Synopsis: Perfumes for one with refined tastes who enjoys fine scent, food and drink.
Discussed are formulas with essences that smell like food.
When I first thought about writing about the edible and umami stimulating essential oils and scents and perfumery, I was confused about the true meaning of the words gourmand and gourmet. Since I do own the 22-volume set of The Oxford English Dictionary, it felt correct to first give a definition of what I would discuss.
According to the Oxford, A Gourmet is someone who is a “connoisseur in the delicacies of the table” and in our scent-world one who is a “connoisseur of scent” while a Gourmand is a “glutton, greedy, fond of eating and eats to excess” and for scent collectors “one who uses to excess the natural scents of the plant world”.
Sometimes one sees the words gourmet and gourmand used interchangeably, though more properly gourmand carries a connotation of gluttony and gourmet is knowledgeable enjoyment.
The Gourmet Scents – Part 1
See Part 1 for the Gourmet Scents Used for the Gourmet Perfumer
It is with pleasure that I acknowledge Eden Botanicals as asking me to think about writing about these particular scents that have an edible connotation and also sending me their selection. I had already in my library of scents, old and older samples that I could also look at and smell. These are the ones that were discussed and are now being used in the perfumery section:
Bitter Almond ~ extracted for the benzaldehyde that is used extensively in seasonings, cosmetics like Jergen’s Lotion or Lush Cosmetics, bitter Almond extract used in cookies;
Butter ~ for a lovely and oily, fatty scent that goes well with florals;
Cacao ~ Chocolate, who doesn’t love it? And in perfumery it is priceless;
Coffee ~ stimulating drink, wonderful component of many desserts and great addition to perfumery for a stimulating scent;
Cognac ~ from the lees of cognac making, a fixative in perfumery with a sweet to sour scent and tenacity in the perfume;
Ginger root ~ whether steam-distilled or CO2 extracted is a spicy addition to any blend;
Tobacco absolute from leaves ~ smoky and warm scent (without the obnoxious smoke) goes well in a warm, darkened environment while you savor pastry and acts as a tenacious back note and a fixative; and
Vanilla ~ the ultimate dessert flavor and umami-provoking scent.
The Gourmet Perfumery – Part 2
Perfumery That Smells Like Food
What is Natural (Botanical) Perfumery? It is the use of scent from plant materials for personal fragrance. It really is as simple as that. It is an aromatic art and a fine craft that uses the pure, essences of plants extracted from plants, the use of botanical extracts, essential oils, absolutes or tinctures (and for some natural animal essences) to scent the body. Natural Botanical Perfumery relies solely on plants as their scent source and the scent sources are whole and not isolates. Natural Perfumery refers to making perfume without using synthetic aroma materials.
Ways to Obtain Natural Botanical Perfumery Ingredients.
There are several different types of natural Botanical Perfumery ingredients and these can be obtained by several different methods:
ABSOLUTES are prepared perfume materials obtained by solvent-extraction from plants, usually delicate flowers that would be harmed by distillation. They are alcohol-soluble and often oil-soluble. They are liquid but sometimes solid or semi-solid. Absolutes are obtained by alcohol-extraction of concrètes and other types of extracts. During the preparation of absolutes, most terpenes, waxes, and most odorless matter is eliminated but often collected elsewhere as another product.
Concretes, CO2, Totals are obtained by solvent-extraction from plant material, or by CO2 extraction, they are solid or semi-solid and are good for solid perfumes. They often represent the full scent of the plant material. They yield tinctures (alcohol & essential scent) and the essential plant wax. Often, their uses can also be included in herbalism.
EtOH is ethyl alcohol; it can be made from grain (wheat, rye, millet, rice or corn) sugar cane, or grape. It is called neutral grain or grape spirits and is used as a diluent for complex natural perfumes. For proper dilution, the perfumer should use 95% neutral spirits. Lower percentages often do not dissolve the perfume ingredients. And neutral spirits are defined as un-flavored, unscented alcohol of 95 percent, or 190° proof, obtained chiefly from grain or grape.
