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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Tonka bean question

    Hi, i have whole tonka beans i wanted to turn to EO, does anyone know how to accomplish this? I have perfumers alcohol, jojoba oil, ect......Thank you so much in advance!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Iím afraid what you have isnít enough to make an essential oil - these are made by steam distillation - that means boiling the material in water, condensing the steam and then separating out the oil from the water. Not impossible to do with home made equipment but quite difficult. If you have the DIY skills you could modify a pressure cooker to do it - I think someone here has done just that so may advise.

    However there is another problem: Iíve never actually seen an essential oil of tonka. Tonka beans are normally used as an absolute, which is solvent extracted (with hexane in this case I think), that produces what is called a concrete, which in turn is washed in ethanol to produce the absolute. In theory that too could be done at home, but hexane is not nice stuff to work with and I would be very concerned about safety.

    Instead can I suggest you make a tincture? Grind up the beans, weigh what you have and put it into about three times the weight of perfumers alcohol in a container you can seal. Shake regularly and check every week or so for strength of odour in the ethanol. After a month or two youíll probably have a usable material, which may well need dilution before adding to perfumes.

    I should add that Iíve never made a tincture of tonka beans - so if someone has tried this please comment in case there is something Iíve overlooked that means it wonít work!

    Good luck!
    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.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Thanks for sharing Chris.

    I have a few tonka bean seeds myself that I was planning on using in a pastry.

    for swap/sale:





  4. #4

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Now that sounds like an excellent pastry . . .
    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: Tonka bean question

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bartlett View Post
    If you have the DIY skills you could modify a pressure cooker to do it - I think someone here has done just that so may advise.
    Yes, that would be me
    the result of my hard work can be seen here http://www.basenotes.net/threads/281...=1#post2336796
    If someone has questions just ask.
    Oh, by the way, I just bought a new 27 liters copper distiller, I'm just waiting for the warm season to arrive so that I can test it.
    Sebastiano - Organic Chemist

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Ah yes of course Sebastiano I should have remembered it was you - I remember being shocked at the wonderfully Heath Robinson apparatus when I saw those pictures the first time!
    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.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Oh and I should have said, Iím quite envious of the 27 litre copper still - I fear Iíd be liable to get arrested by The Customs Men if I bought one of those here!
    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.

  8. #8

    Default

    Ahah, is it illegal to distill alcoholic beverages in the UK? Here it is not but I just use it to extract EOs. I think that if you had the same purpose you shouldn't have problems, am I wrong?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Quote Originally Posted by otocione View Post
    Ahah, is it illegal to distill alcoholic beverages in the UK? Here it is not but I just use it to extract EOs. I think that if you had the same purpose you shouldn't have problems, am I wrong?
    Yes, we have the odd situation that it is perfectly legal to brew your own beer or wine, but distilling is illegal. Iím not sure whether or not possessing a still is enough in itself - I would guess you are right and it would not be - but on the other hand, since one of my main hobbies is cocktail making, I might not resist the temptation to find an illicit use for a still if I had one . . .

    Speaking of cocktails Iím rather a fan of violet in my cocktails and Iím just starting to investigate making my own violet liquor . . . you see what I mean about temptation!
    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.

  10. #10

    Default

    Ahah I understand, I'm planning to make my own liquor too

  11. #11

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Excellent! I freely volunteer my services to assist you with drinking it . . .
    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.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    I'm trying something similar, but more low-tech. I ground up some tonka beans in a coffee grinder and have added the powdery chips to brandy. It smells fantastic now, so I'm hoping time will improve it. Interesting to try it as pastry though..hmm.

    Cheryl

  13. #13

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    I have still equipment for EO's. I hadn't even considered whether it was illegal as I'm not being naughty with it.

    I brew my own wines... I hadn't thought of 'condensing' them........

    My last one contained much of that lilac I was enfleuraging.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Which incidentally was a total fail... (the fat went mouldy)... after hours and hours of work.....

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Sorry to throw cold water over this but I have always understood that Coumarin (the major fragrant material in Tonka) was OK to use in Perfumes, but was banned as a flavouring ingredient. It was thought that Coumarin could cause liver damage, and flavours used DiHydroCoumarin instead (which perversely cannot be used in Fragrances).

  15. #15

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Wasn't there some Polish vodka with bison grass (containing coumarin)? Maybe the coumarin content was quite low... I don't know. Sometimes I pick up on a very distinct coumarin note in chamomile tea - different batches seem stronger.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Indeed many plants contain Coumarin, but none contain as much as Tonka Bean. All I'm saying is be aware of the possible dangers that's all.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    I believe it was the coumarin in Mexican Vanilla (actually Tonka) - at one time widely used in the US and still used in Mexico - that resulted in an FDA ban on the use of coumarin in flavours.

    Coumarin is thought to thin the blood in a similar way to the drug warfarin (widely used to treat certain heart and other conditions and also used as a rat poison).
    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.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    According to Wicki, Coumarin itself has no anticoagulant properties, but is converted into a chemical that has by a variety of fungi. This was the "sweet clover" disease caused by cattle eating rotting clover, or silage.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    Wasn't there some Polish vodka with bison grass (containing coumarin)? Maybe the coumarin content was quite low... I don't know. Sometimes I pick up on a very distinct coumarin note in chamomile tea - different batches seem stronger.
    Redegade - the name of that vodka is Żubrůwka, and it at least use to be flavored by bison grass.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Quote Originally Posted by Daimyo View Post
    Redegade - the name of that vodka is Żubrůwka, and it at least use to be flavored by bison grass.
    Yeah, that's the one, thanks. And just reading about it now on Wikipedia, it seems it was banned in 1978 from being imported to the USA because of the coumarin content ("approximately 12 milligrams of coumarin per litre" according to Wikipedia). So I think that goes to reinforce David's cautionary advice.

    There were also warnings some years ago about consuming too much cassia (often sold powdered as 'cinnamon') for the same reasons.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Tonka bean question

    Germany is concerned about the amount of Coumarin in Cassia and Cinnamon bark, even though the major component (Cinnamic Aldehyde) is thought to show anti-cancer properties. Cinnamic Aldehyde (about 90.0% of Cinnamon Bark Oil) is regarded as a skin sensitiser and possible allergen (it's on the list). So you can chew Dentine, but don't get it on your skin!!

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