Voyage of Discovery
A simple method of extracting fragrance from natural materials
Making tea may seem off topic for the would-be creator of perfume but it is not.
If we go back to our first method of making perfume and now take the left over, water soaked, natural materials in our cheesecloth bag —the materials we were using to extract an aroma — and put them in a cooking pot and pour boiling water over them, we are making tea! Natural tea.
After steeping for ten or fifteen minutes, we can filter this brew through a coffee filter into a cup and we have our finished tea.
Notice immediately that it has a stronger aroma than our first jar of finished perfume, but the fragrance is no longer floral. Now the fragrance is more of an extraction from the other natural materials we originally selected such as flower stems, leaves, bark, pine resin, or whatever.
Allow the cup to cool and you now have your second perfume, one that is quite different than your first!
We discover here that by using heat we can extract fragrance from natural materials that do not easily give up their fragrance when soaked in water. And, if we observe carefully, we discover that the emphasis in our new scent is not on the floral fragrance we were originally seeking but on what we looked upon as the "decorations" to that floral scent — the stems, bark, leaves, resin gums, etc.
Had we poured boiling water on flower petals alone, we would have produced a different fragrant water but we would have discovered that far from giving us a nice extraction of the essential oils in our flowers, it would have rendered them far less "floral" than what we wanted.
Challenges That Lie Ahead
We can begin to use essential oils to create our own perfumes without understanding how they are extracted from natural materials. For now, the important lesson is that, if we are serious about making our own perfume, we must call upon technology to give us "workable" perfumery materials.
But before going on and beginning to work with essential oils, it is useful to know a little about the processes that give us the ability to extract these essential oils from materials discovered in the natural world.
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