Tag Archives: tincture

Homemade Perfume book

Monday - 16 April 2018

I’ve spent over forty years  extracting fragrance from plants, blending those extracts and purchased essential oils and other fragrant materials into perfume. Not just perfumes, but also sprays, body butters, and bath and body scented products. With the publication of Homemade Perfume on July 31st, all of my experience is in one book for everyone!

I wish I had this book when I started working with herbs and fragrant plants year ago, and I know you’ll appreciate the detailed information in my book, me passing my hard-earned knowledge down to you. You can pre-order the book on Amazon so you’ll get it immediately after the July 31, 2018 release date by following this link.

(Read to the end of the blog to discover the giveaway)

Homemade Perfume Book by Anya McCoy cover

Homemade Perfume Book by Anya McCoy

Capturing the Fragrance of the Garden

The self-satisfaction of tincturing or infusing that gardenia bush, or preserving the scent of the lily-of-the-valley plants that spring up each year, only to fade is something a DIYer, perfumer, crafter, soapmaker, or just lover of fragrance can enjoy after reading Homemade Perfume.

How about turning the peonies or tuberose blossoms into an indulgent body butter or solid perfume? The book is the first of its kind to give detailed instructions on how to do this, and much more. Don’t have a garden with fragrant plants? Well, I hope to encourage you to either start growing them, or seeing with your family or friends or neighbors might be willing to share.

There are also instructions on how to extract the scent from fragrant botanicals that you can purchase, such as coriander seed, vetiver, patchouli, and rosebuds (to name a few). These can easily be made into room sprays, oil or alcohol perfumes, and other scented delights.

I’ve done this for years, and now you can, too, with guidance and detailed instructions. Help lessen the burden on the Earth by growing your own! Sustainability and self-reliance are satisfying goals, and my book will help you with both.

Willing to get ambitious and start distilling, making essential oils or hydrosols? You’ll find what will – or will not – work.

Perfume Making Techniques and Instruction

Best of all, I share basic perfume making techniques. You’ll learn how to evaluate and record your impressions of the scented extracts, and how to start constructing a perfume, room or body spray, etc. I do teach an advanced course, but for someone not planning to go into the business of making perfumes, Homemade Perfume will give you the knowledge of how to create fun and fragrant projects.

Table of Contents for Homemade Perfume


HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE 1

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE 2

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE 3

A Book for all Growing Zones

I live in Miami, and enjoy the beauty of ylang ylang trees, frangipani, champacas, and other tropical beauties you probably never have experienced. It’s been decades since I breathed in the beauty of lilacs, linden trees, or fresh and lively conifers – so we’re even!

Homemade Perfume is written with a mix of all types of plants, from all zones. I supply a table that will allow you to select the type and duration of processing necessary for your plant, in your zone. Have a delicate flower like mock orange? That’s covered. Thick, leathery leaves? Covered? Roots or wood? Don’t worry, you’ll have the hand reference table to help you.

Forty plants are profiled in the book for further reference, and the type of fragrant part of the plant will be covered, so you can yes, find if it’s in your garden, or area, and follow the instructions for a successful scent extraction.

Other Sources for Supplies – Supplied!

I grow a lot of fragrant plants, and have a cabinet filled with my extracts, but of course, I have to buy supplemental essential oils and absolutes to round out my perfume organ. No linden trees here, no pinyon pine, so I have reputable suppliers I depend on for obtaining these oils. The appendix in the book lists these suppliers, plus alcohol, bottle, and many other items you may need.

Giveaway

Dear Readers, it’s time to spread the news about Homemade Perfume! Please do two things: Leave a comment, and share this blog post on your social media. Leave me a note about where you shared it: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

I’m also asking if you can preorder the book on Amazon to help the search engine rating for it. You might think, why do that if I might win a copy? Well, you keep the signed copy and give the Amazon book to a friend! Win all around!

What if you’ve already preordered? You might win a signed copy, and yes, give the preordered copy to a friend. I’d still appreciate your comments and sharing!

Five helpful readers who do this will be in a random draw for a signed copy of Homemade Perfume when it is published. I would love your help in spreading the news about my book, truly the first of its kind. So many years and so many experiments went into it! Deadline for the commenting and sharing on social media is Sunday, April 22, 2018, Earth Day. Isn’t that appropriate? 🙂

Perfume Tincture of Orange Jasmine Flowers

Monday - 4 May 2015

First, I have to thank my new garden assistant, Eric, because he was the first one in three years who followed my instructions to radically prune back my orange jasmine tree (Murraya paniculata) so that I would get lots of flowers. The pruning is needed to produce new growth, and the flowers appear on the new growth. Other gardeners just wouldn’t do it, fearing I would not like the woody, bare look of the tree, but I’m a horticulturist and botanist, and I had the tree managed for many years that way, but I just couldn’t convince them. Oh, well, thank you, Eric, you not only pruned it back, in doing so, you discovered some hummingbird nests, which was wonderful. The snakes, not so much, but they were chased off to protect the birds.

hummingbird nests in orange jasmine tree

hummingbird nests in orange jasmine tree Feb 22, 2015

So, three months later, on May 2, 2015, I opened the front door, and was surprised and delighted by the pom poms of flower clusters on the orange jasmine! The bees were buzzing around, so I decided to wait two days before harvesting any flowers, to give the bees a chance to eat, drink, and be merry first 🙂 The moon was waxing, in Libra, and that’s always a wonderful time for white flowers.

The orange jasmine has clusters of fragrant blooms, and is a good neighbor to the ylang ylang tree, and the Aglaia Chinese perfume tree :-) May 2015

The orange jasmine has clusters of fragrant blooms, and is a good neighbor to the ylang ylang tree, and the Aglaia Chinese perfume tree 🙂  The number and size of the clusters aren’t back to what they used to be, but I’m grateful for this first flush.

