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Voyage of Discovery

Part II of a Multi-Part Series
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Your own garden can provide wonderful floral material for your perfume. These are the fragrant materials that were used in Part I of this series of articles on creating your own perfume.
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.

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Packed in cheesecloth inside a jar, these materials were first soaked in water to extract a portion of their floral essence.

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.

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After most of the liquid was squeezed out of the cheesecloth wrapper and filtered into a clean jar with the first perfume, the remaining materials — "bag" and all — were placed in a pot and covered with boiling water to create a "tea."

Allow the cup to cool and you now have your second perfume, one that is quite different than your first!

For ideas on naming your fragrance, read "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name".

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Lessons Learned

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.

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After being allowed to steep for about ten or fifteen minutes, the "tea" was filtered through a coffee filter into a cup and allowed to cool. This produced a second perfume, quite different than the first.

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.

Part I: Making Your Own Perfume For Pleasure or for Profit

Part III: Extracting Essential Oils Through Distillation

Part IV: Making Indian Attars

Part V: Producing Agarwood Oil In Thailand

Part VI: Turning homemade perfume into a commercial product

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.