Sri Kudaravalli's Interview by Françoise Rapp
What inspired you to become a perfumer?
The joy of delightful smells and a good nose. To express myself in a different language. Speaking through perfumes as perfumes can replace words. When created from love with intention, attention and the right ingredients, perfumes have the power to impact a person in a positive way.
How did you start? What courses have you followed?
I started reading first - books, online. Then I talked to some Indian perfumers and gained more knowledge. Later I came across the Natural Perfumery Teacher’s Academy online courses for French style natural perfumery. I really like how the curriculum is structured. It is obvious that a lot of thought went into designing the courses. It’s a full spectrum curriculum that includes - gardening, oil extraction, perfumery, aromatherapy, perfume history, olfaction to marketing adhering to IPF’s New Luxury Code. They pack a lot of punch in the short format courses and the information is very practical and actionable. The courses broadened my horizons and I picked up a lot of knowledge in a short period of time and was able to design products and create my brand. For anyone wanting to learn natural perfumery, the ancillary information and is environmentally conscious, it's a good place to start. The faculty is friendly, kind, and knowledgeable.
What made you decide to create your brand?
Several factors. As you know, we all went through a very difficult pandemic, the past two years, and many people are still experiencing a deep sense of isolation, fear and uncertainty. I asked myself what would be the role of a perfumer? How can I contribute? How can one help restore some sense of well-being?
In this context, I would like to quote an ancient perfumer from India - Gangadhara, 1500 years ago, said:
“The final goal of perfumery is to infuse semi-divinity within us and elevate our mind by freeing it from the mundane worries of the world."
So, I feel as perfumers we have a certain responsibility to help people cope with everyday post-pandemic life, and it was in that spirit, Xila Apothic, was created.
To me a brand is not just about selling products. It's about what you stand for.
Xila Apothic is not just about perfumes - it introduces people to a way of life. Brand is a unique expression of you - your values, belief system, culture, a community of people with shared interests and rituals. It is a way of self-expression.
What made you participate in the New Luxury Awards competition?
I wanted to challenge myself. I think taking action is key to success. Entering a competition forces you think through things and paves way for smart and hard work. It stretches you and nudges you out of your comfort zone. In the process, you discover new facets of yourself and your strengths.
What was your feeling when you came to Paris and received the New Luxury Award?
It was very gratifying. A validation that belief in one-self and focused hard work pay off. I would like to thank Creezy Courtoy, IPF Chair, for creating this platform to showcase our talent and for encouraging natural perfumers. I would also like to thank the faculty at the Natural Perfumery Teacher's Academy for their guidance.
What has happened to you since this?
New opportunities are knocking on my doors, including investors and clients.
We are launching a new product line for the upcoming festive holiday season starting from September 2022, besides what is already available.
Social Media: @XilaApothic
Interview with Pierre Dinand, the most inspired designer of his generation and undoubtedly the most prolific, with more than 800 of the most beautiful contemporary creations to his credit.
Pierre Dinand, an insatiable form-maker, looks back on the fabulous story of a perfume that presided over the destinies of the most coveted olfactory boxes. - Hello, Pierre Bergé on the phone. Yves and I would like to see you very soon. - Let's say next week, avenue Marceau? - Tomorrow in Marrakech, it's really urgent Pierre.
We are in January ‘76 in the Ateliers Dinand in Paris. Pierre interrupts ellipses and graceful lines to immediately book a flight by telex. We leave it to him to narrate the rest of this adventure which retraces the journey of Opium, a pioneering and provocative perfume which upset the codes of design in the world of haute-perfumery.
