The Elements of Scent-Florals, The Mother Of Scents

floralFloral perfume was probably the very first sort of fragrance there was. Man has loved the smell of flowers forever and has always wanted to preserve it.

The first floral perfumes must have been created long ago, and we don’t have records of how they were made. But we do know that herbs were used as a scenting device, especially lavender (which was prized for perfuming sheets in Roman times). On a more exotic note, rose attars from the “mysterious East” were a wonder when they hit Europe, and they still remain very expensive, sought-after elements of perfumery.

But we live in an artificial world which insists on things like: consistency, low price, and many novelties. Enter the man-made floral elements. Among the first of the group were the ionones which were made from paper making byproducts! Ionones smell like violets and are perfectly charming. You cannot actually get the scent of violets out of violets BUT you can simulate it to a great faithfulness by the judicious use of ionones in a blend. You can make a dandy rose scent out of the skilled manipulation of ionones, and it does sneak into the scent of sweet olive with a bit of coaxing.

There are others: eugenol (the scent of carnations), amyl cinnamol (jasmine), and more. The things they have in common are that they are very predictable in every way and very cheap to produce as a rule. However, that does not mean that they are inferior to the scent of the real thing, in many cases they are downright superior! Since they are controlled, things like impurities and levels of components are strictly under control; so a rose scent which is supposed to have a lemony edge to it does have that lemony edge and not a more grapefruity edge.

Hop over to Possets and take a look at our listing for flotals. Don’t stop there, there are representatives from each of the scent families and it’s just fun going through the list of perfumes on offer.

Orris Root, Scent of Florence

orrisrootoilA part of my job which I dearly love is the sciency aspect, made even more fun when I am working with 100% natural ingredients. Today I got to make a blend with orris root butter. Friction is a 100% Natural which sports: Bulgarian rose absolute, aged dark patchouli, palmarosa, and a very generous dollop of the divine orris.

Orris is an extract of an iris, and one of the symbols of the Italian city of Florence. An image of its flower appears on many mementos. Orris “butter” is quite costly and to be used only by those who know what they are doing in perfumery. It has a scent something like violet and  earth or stone; it’s famed for its staying ability and is considered a basenote and fixative.

Today I had to take 1.8 ml of orris butter and prepare it in oil so I could use it in a blend I needed to remake, Friction, a 100% Natural which had a good run during Yule. You have to be very careful when you handle orris, if you prepare it incorrectly you have just made a very costly mistake. I need to turn the lump of “butter” into a liquid, and like real butter I had to melt it and then combine it with a pure and inert vegetable oil. You don’t just put the jar of orris in the microwave and turn it on…no no no! You have to put the jar into a bath of hottish water and let it melt at its own pace. I use a beaker within a beaker for this job like a tiny bain marie. Fill the first beaker with hottish water to a level well below the opening of the little orris container, put in the container of orris and then immerse that in a larger container filled with very warm water. Cover it and prepare the oil carrier in the same way just using the oil container in a bath of hottish water. Both the oil and the orris should be very warm when combined.

Take the lid off your orris container and you will see that it has turned into clear liquid (just like real butter). Take the container out of the water baths and put it in the warm oil. Stir and enjoy.

You have to limit the amount of orris you put into the oil as it might precipitate out and form “crystals” because you have supersaturated it. You don’t really want that, you want to get the oil to hold as much orris as it can, but not too much. This is a trial and error thing.

Now it’s time to enjoy your product. I keep the little orris container and put it in my lingerie drawer to give a lovely fragrance to my things.

Possets is famous for its wonderful 100% Naturals. Yes, we start with excellent ingredients, but we have had more than just a bit of experience, and it shows. Come on over for a visit and take a look for yourself. There is a “scent by note” link you can click on the left hand side of the screen and bring up all our delightful blends. I think you will be pleased. Http://