product of a tincture differs from a supersonic or ultrasonic tincture, the terms have been redefined to more accurately describe the procedures used to obtain the final raw material.

Tinctures are made by combining raw materials (herbs, seeds, grasses, resins, woods, etc.) with high proof grain or grape alcohol and allowing them to steep. Succussion, banging the container in which the tincture is held against one’s hand can be used, though this cannot be, and is not considered in any way similar to using an ultrasonic.

Evulsions are made by combining raw materials as described in the tincturing process with high proof grain or grape alcohol, and then placing the container holding these materials into an ultrasonic unit for a length of time as to extract, or pull, scent (or flavor) from the raw material into the menstruum (alcohol). By definition, evulsion means to forcibly extract, or to pull out.

Many natural perfumers have used this method of extracting high quality perfumery ingredients from evulsing raw materials at home using ultrasonic devices, such as jewelry cleaners or tattoo equipment cleaners, to achieve evulsions which rival the quality of expensive absolutes. Smaller devices can be utilized in producing small batches of evulsions; larger capacities, in the 2L or higher range, are much more desirable. There are not, as yet, any standards for ratios of raw material to solvent in the production of evulsions for the natural and botanical perfumer; however, the following information will help in solidifying a basic understanding of the techniques which produce high quality perfume materials.

For sample test batch sizes, try the following - the first numbers are the ratios, the second the number of grams of raw materials, the third the number of grams of alcohol, and the fourth how many hours the test should be put in the ultrasonic (my charts wouldn't work here, so I'm fudging).

1-1 50 grams 50 grams Six hours
2-1 66 grams 33 grams Six hours
3-1 75 grams 25 grams Six hours
3-2 60 grams 40 grams Six hours

Experiment with the ratios using the same raw materials to obtain the results you desire; for example, run a small test batch of powdered basil at the 1-1 ratio, another at the 2-1 ratio, and so on and so forth, and then perform evaluations for each resultant evulsion. You will find that certain raw materials will need a longer extraction time (many hours; 40+) to obtain a useable end product. Roots and resins may require a longer extraction time, while delicate fresh flowers and leaves need less extraction time. Experiment, experiment, experiment! Don't be afraid of your ultrasonic, love it.

Be sure to follow the operating instructions for your ultrasonic device to keep it in good working order and to avoid accidents. Fill the cavity *with distilled water so that the water level rises to the top of the cavity when you place the container of material into the ultrasonic, or use the minimum fill line as a gauge and adjust if the water level rises up and out of the cavity. Never run the ultrasonic with the water level lower than the minimum fill line (thanks Lisa!). Utilizing the chart above, determine the ratio of your experimental evulsion, pour the solvent into the bottle or jar (jars are preferred as the opening is much wider, which is helpful when using bulky raw materials) add in the raw material, close the jar tightly and place it in the water bath in the ultrasonic device. For the best results, allow the materials intended for evulsing to dry out or wilt, unless you're using delicate flowers, like hyacinth, jasmine, mimosa -- these you need to toss right into the alcohol after plucking. Just remember that too much water in the plant material can ruin an evulsion. Plug in the device and turn it on to the highest time allowed. Some devices can become hot when used for long periods of time. It is a good idea to allow it to cool down between sessions.

When your evulsion reaches the four hour mark (for the purpose of this experiment), remove the jar from the water bath, unplug the ultrasonic and pour out the water. Strain the raw materials from the jar using a mesh strainer, straining the fluid portion of the evulsion into a clean glass jar or bottle (use a funnel if necessary). Label the bottle of finished evulsion with the amount of raw materials to solvent, date of extraction, number of hours (or minutes) needed to finish evulsing, and then conduct an evaluation of the finished product. If you discover your evulsion is weak, you can begin the process over using the first extraction results into which you would add another batch of raw materials and conduct the experiment again. This would be a 2X (or two times) extraction.

For larger batches of evulsions, simply increase the number of grams to ounces and proceed as instructed above. You can also create infusions in the ultrasonic device if it has a heating element. Using either oil or alcohol, create an evulsion blend as instructed and place the bottle into the water bath of the ultrasonic device and turn on the heat. Experiment with time limits and test the evulsion every few hours for strength of scent.

