Essential oil

J.Hannah Co. Botanical Friday: Virginia Cedarwood

Virginia Cedarwood (juniperus virginiana) is the epitome of wood notes in natural perfume. It's a top note with a warm dry quality, helpful in dampening down overly sweet blends. There are many types of cedarwood including Atlas, Himalayan, and Texas, all of which have completely different woody aromas. 

Some people instantly think of old cedar chests and high school wood shop class when they get a whiff of this essence and it's for good reason. Virginia Cedarwood is distilled from timber waste from pencil factories and sawdust. Seriously. How about that for an amazing reuse!!

In my practice, this essential oil has been very useful to impart dry clean depth in men's fragrances, oriental blends, and herbaceous formulas. Smell Virginia cedarwood for yourself at an upcoming natural perfume workshop!

Cedar Pencils

Cedar Pencils

J.Hannah Co. Botanical Friday: Nutmeg

When a natural perfume lacks roundness then spices might be a good addition to the formula, including the gorgeous nutmeg absolute. It adds a warm, sweet, spicy note to the blend unlike anything else. Nutmeg absolute is a darker orange color whereas the essential oil is a golden color. Nutmeg has a very long history in the spice trade. 18th century gentlemen were known to carry monogrammed pocket graters to sniff the stuff because the dry spice can actually give you a high. 

Nutmeg absolute (dark oil), nutmeg essential oil (light oil), nutmeg whole and grated. 

Nutmeg absolute (dark oil), nutmeg essential oil (light oil), nutmeg whole and grated. 

In cooking, freshly grating whole nutmeg is much more aromatic than the pre-grated spice. My family hosted a German foreign exchange student and she loved brussels sprouts with nutmeg and butter. I can't smell it without having a fond memory of Doreen. It's often used in cooking and I highly recommend grating it over your cheese pastas. I get my whole nutmeg at Penzeys Spices

At July's in-studio workshop we will be highlighting nutmeg absolute. Come smell it for yourself!

PS...Like the tray? It's been an awesome addition to my workspace! Check out the other geometric shapes at Nannie Inez

J.Hannah Co. Botanical Friday: Bulgarian Rose

It's Bulgarian Rose harvesting season! What better time to highlight the flower considered one of the most important essences in perfumery. As a new perfumer, I wasn't always a fan. The oil smelled too stuffy and "old lady" like, but I have grown to adore rose oils and traveling in Bulgaria made me greatly appreciate it's history and origins. Wherever we traveled, everything was coming up roses!

Bulgarian Rose Festival. (image from bulgariatravel.org)

Bulgarian Rose Festival. (image from bulgariatravel.org)

Roses have many various species grown all over the world and in Bulgaria they grow the Rosa Damascena. The Bulgarian Rose Valley near the town Kazanlak is the heart of the oil production. Most of the harvesters are women who work with a delicate and painstaking patience as to not damage the flower. When the flower is distilled it produces essential oils and hydrosols, commonly known as rose water used in personal care and cooking. The harvest happens May to June, and also includes local rose festivals celebrating Bulgarian culture and the treasured national symbol. 

Damascena Rose

Damascena Rose

In perfumery, rose can make a formula find cohesion. It can soften rough edges. It can bring together dissonant oils in the bottle as if they are meant to be together. Seriously, you can't go wrong by adding a few drops of rose. This video at the Bulgarian tourism portal highlights the rose harvest, rose museum, and the local rose festival. 

Want to create a perfume with rose? Join us for an upcoming workshop!