Organic, handmade, and sustainably collected fresh Populus balsamifera buds at peak ripeness from wild colonies in montane uplands and boreal flood plains at my home in Vermont.
☽•☾ Wild Vermont Balsam Poplar Bud Absolute
On the North American continent, Populus balsamifera is the northernmost hardwood tree, growing transcontinentally across much of Canada and Alaska. Favoring boreal and subalpine ecosystems, balsam poplar only touches down into a handful of states in the contiguous US, covering most of Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, and Michigan. Although short lived, the balsam poplar is a hardy tree. It is a pioneer species, appearing on boreal flood plains, montane uplands, gravel, and riparian zones. Poplar buds, twigs, bark, and leaves provide a food source to a variety of animals. Bees use the bud sap to disinfect their hives. Populus balsamifera's sticky, sappy buds are highly aromatic and complex-- the most fragrant example of "poplar buds." The notes include church incense, wine, sour plums, raisins, tobacco, labdanum, tannins, propolis, musk, hay, and the scent of lactobacillus, which is responsible for the characteristic aroma and taste of Flanders red ales. After picking poplar buds for several hours, I notice a dried saliva back note as the resin accumulates on my fingers and blackens. Poplar bud absolute also works as a powerful fixative in natural perfumery. Even after tincturing fresh in high proof alcohol, the plant matter retains a considerable amount of fragrance and can be dried and used for incense. Much of the poplar buds included in my perfume and incense are balsam poplar. I also collect several other species to tincture and extract into an absolute, but my favorite is balsam with its unparalleled odor. The red twigs stand out, looking like reeds with smooth talon shaped buds of the same color curving off of their tips and along their stalks. At the height of the budding season, drops of red resin bubble like blood at the end of sharp nails.
Balsam poplar - Populus balsamifera
Plant part: fresh buds.
Scent: Lactobacillus, church incense, fortified wine, sour plums, raisins, musk, caramel, amber, tobacco, hay, brown sugar, wild yeast, labdanum, tannins, propolis, dried saliva back note.
Note: middle to base, fixative.
The Wild Vermont Balsam Poplar Bud Absolute Absolute is a Wild Veil natural perfume ingredient made using the old methods of long term tincturing in plantbased, high proof alcohol (food grade ethanol), followed by gentle evaporation to preserve the top notes. There is some residual alcohol in my absolute, for mobility and to retain the volatile aromatics that make my absolute a true to bud scent.
Available in 1ml, 2ml, and 5ml sizes. Absolute is dark brown and syrupy at room temperature. Soluble in ethanol and mixable in carrier oils. Refrigerate to preserve freshness.
☽•☾ Wild Veil never uses heat, steam, or non-organic solvents, all of which can alter the natural aroma profiles of plants.
© 2021, Abby Hinsman for Wild Veil Perfume.