What does proof mean? 50% or 100° means the proof required by the British Royal Navy, the benchmark strength, at which a spirit could be spilt on gunpowder and it would still ignite. In perfumery, you will want to use 95% neutral spirits, particularly neutral grape spirits as the scent is fruity and distinctive in a nicely aged perfume.
There has been some discussion about alcohol for use in tinctures and in perfumery. It is good to remember that 95% alcohol is a preservative while 70-80% alcohol extracts the plant properties. In biology, specimens are put up into increasing stronger alcohol until they are in 95% alcohol. Alcohol is hydrophilic. It attracts water. In addition, there is a difference in how 95% neutral grain spirits or 95% neutral grape spirits or 95% copper-distilled neutral grape spirits is used. Grain spirits is made from grain; wheat, rye, barley, etc. and is useful in tincturing. Grape spirits are made from grape and so has a fruit overtone that is useful in perfumery. Copper-distilled neutral grape spirits are the base of eau de vie and brandy, has a sweet, fruit overtone, and is great in perfumery. A family owned company that double distills organically grown plants in stainless steel is www.alcsol.com. They sell neutral grape and neutral grain spirits. Also, proof ° is different from percent %. Proof is another way of discussing the strength of the alcohol. Alcohol is hydrophilic and can only be made up to 96% or 192°. Proof is always twice the alcohol number. It is a great word to look up in the dictionary. Look at all your wine bottles and liquor bottles – you will see both proof and % listed.
In BIOLOGY ~ to preserve specimens they are put up into increasing stronger alcohol from 60% until they are in 95% alcohol. Alcohol is hydrophilic. It attracts water. Thus, as you move the specimen from a lower percentage to a higher percentage, it increasingly removes the fluid from the specimen and the specimen cells stay in a condition that can be studied. If you dropped the specimen into straight alcohol, it would deform it and make it impossible to study. It is somewhat the same with using alcohol to extract scent from a flower – although you often start with 95% and stay with it as the extract that you reuse over and over actually drops in percentage as it extracts the cellular water from the plant.
In PERFUMERY ~ In perfumery, one uses 85% to 95% neutral grain spirits or 95% neutral grape spirits or 95% copper-distilled neutral grape spirits. You want to dilute the perfume item to use it but not substantially change it. Neutral grain and neutral grape spirits are both ethyl alcohol. Perfume items will not dissolve in alcohol that is less than 85%-95% and you should not use wood alcohol or methyl alcohol or rectified alcohol for your fine perfume items. Also, once alcohol is added to a perfume or a single item, it should be aged for a minimum of 3 months – this is what I learned from my distillation mentor who was a fine cognac/brandy maker; that this technique of aging fine spirits would also work for fine perfumery. This way all components of the perfume or single fragrant item have a chance to be totally integrated.
Essential Oils are steam distilled and are EtOH (alcohol) and oil-soluble.
Floral Waxes, Beeswax will need to be heated to be used. Floral waxes are obtained from natural plants, solvent extracted to form the concrète, which is then separated into the absolutes and plant/floral waxes. Beeswax is collected and made by bees.
TINCTURES OR PERFUME TINCTURES. Perfume tinctures are different than medicinal tinctures, as only the scent is desired. Flowers without the calyx (green parts) are put in a jar and a spirit of 80-95% pure ethanol is added. The jar is left to stand for 1-or 3 days as long as the flower is producing scent, shaken occasionally. The spirit is then poured onto another jar filled with flowers and on and on. This is continued until the alcohol has taken on the scent (and usually) and color of the flowers. It will take a season of the flowers to produce the perfume tincture. This is then refrigerated until the alcohol is perfectly clear. Then the clear scented alcohol is removed by decanting or by pouring or using a pipette. The flowers that are left in the jar can be used in the bath or placed in a muslin bag, pressed, and any liquid left can be used in a cream as both a scent and a preservative.
