Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perfumer's Palette Series - Lavender


ilting , uplifting lavender . Love it or leave it , lavender is the basis for the family of fragrances known as fougere , along with what has been termed "fern " , although fern has no strong scent of it's own !
I don't think it gets enough respect , it actually has such a split personality - very cold and medicinal and yet spicy and refreshing . The absolute is much more interesting than the oil , both blending well with almost any other notes especially patchouli and labdanum .
Native to the stony foothills of the Alps in Provence , Lavendula vera has a long history in perfumery . Considered a universal oil good for headaches , rashes and insomnia , lavender is also sedative and anti- inflammatory . The name lavender comes frome the Latin word lavare , to bathe , and was used by the Romans as a mouthwash for the gums and breath , and for soothing sore muscles .
The English take great pride in their lavender crop , lavender having been introduced there in the mid-1800's where it flourished . I would love to hear from someone who visited the lavender fields during sniffapalooza last year ! I planted some under my jasmine bush , but it doesn't really like the heat here in Florida .
When harvesting the flowers , most of the tall stalk should be cut , but then trimmed before placing the flower heads in the still . A wide , shallow still is best for lavender distillation , the flower heads in contact with the water bath , where the oils are freed quickly and evaporate into the condenser before prolonged contact with heat , which deteriorates the odor quickly . Fresh oil has a distinct herbal odor , but upon aging , while loosely covered , this greener odor will mellow and mature within three months .
constituents of lavender :
Monoterpenes , sequesterpines , non-terpine alcohol , linalyl acetate ( the main odor constituent ), coumarines

Some great lavender fragrances :
Odori Spigo
Vero Kern KIKI
By Kilian Taste of Heaven
Laura Tonatto Albi
Guerlain Sous le Vent
Andy Tauer Reverie au Jardin


Julie Ellen said...

Carol -- I am a big Andy Tauer fan and Reverie au Jardin is one of my favorites....unusual, but on me it seems to work well. I grow some lavender in my backyard and it is amazing to watch the bees and butterflies crowd around it. love, love, love that wonderful smell. Julie Ellen

Dixie said...

Plum jam, eh? Mmmmmmm! Have you ever heard of Mayhaw jelly? It's a swamp berry in Louisiana. My mom says she remembers collecting it off the top of the water in the bayou with her dad, but the jelly is to die for. You can still find it at little festivals.

Anonymous said...

Favorite lavender blend? Jicky - no question.

Favorite lavender "soliflore"? The old Molinard Lavande. Total refreshment on a hot day.