Please see the previous post for instructions on how to get your hands on an ounce of my fresh hyacinth evulsion.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hyacinth Project Cut Short & a Giveaway

I had to cut the hyacinth project short for a couple of reasons; one being the short selling season (nobody in town is selling them anymore), and two, after two batches of blossoms which totaled 669 grams, into 300 grams of organic grain alcohol, the evulsion was getting weird -- viscous, syrupy, dense, dark, and super fragrant. So during the final filtration, I added 100 mls of organic grain alcohol (100 grams had been lost to the blossoms) to bring it to a total of approximately 300 grams and the results are amazing. This is a picture of a one ounce square corked bottle with light in the background illuminating the evulsion a deep magenta.

This ultrasonic business really works.

So, on to the next bit of this post ~ a giveaway! See that bottle? It's yours if I draw your name from a list of people who comment this post. An ounce of fresh hyacinth evulsion.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vintage Finds

Yesterday, I had the rare pleasure of spending time with my mother and my cousin. They're both close in age, my cousin being about six years younger than my mom, and they live together. Weird set-up, I know, but they've been best friends since childhood, so it stands to reason when life changed around them, they clung to each other for support. At any rate, we went to lunch, and my cousin and I laughed as my mother's light-on-the-curry chicken started to do its heated curry thing, and she smothered it with runny yogurt, complaining the whole time how hot it was, but eating every bite, nonetheless. Then it was off to Old Town to do some rummaging through second-hand and antiques stores. Where I found some pretty amazing stuff.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More on Hyacinth

This second round went a little differently from the first. The first batch paled out pretty quickly. I evulsed for 5 hours, then let the blossoms soak in the alcohol for two days before straining it off for another go 'round; the second batch has evulsed for 5 hours and I'm going to strain it and put in another 300-380 grams of blossoms into the now 200 or so grams of alcohol. This second batch is holding its color. And has such a strange scent; smells like hyacinth, but also has this creamy, nutty smell, a titch of blue lotus in there, and really green. And the evulsion itself is a dark purple color. Amazing. I don't know how much more this alcohol can take, but I'm going to go one more round, maybe two, before I finish it up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Then and Now

Filtered the first evulsion of hyacinth blossoms. The filter in the first picture shows a pretty accurate color shot of the actual hyacinth blossoms themselves. What the first filter photo doesn't show is the lovely darkening ring of indigo staining the filter as it dries. The second filter photo shows it better. The final picture is of a fresh evulsion 1x around on the right, and a two-year-old 3x tincture of hyacinth blossoms on the left. Arctander wrote that hyacinth is "a reddish-brown or dark brown to greenish-brown, viscous liquid, and it has an intensely sweet, green-floral, but somewhat sharp and at first unpleasant odor". Wild, eh?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Phase Two of the Hya Project

At phase two of the hyacinth evulsion project, and things are going well. The first ten flowering heads took 5 hours to evulse down into pale blue, limp, lifeless bits of formerly vibrant hyacinth blossoms. This next ten are going into the same alcohol the first went through, then, sometime during the week, I'll be adding ten more . . . it's a fun project and seems to be moving along at lightning speed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Natural Perfume Academy FAQ's

How will the class be meeting online during the course of a given week?

The course is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and students are free to enter and read the current open unit(s), and post on the forums at any time. The instructor and mentors will be in and out of the academy during the week as well, but there will be a set day during the week in which the instructor will be in the academy and available for instruction and questions.

What is the meaning of the words “spirit and filth” in regard to perfume history?

Spirit refers to perfumes spiritual aspects, its connection with honoring gods. Filth is in reference to short periods of time during history when perfume, bathing and bathing rituals were avoided or were unavailable.

What physical items do I receive for my tuition?