TURBO DISTILLATION EXTRACTION – Turbo distillation is suitable for hard-to-extract or coarse plant material, such as bark, roots, and seeds. In this process, the plants soak in the water mixture to start the breakdown process of the plant (water maceration) and then steam is circulated through this plant and water mixture. Throughout the entire process, the same water is continually recycled (cohobated) through the plant material (cohobation). This method allows faster extraction of the Essential Oil from the hard-to-extract sources. —Natural Perfumery Workbook by Jeanne Rose
You Will Need To Know A Few Definitions.
Bases ~ Instead of building a perfume from the ‘ground up’, many perfumers make and use a premade base or fragrance bases for their perfumes and colognes. Also called simply a base scent. Each base is essentially a simple or modular scent that is blended from two of your essential oils or aromatics and formulated with a simple concept in mind such as fatty floral (butter + Jasmine) or spice (Juniperus virginiana + Clove). A base is not the same as a base note and you should use only 2 or no more than 3 scents to make it. A base is the basic building block of a perfume. Make it, name it, label it and store in your scent library for further use. If you maintain a collection of bases, then you will always be prepared to make a new scent.
A collection of bases is kept because the combination can be reused, or to pre-age ingredients that are difficult or overpowering and when premade can be more easily used as the foundation of a new scent; you can combine multiple known bases to make a new accord.
Try making a Rondeletia base using only Lavender and Sandalwood. Make several using different types of Lavender and different species of Sandalwood to see the differences.
See page 12 of book III of the Natural Perfumery Workbook for more detailed information.
Accord ~ A perfume accord is a balanced blend or synergy of notes which will lose their individual identity to create something new, a new odor. It can be composed of 2-3 of your Bases. An accord is not to be confused with a Family of Odors nor with a harmonious completed note. Also, keep a collection of premade accords so that your perfume will be ready to use sooner rather than later.
Family or Perfume Families ~ There are 7-8 main groups of perfumery-making called perfume families. Within each of these families are 7 separate accords that you can make. I will only list the perfume families as the entire chart is listed in “Natural Perfumery Workbook”. Just as in the Vocabulary of Odors©, each family of odors corresponds to a perfume family: Floral, Fruity, Citrus, Fern/Green, Woody, Herbal, and Spicy/Oriental. The other family that I like to work with is Leather or Chypre.
As an example, in the large Floral Family that includes the separate odors of floral, powder, honey, oily/musk scents; this family contains perfumes whose main accords are floral such as Jasmine, Rose, Tuberose, Osmanthus and the accords can be called 1. Floral
floral; 2. Fruity floral; 3. Citrus floral; 4. Green floral with Violet leaf, 5. Floral woods with Atlas Cedar; 6. Herbal floral with Lavender; and 7. Spicy floral combinations.
Notes. This is a word that is borrowed from the language of music to indicate an olfactory impression of a single smell, or to indicate three distinct periods in the evaporation of a perfume – top note, middle or heart note, bottom note. I have gone further and identified the parts of the perfume in musical thought as well with the help of jazz bassist Ron McClure.
Top Note – ▲ These are the ‘Trills or Variations’ of the perfume and make up to 5-20% of the total perfume. They are often the most volatile of the scent, one that is perceived for only about 30 minutes after application. In music variation it is a way of organizing a piece of music by taking a tune (a theme or melody) and then repeating it in several different ways. It is often called Theme and Variations. The same is true in perfumery.
Heart Note – ♥ The ‘Melody’ of the perfume. The melody is the single phrase or motif of the perfume, the tune, voice, or line, and is a succession of musical tones, which can be identified as a single entity and make up 20-30% of the perfume. And in perfumery the same is true, a single family or accord that is basic. What it is, the scent that you want it to be on your skin for the longest time; it is the principle part and determines the character of the perfume. The Heart note is the recognizable tune; I call it, the ‘Melody’ of the perfume.
