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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member drkne's Avatar
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    Default Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    I've made a number of threads over the past few months trying to find or fabricate certain scents that I enjoy. I really appreciate all the help I've received from so many people here!

    So, documenting some more information here for others who will be experimenting as well in the future.

    One of the scents I wanted bottled to enjoy year round, was honeysuckle. I haven't found any synthetics that are even close, and I did buy an $85 5ml bottle of absolute from a reputable source, but that wasn't quite right either. There are 2 others that carry it but I think they were both something like $100+ for 1/8 oz. and I'm reluctant to spend that kind of money again without samples first.

    Fortunately/unfortunately, honeysuckle grows here all along our fences which is one of the reasons for my fondness of it and why I'm so picky about it. Thus, I'm trying my own home enfleuraging experiment for it.

    Using lard on plates and just put in the 4th charge this morning. I'm starting to get a little excited now because the scent just started getting significant. Maybe I should have foregone the first few days of the bloom... The scent was kind of weak the first 2 days and it had rained quite a bit right before that. Yesterday the blooms started getting larger and more fragrant, plus they are lasting longer before beginning to wilt while charging. I've been waking up early in the morning to pick them, as they smell best before it starts to warm up and get sunny. But uuuug... I have to smell every flower before I add it to my pickings, because every so often, I'll reach a small group that smells like someone spilled beer on them or something. I can't understand this! Literally other blooms on the same vine, just inches away, will smell just fine.

    I've got 3 sets of plates of the honeysuckles going and there are so many flowers out there that I keep accidentally picking too many. So after I lay the flowers out in an organized fashion, then I sprinkle the remaining blooms on top of those so as not to waste them. Even if they aren't touching the fat on the bottom, it can't hurt:

    hsenfl01.jpg

    hsenfl02.jpg

    Then there's the matter of holly flowers... I'm hitting the same wall here that I was with purple deadnettle. NO ONE even so much as talks about it in the world of fragrance, and the only thing I see anywhere is that there was a perfume called Leramoon made in 2015 that includes it as a note, but that's it. I can't understand this, as the smell is so beautiful! I smelled it as I got within 10 feet of the holly tree when I went to go pick honeysuckle on the first day. Having not found anyone that sells an oil for it online, I began an enfleurage on that as well.

    The good thing is that the scent is so powerful that even after only 3 days of charging, the smell on the lard is fairly significant. Also, the blooms can last for at least 2 days before needing changing. Which is fortunate, because the big downside to doing this with holly flowers is that it is extremely labor intensive. The flowers are tiny and fall off easily so I have to handle them delicately. Maybe I'm going overboard a bit on the side of caution, but in order to try as much as possible to capture only the scent of the blooms, I try to exclude the leaves and twigs as much as possible. Thus, I do a LOT of very careful pruning for every harvest I put down... with our particular tree, the blossoms can be rather scattered too, as you can see in one of the pictures below of a twig that I had picked to look it up on the internet before I knew what it was...and there are some examples next to it of more carefully cropped groupings that I did today. Below that, a picture of a full plate of pruned flowers. Lastly, ugg... this is what I had to pick out after the first charge, because I had a lot of loose flowers in that first batch. After that one, I was more careful to be very gentle with groupings and pruning. Still takes quite a bit of work! It's soooo worth it though! I wish somebody make an essential oil or absolute out of these! Why do I keep finding things that no one is making?

    hollyenfl01.jpg

    hollyenfl02.jpg

    hollyenfl03.jpg

    I'm also in the middle of waiting for the purple deadnettle tincture to finish sitting. I'm really hoping it will work for my allergies as I have heard it did for some. I think it did help me when I tried eating some. I would have tried a small enfleurage batch of it for the hell of it, if it weren't for the fact that my brother-in-law mowed the lawn the morning I went out to get them lol. A week later, some small ones had grown back, but they weren't large enough to have much scent, and I had to run out to grab as many as I could before my brother-in-law could cut them down again. That's what I'm using for a tincture right now. I think they are at the end of their bloom cycle though so don't think I'll be able to get any more. Have to wait till next year to do anything more with them.

  2. #2
    Basenotes Member drkne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Ah, holly... I wish I noticed when they had started blooming, because I only got to do 4 charges before the tree stopped blooming. The smell was still pretty significant for so few charges. Strong stuff! The bulk of it, I'm letting sit for 3 months, but I also bottled 2oz to strain after a week to see how much of a difference the aging makes.

    I've learned a lot about the honeysuckles in the last few days though! Three big things:

    1. Pick early in the morning. Starting the 2nd or 3rd day, I began getting up at 5am to pick them because they smell best at night and into the morning, before the nectar evaporates with the dew. I think that's why I have never been satisfied with a honeysuckle fragrance. I have worked 2nd shift a good portion of my life, so I loved smelling the honeysuckle on the night air as I was driving home from work and out in the yard when I sat on the back deck to look at the moon. Sometimes early in the morning, but I was rarely around them in the afternoon during hot hours. Now I know that in the afternoon they smell spicy and drier. Almost like a completely different flower.

