Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 92 ~ Wild Verbena

Wild Verbena, get to know her (him?) -- haven't quite figured out the gender of this yet, but I'm thinking, like pine, it's androgynous.

Wild verbena is not the same as verbena oil lippia citriodora; wild verbena, lippia javanica, doesn't come with a prohibited use tag as the lippia citriodora does (prohibited for use in leave on products, rinse off products, and household cleaning products by the IFRA, revision date 2002). So. Introduce yourself to the glorious scent of lippia javanica, wild verbena, zombie repellant! Okay, I made that last part up -- while researching the historic uses of wild verbena, I found an article which stated African tribes, including Zulus, use/used the leaves of wild verbena in a tea to bring down fever, and that it was also used as a cleansing wash after handling corpses. The article didn't specify why it was used as a cleanser after handling corpses, so naturally I inserted my own myth to the mix. Hey, whatever works to keep those zombies away, right?

Wild verbena is pretty special, actually. I'd not given my bottle much notice since I bought it in 2007(!) and found it tucked away in the back of the scent fridge. Hadn't thought about it, that is, until I needed something to put in soap that was a little different, effusive and nose-catching, and there was this little bottle of wild verbena sitting there, unused, abandoned, cold.

It took me 10 minutes to get the cap off the bottle. It was really stuck on there. I mean, I was thinking I'd have to do that champagne bottle thing where you chill the bottle then take a machete to its neck, but the cap succumbed to my persistent twisting and finally popped off, ooey gooey strings of resinified (?) wild verbena oil clinging like spider webs between the cap and the bottle opening. And then I was struck by the scent -- clear, piercing, warm, breathy like chamomile and parsley, with a ruby red thread of citrus and a deep, amber-like heart. Mint notes emerge, peppermint, not spear, and leafy greens, freshly crushed feverfew petals with a sheen of vanilla. If you sniff long enough, you get this dill effect, like it all went bad (unless you like the scent of pickles), but after clearing the nose a moment, sniff again and there are all those other clear, crisp, non-pickly elements alive and expanding in your head. Magnificent scent.

So I did make soap with it. 'It' and organic spearmint oil with rose petal and calendula dust sprinkled throughout. The effect is quite nice, bright, cheery mint and breathy resins. Good for keeping cool in the summer and scaring away those pesky zombies. As for use in perfumery? Top note -- definitely a top note, would probably work nicely in a cologne style perfume, or a fougere, or amber perfume. It has a lot of built-in bridge notes. 

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