Base Note – ■ I call the Base note, the ‘Beat’ of the perfume. In music, a beat is the basic time-unit of a piece of music; for example, each tick sounded by a metronome would correspond to a beat. The base note makes up anywhere from 5-20% of a perfume. A base note is a class of odorants that evaporate very slowly and are typically not perceived until the perfume dry(s)-down. Base notes are fixative and ‘hold’ the scent in place. These notes are often not very volatile and are also often incorporated into the Base Accord. It is the beat or ‘drum Beat’ of the Perfume.
More parts of the perfume
Bridge Notes or Accessory notes ∩ ~ These scents tie everything together, they are the theme, ‘the Timing’ of the scent or what supports the scent. They take you from one note to another like flower to leaf or leaf to root or “across the water from the city to the country”). They are usually only about 10% or less of the total weight of the perfume complex.
You can also use other Accessory notes. These are intensely-scented aromatics that are used to add freshness, lift, or modernity to a blend, or to highlight a main note. They are typically used in very small amounts so that they don’t overpower the other aromatics in a blend. (Birch tar which is a heavy smoky scent or Kewda, Pandanus odoratissimus, which was described once as smelling like a combination of Horse Radish and Gardenia, are examples.)
Fixative ※ is an old term for any natural substance that will hold and ‘fix’ and that ‘Gives long life’ to a perfume and that helps a fragrance last longer on the skin. Alcohol-based scents are fleeting, so you want to add something to help ‘anchor’ or ‘fix’ the scent. Lowering the evaporation rate of the alcohol with a ‘tenacious’ scent usually does this and gives long life to a scent. Fixatives are ambergris, civet, Labdanum, Africa Stone and more. The fixatives can be part of the alcohol diluent or part of the base Accord or base-note. Fixatives notes are deep and complex. In the past fixative notes were the animal part of the finished perfume but are now often mineralized animal products such as Africa Stone or tinctures of odd deep and sometimes unpleasant odors that when used in small amounts fix the scent. See page 97 in 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols or Natural Botanical Perfumery for the vegetable perfume fixatives.
A Perfume is three notes, the top, the heart, and the base, with a bridge or two and a fixative to complete it. The notes may be made with your pre-made bases or accords and to which you will just add something to change it from what it was to what it is now.
BASIC PERFUME — Making a Perfume substance for topical application is to make something that smells good on you, that has no obvious medicinal value, but may have emotional or sexual value, and will usually be composed of the connections between the notes of Top — Heart — Base plus the addition of Bridge notes to connect.
Make it @ 17%-25% or so, that is, up to 25% of the total is natural perfume ingredients and to which you add ethyl alcohol. Cologne is 15% or so natural ingredients with 85% alcohol. Please remember that we always start with 95% neutral spirits (ethyl alcohol). I am personally not a fan of using carrier oils or Jojoba liquid wax or Coconut oil to dilute a perfume. They are prone to oxidizing and thus limit the life of the perfume.
“It is not the number of oils that determines the fineness of a perfume,
but the manner in which certain odors are combined.” … 1865
The Delicious Accord
3 C’s of Craft Perfumery ~ Cardamom, Coffee and Cocoa
Cocoa and Coffee will be thick and viscous and needs to be pre-diluted 50•50 with your perfume alcohol (95% neutral grape spirits) to get it liquid enough to measure. So, when you use them remember that it is pre-diluted, and you can accommodate your formula ahead of time. They are also slow to dissolve into the alcohol. If the math confuses you, pre-dilute everything 50•50 with your spirits ahead of time and then you can add drops and the drops will be the same volume (not necessarily the same weight). If you are making large quantities always measure by weight on a quality digital scale.
Jeanne Rose Tomato >Tales of the Gourmet Perfumery<
Make a base (not a base note) of Chocolate and Vanilla, call it CocoVan. See page 12 of Part 3 of The Natural Perfumery Workbook for details.
A base is a building block of a perfume. Base or Bases is not a base note — Instead of building a perfume from “ground up”, use your premade fragrance base or simply called a base, named and stored for future use. Each base is essentially a 2-part modular perfume that is blended from essential oils and extracts and formulated with a simple concept such as “cut grass” or “sour apple” “spiced Coffee”.