Pierre Dinand: P. Bergé, who is not yet a billionaire, is waiting for me in his old Peugeot at the airport exit and drives me to the Villa Oasis in the Majorelle Gardens. The crackling fire in the fireplace, surrounded by green and blue tiles, welcomes my arrival in my room with its minimalist decor. Early in the afternoon, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé explain the facts to me. Squibb, the American pharmaceutical group that owns YSL perfumes, urges the duo to release a perfume within a year in accordance with the contract that binds them. The knife to the throat, Yves invites me to reflect on his projects, while handing me LSD pills (which I decline) on a superb Moroccan tray. On the large table in the living room, the drawings inspired by the great orientalist painters and the colorful bottles from the souks did not convince me and, back in Paris, I matured a completely different plan. The refusal of some makes the happiness of others Six months earlier, Nina Ricci USA, who wanted to integrate Kenzo into her collection, offered me to work on the project. Amused, I imagine a perfume in the form of an inrô, a Japanese lacquered box with compartments attached to the kimono. In September 1975, Kenzo declined the bottle, judging that a Japanese-inspired model would not appeal to Americans, still marked by Pearl Harbor. Marrakech: 15 days later: I find P. Bergé disproportionately angry. The Mamounia receptionist who confirmed my reservation dared to confuse Yves Saint-Laurent with the famous jockey Yves Saint-Martin. His anger quickly fades in view of my models. If the first ones, inspired by Cairo bottles are considered to be outdated, the black inrô triggers the excitement of Yves who, conquered, exclaims "We put spices, a ball of salt and OPIUM in it!!! ". Packaging adopted, baptized in 6 seconds. In six months, a red and gold range was born, available in six sizes: samples, pendant, extracts, eau de toilette, spray, giant dummy and display. A jade and purple version with pompom and ball of concrete is on the other hand ruled out.
Opium, a UFO in the sky of the United States
"We'll never throw this s… plastic!" ". The American cleaver falls. Not only is the bottle made of nylon, but it also has a drug name. Inconceivable in the USA! Never mind, Yves threatens to break the contract pushing Bob Miller, boss of the Laboratories, to authorize the sale on other continents.
Paris June ‘77, Marvin Traub, CEO of the famous New York store Bloomingdale's, visits me and inquires about my new projects. "Dear Pierre, what's new? ". Pointing to the bottle of Opium, I reply “That! “, adding that the Americans refuse to market it on their soil. " It's fantastic! I don't need Squibb's agreement to sell a French perfume in my store,” enthuses Marvin. I then witnessed his incredible responsiveness: “Traub rents a Hertz truck and exhausts all Parisian stocks before shipping them by plane. Fifteen days later, Opium was so successful at Bloomingdale's that Squibb launched a press release to announce the pride of its teams in being at the origin of this unique fragrance. My name is of course eclipsed, the credit going to the creativity of the American laboratory. The breathtaking launch of pomp will take place a year later on the boat Le Pèlerin moored in the port of South Street at the tip of Manhattan, where the Chinese landed their cargoes of opium!
An addictive perfume, object of all desires
- Hello? This is Francois Dalle. Well done Dinand! Opium is great, I want the same for L'Oréal! - Let's schedule a meeting!
In 5 minutes, I'm already on my way to your workshops, you have 6 months ahead of you.
Rejecting the choice of couturier Jacques Fath, it was agreed to use Magie de Lancôme and give it a mysterious character with voodoo connotations. Magie Noire, designed in the same materials as Opium, was released in the spring of ‘78. That same year, the President of Revlon also called me. So I insisted on working with the talented Pierre Balmain, whose brand is owned by the group. Ivoire was born in ‘79. The extent of Opium juice, in the technical sense of the term, was then matched only by its worldwide success. “The war of the pompoms”, according to the press, is declared. Estée Lauder files a lawsuit against Squibb. Opium juice would only be a copy of "Youth Dew", his first successful oriental perfume. Loser, her revenge will take the form of Cinnabar, topped with a lacquered polymer cap using the color codes of Opium. Knowing that I was not responsible for the olfactory composition, she entrusted me with the design of Pleasures which would be released 10 years later. Finally, it was the turn of Laboratoires A.-H. Robins, in Richmond, Virginia, owners of Caron for entrusting me with “Nocturnes” a black and gold bottle in biodegradable cellulose acetate, then Rubinstein, owner of Giorgio Armani, for whom I designed Armani. Meanwhile, Dior, owned by LVMH, without consulting me, launched Poison in 1982. This is how Opium derivatives spread around the world.
