One of the simple pleasures, bringing warmth and sweetness to the home environment in which one lives, can be achieved through the creation of visual perfumes. There are many aromatic botanicals which have been used and are used now in the form of incense and perfumes to sharpen ones focus on inner life. Frankincense and myrrh are in Western culture renowned for there role in sacred tradition. Other botanicals were used in preparing festive meals or because they were special treats that one might only enjoy at that season of the year. Many spices with their aromatic aromas and citrus fruits, which were once rare holiday treats for many people fall in this category. People in many countries have also enjoyed bringing into their homes scented green coniferous foliage to decorate with the homes in various ways. There is a vast fragrant wealth to draw upon if one wishes to pursue this lovely creative work.
Another dimension of creating a visual perfume for the holiday season is that one may start collecting and drying various botanicals for it during any season of the year when they are available. In almost every environment there are some types of mosses berries, cones, flowers, etc that can be harvested for making ones aromatic creation later on in the year. It can be a family affair and a great nature education for ones children and oneself as well. There are many elegant shapes, forms and colors as well as scents of plants to be found in mountains, meadows, forests etc, many of which can be dried. It can become a wonderful exercise in observation of the world around one and children, with their natural sense of wonder alive and active, can often discover things which one might never have considered from the angle of visual perfume creation. In fact one may include beautiful stones, shells, and other precious gifts from nature in their creations. In that way the visual perfume can also tell a story of personal discovery.
For the holiday season we have created Winter Radiance Visual Perfume using various botanicals to create a gold, brown, red and green theme and blending into essential oils and spices with a resinous, spicy, citrus scent.
1 lb frankincense tears
1 lb star anise
1 lb dried orange peel
2 lbs corn cob grains(for the fixative)
8 ounces green cedar tips
1 lb red lichii berries
8 ounces birch pine cones
4 ounce grey oak moss
2 ounces Sweet Orange eo
1 1/2 ounces Frankincense Cedarwood Absolute
1/2 ounce Fir Balsam Absolute
1/4 ounce Star Anise eo
1/8 ounce Cinnamon bark eo
1 ounce Pine Needle Absolute
1/2 ounce Templin(Fir Cone) eo
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I love fragrances. They are intoxicating at times and sublime at other times. I'm not talking about the synthetic fragrances - you know, the scent that immediately bombards you when you walk into Macy's or some other big department store. Yuk. That stuff gives me a headache. I'm talking about natural perfumes made from essential oils.
Christopher McMahon has a great site about fragrances. He is very knowledgeable and extremely generous in sharing recipes. In his newsletter today, he shared a recipe for potpourri - or visual perfumes, as he calls them. The recipe sounds heavenly and I'm posting it here, along with a portion from the newsletter.