    2. No green parts. I had read about that somewhere, but at one point, I had left on a green part at the base of a bloom and it definitely started going in a direction I didn't like.

    3. Refrigeration! I hadn't heard anyone talk about keeping their enfleurage in a refrigerator, but between the rainy days and hot days, I thought I'd try it and it worked fantastically! The flowers continued to produce strong and fresh scent for 3 whole days. Even at the end of that, they weren't all that wilted and you could still tell the difference between the yellow and white blossoms. Unrefrigerated, by the time 24 hours was up, they were wilted enough that all the blooms were yellow and somewhat transparent.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Awesome! Happy you had some success with your experiment.

    Would covering the plates with plastic wrap improve things?

  4. #4
    Basenotes Member drkne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Quote Originally Posted by cuallito View Post
    Awesome! Happy you had some success with your experiment.

    Would covering the plates with plastic wrap improve things?
    Oh, I do have them sealed with plastic wrap as well. But the heat is still an issue, and if the flowers are wet in the morning from rain overnight or the previous day, then I can't pick them. So this is a nice way of extending the charge time and getting the most out of each batch of blooms, especially when I can't get a new batch for a few days. Uuuug, the weather always does the opposite of what I want!

  5. #5
    Basenotes Member drkne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    I unbottled the small bottles of holly a few days ago. The larger 16 oz bottle I'm letting sit for 3 months, but I had also bottled 2 separate 1 oz. One in which I used 190 proof vodka and the other, Perfumer's Alcohol that I got from Vetiver Aromatics. I'd say the results are about the same between the 2 really. The difference is that Perfumer's Alcohol
    breaks the fat up a lot better so you don't need to shake and stir as much. However, this also means that some of the fat can come through when straining, so you may need to freeze the alcohol to solidify the fat and strain again. With vodka, it's harder to break up the fat as it stays in clumps.

    After I strained them, if I put a bit of either solution on my skin, the alcohol evaporates in seconds and I can smell the holly and it's fantastic! Almost like it did straight off the tree! Doesn't last long though unfortunately. I think I'll keep everything in the freezer and charge it again next year.

    The only reason I have more liquid in the vodka bottle is because after I had emptied the fat storage bottle, I was having some trouble scraping the remaining fat out, so I added a little more vodka to the bottle in an attempt to dislodge the remains. A little too much unfortunately. But it didn't really dilute the scent all that much.

    hollyenfl04.jpg

    I bottled the honeysuckle a few days ago as well. It has such a short bloom cycle here There were way too many rainy days and I wish I had gotten more charges into it, but it still smelled pretty strong really for such a short amount of time. I'll be back in a week or so to write about the results of the small 1 week stored bottles. I'm again doing the 1oz PA and 190 proof vodka samples, and I have two and a half 16 oz bottles filled as well for the 3 month stretch. *crossing fingers*

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Tinctures of non-resinous natural materials are typically very short lived topnotes. Resinous materials get solved into the alcohol, and help the scent last better, but when their is no resin, then the scent is s a shorty.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  7. #7
    Basenotes Member drkne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Quote Originally Posted by pkiler View Post
    Tinctures of non-resinous natural materials are typically very short lived topnotes. Resinous materials get solved into the alcohol, and help the scent last better, but when their is no resin, then the scent is s a shorty.
    Ah, I see. I think I'll actually go ahead and do a few days research on that to see if I can do anything worthwhile with what I have then, besides smelling it out of the bottle. Because I have no way of separating the alcohol, I didn't think I could do anything past this, but that gives me hope! Thanks so much, I appreciate it!

  8. #8
    Basenotes Member drkne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Wanted to post this pic while I was thinking about it. I was saying earlier about how with vodka, the fat tends to stay lumped together, whereas with Perfumer's Alcohol, it breaks it apart a lot more. I prefer PA because of this. Even broken up, the fat has soaked up a lot of alcohol. The full bottle was only filled half way with fat, then filled with alcohol and these bottles have been shaken well every night for about a week now.

    Because of the light, it's difficult to see the vodka level on the half full bottle, but if you look closely, you can see the line through the tape above the "Honeysuckle Vodka" label.

    Anyway, here's a pic so you can see the difference:

    hsenfl03.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Great thread!

  10. #10
    Basenotes Member drkne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enfleurage experiments: Honeysuckle and Holly flowers (Things I love are never easy to find :/)

    Thanks Janjanjan!

    A little late on this update, but I had unbottled the small honeysuckle samples a few days ago. Worked just as well as with the holly! It seems to last longer as well. Unfortunately I had spilled the vodka version so the room smelled really nice for a while.

    The only bad thing is that the mid-day spiciness from the first few days of harvest ended up dominating the composition even though they were maybe 10% of it. I'm kind of sad that I was unable to capture the sweet morning dew scent instead. Guess I'll have to wait till next year! My advice to future experimenters: Don't rush it! If the smell isn't right, wait and harvest another time.




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