Of the Chocolate + Vanilla bases that I had, I chose bottle 4, with 4 parts of Vanilla and 6 parts of Chocolate. This particular bottle I called Coco #4 and used it as part of my Breakfast Accord by adding to it an equal amount of Butter CO2 and Coffee CO2. Now I had the foundation of my Base note with this Bases Note that I could age for a week or so while I decided on my Top and Heart note. I added Tobacco to the Breakfast Accord to call it now “1950 Breakfast Bases Note”.
I decided on a Citrus citrus top note and a Floral Jasmine Heart note.
The Top note was a common combination of Bergamot and white Grapefruit with attending scents of Yuzu and Lemon;
the Heart note was Champa, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang Extra, smoky Osmanthus and high-elevation Lavender.
An added bridge of Labdanum on one end and Birch tar on the other end and
The Base Note was made with the base and accord as listed plus Tobacco
a fixative of ambergris completed my “Breakfast in Paris Perfume”. Oh, my! I am ready to roll now.
Three weeks later after aging these separately the pre-made notes and accords were ready to be diluted with 95% neutral grape spirits. I made it 1-part natural perfume ingredients with 3-parts of the grape spirits or 25% to 75%. And let it age again.
Here is the formula: Breakfast in Paris Perfume
This was my general perfume, but you can use whatever amounts that you wish here in the final combining of notes. Every combination will have a different odor.
The Oxford English Dictionary
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Frog, Ltd. 1999
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery. 2015 edition from www.JeanneRose.net/books.html
Bibliography for Advanced Perfumery:
Anonis, Danute Pajaujis: Flower Oils and Floral Compounds in Perfumery, Perfumer and Flavorist. 1993.
Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin
Barillé, Elisabeth and Catherine Laroze. The Book of Perfumery. Flammarion Press. 1995
Calkin, Robert R. and J. Stephan Jellinek. Perfumery Practice and Principles, Wiley Interscience, 1994.
Edwards, Michael. Perfume Legends, 1996.
Gaborit, Jean-Yves. Perfumes The Essences and Their Bottles. Rizzoli, New York. 1985.
Guenther, Ernest: The Essential Oils, volumes I-VI, Krieger. 1949.
Mabberley, D. J. The Plant Book
McMahon, Christopher. AROMAtherapy 2037, Fall 97. “Tuberose Treasure”
———. AROMAtherapy 2037, Summer 97. “Extraction of Floral Concretes”
Ohloff, Günther: Scent and Fragrances, Springer-Verlag 1990. Translated by Pickenhagen and Lawrence
Pavia, Fabienne. The World of Perfume. 1995
Piesse, G. W. Septimus. The Art of Perfumery. 1867
Rose, Jeanne: 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols; Frog, Ltd. 1999.
——— . AROMAtherapy 2037. Winter 1997/98
———. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations 1996.
———. The World of Aromatherapy, 1996.
———Herbs & Things, Last Gasp. 2002
Thompson, C. J. S. The Mystery and Lure of Perfume. Lippincott. 1927.
Williams, David G.: The Chemistry of Essential Oils, Micelle Press. 1996.
Patch Test: If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64
DO NOT INGEST ESSENTIAL OILS OR ABSOLUTES OR THE CO2. Although some essential oils are important flavoring oils in the flavor industry and thus ingested in very small minute amounts in many foods, especially meats and sausages, it is not a good idea to use them yourself either in capsules or honey to take internally.
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
Safety Precautions: Do not apply the essential oil neat, especially to the underarms or delicate parts of the body. Most oils are probably not to be used on babies, children or pregnant women. Many aromatherapist suggest that there are some oils not be used at all. However, as with many plants, essential oil chemistry is subject to change depending on species and terroir.
DISCLAIMER: This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor. The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies – Jeanne Rose©
Moderation in All Things.
Be moderate in your use of essential oils as they are just not sustainable for the environment.
Be selective and more moderate in your usage.
Use the herb first as tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2014