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  1. #1

    Default concentrating in the kitchen

    Science boy strikes again...

    I have this old bottle of Aspen aftershave I've been wondering what to do with for some time. To smell it on my skin I have to drench myself, which is awkward and inconvenient. As for "aftershave", I don't shave anyway; I find a trimmer more agreeable to my skin. But I digress.

    I've read the main difference between various strengths of fragrances is the proportion of ethanol in the mix, with aftershave having the most. Ethanol boils at 78.5 C, well within the safe reach of a kitchen chemist. I decided I would decant a portion of my Aspen aftershave and boil off the alcohol that makes it so dilute.

    The worry, of course, was that the heat might damage the fragrance. At such relatively low temperatures, though, I suspected no harm would come to the oils; if anything, some of the high notes might be diminished, but these disappear quickly after application and I'm not in love with Aspen's high notes in the first place.

    Using a microwave oven I heated some water in a ceramic bowl and poured some aftershave into a small metal urn that would conduct heat well and cool quickly afterward. I dipped the urn into the water and swirled it around to agitate the fluids and equalize the temperature. Before long, bubbles formed in the aftershave and a dense alcohol vapor emanated from it. I kept this up until the vapor plume died out, figuring I might as well experiment with the extreme case.

    When I removed the aftershave to let it cool, its volume had reduced by a factor of 4 at least; probably more. The notably more viscous liquid that remains, despite my fears, smells just like Aspen to me, though stronger of course. I haven't worn it yet, but the paper I used to wipe out the urn still has good projection 24 hours later.
    Do you smell what I smell? Vive le Crystal Flaçon!

  2. #2

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Way cool - Bill Nye the fragrance guy. 8-)

    Can't wait to hear how it works on the skin.

  3. #3

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by sqboy1
    Can't wait to hear how it works on the skin.
    I'm afraid you will have to wait, since I'm not wearing it today. I suppose I'll try it tomorrow and post a reply here since you're interested!
    Do you smell what I smell? Vive le Crystal Flaçon!

  4. #4

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    [quote author=sqboy1 link=1139177251/0#1 date=1139177453]Can't wait to hear how it works on the skin.
    I'm afraid you will have to wait, since I'm not wearing it today. I suppose I'll try it tomorrow and post a reply here since you're interested![/quote]

    Please do.

  5. #5

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Sounds cool but a word of advice: you should never microwave water like that. Water can superheat and can flash boil once it's agitated, possibly exploding out of its container if it has been heated enough.

  6. #6

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by myaccolades
    Sounds cool but a word of advice: you should never microwave water like that. Water can superheat and can flash boil once it's agitated, possibly exploding out of its container if it has been heated enough.
    I've read about that but only ever been able to achieve pale imitations of the dramatic phenomenon you describe. If anyone is interested in this phenomenon, I recommend reading this informative page:

    http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/superheating.html
    Do you smell what I smell? Vive le Crystal Flaçon!

  7. #7

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    be careful about skin irritations and so forth. You may have a super concentrated amalgamation. Also, upon heating, you may have some isomers in the mix. Heat can drive chemical reactions to the right via Le Chetlier's principle and abnormal structural conformations may result and can lead to properties toxic to the body. Well, I might b over reacting so, just be careful!

  8. #8

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    [quote author=myaccolades link=1139177251/0#4 date=1139193702]Sounds cool but a word of advice: you should never microwave water like that. Water can superheat and can flash boil once it's agitated, possibly exploding out of its container if it has been heated enough.
    I've read about that but only ever been able to achieve pale imitations of the dramatic phenomenon you describe. If anyone is interested in this phenomenon, I recommend reading this informative page:

    http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/superheating.html[/quote]

    It's happened to me ONCE. This was before I was aware that this was possible. I heated the water for maybe a minute or just a tad more. I pulled it out, set it down and then suddenling *BUBBLEBUBBLEBUBBLEBUBBLE* .. it just started boiling like crazy and my 14 year old mind was like "Coooooool" haha

  9. #9

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by myaccolades
    Sounds cool but a word of advice: you should never microwave water like that. Water can superheat and can flash boil once it's agitated, possibly exploding out of its container if it has been heated enough.
    This has happened to me with distilled water. It seems to me that tap water won't "superheat" due to its lack of purity. Just a wild hypothesis.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Yep, so I've been told as well. Never happened to me, but I hope it's true, otherwise I've been wasting alot of little grains of rice when I heat my Jello water ;D
    Please, spritz responsibly.