The 55+ evaluation kit includes 2 ml vials of 10% dilutions and a packet of 100 scent strips. The eval kit contains essences of jasmine sambac absolute, jasmine grandiflorum absolute, tuberose, cassie, rose otto, rose centifolia, rose damascena, palmarosa, rose geranium, bergamot, bitter orange, lemon, lime, santalum album, Himalayan cedar, Virginia cedar, vetiver, patchouli, oak moss, red cedar heartwood, neroli bigarade, petit grain sur fleur neroli, petit grain bigarade, orange blossom absolute, cassia, clove, nutmeg, black pepper, lavandin grosso, mailette lavender, lavender fine pop., rosemary, eucalyptus, badiane, sweet basil, sweet fennel, balsam Peru, balsam tolu, tonka, styrax, labdanum (incense variety), frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, peppermint, spearmint, pennyroyal, hyracium, choya loban, ambrette, nagarmotha, ylang-ylang extra, cananga, ho wood, vanilla, choya nakh and choya ral, plus any additional essences the instructor deems necessary or interesting to round out the evaluation unit.

Also included in tuition is a comprehensive work book/primer which closely follows the course curriculum, with slight variations. The work book includes history, safety, IFRA regulations, glossary, scent vocabulary, formulation methods, links to suppliers, recommended reading lists and much, much more. The work book serves a dual purpose as an instructional, similar to a text book, with work sheets to conduct study trials, essence evaluations and creation of perfume for independent home study.

A formulation kit is included in the course tuition as well, and includes 20 specially chosen essences which will be used by the student to complete course assignments. The kit includes undiluted oils of bergamot 5ml, coriander 5 ml, frankincense 5 ml, geranium 5 ml, ginger 5 ml, ho wood 5 ml, jasmine sambac absolute 5 ml, cistus 5 ml, lavender 5 ml, lemongrass 5 ml, neroli 2 ml, patchouli 5 ml, petit grain 5 ml, grapefruit 5 ml, rose de mai 2 ml, vetiver 5 ml, ylang-ylang 5 ml, Bulgarian rose concrete 5 ml, and oak moss 2 ml.

How are the classes given?

The classes are given on the Moodle academy format with 24 hour access. Each unit will be opened as we complete the previous unit. There will be assignments which can be completed on the Moodle format (copy and pasted from your computer). Forums for each unit are available for student/teacher, student/student and student/mentor interaction. Previous students have signed on as mentors to help motivate and inspire new students.
The learning platform we use provides the facilities to upload assignments, advanced uploading of files, off line activities and assignments, live chat sessions, pod casts, online video, quizzes and questions in a variety of formats, a glossary, a student journal, forums, online lessons in a secure environment, surveys and workshops.
We also provide training in how to use the site well in advance of the class beginning in order to build confidence and have site administrators and professional technical assistance on hand at all time should the need arise.

What is the benefit of taking this online course as opposed to researching and studying on my own?

This online course, and any other online course, serves to shorten the length of time, and ultimately the money spent, on learning this art form on your own. Instead of scouring the internet or jumping down rabbit holes in search of the holy grail of Natural Botanical Perfume information, you will be conducting evaluations and trial studies, the true “holy grail” of Natural Botanical Perfume information -- you will be doing the work that it takes to become a Natural Botanical Perfumer.

What special tools or supplies not included in the tuition do I need to be able to complete the course.

We’ve structured the course to give each student time in which to gather the required tools and supplies necessary to finish the course. To complete evaluations of your own materials, and to formulate perfumes, you will need to have on hand several dozen 5 to10 ml dropper bottles, 10- ½ oz cobalt or amber bottles with caps; 5- 1 oz cobalt or amber bottles with caps; 5- 2 oz cobalt or amber bottles with caps; 2- 4 oz cobalt or amber bottles with caps; droppers, funnels, filter paper, paper towels, isopropyl alcohol, skewers, self-adhesive labels or strips of paper, transparent tape, scent strips or squares of acid-free water color paper, small metal or glass cups, pipe cleaners, small bottle brush, pens, notebooks and a file folder. All these items are readily available and can be purchased inexpensively. During the advanced portion of the course, you will need to have on hand a digital scale capable of weighing at least as low as 1/100th of a gram (1/1000th of a gram is optimal), graduated cylinders in 2ml, 5ml, 10ml, 25ml and 50ml increments, and an ultrasonic cleaner (optional). A Neti pot is also recommended but not necessary.

What is the average amount of time necessary to review assignments and materials and conduct lab work per month?

When we reach the sections of the course which require lab work, it is estimated that 10-20 hours per month of study and evaluation is sufficient to complete the assignments.

Could you give me information on the application process?

