Ask the Perfumer 3/24/13 Meyer Lemon Organoleptic Info and Giveaway

Sunday - 24 March 2013

It’s such a delight to have some of the new-to-market expressed rind oil of the Meyer Lemon, I wanted to share my organoleptic evaluation of it with you, and give some away to a reader who leaves a comment.  I also want to encourage you to subscribe to the blog, and/or the comments for the blog, and if you leave a comment, don’t forget to check the box that will allow you to receive posts on the meyer lemon blog, so you’ll know if you’re a winner.  I filled a 15ml bottle with the

10.9g of meyer lemon oil in a 15ml bottle, a good example of specific gravity and your need to know it.

10.9g of meyer lemon oil in a 15ml bottle, a good example of specific gravity and your need to know it.

meyer lemon oil for you, and to show you how much specific gravity matters, know that it’s only  10.9g or oil!  I haven’t had time to weigh the oil and determine the S.G., but know that I will, since I determine the S.G. on all my oils, and teach it to my advanced students.

So – meyer lemon!  People have craved an oil of this prolificly-bearing small tree for years, and we’re finally getting it from California. It’s probably conventionally farmed, as the first-line supplier didn’t include any organic designation.  It’s available for retail and wholesale from Arlys Naturals.

I had a meyer lemon tree for several years until the Florida Citrus Nazis (you can search my old blog for the sad story of that horrible episode in Florida history) chopped it down. The first year, I was shocked at how many fruits!  My little tree was probably only 5 feet tall and just as wide, and there must have been over 100 fruits. Here’s a photo of one, not mine:

Meyer lemon tree with a typical load of fruit!

Meyer lemon tree with a typical load of fruit!

Now, to what it smells like, and a glimpse of the Organoleptic Evaluation Form (OEF) that my students use, starting in Module 1 in their studies at the Natural Perfumery Institute. It’s imperative for students and perfumers to know all the aspects of the aromatic they’re studying.  The only OE observation I’ve left off the form is taste.  I taste all my oils, but I am wary of a student ingesting a dangerous amount, or perhaps being allergic to an oil, so it’s not on the form.  If I have an attorney draw up a disclaimer for me, I may include it in the future.  Needless to say, the oils tastes wonderful, a broad, soft citrus flavor, soft and still invigorating.  Arlys Natural owner Susan Stype reports she and her husband enjoyed Meyer Lemon martinis!  I used it in a salad dressing over organic spring greens and feta cheese with cherry tomatoes (the veggies from my garden) and it performed spectacularly!

The Aromatic Lexicon referred to in the OEF is a page listing Sensory (alert, happy, relaxed, uneasy, velvety, erotic, etc.), Scent on drydown (amber, berry, butter, herbal, fruit (encompasses citrus and all fruit, up to the evaluator to determine), olive, musk, wine, etc.) and Place Memory (church, home, ocean, park, person, etc.). My students have enjoyed this word-jogger since 2007, and find it helps them greatly when searching for the elusive descriptor for a scent, while concomitantly helping them use the mind/nose/body connection to firmly root the oil in their Scent Memory.

Organoleptic Evaluation Form (OEF) by Anya McCoy for Meyer Lemon oil - click to enlarge

Organoleptic Evaluation Form (OEF) by Anya McCoy for Meyer Lemon oil – click to enlarge.  Note this is for the undiluted form.  Students also fill in an OEF for diluted aromatics.

Leave a comment about meyer lemon or a question for the weekly Ask the Perfumer forum, from now until 10 PM ET USA, and you’ll be in the drawing for the meyer lemon oil. Winner will be announced here tomorrow by noon.  If winner doesn’t claim prize by Tuesday 11:59 PM, ET USA, second winner’s name will be posted. Good luck to everyone, and I hope I have excited you about this new addition to our perfumer – and aromatherapy – palette.

39 thoughts on “Ask the Perfumer 3/24/13 Meyer Lemon Organoleptic Info and Giveaway

  1. Jennifer Sano

    How wonderful! My mum has a Meyer lemon tree in her garden in NZ, she put it in when I was a kid, and it was always her instructions when cooking to “Go down to the lemon tree and get some lemons” – I hated going because the tree was right at the bottom of the garden, but I loved the smell of them.

    Reply
  2. gina Palandri

    For the ask the perfumer forum:

    Since Citrus EO’s tend to lose their punch so quickly when using for perfumes. Do you suggest ever substituting the product we are seeing alot of now called “Essence’s”? It is a softer smell profile- but there seems to be Orange, Lemon, Bergamot- & Lime Essences out there.
    Please help.