A lovely orange jasmine cluster of flowers

A lovely orange jasmine cluster of flowers

A nice harvest of the flowers. The stems are thin, and scissors do the job, and I just hold a bowl under the clusters as I snip.

A nice harvest of the flowers. The stems are thin, and scissors do the job, and I just hold a bowl under the clusters as I snip.

You have to not only remove leaves that were accidentally harvested, but you have to look for insects and try to remove as many as possible from the upcoming tincture. There were ants and spiders that immediately fled when the flowers were spread out on a piece of newspaper. I forgot to take a photo of that stage. Then, when I placed the flowers back in the bowl to transport them to the tincture table, I noticed that there was a reason I felt the “honeydew” sticky exudate when I was picking, and the only reason: ants had been transporting aphids to the flowers. Here’s the cycle: ants transport aphids, literally carrying them on their backs, because aphids can’t walk/move/fly. The ants know that the aphids suck sweet nectar from the plant, and excrete it in the form of a sticky ooze known as “honeydew”. The ants can then feed on the honeydew. Well, then, bad news for the aphids and ants!  In an organic garden, ladybugs move in to eat the aphids! Thank you, ladybugs.

Every harvest has to be picked over to remove leaves - and insects. The ladybug was enjoying a meal on the mealy bugs (pun), and I carefully picked off the leaf and took them both back to the tree and carefully placed her back on it. Enjoy lunch, ladybug. The aphids were removed by snipping off the stems.

Every harvest has to be picked over to remove leaves – and insects. The ladybug was enjoying a meal on the aphid bugs,  and I carefully picked off the leaf and took her back to the tree and carefully placed her on a flower cluster. Enjoy lunch, ladybug. The aphids were removed by snipping off the stems before the flowers were placed in the tincture.

I have orange jasmine tincture that has had many recharges. I forget how many, but the concentration is monitored with a conductivity meter – it’s strong! It smells incredibly beautiful, a jasmine-like sweetness with no indole.

The alcohol is undenatured organic sugar cane alcohol.

Here's a basic tincture set up: a stainless tray to catch spills, and a stainless bowl for the strained tincture.

Here’s a basic tincture set up: a stainless tray to catch spills, and a stainless bowl for the strained tincture.

Now, on to the separation of scented alcohol perfume tincture from the spent flowers:

I use a stainless steel food press as an herbal press for small amounts. I was able to fit about half the spent flowers into the first pressing.

I use a stainless steel potato ricer as an herbal press for small amounts. I was able to fit about half the spent flowers into the first pressing.

Here is a shot of the alcohol draining from the press into the bowl.

Here is a shot of the alcohol draining from the press into the bowl.

The stainless steel tray makes it easy to dump the spent flowers without having to worry about a table surface, as the 190 proof alcohol would eat through a finish, marring the surface.

The stainless steel tray makes it easy to dump the spent flowers without having to worry about a table surface, as the 190 proof alcohol would eat through a finish, marring the surface.

The new harvest of orange jasmine flowers, minus insects (!) is placed into the jar with the original alcohol tincture, but there’s one last item to check: the lid.

Always check your lids, as alcohol can degrade them. I keep a box of extra lids on hand to replace ones like this. Now the recharge process is all done - for this time.

Always check your lids, as alcohol can degrade them. I keep a box of extra lids on hand to replace ones like this. Now the recharge process is all done – for this time.

Note: since I tinctured the spent flowers shown in this post, I conferred with a colleague who has convinced me that perhaps only a few hours to two days is enough tincture time for delicate flowers. I am going to tincture these for one day. I do believe that the essential oils will be stripped from the petals, and that leaving them in longer may contribute to more water being removed from the petals, something I wish to avoid. If you have another time table you like to follow, please do, I’m experimenting, that doesn’t mean you have to. I have used this method with ylang ylang flowers, and it has been very successful.

This series of production photos is for my upcoming book Perfume From Your Garden. I keep adding so much to the book, the publishing schedule has been pushed back – a lot. Have patience, it’s in the works, and will be an treasure of information on how to extract scent from plants, built on 40 years of experience. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to be updated on the book, and subscribe to this blog to read my posts about all things in natural perfumery.

 

Ylang Ylang Tincture is Gorgeous!

Monday - 16 June 2014

I wish you could smell these ylang-ylangs!! They look limp, and that’s because I wilt them for an hour or so before putting into tincturing alcohol. The tincture I wrote about a few weeks ago is dark green, and saturated with so much scent, it could be ylang absolute. Incredibly sweet and heady. There are about two dozen in the basket. (I wrote about this tincture a month ago, when I started it, and it is so saturated with aroma molecules now, the alcohol looks black)

Ylang Ylang flowers ready for the alcohol tincture.

Ylang Ylang flowers ready for the alcohol tincture.

I posted this on my Facebook page the other day, and had a tremendous amount of interest. Most aromatherapists and natural perfumers know the ylang ylang essential oils and concrete that is available for blends. I’m fortunate in that I live in the subtropics, so that I can grow this tree, but I was able to inform readers that there are dwarf varieties that will grow in colder climates. Just grow it in a pot, and bring it indoors when it gets cold. It will need a sunny window to thrive.

The flowers tincture in alcohol, or infuse into oil very easily. Their scent is very strong, so anyone growing it will have instant gratification, either just smelling it growing, or the end product, if they extract the scent such as I do. You can buy all varieties at http://toptropicals.com

Extraction methods will be covered in detail in my upcoming book Perfume From Your Garden.