The genesis of Opium, the best-selling perfume in the world, is now visible on Avenue Marceau, at the Yves-Saint-Laurent museum, to which I donated my models and sketches. But what happened to the galalith jewel (designed by my wife Danielle Poullain) of the dark and blue jade version that did not catch the attention of the great couturier? Alternative Fragrance Festival offers the opportunity to discover how a jewel can contribute to the creation of a bottle. Indeed, I had the pleasure of designing a new range of perfumes whose cap is inspired by this jewel acquired by Nadia Benaisa, creator of the brand Les Soeurs de Noé. A delicate link between East and West, fragrances and packaging echo the passion of the mythical couple Saint-Laurent/Bergé for Franco-Moroccan aesthetic accords.
by Creezy Courtoy
By Vennie Chou, Skin Expert and Natural Skin Care Teacher
I started studying and developing natural skin care over 20 years ago.
I work in a Western Medicine field, but I have a strong passion for the wisdom of traditional medicine, especially Chinese Medicine. I strongly believe that there is a harmonious blend of both medicinal fields.
In Western medicine, I learned the physical structures of our skin and how the structures relate to one another. However, the traditional medicine focuses on the actions of the botanicals and how our body reacts or behaves to their properties. This knowledge is developed from historical observations and valuable experiences. This is important. This is clinical experience along with evolution. We cannot separate ourselves from the natural environment.
When the environment changes, we need to change how we take care of ourselves. We eat different foods to balance effects of seasonal changes and we use different blends of personal products to protect our skin at different times.
When I create a formula, I have to develop three dimensionally.
In one dimension, I have to think about blending the scents. The natural scents have to be harmonious.
The second dimension, I have to consider the environmental changes on our body and what botanicals to use to balance the environmental effects.
The third dimension is to balance the energy of botanicals with the movement of energy or ‘Chi’ in traditional Chinese Medicine.
Different parts of a single plant can have different effects on the body.
Natural world is alive and constantly changing. Our body and skin are alive and constantly changing. Therefore, what we use on ourselves has to work with the changes.
This is sustainable natural skincare, especially if we learn to use plants that evolve with the environmental changes. Learning to create natural skincare is an active process that brings us closer to nature.
By Siri Kudaravalli,
Certified Natural Perfumer, owner of the brand Xila Apothic and student in Olfaction Training
Based on one exercise in the Olfaction Training Course, my inspiration for the week is from the Mighty Himalayan Mountains in India.
My travels to these Majestic and Sacred Mountains reconnected me to nature. The aroma of pine trees, teak and cedar woods, Birch, Junipers, and indigenous shrubs was enchanting. The same soil smelled different at differently times of the day. Morning dew brought out a different aroma in the soil compared to the afternoon's sun-baked soil.
The stillness of the mountains, the silence and solitude surrounding it calmed my mind and this inner peace sensitised and connected me to smells that would have normally eluded my olfactory sense – of clouds, fog, dew, various smells emanating at different altitudes of the Himalayas ranging anywhere between 1000 to 6000 meters, based on the climatic conditions, soil, water, rocks, flora and fauna.
Some areas had the smell of fresh rain, some grassy, some smoky, some woody, some floral, some fruity, some metallic and that of the local animals at various heights – cows, wild yaks, Himalayan tahrs, marmots, wild dogs and musk deers.
The various lakes at different heights also had their own distinctive smells based on the glaciers they were fed from and the hyperlocal flora & fauna surrounding them.
The trip was a feast to all my senses, but this time I was more attuned to the Olfactory one and discovered novel and wonderful smells. I was thoroughly rejuvenated and enriched by the whole experience and have a new appreciation for the splendid smells the mountains have to offer, which I will delightfully capture in my Creations.
By Vennie Chou, Skin Care Expert,
Teacher and Histology Immunology Marker Expert
Learning to make skin care products changes the way we look at plants.
It adds another dimension to our appreciation for nature… from seeds that nourish to flowers that sooth and roots that heal.
