Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A Strange Animal, This Pink Lotus Kyphi

Every single time I make kyphi, about a third of the way through the process I think, 'Oh, no, this is not working out the way I thought it would'. The botanicals and resins compete for center stage during the process, one moment it's the nutmeg that's all that is smelled, the next it's lemongrass, a half-hour later, the tuberose concrete dominates -- it's a roller coaster ride of scent that undulates and whips around, sometimes presenting a pretty profile, sometimes not. I'm about ready to reduce the honey and frankincense and a few other choice resins, and I forget before this point that the coagulating mass of herb and resin goo in the bowl isn't the finished product. What a difference is made after putting all the elements together. It's like the whole mess sighs with relief, 'aaaahhhh, that's right, here we all are, together at last!'

So far, and in no particular order, the materials used in this newest kyphi are:

moscato (wine)
orris root
pink lotus wax
black sage
Siam benzoin
Sumatran benzoin
dragon's blood
tuberose concrete

This batch is a bit less powdery than previous batches. Bits of lemongrass stick out here and there like stray hairs. I have not had the pleasure of locating my large mortar and pestle and am instead using my little kitchen spice mortar and pestle, the one I use to crush two or three cloves at a time. This is tedious work. Some of the larger resins, the frankincense and opoponax and myrrh, were hammered into submission with a rolling pin. Art is never easy, but in the end, it works out the way I thought it would.

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