|Colognes and tinctures brewing in my studio|
I don't know what it is about summer but it's then that I start trying to capture the fragrances around me in tinctured form. Maybe it's because I prefer lighter fragrances in the summer, when I switch from heavy perfumes to a splash of cologne instead. There's something old fashioned about an after bath splash and I thought so even as a teenager in the 70's with the lilac cologne I liberally applied after each nightly bath.
Last summer I had some very good luck tincturing some of the dried herbs, flowers, roots, barks and berries that I've been collecting. Over the past year I've collected quite a bit more plant material to experiment with. I've not only collected plants in the park and from my community garden but also collected some from a couple of reputable herb companies. The first was Dandelion Botanical Company
. My original intent with this order was the accumulation of the necessary ingredients for making bitters. Not surprisingly I couldn't resist ordering a few other scented materials such as osmanthus flowers and sarasparilla bark. Recently I received another order of herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs
, a package I waited anxiously for which included such luxuries as tonka beans and meadowsweet blossoms.
Another heat wave had me conjuring up cooling and fragrant elixirs to calm the heat-addled spirits. My new materials had me quite inspired and I made a list of them categorizing them by top, middle and bottom note, just as I would if I were making a perfume. From there I jotted down some ideas and began blending. My mortar and pestle were put to good use (that always makes me feel like a real apothecary). They've been brewing for a month now and today they're being strained off and I'll soon be bottling them up for sale.
My favorite so far is Swamp Water which I dreamt up thinking about the bayou and tall grasses, night air thick with heady florals and sweet tea. I also made a fougere, my latest obsession, using sweet woodruff, tonka beans, patchouli, jasmine, cassia and lavender. Eau de la Who is inspired by my guitar hero, Pete Townshend
, who I learned wore the classic 4711 when he went onstage. I plan on sending him some.