One of my favorite things to do is nature walk. When I walk through a Rose Garden, not only I admire the beauty of the colours and varieties, but I am also inspired by their inner strength and beauty… their healing properties. I can think of so many ways to use roses by taking them apart according to their solubility and putting them back into several products that we can use daily. Even drinking rose tea can reduce stress and anger from work or school.
As I walk further, I see a row of bright yellow trees… Forsythia.
Those cheery yellow flowers will eventually fall and turn into seed pods in the fall. To me, it is a living medicine for sore throat and pimples. It is not only a strong antiseptic that Forsythia uses to protect its seeds for propagation, but also can be made into useful and beneficial skin care products.
There are many dandelions along the trail. I have to give my respect for their strength and the will to live without much care and even after rooting in a small amount of soil.
They have soothing and anti-inflammatory components that make them survive. I can definitely incorporate those natural components in lotions and cream.
I walk into a gift shop and notice a table full of harvested lavender from the garden.
The scent is a calming joy that I can extract to use for stress and headaches. I see it also as natural anti-itch medicinal plant for insect bites.
As I walk through the exit, I notice several Magnolia trees with big, beautiful blossoms.
The petals have warming properties. I can just imagine soaking in a Magnolia bath on a cold rainy spring day.
Making skin care products is a useful tool to transform nature into products that we can use daily.
Product design naturally develops from the harmonious blend of this tool, knowledge and inspiration.
Do you want to know more about Vennie Chou skin care online courses?
Visit Vennie Chou Skin Care MasterClass
By Creezy Courtoy, IPF Founder and Chair,
Anthropologist, Historian and Olfaction Trainer
No Sense is More Important than the Olfactory Sense!
I really want you to understand that a perfume is not only a smell, it is much more than that and everyone should really know this before learning to become an olfaction trainer, an aromatherapist or a perfumer.
When you smell a perfume:
-going through your brain, it creates memories and sensations.
-it has an action on your nervous system, regulating organs.
-it is also a gas and what we breathe has immediate access to our blood. While penetrating through the thin membranes of our lungs, fragrances and perfumes reach the bloodstream much more quickly than the absorption of matter by the digestive tracts.
-it influences your hormonal system
-it acts on your organs through your nervous system
-in the bloodstream, it participates to the irrigation of your organs
-it can also modify your DNA and your cell's organization
Digestion and the breaking down of solids, like medicinal pills, take much more time reaching the bloodstream, as the absorbed solids must be digested and pass through the thick intestinal wall.
These are the reasons making a perfume or blending essential oils has responsibilities.
When you teach olfaction training, when you train yourselves, when you create natural perfumes or when you blend essential oils, always study the particularity of the oils. Do not use products without knowing their origins.
Olfaction can be dangerous. With essential oils, you can always find data and talk to the person in front of you.
With synthetic substances you have no historical data like we have for flowers and plants. Natural Perfumes are more expensive but it is worth to consider !
Perfume, by simple olfaction, sends messages to the nervous system, especially, to the area called "the big sympathetic" which plays a very important role in the maintenance of the health balance of humans.
The nervous system is the supreme organizer of matter, where life emanates. Its actions spread to all the organs where it regulates the different functions to achieve this harmonious whole that is the human body.
Besides, it assures the defense of the organism in protecting the body from external attacks.
”The big sympathetic” is made of a double chain of joint ganglia, situated at each side of the backbone. From these ganglia emerge many nerve connections terminating at the vegetative life organs: liver, spleen, lungs, heart, blood vessels, etc.
In some regions of the body nerves also form real networks, and insure the communication of the big sympathetic with the central nervous system.
The nervous system presides in exchanges, warns of failings, provides the various organ needs and rescues those that are threatened.
It directs the natural defenders: the white blood cells or leukocytes, also called phagocytes.
The stronger the microbial attack the stronger the defense.
