Natural incense reviews, natural perfume reviews, and aromatics

Natural incense reviews, natural perfume reviews, and aromatics

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  • Summer is here….Some Tips for Newbie Scent Nerds

    Posted on by Aer Comment

    It has been too long. I have slacked a bit on the site, and I also got busy learning how to crochet and knit. But I am still just as passionate about aromatics as before, if n0t more now. Firstly, I would like to give some tips to those beginning their adventure into aromatics. Some seasoned and experienced enthusiasts (and professionals)  may not agree on my advice to the novice aromatics seeker, but these are words and thoughts that helped me.

    Advice For A Newbie Scent Lover

    1) Listen, Listen, Listen!!!!- I can not emphasize enough the importance of this repetitive word. What I mean by “listen” is: Seek out those more knowledgeable than yourself , regarding raw aromatics. Advice from a well experienced natural perfumer, incense enthusiast , incense maker, or aromatherapist, can go a very long way. This doesn’t mean you have to directly contact a person, but maybe reading an article or interview of or by a person like these above is helpful. The first helpful tip I ever read was not to use rubbing alcohol ( or isopropyl alcohol) for tincturing or perfumery. Unless your cleaning pipettes or tools. You use an alcohol that is not mixed with unpleasant chemicals, the best for natural perfumery and tincturing, is 190 to 200 proof undenatured grape alcohol (not wine). This may seem like a “duh” tip, but there are so many people who will go to the local drugstore ( not knowing better) and buy rubbing alcohol to mix with essential oils and to tincture aromatics. It is a lot more common of a mistake than a lot of people care to admit. Tincturing with rubbing alcohol leads to a weak, and aromatically inferior tincture. Usually just awful, and if you use that tincture in a burnable incense, you will end up with a room filled with a harsh, chemical smoke. If you use it for perfuming,as the base alcohol, then you will still, in most cases, smell of the chemicals that make it rubbing alcohol. I was saved from wasting good essential oils, resins, and extracts by this simple tip. I do wish I remembered who said it though. Although, it is not considered as effective as undenatured alcohol ( or as nice), I have used 150 proof Everclear in a pinch. It’s not encouraged in most circles though. Although it seems I jumped off the subject slightly, to me I didn’t. Another good source for (usually) credible advice, is a local soap maker. A lot of very talented soap crafters use aromatics  in their creations, and most are very knowledgeable when it comes to mixing, blending and safety of extracts/oils.  Most of them do not mind being questioned a bit about essential oils, or things they add into their soaps. But don’t ask for specific formulas of their soaps, they are not so sharing with that information.  Books about your interests are also very helpful. Just a plain aromatherapy book that has some basic facts about specific aromatics can get you on the right path quickly.

    2) Avoid aromatic blends or co-distillations  when training the nose to recognize single notes- Yes, I said it, and I may get a lot of disagreement on this statement. But just because there is  Bulgarian rose otto in”Mother Love Root Nature Shetland Ram Aphrodisiac Heart Blend”, does not mean your nose will learn to “remember” it. It may be all natural, but the tincture of ram  eyelash and hoof, essential oil of ylang ylang, galbanum, cistus,  and vanilla may confuse your senses. I know that some absolutes, essentials, CO2′s, enfluerages, tinctures and extracts are expensive, but invest in buying a small sample of them if you need to. Co-distillations are great for those who know the aromatics involved well enough, but if you are not familiar with petitgrain  essential oil or neroli  essential oil (called Orange Blossom Absolute when solvent extracted), then I would not suggest purchasing Petitgrain Sur Fleurs , which is petitgrain distilled with a smaller amount of neroli blossoms, although lovely and cheaper than pure neroli essential oil.  However, i have found two exceptions to my own rule; Floracopeia’s co-distillation of orris root and violet leaf, and Eden Botanical”s myrrh/saffron co-distillation. Floracopeia’s product may help someone recognize what a fresh violet note smells like (orris root is from the iris plant, but contains irones, which makes a violet floral scent, especially when mixed with violet leaf absolute or co-distilled). Violet leaf absolute is a perfumer’s specialty oil, and so is orris root butter/distillation/CO2, both are very expensive. Even if your not too familiar with these aromatics, they are cheaper this way (still not cheap though) and it will help with learning violet floral, and green floral. Eden’s myrrh/saffron is good too, because saffron extracts are high dollar products, myrrh not so much. It’s not hard to pick out the saffron in the blend, (think food and spice like), so it’s a good product to experiment with.

    3) Common sense goes a long, long, way. – Always be safe when using raw aromatics, or even not so raw aromatics. Don’t eat the Shoyeido Gourmet line incense sticks, it’s not food. Don’t lather your torso down with undiluted cinnamon and clove essential oil, it most likely will burn or irritate your skin . Don’t bath in a drum of ylang ylang absolute, it may be too much for your system. Don’t brush your teeth with a local artisans natural peppermint body scrub, and and don’t rub your damn eyes with orange and lavender blended essential oil. I promise, it’s not rocket science, it’s common sense. Always use caution when using any cosmetics, perfume or even incense. It’s not fair that a small business owner has to answer legally to something because someone did not think before they acted, like grating a rosemary nettle shampoo bar over their salad because “Hey, he he haw, it says it’s all natural. I like rosemary chicken” and then they wonder why they are glued to the porcelain throne for 48 hours.  If you are not sure about something, like the proper dilution of an extract, the uses of a product, or the safety of it, just ask someone, Send an email, make a phone call, hell, Google it if you have to, but do not assume things, USE COMMON SENSE. It’s okay to seek out answers.

    Well this has been my thoughts on aromatics today. I will hopefully be doing a review soon, and will periodically give my thoughts here and there. It’s good to be queen…..


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