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  1. #1

    Default Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    So they say certain essential oils improve with age; sandalwood, patchouli, frankincense, vetiver, myrrh... Could anyone elaborate on this? What actually happens? And how old is too old?

    In what way would the scent change for each of these different oils? I've heard things like sandalwood and patchouli get sweeter and "deeper". But what would "vintage" frankincense smell like, and what about myrrh?

    Are there any other essential oils known to improve with age?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    I got a ten years old frankincense Boswelia carterii resinoid from my father and it smells like fresh lit church incense. Because it smelles so good, i bought several frankincense resinoids from different suppliers. I was very disappointed because of their fresh piney resinous smell, which is not bad, but doesnīt reach that from the ten years old i have. So i have no choice but to wait.
    For me the resinoids smells much better than the harsher frankincense eoīs.

    Conni
    Last edited by Conni HD; 3rd October 2011 at 05:20 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    I have 4 ounces of Mysore Sandalwood that was packed by Dodge & Olcott in June of 1911... making it 100 yrs. old! It is beyond sublime. I also have some Spearmint that was packed by MM&R -probably in the 1940's ( no date on the bottle)... It has aged in a most wonderful way, a very standard spearmint aroma that seems to have greater volume and a bit softer impact than my new stuff. Both of these are ex-pharmacy oils, and had been well stored.... I would imagine that how they are stored has LOT to do with it!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    I agree that storage probably has a big impact. However I also think that the evidence seems to be that sandalwood and olibanum (frankincense) and oils of that sort, will go on improving for longer than any of us can expect to live - I'm not sure there is such a thing as too old with these oils, only poorly stored.

    Myrrh is slightly different in that the oil tends to thicken with time and will eventually crystallise: the scent continues to mellow and improve however you have to dissolve it in alcohol (or something) to make it usable. In my experience that process takes about 10 years [the crystallising process that is, not the dissolving in alcohol!]. I have some that is 30 years old and colour and scent are quite different from the fresh variety - darker colour, deeper scent without the sharpness.

    As to how, what seems to be happening in the case of sandalwood (and probably other things) is that undesirable top notes are being lost. There may well be more fundamental chemical changes taking place too, probably involving longer chain molecules, but I'm not really qualified to comment on that. The most common description of the change seems to be mellowing - less harsh, more subtle and sometimes more complex.

    I've not tried storing spearmint for a long time - fascinating to know it is beneficial - your description sounds like my experience of mint absolute (but of course that is both expensive and very dark green relative to the essential oils of mint species).
    Last edited by Chris Bartlett; 4th October 2011 at 11:58 AM. Reason: added the bit in [square brackets]
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Thanks for your replies, everyone. Fascinating to hear all your experiences. I think I'll definitely invest in a few of these oils and store them away for the future.

    Interesting about the frankincense resinoid, I've never tried it, only the essential oils.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    How about Rose Essential Oil, does it get better over time? Is there any complete list of EO's that get better over time without being crystallized?

    Agarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood what else?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    I always heard Cedarwood (Virginia Cedarwood, maybe Atlas too but I don't know about that) gets better with age and in my limited experience that seems to be true.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Habbe View Post
    Does Rose Essential Oil or Absolute get better over time?
    Anyone?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Habbe View Post
    Anyone?
    I just asked that question to Taha, the owner of agaraura, as I noticed a frag I bought from him has changed quite a bit. Here is a quote from his response:

    "Rose changes drastically every 2 years or so. The first couple years, Rose Taifi is super citrusy. It then loses a bit of the sharpness but maintaining the citrus. And after that, over the years it just keeps getting smoother."

    Also, oud oils improve and change over time as well.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorje123 View Post
    I just asked that question to Taha, the owner of agaraura, as I noticed a frag I bought from him has changed quite a bit. Here is a quote from his response:

    "Rose changes drastically every 2 years or so. The first couple years, Rose Taifi is super citrusy. It then loses a bit of the sharpness but maintaining the citrus. And after that, over the years it just keeps getting smoother."

    Also, oud oils improve and change over time as well.
    Thank you very much for this valuable information. Is it factually correct to assume that rose essential/absolute oils will not get deformed or crystallized over indefinite period of time [not just several years, but say 30 years or more] if kept inside a locked glass bottle in a dark place?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    I don't consider rose oil one of oils that get "better" with age. rose oil doesn't crystallize as far as I know, nor does it get more viscous unless stored very improperly.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?