The application process starts with the payment of a refundable application fee of 40.00 USD. After which we will send you the application forms which must be completed. Return the completed forms which are then reviewed by the applications committee. If you have been accepted you will be notified. The application fee will be deducted from the total cost of the course. In cases where applications are not accepted the application fee is refunded in full.
Course cost: $950 USD. A non-refundable deposit of $225 USD is required after your application is accepted, and the remainder due April 20th, 2010. Course begins May 24th, 2010. When the course fee is paid in full induction can begin. You will be allowed plenty of time to become familiar with the educational platform we use. You will receive tuition and training on the use of the site before the class date.
To get started with the application process please go to and click on the "Pay Now" button on the top left under the heading "Refundable Application Fee".

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CPL Aromas Fragrance Project

I don't normally do this kind of thing, announce something from Basenotes or whathaveyou, but I feel I must as this is very exciting for me . . .

One of my students, Dimitrios, submitted a brief to the Basenotes/CPL Aromas Fragrance Project back in December and out of the sixty-some-odd number of briefs submitted, Dimi's was one of three chosen to be made into a perfume.

Congratulations Dimi!

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Power of Dooky

Okay, the photo here is NOT dooky but that lumpy dooky-looking labdanum I got a few months back, but it helps to illustrate the point of the post.

For days now I've been picking up the scent of, well, pooh. Wasn't the litter box, wasn't my shoes or the slips or the Uggs -- I just couldn't figure out why every so often I'd get this weird waft of doo-doo while sitting at the new computer desk. So I went on a hunt -- a poop hunt -- and found tucked under the sewing box next to the printer a pair of my son's "playin' shoes" with a minuscule trace of something he stepped in trapped in the tread. I mean, it was like dust it was so small, but it threw off a stench that my nose grabbed up nearly every time I sat at the computer to work. The shoes were hastily flung onto the porch for an outdoor scrubbing.

It really brought home the power of dooky that even in its tiniest measure it packs an olfactory wallop that'll make you tear your house apart to find it. And it reminded me that some NBP'ers use civet, the King of Crap Smells, in their perfumes, in ALL their perfumes, to stretch the skin time and to deepen the scent. Civet paste isn't pooh, per se, but it adds quite a bit of the pooh punch to the cat's -- ugh -- real pooh. Personally, I find it offensive. And I can pretty much pick it out of a perfume in its dry down.

Of course, I'm also the girl who likes hyracium and horse chestnut evulsions.


We're getting there. The photo on the bottom is better, not as blurry as the photo on the top (wrong camera setting), but you get the idea. This is about 1/3rd of the studio. Two thirds left to go, but really, half of that is just open space for the moment. There are two big shelving units and a short fold-out table left to clean up. Oh, and the top of that cabinet you see there, wedged between the vintage hutch and the wardrobe. You gotta put this stuff somewhere whilst you're digging . . .

There's enough room in here now to play beer pong, or so I've been told.

Sunday, February 07, 2010



I only had a handful of these lovely Chanel style Brosse bottles from France. Most of them were given away as gifts with custom perfume inside. The last couple of bottles managed to get filled with Oshiba and Serj eaux de parfum and placed on Etsy as an incentive to buy beautifully packaged perfume, in bottles that are meant to be kept a lifetime, at a price that places them at the lower end of the Natural Botanical Perfume pricing scale, and just in time for Valentines (run on sentence with a steep sales pitch included). These little guys, about 8-9 mls each, are simply elegant. I have other Brosse bottles, half a dozen, that I'm saving up for the next big parfum launch -- when, I don't know. But the first 6 out of the gate are going to be offered in the other French flacons, and are more appropriate for the whole look and feel of The Scented Djinn. Getting these bottles is difficult. There are only a few people who have the opportunity to purchase in amounts less than the required 10,000 minimum, but a number of beautifully designed Brosse bottles in numbers less than 10,000 have fallen into their hands and they're more than happy to distribute them to a favored few. Most successful Natural Botanical Perfumers WON'T share their bottle suppliers, especially if they've managed to find something no one else is using. That's ok. Everyone is entitled to their trade secrets.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Because of my kids . . .

. . . I once paid $300 for a tampon.

Because of my kids, my ex was able to use the word "frayed" in a creative way:
School "Mr. ******, your son's pants are frayed and frayed pants are out of dress code."
The Ex. "Well, what're his pants "frayed" of? Gettin' hemmed?"