    Reply
  3. Suzinn

    Hi Anya
    Thanks so much for posting your evaluation of the Meyer Lemon oil! I have 2 small Meyer Lemon trees that I grow in pots and drag in and out of my studio during the Portland winter. Right now they are outside and have several lemons on them but I really grow them for the fragrant flowers which even before I studied perfumery would fill me with joy whenever I smelled them! Now I collect about half the flowers and tincture them to use in my perfumes. I’ve also tinctured the rind but only after drying it out for several days.
    Thanks also for including your evaluation form. As soon as my spring garden design rush is over I plan to get more serious about actually writing down my observations. Right now I keep all that stuff in my head.
    Would love to try the oil as well.
    Wishing you a beautiful Sunday,
    Suzinn

    Reply
  4. Dana Tate

    I really enjoyed reading your evaluation on Meyer lemon. 🙂 I was very interested to note the vanilla fragrance you picked up in the oil.

    I love citrus oils, but have never strayed from lemon and sweet orange. It’s time for me to branch out!

    Reply
  5. Anna Lybecker

    I did get a 15 ml bottle of this oil from Arylis oils and absolutely love it! It has that soft citrus you talked about and just gets in my whole being as an upliftment of sensual pleasure. I’m so glad you had it in your blog and where to get it! I do have a Meyer lemon shrub in a pot that has to come inside in the winter and it does struggle a bit but oh those lovely lemons it produces! I use them fresh all the time.
    Thanks again,
    Anna

    Reply
  6. Rita

    Lemon… one of my favorite scents, it makes me smile, irt makes my mouth watering, it cheers up when I’m down, it shines when it’s overcast… would love to smell this new variety! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Daphne Gendrin

    Hi Anya, Thank you for the information on the Meyer Lemon. I love the scent of citrus. I used to have lemon trees in California. But now living in Western Washington it’s not as easy to grow. I do try to have lemon oil when I can get it. Take care.

    Reply
  8. Kathy

    Anya, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I was shocked to see the photo of Meyer lemons. That much fruit is amazing to look at. I’m so very interested in essential oils, herbal therapy, and would really like to learn more about perfumery. I’ve been blending oils for 12 plus years, but have only dabbled in the art of creating a perfume.
    Thanks again, and best wishes,
    Kathy

    Reply
  9. Matthew

    I’m curious how this compared to the Lemon Myrtle I have in some alcohol as a room/hand spray…I just used some yesterday and it had this layered leafy green/chalky woodsy aspect to it I know a pure citrus wouldn’t have, and this in an oil would make it ready to go in some form of shea butter spread perhaps…..I’ve smelled these in the supermarket but have no idea how they might be “buried’ scent wise in some oil…very glad you brought this to my attention…thanks!

    Reply
    1. Anya Post author

      Hi Matthew

      Meyer lemon is completely different from lemon myrtle. I guess you’ll just have to get some and try! 😉

      hth,
      Anya

      Reply
      1. Eileen

        The smell is divine! It is fresh, soft not bitter, lime, hit if orange, creamy and waxy, white, deep hyachinth! It is perfume by it self!

        Reply
  10. einsof

    first off, how very intuitive and “wholistic” to use the OEF to evoke not only the sensations/experience of the actual aroma in the present– but to use the memory and emotion to clarify the effects of an oil.

    i have had little experience with the meyer lemon outside of premade products and tincture here or there.

    thank you Susan for sourcing this oil!! thank you Anya for your on-going efforts to educate and evolve our art.

    lemon is eternal sunshine… even the sight of the impossibly cheery fruit can lift a mood & make anything seem cleaner than perhaps it actually is… although lemon oil is my go-to kitchen sanitizer.

    still waiting for you to send some tropical warmth our way. 😉

    much light, einsof

    Reply
  11. Wendy

    I actually have a perfumer question that’s not Meyer lemon related at all — last fall I got bulbs for antique Roman hyacinth from Old House Gardens, and this week they bloomed, and their fragrance is just amazing. It made me realize that I’ve never seen any form of hyacinth fragrance extract — are they one of those flowers that just don’t cooperate? If they do, I would love to try to enfleurage these amazing creatures…

    Reply
    1. Anya Post author

      Hi Wendy:

      Hyachinth absolute has been made sporadically over the years, often on spec to a French perfume house. It’s produced in Holland, AFAIK. Very pricey and elusive to obtain. I had a tiny bit some years ago. It’s an incredibly long-lasting heart note. The ‘top’ notes of it disappear after a few hours, but the base notes of it can last for days. Do enfleurage them, and/or tincture them. I have several successes with both methods using rather wan store-bought hyacinths, so yours should be spectacular.

      hth,
      Anya

      Reply
  12. Simone

    I was surprised to see that this citrus EO lasted 2 hours-it has incredible staying power for a citrus/top note! Happy Holidays:)

    Reply
    1. Anya Post author

      Hi Simone:

      It was really, really weak at 2 hours, on a scent strip. I believe it would be dampened by other aromatics in a blend at that point, however, in your hair, or on a piece of cotton in aromatherapy jewelry, you would still smell it faintly.

      hth,
      Anya

      Reply
  13. francesca

    Very curious about this one, there’s been a lot of action around it! Reference to Yuzu intriques me and I love that unified nostril finale Anya! Longevity interesting as well.