Different conditions, by their suddenness or duration, can cause an abrupt disruption in the balance of the nervous system and also on the entire organism. A failing nervous system can occur in different ways: tiredness, insomnia, unaccustomed emotional stress, sudden weight loss, or an uncharacteristic tendency to exaggerate or discourage. If, at this moment, a bacterial attack occurs, the nervous system would not have the necessary strength to fight it.
Within the nervous system is the autonomic nervous system, which then contains the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
These two systems are involuntarily, meaning our body does not have control over what it is being performed.
The sympathetic nervous system is known as “fight-or-flight”, while parasympathetic is known as “rest and digest”.
Even though they are different, these systems still work hand in hand with one another to help control the way our body works.
Sympathetic is almost like an alarm clock, as it arouses the body and stimulates the nerves to start working. On the other hand, parasympathetic helps calm the body down, as it brings the body back to its normal state.
Natural essential oils can rebalance your nervous system, therefore it is important to learn aromatherapy and olfaction training before learning natural perfumery.
If you want to learn more about the importance of your olfactory sense, if you want to learn how to train, preserve or restore your olfactory sense, enrol for Creezy Courtoy's 8 weeks Olfaction Course.
By Creezy Courtoy, World Perfume History Expert and Teacher
Located in Uttar Pradesh, Kannauj is a small, dusty town spreading along the banks of river Ganga.
It is one such amazing place that has a centuries - old legacy of producing long-lasting perfumes and is often compared to Grasse, France. The perfumes that made Grasse popular are Jasmine, Centifolia Rose, Lavender, Orange blossom and wild Mimosa, a very different palette compared to the Sandalwood, Cedar, Heena, Jasmine, Attar Mitti, Kewda Marigold and Damascena Rose of Kannauj.
The process of making perfume has been mentioned in the scriptures of Ayurveda since ancient times.
In some Vedas, prescriptions of 3500 years old, mention fumigation of aromatic woods. It is written in the Vedas that when Yajnas were performed a lot of things went into it as a sacrifice. A foul smell used to emulate when meat was sacrificed, so in order to eliminate the smell aromatic ingredients were offered into the fire. Thus, the art of extracting scents from different substances began. Legend ascribes the invention of distillation to an Indian Princess named Nùr Djihân. In 1568, on the morning of her wedding with Akbar, the Mongol Emperor, Nur noticed foam vapors floating to the surface of a rosewater fountain. From then on, she understood the process of distillation, the most common way to extract essential oil from a plant.
In Kannauj perfumes are prepared with the help of the hydro-distillation process. Nickel plated copper vessels are used as they do not rust.
1. Flowers are soaked in water and heated in containers
2. Condensers are filled with oil.
3. On boiling, the vapour of the flowers passes through the hollow bamboo pipes into a condenser.
4. The oil present in the condenser absorbs the vapour’s fragrance.
5. This process continues for around five hours and excess water is separated from oil after the condenser completely cools down.
6. As per the quality of perfume, the process is continued on the same oil for 30 days.
Can you ever think of using the smell of rain to make perfume?
When you set your foot into the perfume capital of India and try amazing perfumes there, it feels ‘time just stops’. Kannauj will sweep you away in an era of attars. From ancient emperors like Shah Jahan to modern Kings of the Middle East, attar, the Indian perfume is largely preferred to most high-end branded fragrances.
How many fragrances can you think of when talking about attars and perfumes?
Just the basic ones like a rose, sandalwood, jasmine oil and other common fragrance. Can you ever think of using the smell of rain to make perfume? Villagers at Kannauj can make this possible by reproducing the aromatic fragrance of rain.
Have you ever heard of Attar Mitti ?
Attar Mitti, also known as itr–e–khaki is one of the unique attars found in Kannauj The redolence of this attar has a sweet blend of woody note of the Sandalwood and an earthy smell of clay.
Attar Mitti is a co distillation of earthen clay pots with the steam bearing the scent of the soil, the clay is infused over sandalwood oil. Over several rounds of distillation / infusion the base oil is imbibed with the smell of the clay till it starts smelling of petrichor. The attar known as Attar Mitti is fancied by end consumers trying to get as close to the olfactory sense of the rain. It also is used by the perfumers to inculcate an earthy note in their perfume compositions.
