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Enfleurage and Hyperreality: flower bombs and celluloid

I have laid 1/4 of the 3,000 tuberose bulbs to dry on the garage floor. Winter preparation is underway, with cutting back the foliage, lifting the bulbs, dividing and drying them out before they will be packed in peat moss and stored in the cellar. Vermont is too cold for these Agave rhizomes, native to Mexico, to remain in the ground.

If you have been following me for a while, you know that I use tuberose in my enfleurage and natural perfumes. In my opinion enfleurage creates an aromatic extract that is closest to the scent of the live flower. More of an imprint than an extract, enfleurage is similar to photography in that it casts scent onto a medium like light onto celluloid (celluloid of course is the explosive bond of two plant components: nitrocellulose and camphor). The parallels are poetic: in enfleurage, a slab of fat and wax serves as the medium. This plant version of cellulite echoes photographic film's cellu-light. Repeated printing of flower after flower onto the same reel produces something beyond a realistic encounter with the scent source. A hyperreal outcome more saturated than a bouquet, and condensed in time. An enfleurage record plays day after day of a flower's fragrant arc, until its breath is no longer fresh. Unlike absolutes, essential oils, and CO2 extracts, enfleurage is a moving perfume.


© 2021, Abby Hinsman for Wild Veil Perfume.