Experiment No. 1: Amber Spice Solid Perfume from Fragrant by Mandy Aftel. Out of respect for the author, I won’t publish the amounts – you’ll need to buy the book for that. But I will tell you what supplies you need, how to do it, and and how it turned out. What I like about Mandy’s recipes is that they are the perfect “experiment” size. They fit neatly into a 1/2 oz metal tin. No waste!
- Labdanum Absolute
- Cinnamon Essential Oil
- Rose Absolute (optional)
- Lime Essential Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Fragrance tester strips
- Cheese grater (for grating wax)
- Measuring spoons
- Glass eyedroppers or pipettes (minimum 1 per EO)
- Tiny graduated beaker or cylinder – smallest graduations you can find
- Glass stirring rod
- Lab casserole dish (80 ml size works great)
- Hot plate (optional – you could also work over your stove)
- Paper towels
- Shot glass of Vodka or Everclear for dropper cleanup
- 1/2 oz flat metal tin
- 1.2″ circle label
- First, I tested each of my raw materials by placing a single drop on a labeled fragrance tester strip. It’s helpful as I’m learning to smell each oil individually – to discover the shape of the material itself, its intensity, longevity, etc.
- Next, I set up my work area and laid out everything I needed in easy reach. Paper towels everywhere in case of spills.
- I poured the Jojoba oil into the graduated beaker, and then added the essences to it. Be very careful to use a new dropper for each oil, and put used droppers into the shot glass of alcohol to clean them. You want to be extra careful not to cross-contaminate your oils.
- I added grated beeswax to the lab casserole, and melted it over a hotplate. Once melted, I added the oil + essences, and stirred together as quickly as possible and removed from heat.
- Finally, I poured the perfume into the tin, capped it, and waited 15 minutes for it to solidify. Finis!
Notes on Materials
- Labdanum Absolute, Spain Wild Harvest, White Lotus Aromatics – Resinous, sweet, thick, a tinge animalic, fuzzy, smoky, leathery. Cool brown liquid.
- Cinnamon Bark EO, Sri Lanka Organic, White Lotus Aromatics – Bright, hot, spicy, candy sweet, POTENT. Clear liquid. This is the strongest EO I’ve ever smelled. It made my eyes water. Careful with this stuff.
- Rose damascena absolute, Turkey, White Lotus Aromatics – honey sweet rose, mellow and round. Yellow-orange.
- Lime Essential Oil, Expressed, Mexico, Eden Botanicals -Sweet, bright, cheerful, acid, citrus, sharp. Clear.
How did it smell?
Quite nice, actually. It’s amazing how well the scents meld to create a new thing. The top and base notes were most prominent to my nose. A good strong hit of lime up top that fades fairly quickly, and the labdanum makes a sweet, leathery, ambery base that is apparent throughout the arc of the perfume and into drydown. At first, I had a hard time picking out the cinnamon – where was the cinnamon? But I realized it had been transformed into a sparkling, hot brightness that did not read as “cinnamon.” Nice. I could not find the rose at all. Perhaps it was rounding things out, or perhaps it was simply buried. Overall, it felt unisex – perhaps leaning slightly masculine. Wears soft and close.
My husband (not a fumehead) had an interesting insight. One sniff, and he said, “Cherry coke!” That puzzled me for a minute, then I looked up the formula for the original Coca-Cola – and sure enough, there was a lime-citrus-cinnamon combo.
2 drops lime essential oil
2 drops orange essential oil
1 drop lemon essential oil
1 drop nutmeg essential oil
1 drop cinnamon essential oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– From Fragrant
Mistakes and Questions
- I spilled the Jojoba. How on earth does one pour out of a Boston round without sloshing?
- Need to be careful to get all the perfume oil out of the beaker.
- Cheap hot plate was ok but it smoked unpleasantly – need to clean?
- How do you clean the droppers?! I got a trace amount of cinnamon oil in the cap of a dropper, and then after bathing them in Everclear, I ran all my droppers and caps through the dishwasher to sterilize. Now ALL of the smell like cinnamon. I curse you, cinnamon!
- 80 ml lab casserole was a great size to work with
- Vintage 10 ml graduated beaker with 2 ml increments was also perfect choice
- 1 eye dropper per raw material, with a shot glass to park them in afterward
- glass stirring rod
- 1/2 oz tin and 1.2″ circle labels = perfect size
- OXO grater with attached box = awesome for grating beeswax and storing it
- Paper towels = unglamorous but vital
That’s all for now!