Are you looking for more knowledge about India Perfume History ?
Enrol for Creezy Courtoy's World Perfume History Master Class
By Terry JOHNSON, IPF US Chairman,
New Luxury Business and Marketing Expert
This article was written for retailers. By retailer, I mean a business that sells to consumers, and I am addressing those retailers who want to significantly grow their sales and profits to consumers despite the difficulties we are facing.
An important part of a retailer’s business plan should be properly forecasting future sales and profits. This not easy in the current economy, yet it is vital to surviving in today’s Natural Essences retail environment.
For instance, if you are not forecasting sales increases well in excess of 10%, you will not be growing your business or perhaps even be going backwards simply because inflation will keep increasing costs on everything, including bottles, labels, and ingredients, shipping, insurance, legal, and accounting services.
Improving sales forecasting is sometimes far too low on the list of priorities for retailers, but for a small business competing against very large companies in a turbulent market, proper sales forecasting depends on continually improving your marketing strategies and your supply chain relationships as well.
1. Marketing Strategies
2. Supply Chain Relationships
Learn more about business and marketing in the natural perfumery environment by enrolling to Terry's 6 weeks intensive Business and Marketing Course starting on February 14.
By Françoise RAPP, IPF France Chair,
Natural French Aromatherapist and Natural Perfumer Expert
Essential oils are natural products used by different industries, among which stand out pharmaceutical and food industries.
Due to the variability inherent to all-natural products and growing problems of adulteration, the 8 marker points listed below aim to draw attention to the main criteria determining the quality of an essential oil. Purchasing and using a quality essential oil have a strong impact all along the production and consumer chain.
From respect of the producers work to the impact upon human health, it is vital to be vigilant in what you purchase as a natural perfumer, therapist and consumer.
1. What are the quality criteria?
The quality criteria of an essential oil are established after in-depth analysis which certifies compliance with standards well established by AFNOR (body for the development of French, European and international standards) which is based on chemotypes (its biochemical ingredients), its density, appearance and odor.
2. What are the regulations around the world?
3. What technical documents prove the quality of an essential oil?
Each batch of essential oil (the batch number must be written on each bottle) has technical documents certifying that the product meets compliance criteria certified by a specialized analysis laboratory. Be sure to find it on the brand's website or ask for the essential oil analysis sheet if you want more transparency about the quality of your product. More and more brands clearly display this data on the product sheet of their website.
4. What quality tests are essential oils subjected to?
Essential oils are subjected to in-depth analyzes in specialized laboratories for this purpose.
• Gas chromatography to map the precise chemical identity of the essential oil and display all of its chemotypes.
• The hydrometer to measure the exact density of the essential oil.
• The rotatory power makes it possible to demonstrate that the essential oil is pure and natural with reference to AFNOR standards.
• The flash point to measure the flash point and check if the essential oil has not been "diluted" with a vegetable oil or a less natural solvent.
5. Is there a market price?
The market price is dependent on tariff fluctuations which are frequent because they depend on criteria linked to various external constraints like any agricultural raw material. Among these, we note the following:
• The seasonality which is essential to obtain favorable prices during the harvest period.
• geopolitics or crises that can ignite the price of local raw materials.
• Quotas decided for ecological reasons (eg rosewood in Brazil).
• the climate which can be devastating or on the contrary help to produce an exceptional crop quality.
• the “fad” phenomenon which can fuel certain venalities or a rise in prices due to excessive consumer demand.
6. What does "100% pure and natural" mean on the bottle label?
This mention often written on the labels of the bottles of essential oil means that this one has not undergone any transformation and that it is not diluted, not rectified, not deterpenated, not rectified (100% pure) and that it comes from a "natural" raw material (the plant).
7. What are the mandatory inscriptions on the label of a bottle of essential oil?
• The best before date or expiration date after opening
• Chemotypes or the essential oil identity card. The main 3 must be listed as ingredients.
