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Thread: Asafoetida

  1. #1

    Default Asafoetida

    Didn't see this one on here, so thought I'd add it. I've long enjoyed the yummy smell of asafoetida (aka hing, aka Ferula asafoetida) frying in oil as part of Indian cuisine, but wasn't familiar with the essential oil. I just got a 5 ml bottle to use in an Indian-inspired perfume that I want to make, but wasn't prepared for how amazingly strong the oil would be. When I opened the bottle, it was like the proverbial genie popping out, or maybe Pandora's box. I've seen the smell described as like garlic and onions, but that's not the half of it. It's also got notes that are sweaty, balsamy, resiny, and notes that are in nothing else that I know of, so I have no words to describe them. The best I can do is to say that it's like a huge, iridescent, dark gray balloon that keeps expanding. I can see that I want to go easy with this stuff. In handling the bottle, I got a minute amount on my fingers, and can still smell it days later, even after multiple washings. This is supposed to be a top note, but with this lasting power I suspect that it's the mother of all base notes.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Asafoetida

    Asafoetida is not a common perfume ingredient...purely an accenter and then only used in very diluted form, as in civet or cumin. I have some infused asafoetida that I've had for years, and even very diluted, I have to keep it in a container withing another container. It's no accident that it is referred to as 'devil's dung'. Use this with caution, for even a small amount too much, will ruin a good perfume.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Asafoetida

    I bought the resin once, to use in Indian cookery, but found the smell extremely off-putting. I'd describe it as a mixture of fish flakes and rotten green onions.

    Honestly, I have a hard time seeing what the use for this would be in cookery, and even more so, in perfumery. It's even more "alien" to smelling good than things like raw civet are. None the less, I'd be curious to smell it used in a fragrance.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 6th March 2010 at 03:54 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Asafoetida

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymphaea View Post
    Asafoetida is not a common perfume ingredient...purely an accenter and then only used in very diluted form, as in civet or cumin. I have some infused asafoetida that I've had for years, and even very diluted, I have to keep it in a container withing another container. It's no accident that it is referred to as 'devil's dung'. Use this with caution, for even a small amount too much, will ruin a good perfume.
    You may be surprised to find out but a TINY amount of Asafoetida is often used to boost Galbanum Oil. And I do mean tiny, it's powerful stuff

  5. #5

    Default Re: Asafoetida

    The only perfume I know of that uses this is Balmain's Vent Vert - used in the manner that Mr. Ruskin just mentioned. Unmistakable, but it's quite fleeting. Probably would have been better without its inclusion.

    Edit: Apparently Cabochard includes this note as well - never noticed it before.
    Last edited by Calyx93; 7th June 2010 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Added Cabochard
    I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance. - Rimbaud

  6. #6

    Default Re: Asafoetida

    In cooking, asafoetida changes odour drastically on cooking in oil. I'm wondering if a better asafoetida absolute could be prepared by cooking it briefly in a small amount of a hot oil until the odour "turns the corner", then macerating the mixture in hexane, getting the concrete (which would also include the neutral oil used in the first step), and then preparing the absolute from that. Given that it's a resin already, I'd think a tincture would be possible (without going through the hexane step) with raw asafoetida to compare.

    Note that condiment asafoetida sold in Indian markets is generally about 30% asafoetida, with the remainder fillers of some sort to coat the latex/resin particles and prevent caking.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Asafoetida

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    I'd describe it as a mixture of fish flakes and rotten green onions.
    I smelled this in Sri Lanka. Id' say that's a pretty accurate assessment.

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