    Reply
  14. Fallah

    The obvious question to me seems to be: what is behind the “alternate nostril” smelling? Very interested to hear.

    Reply
    1. Eileen

      Hi Falla, it is based on the theory that one side othe mind is intellectual, and the other side of the mind is emotional. Some ancient religions refers it as the Sun and the Moon, but then the middle is the third eye. This is part of the subjects covered at the NPI. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Priya

    I second Fallah’s question about alternate-nostril smelling! I am definitely going to tincture hyacinths once they finally make their appearance.

    Reply
  16. Suzy

    I too am quite thrilled that this citrus oil persists as a top note for at least 2 hours. I guess I’ve falsely been under the impression that as soon as a note changes that it’s classification as top/middle/base change too. Guess I’m still a little confused as to being able to properly discern when an aromatic changes to it’s middle then base. And I notice you did not continue this evaluation through Middle to Base. Is there a reason for that?

    It’s a very curious thing to me how we perceive different notes through different nostrils. Is this somehow tied to our left brain and right brain?.

    One more quick thing (or not). Is specific gravity sort of like gravity? And when you are talking about Meyer Lemon being only 10.9 grams in a 15ml bottle–why is this quite “amazing”? I guess I’m asking why specific gravity is so important. I just didn’t pick that up today reading your article.

    A most sincere thanks and appreciation for the OEF and the info,
    Suzy

    Reply
  17. Staci Kong

    Hi Anya. I love getting your posts. I always learn something new. It did not occur to me that different lemon varieties might smell different. I’m all about new learning experiences. It sounds like I need to compare meyer lemon to another lemon scent to find out first hand. Thanks for yet again another great and informative post!

    Reply
  18. Rae Lynn Reffruschinni

    I love anything lemon! I make preserved lemons from my nephew’s tree. I also like the evaluation form you use. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  19. Fun Chiat

    Anya you are so talented to have made this oil. The major and minor impression is interesting especially when it turns vanilla smell before the first hour. Synthetic perfume and the natural perfumery you promote is as pop music is to classical music. The latter tells a story. One day I wish to be able to create these oils and explore natural perfumery like you do.

    Reply
  20. Mumsy

    That is the most amazing looking tree. How astounding the notion that the fruit can be so marvellous when the tree is so productive. It would seem to be more likely if there were only a few fruits. I wonder if they would grow well in the UK in a greenhouse.

    Reply
  21. Hemla

    I will look into growing this lemon here. lemon trees do well where I live, and with such a great yield of lemons, seems worth growing.
    Have you tried tincturing the rind?

    Hemla

    Reply
  22. Donna Galipeau

    What a great article! How nice to see such an insightful report! What a great oil as well, Meyer Lemon’s make a fantastic addition to aromatherapy! thank you for sharing your insight on this oil, can not wait to try it for myself!

    Reply
  23. Lisa Kasper

    That sounds amazing, I wish I could smell it! Lemons are one of my favorites, although I have never smelled or tasted the expressed oil. I am intrigued and well you had me at salads and martini’s. I had a perfume once of Lemon oil and Rosemary…ah I love those smells! 🙂

    Reply
  24. Cynthe Brush

    Meyer lemons are the DIVAS of lemon varieties….the only lemon I use for culinary creations, from ice cream to pizza! Have two little trees in large pots. (Will plant one when I redesign the front yard.)

    LOVE the idea of using Meyer Lemon in a perfume as the aroma is so happy and cheering. Enjoyed your evaluation Anya noting the difference between left/right/both nostril(s) input, which I hadn’t thought of doing on my own.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Cynthe Brush

    Anya ~ Here again as I forgot to check the box for post follow-up comments (didn’t scroll down far enough to see it). Now I’m subscribed.

    Cynthe

    Reply
  26. MariaA

    Wow I love your tree the Meyer lemons trully look lovely, I would love to smell this perfume! I hope their aroma will bring spring a bit sooner in London as we are about to freeze shortly! Thank you for the draw!

    Reply
  27. Suzinn

    Wendy’s post inspired me to go pick some of my Hyacinth blossoms. They are dark purple and very plump. I waited over 24 hours before tincturing but they hardly wilted.!
    Did you pick a winner yet?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  28. Anya Post author

    The winner of the Meyer Lemon oil is Anna Lydecker! Please email me privately with your address, Anna. Please use the contact for on this website to email me.

    xoxo
    Anya

    Reply

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