• The full botanical name in Latin of the plant
• The origin or provenance of the plant
• The plant organ used to obtain the essential oil
8. What can impact the quality of an essential oil?
In a world where essential oils can be purchased in large food stores and products can be sold such as this while this is not at all… Caution is definitely required and this is what you are going to learn through the French Natural Aromatherapy course starting on February 7th.
By ANDREJ BABICKY, IPF Chair Italy
Natural Perfumer, Olfaction Trainer and Raw Material Extraction Methods Expert
The arrival of winter brings to mind old memories of my childhood spent in Eastern Europe, precisely in Slovakia, in a small village surrounded by changes and woods.
The days were cold, wet and short. When evening approached, my grandmother, a woman already old and consumed by work, even when she was young, used to prepare strong black tea with spices. with just a drop of honey. She made us sit around the table telling us fairy tales. I vividly remember those moments: the wood crackling in the old stove, the smell of the cast iron top heated by the flame. Grandmother used to put on the stove some oranges or mandarins that perfumed the room and grains of incense, which slowly melted creating an olfactory background to the stories. Along with the love for roses, my grandmother also transmitted to me the love for these smells that for me are always associated with the traditions that revolved around the winter solstice, the day I was born.
Many years later I had the opportunity to meet a person who travels the world in search of new and special raw materials. I call him the Indiana Jones of incense. In addition to researching these raw materials, he teaches indigenous peoples how to extract them to create a sustainable production cycle. Together with him and through his acquaintances, I had the opportunity to discover new essences.
Returning to us, I have always been fascinated by this mix of aromas that accompanied my childhood. I've always looked for the best way to catch them.
Living part of the time in the country house, the most used material to heat it is wood. Some of the essences have strongly perfumed woods, while others, after a period of seasoning, acquire particular aromatic nuances. Among my favorites that I often use in alcohol extractions are lime, acacia, pine, larch, magnolia. They are woods that are easy to manipulate and shred or you can buy shavings or sawdust as waste material in sawmills. The wooden material (small pieces, sawdust, shavings, twigs) I let them dry then I proceed with extraction with alcohol in the form of dye. I leave the material to macerate for several weeks, sometimes for months because from my personal experience, the aroma of the final extract is richer and fuller.
There are two other kinds of wood that I love to use: two species of oak Quercus Petraea and Quercus Robur
Both are easy to find. I collect the fallen branches, let them dry, grind them and then I toast them in the oven to enhance their woody, smoky and spicy aspects.
Resins such as various types of incense, myrrh, balms are readily available. They are odorous substances of vegetable origin, insoluble in water but often fat-soluble and of high molecular weight. Some of them are exudates, while others are an integral part of the tissues of the plant itself. They have various chemical compositions and can occur spontaneously or due to stress.
They have very distinct olfactory profiles and can add warm or cold aspects to a blend depending on the raw material used. They give depth, sometimes a dark and mysterious character, they can serve to anchor the other essences in a blend. The resins may be extracted by distillation, extraction with solvents such as, for example, alcohol that is easy to perform even at home. A very particular extraction process is to capture the smell emanating from a resin if burned or heated.
To discover this method and others, I invite you to enrol in the raw material extraction course where different techniques and different raw materials are dealt with.
Prepare an Interior Christmas Perfume
Different spices are also part of our daily life. I must confess that I don't extract most of them directly, only some particular spices such as certain types of pepper, wild carrot seeds and mace, the shell that covers the nutmeg seed.
In the winter I prepare an alcohol-based Interior Christmas Perfume, a mixture composed of:
20g of cloves
10g part of cinnamon
Zest of an orange
Some eucalyptus leaves
3/4 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tonka bean
10 drops of fir essential oil
All the dry material is crushed in a mortar, poured into a glass container and covered with 300 ml of alcohol. The container is left to rest for 2 weeks, shaking it frequently. After two weeks, the content is filtered and is ready to be used to perfume the rooms, Christmas decorations or doormats in front of the house. It is an old recipe from my grandmother who instead of alcohol boiled all the material together but for easy storage, the formula was reworked with an alcohol base and with the addition of some raw materials.