Tuesday, July 12, 2016


I have this plan -- and as you'll learn, or have already learned, I'm full of them. Plans. Full of plans. This plan, thus far, seems to be running quite smoothly. I've convinced myself that I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to momentum. Just when I hit my stride, I let sh*t knock me off balance and instead of just getting back up and booking along again, I meander, awash in a downpour of anxiety. I toe the dirt, shake trees, smell flowers, but I don't do any real work. Nothing that gets what's in my head (those plans) to my hands, and into the world.

The plan is to do something every single day I'm home, whether it be grinding an ounce of resin, to beginning soaking fruit for Kyphi, to digging about in the wicked cabinet of bibliots to find some forgotten aromatic treasure to grind or soak or smack with a hammer, that will advance the dream of the Thurifercorum. I've set aside perfuming temporarily as this current obsession runs its course. Judging by how long a run I've had with the perfume OCD, the incense OCD could run out around, oh, never.

Kyphi in the works, and, oh, yes, that is blue lotus

Right now there are two incenses in the works, a lotus Kyphi, and a white sage incense cone mash.The lotus Kyphi is the one that might make some folks feel a little 'out there'. In a very subtle, 'hey, I feel pretty good right now' kind of way. Which, let's face it, all incense has the potential to do that sort of thing, so this one may not be fantastically more special than any other.

Today I received a package of -- two packages, really -- of schmellies. I got this really great copal resin, the sticky stuff. It's kind of sweet smelling, and reminds me a little bit of sarsparilla soda, or a really great root beer candy. Granted, that particular aspect of the scent isn't bold and up your nose, but it's there, like walking down the street from the candy store in Columbia State Park, just a whiff on the breeze. There's also a lovely, tangy-sweet lemonade note floating around in this resin. It's going into that white sage cone mash I mentioned earlier here.  The second package contained samples of both myrrh and frankincense resins, stuff I'm really starting to dig into and define. In the myrrh collection, there is Commiphora holtziana (opoponax), Commiphora kraeuseliana (omumbungu), Commiphora guidottii (habek hadi), Commiphora kua (echte myrrh), Commiphora molmol (molmol, my old friend), Commiphora mukul (guggul, another old friend), Commiphora myrrha (Yemeni myrrh, loverly), Commiphora tenuipetiolata (omumgorwa), and last, but not least, Commiphora wildii (omumbiri). Now, I haven't had the time to sniff and burn samples of these myrrhs yet, but when I do, I will probably talk about them here. A lot. I'm not going to get into what's considered a 'true' myrrh here as yet, as I don't have all the information (*she says while cracking open the 586-page Plant Resins tome), and anything I might say off-hand, and possibly (probably) incorrect, will inevitably be dragged out onto the very public social media carpet by some gooch who thinks humiliating people they are threatened by as oh, so fun and satisfying. You know who you are, you gooches. Anyway . . . the frankincense resins' sample box contains (*deep breath), ten -- count 'em! Ten species of Boswellia. There is Boswellia neglecta (dakkara), Boswellia papyrifera (makker, a fav!), Boswellia sacra (hojari), Boswellia elongata (hammaderoh), Boswellia frereana (maydi), Boswellia dalzielii (cricognimu), Boswellia carteri (beyo, ooh), Boswellia serrata (salaai gugul), Boswellia rivae (matabut), and Boswellia socotrana (zama'ano). These I haven't even opened yet, but it's wonderful to see all the different colors represented by each of these Boswellia samples. The dakkara, for example, is nearly black, while the hojary is so pale it is nearly translucent. Again, once I get into these resins, I will be writing about them. But I save that for another day.


  1. So interesting that there are so many varieties of myrrh and frankincense. And then to make perfume with the source materials themselves...

    1. It is interesting. I prefer making natural perfume materials from scratch. This year I'm working towards purchasing a larger distillation unit than the one I've used in the past so I can distill larger proportions of resins -- namely frankincense. My wee copper 2L still can't handle resins -- two of three of my frankincense distillations using the copper baby have blown up -- literally. I still find myself scraping bits of dried melted resin off the kitchen cabinets.



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