Because of my kids, I learned that weed is NOT dope, but dope is sh*t, and sh*t is whack.

Because of my kids, the entire neighborhood thinks I'm running a meth lab in my perfume studio.


I really don't like that word because it usually means someone gets to lose a job, but that's not the case here. I've cut off service to my website, I still own the domain name, but I don't have a website anymore. It wasn't working out the way I wanted it to -- I didn't like how it looked, how it functioned, and I got crap support from my web hosting company, so I trash canned it. I'm all about Etsy right now. And it's working pretty well. I did have a NBP'er tell me once that I'd never "make it" with mainstream customers if all I had was Etsy as an outlet. I guess I don't care. There's nothing mainstream about me, so . . .

I will rebuild the site later, when I can get better support and a real site builder on board. 'Til then, order my stuff on Etsy, yeah?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Natural Perfume Academy Online Course

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That's depends a good deal on where you want to get to."...
(Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, 1865)

The Natural Perfume Academy presents a year-long excursion into the magical world of the creation of Natural Botanical Perfumes, with tutor/instructor, Justine Crane.

Your tuition cost provides you with year-long instruction in Natural Botanical Perfumery, with tutor/instructor and student mentor support ~

A 55+ essence evaluation kit~

Comprehensive study guide/work book with additional evaluation work sheets, and trial work sheets ~

A formulation kit of 20 primary perfume essences (to complete course assignments)~

An online academy with 24-hour access~

Natural Perfume Academy Admissions Committee reviews all submitted applications. Information supplied is treated with utmost confidentially.

A refundable application fee of $40 USD is required to begin the application process (the application fee will be included with the entire course cost if your application is accepted).

Course cost: $950 USD. A non-refundable deposit of $225 USD is required after your application is accepted, and the remainder due April 20th, 2010. Course begins May 24th, 2010..

Space is limited to 20 students.

Course Description ~

Antiquarian Perfumery/Natural Botanical Perfumery is a non-accredited course, and no prerequisites are required except a passion and desire to learn Natural Botanical Perfumery from the ground up. This course is recommended for those who desire to begin a career in NBP, or those who wish to broaden their educational horizons.

Includes information and instruction in:

A Brief History of Perfume, Spirit & Filth
Popular Historic Perfumery Ingredients
Evolution of Perfume Culture
Endangered Species Used in Perfumery
Storage & Shelf-Life of Raw Materials
Chemical Constituents of Essential Oils
Glossary of Terminology
Perfumers Studio ~ Beginning Perfumers Tools
The Perfumers Palette
Notes, Accords & Chords
Evaluating Raw Materials
Supplemental Scent Vocabulary
Continued Olfactory Training (tests)
Advanced Perfumers Tools & Techniques
Tinctures, Evulsions, Dilutions, Scales,
Oil-Based & Solid Perfume Making Techniques
Soap, Balms, Butters, Massage & Bath
Creating Perfume
Vertical/Horizontal Trial Studies
Intuitive Perfumery Formulation
Base Compound Formulation
Building a Floral Base, Amber Base,
Chypre Base, etc.
Creating Perfume on Paper
Advanced Composition Techniques
Sacrificial Perfume Materials
EdT’s, EdC’s, EdF’s, Aftershaves
“Fining” or Clarifying Finished Compositions
Coffee Filters vs. Laboratory/Winemaking Filters
Finishing the Composition
Creating Custom Perfumes
Following a Brief
Other Methods of Composition
Suggested Raw Materials

With full Sources, Bibliography, Website Links, Recommended Reading Lists, Sourcing Raw Materials & Suppliers Links, Worldwide Suppliers, Online Educational Sites, Groups, Research & References, Biopiracy Links, Brick & Mortar Shops, Quizzes and Answer Keys, Essence Evaluation Worksheets, Perfume Trial Worksheets, Assignments, Tutor/Instructor Support, Mentor Support and more.


Monday, February 01, 2010


Kaufman Giveaway Winner!

~*~*~*~*Is Waft by Carol!~*~*~*~*

Carol, please contact me via email at -- I need your street address to mail the Kaufman book.



Related Posts with Thumbnails