  11. #11

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    I have considered similar "concentrating" schemes in the past, but never tried them myself. My fear was that some of the aromachemicals might evaporate along with the alcohol. I'm very interested to hear the results of this experiment.

    There is another "concentrating" technique which is simpler that this one that you can try. I find it at least moderately effective at extending longevity. Simply apply your fragrance to your prefered spots and allow the alcohol to dry. 1-2 minutes is more than enough. Then apply again in the same exact spot. This allows you to "build up" a lot of oils in a particular spot. The advantage of this technique over just sraying a lot all at once is that a) you don't get so much liquid on at one time that it runs and b) you get the "advantages" of misting your fragrance which might be lost if you get too much liquid at once. The misting thing come from the fact that (and I don't claim to understand why this is true) but some fragraces can smell quite different when sprayed from an atomizer verses being applied from a sample vial or "rubbed in" after spraying.

  12. #12

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    I'm wearing the kitchen concentrate on my left wrist and the unadulterated aftershave on my right. Definitely one drop of the concentrate went on stronger and longer than a generous dousing of the aftershave.

    The top notes are not wiped out, but the balance of the composition seems notably different. I have no way to measure this, but the bergamot certainly seem more pronounced in the concentrate. Overall I get a denser, darker impression, but I don't know how to describe it better than that.

    So far (5 hours) the concentrate doesn't bother my skin at all. I have fairly sensitive skin, so if it were going to bother me, I probably would have noticed it by now.
    Do you smell what I smell? Vive le Crystal Flaçon!

  13. #13

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    I'm wearing the kitchen concentrate on my left wrist and the unadulterated aftershave on my right. Definitely one drop of the concentrate went on stronger and longer than a generous dousing of the aftershave.

    The top notes are not wiped out, but the balance of the composition seems notably different. I have no way to measure this, but the bergamot certainly seem more pronounced in the concentrate. Overall I get a denser, darker impression, but I don't know how to describe it better than that.

    So far (5 hours) the concentrate doesn't bother my skin at all. I have fairly sensitive skin, so if it were going to bother me, I probably would have noticed it by now.
    very interesting!

  14. #14

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    The most interesting post I've read in a while.

    C'mon, we've all thought about doing this at least once

  15. #15

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by DrOfTheSoul
    The most interesting post I've read in a while.

    C'mon, we've all thought about doing this at least once
    Definitely true but I don't know how to without fear of damaging the fragrance.

  16. #16

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Fascinating!

  17. #17

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    I've read about that but only ever been able to achieve pale imitations of the dramatic phenomenon you describe. If anyone is interested in this phenomenon, I recommend reading this informative page:

    http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/superheating.html
    I remember when this was big in the news. One of the burn victims was making soup in the microwave. She had it on low heat in the microwave FOR AN HOUR. I was like WTF lady, it's a microwave! Sorry to sound uncompassionate, but I couldn't stop shaking my head about that.

  18. #18

    Default Re: concentrating in the kitchen

    Quote Originally Posted by Propaganda13
    [quote author=d4 link=1139177251/0#5 date=1139203335]
    I've read about that but only ever been able to achieve pale imitations of the dramatic phenomenon you describe. If anyone is interested in this phenomenon, I recommend reading this informative page:

    http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/superheating.html
    I remember when this was big in the news. One of the burn victims was making soup in the microwave. She had it on low heat in the microwave FOR AN HOUR. I was like WTF lady, it's a microwave! Sorry to sound uncompassionate, but I couldn't stop shaking my head about that.[/quote]

    It doesn't work with soup - that would just boil. My understanding is that for water to boil, there needs to be a spot where air bubbles can form - this can be a scratch in the container, a particle in the water, etc. anything for an air bubble to hold onto and grow - once this happens, a chain reaction can occur where other bubbles can form due to the presence of air bubbles and well, yeah, you get the picture. With a flawless container and really pure water, there aren't many points where air bubbles can form thus water can heat up way past the boiling point without actually boiling. However, once the container is agitated, the agitation somehow allows air bubbles to form and since there is so much pent up energy, the chain reaction can be extremely fast and sometimes extremely violent.

    Someone correct if I stated something wrong here. I'm not exactly the expert on the subject.

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