I first fixed the enfleurage pommade with two of my handmade absolutes: wild Vermont poplar bud and bushman candle. The poplar bud is from fallen branches of wild poplar I harvested in the spring, then tinctured and reduced to an absolute. It smells tangy, resinous, with notes of red wine and incense. The absolute/resinoid of bushman candle comes from Sarcocaulon mossamedense, a succulent that grows in parts of Namibia and Angola. It produces a waxy bark that, once it falls away and desiccates in the desert heat, is collected by the Himba, and traditionally used for incense, cooking, and, when lit, as a candle. I tinctured the pieces of bark for 6 months, then used natural evaporation to slowly concentrate the solution into an absolute. The absolute is sticky, hard, at 100% concentration and smells like brown sugar and brown butter, musk, and frankincense; it has a crackling fiery energy like wood smoke, without the acridity of smoke. I gently worked the poplar and bushman candle absolutes into a blend of avocado and mango butters, conditioned with very raw beeswax, to fix a pommade for enfleurage. I spread this tangy, musty, resinous smelling base in a thin layer and laid fresh flowers on it, recharging daily with over ten of my gardenia jasminoides cultivars until saturated. The poplar buds and bushman's candle bring out the flowers' fruitiness more than their typical creamy, mushroomy, languorous qualities. The fruit scent is fresh mango pulp, perhaps highlighted by the tart aroma of poplar. Following the tropical fruit top notes is an amber incense with unbelievable warmth. Very limited quantity.
To learn more about the enfleurage process generally and at Wild Veil, please continue reading below.
Wild Veil's Gardenia Enfleurage:
Each day fresh blossoms are culled and laid on the pommade (plant based fats and waxes), and spent blossoms are removed. This ancient technique is the only method of scent extraction that captures the entire arc of a flower's headspace, from opening to last breath. Other technologies: tincture, steam distillation, and supercritical co2 extraction freeze and capture but a moment in a flower's aromatic evolution. Only enfleurage records the full expression of fragrance, with all the nuances from immaturity to maturity. Sometimes the old ways are best.
Wild Veil is dedicated to enfleurage, and my gardenia enfleurage is a deep and powerful way to commune with the flower, with 14 varieties from my gardens contributing their distinct aromas. The result is an organic gardenia solid perfume-- a rarity. Its scent is indulgent, deep, creamy, and languorous, the olfactory equivalent of a southern drawl. Something more than the sum of jasmine, star jasmine, tuberose, and lily. Enfleurage brings out the nuanced wintergreen and pine back notes of this thick white custard of a flower.
Gardenia jasminoides: all the same species but each cultivar smells distinct, and each one goes through an incredible scent arc from bud to bloom. To name a few:
Aimee Yoshioka’s enormous flowers announce their fragrant presence before you see them. Its quilted white petals are the scent of heaven on earth. The Double Mint is a little lemony and fresh butter, like lemon curd, upon opening, then takes on a fruity peach-jasmine scent that lasts until a pungent musk emerges in its final days. August Beauty is a ripe mango that strangely gets fresher before acquiring a green mushroom odor at last. Daisy opens buttery with some of the richness of champa, expiring in mushroomy indole death. Crown Jewel is a pineapple burst, a hint of apricot patchouli typical of osmanthus. And Tea has a loamy crimini profile undercutting its grand sweet nectar.
Literally, "in flower," enfleurage is a traditional, labor intensive, and pure method of extracting fragrance, utilizing only fat and plant material. Enfleurage is also the method of perfume extraction that most closely replicates the odor profile of the original flower: each flower's complex fragrant arc from bud to bloom is literally pressed into fat, where it is stored. The scent is true to the blossom, but subtle, requiring you to bend in close for a sniff.
When I smell gardenia, I feel medicated, hypnotized, lulled. The world slows down and I am "into" the flower as with no other. I have used enfleurage to capture gardenia's enveloping, exotic aroma. Enfleurage produces a "pommade," which is a highly scented solid perfume and not to be confused with pomade for hair! This pommade consists of individual organic gardenia blossoms from my garden, pressed into organic pommade by hand. They are left to breathe on the fat through their fragrant lifespan, then removed, washed, and dried. I repeat this process to reach a high degree of fragrance saturation. Each reposition is a "charge," and this enfleurage was charged the traditional 36 times. The aroma is thick, tropical, and southern. It is very much the opposite of the shrill, overpowering version of a synthetic floral you find at the fragrance counter. Only you and those closest to you will be able to smell it. Apply to pulse points.
**Although the floral perfume produced by enfleurage is osmically balanced (meaning it contains sufficiently complex interplay of top through base notes to be considered a perfume in itself), it is a subtle creation. It must be given time to breathe on the skin. When cold, it may not smell much at all. Allow it to breathe and warm on a pulse point before inhaling deeply. Most noses love the aroma of my enfleurage but, a small percent of my clients are anosmic to enfleurage and therefore cannot smell the floral fragrance. This has to do with natural differences in nasal receptors and is not due to an issue with the product. I always recommend ordering a sample before committing to a larger size for this reason.**
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☽•☾ All aesthetic material copyright Abby Hinsman 2019 ☽•☾