    Oh yes it does.... this is approx 86 years old and still smells fresh like the flower albeit in a honeyed way

  13. #13

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    Oh yes it does.... this is approx 86 years old and still smells fresh like the flower albeit in a honeyed way
    Thank you for this precious picture and info! Now the list of non-perishing and/or perhaps timely improving oils grown to:

    1. Agarwood (Oud)
    2. Sandalwood
    3. Patchouli
    4. Rose

    Let's move on to Frankincense, Vetiver and Cedarwood; are they also improve or at least do not degrade with age?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    mumsy, I don't know what's in that bottle, but if it's solely essential oil from rosa centifolia either it ages better than damascena or that it's a matter of preference.

    at this point I'd like to say all oils change. some are considered universally for the better, some for the worse and some to different. while old patchouli is great, new patchouli is great as well. I also find younger rose oil better & more useful with its vibrancy.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    In her article Kathi Keville says:

    "The citrus oils have the shortest shelf life of all essential oils and are best used within one year. The longest-lasting oils, which improve as they age, tend to be the thick resins such as frankincense and myrrh, woods such as sandalwood, roots like vetiver, as well as other oils, including spikenard and patchouli."

    @sarıpatates,

    Since you are from Turkey, would you mind answering following questions:
    1. How does Daphne essential oil smell like and why is it difficult to find this oil? I know it is used in soaps as fragrant, but is it harmful to apply on skin in its undiluted form?
    2. Hod do you compare Turkish roses to Moroccan and Bulgarian?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    well, being from Turkey is hardly enough to proficiently answer your questions but I'll try

    1- daphne essential oil smells like daphne. it's bay leaf. smells aromatic and green. probably a lot of terpene content. camphoraceous too. I can't say anything about its toxicity but I'd be cautious with the oils from green stuff. at any rate it has a strong smell so dilution would be necessary -if the smell is all you are after. why is it difficult to find it? don't know. it isn't expensive though.

    2- Roses are tricky especially with the adulteration epidemic. I have only experience with bulgarian and turkish roses whose sources I'm positively sure of. They smell very similar. method of extraction is important as well. a certain rose oil I've smelled made of great roses smelled absolutely terrible. although inexperienced distillers are probably hard to come by nowadays.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by sarıpatates View Post
    I have only experience with bulgarian and turkish roses whose sources I'm positively sure of.
    Thank you sarıpatates for your answers. Would you mind sharing these reliable suppliers with us? How about rose oils from Eden Botanicals, have you tried them?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Habbe View Post
    Thank you very much for this valuable information. Is it factually correct to assume that rose essential/absolute oils will not get deformed or crystallized over indefinite period of time [not just several years, but say 30 years or more] if kept inside a locked glass bottle in a dark place?
    This is beyond my expertise, but it might be helpful to add that the balance of rose to oud was the major change and not the quality of the rose so much. The oil is called Tropica, it is rose, borneo oud, and real ambergris. It started out being mostly oud with a touch of rose and a decent dose of ambergris. Over time the rose has become a lot more prominent, to the point where it's now well balanced with the oud. Taha said that his opinion is that most natural oils, or at least the oud blends he makes, change for the better over time.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    I think we need to draw a distinction here to help make sense of this.

    There are essential oils / absolutes which, when properly stored in their pure form will improve and others that will deteriorate - still others that are stable and donít change much with time. At least some of those that improve are known to do so over years, decades and even centuries. [a side note here - we donít know how the keeping qualities of absolutes will work out over very long time periods because weíve only been making them for about 100 years, whereas essential oils have been distilled for far, far longer].

    Then there are blends - fragrances - normally diluted in something (usually alcohol) to a skin-safe level. These almost always improve with time for a period of weeks, often for months, sometimes for years. They may start to deteriorate after years, will often do so after decades and we donít know about centuries because we donít have enough examples to test but we can extrapolate that most will fade in that timescale.

    This thread started by discussing the first category and has now drifted into the second without acknowledging the difference and I think thatís liable to confuse the issue.

    So, that being said, in my experience rose otto and rose absolute are both in the category of oils that deteriorate over time. This does not exclude the possibility - indeed likelihood - that when blended with other ingredients of great longevity like oudh and sandalwood the rose elements would improve. But the pure oils, in my view, become faded and dull over too long a period of keeping - though they still keep well for several years if stored cool and dark.
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by sarıpatates View Post
    1- daphne essential oil smells like daphne. it's bay leaf. smells aromatic and green. probably a lot of terpene content. camphoraceous too. I can't say anything about its toxicity but I'd be cautious with the oils from green stuff. at any rate it has a strong smell so dilution would be necessary -if the smell is all you are after. why is it difficult to find it? don't know. it isn't expensive though.
    I don’t have any daphne oil and as far as I can remember have never smelt any, but I have grown daphne plants and the smell of the flowers is spectacular, so I can imagine that an essential oil of those would be very interesting. I’ve also grown bay trees over many years and they are very different indeed (and I have smelt bay-leaf oil).

    So it seems likely that we are using the same words to mean different things. Here is what I understand by daphne:

    One of several related species of mainly winter flowering shrubs, but most usually Daphne odora

    And bay leaf:
    The tree grown throughout Europe and elsewhere for it’s leaves used as a flavouring Laurus nobilis

    The wiki article does not mention it, but I’m certain that every part of Daphne odora is very poisonous - in fact I should really look up a good reference source to cite and add that to the article because it could be rather an important thing to know. And makes me think that any essential oil made from the plant would need to be used with some caution. EDIT: Wiki now updated.

    So - which of those did you mean? Or was it another plant altogether that I’ve not thought of? And if it is Daphne odora - where can I get some essential oil?
    Last edited by Chris Bartlett; 24th March 2012 at 12:42 PM. Reason: as marked
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    When it is asked to a Turkish person, I answered it with the Turkish definition of daphne, which is our laurus nobilis with variations/cultivars. The greek daphne is also this version.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by sarıpatates View Post
    When it is asked to a Turkish person, I answered it with the Turkish definition of daphne, which is our laurus nobilis with variations/cultivars. The greek daphne is also this version.
    Ah OK thanks. Iíd no idea that the term daphne was used to refer to Laurus nobilis in Turkey or Greece - another useful piece of learning. Since one is a common flavouring and the other a nasty poison it really wouldnít do to mix them up!

    But the bad news is - no extract of those lovely smelling flowers, which is a shame.
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Yeah and I didn't even know about the other one. Considering daphne is greek in origin and daphne herself turned into the laurel tree, I thought it was a safe bet too.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Iíd forgotten all about that classic Greek myth - she was escaping Zeusís attentions at the time as I remember - and youíre right it should have been obvious; were it not for my horticultural perspective I doubt Iíd have known about Daphne odora, though I still think it would be interesting to try to capture (or imitate) the scent . . . but now Iím drifting even further off topic so Iíll shut up!
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    ...
    Last edited by Habbe; 24th March 2012 at 03:09 PM. Reason: double post

  26. #26

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Thanks to you guys I finally found this lovely Daphne here:

    http://www.edenbotanicals.com/essent...us.html#laurel

    Laurus Nobilis was the keyword.

    Chris, I prefer your speech to your silence. Indeed, your input adds to the discussion tremendously from any angle it might. If the original poster doesn't mind it, let's slightly acknowledge that this thread went broader now covering various essential oils/absolutes & their aging behavior.

    Regarding Laurus Nobilis, EB says "Laurel Leaf has a strong, spicy-medicinal aroma". Does it mean it has similar notes that of Oud? Trying to discover Oud-like cheap oil

  27. #27

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Habbe View Post
    Thanks to you guys I finally found this lovely Daphne here:

    http://www.edenbotanicals.com/essent...us.html#laurel

    Laurus Nobilis was the keyword.

    Chris, I prefer your speech to your silence. Indeed, your input adds to the discussion tremendously from any angle it might. If the original poster doesn't mind it, let's slightly acknowledge that this thread went broader now covering various essential oils/absolutes & their aging behavior.

    Regarding Laurus Nobilis, EB says "Laurel Leaf has a strong, spicy-medicinal aroma". Does it mean it has similar notes that of Oud? Trying to discover Oud-like cheap oil
    Sweet Bay oil is very nice stuff and it does have a spicy note to it and I can see why it would be described as medicinal too, but the notes are not very similar to oudh Iím afraid, being much greener and fresher less balsamic and without the animalic qualities of oudh.

    This is Arctanderís description:

    The odor is fresh-spicy, somewhat medicinal, but it has a lasting sweet-balsamic undertone. The odor of this oil is quite obnoxious to some people, sickly sweet, nauseating. To others it is quite fresh and pleasant. The chief constituent is eugenol, which is also present as a methylether. Myrcene, limonene, dipentene and small amounts of citral bring a certain freshness to the harsh leafy, phenolic odor.
    and this is what he says about oudh (Agar Oil as he lists it):

    . . . of rich and sweet-woody, almost balsamic odor not unlike that of vetiverol or purified styrene-free styrax, and with a sweetness similar to sandalwood oil.
    Heís writing about oil produced from Aquileria agallocha, while my description is based on oil from Aquileria crassna, which was not available outside Indochina in Arctanderís day. Oudh was barely used in Western perfumery then at all.
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Oils that improve with age - how, which, when?

    Thank you Chris for all that valuable information. Aside that, what do you think about Nigella Sativa Essential Oil?

    1. How does it smell like?
    2. Can it be used directly on the skin in its pure undiluted form?
    3. How does it age?


    Kind regards.

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