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Home-Made Perfume: Report #1

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

When the perfume-making bug bit me a couple of weeks ago, I filled a baby food jar with lavender flowers, poured in vodka up to the rim, screwed the lid on tightly and put the jar in the pantry, where I gave it a good shake once a day.

According to the schedule given in the recipe, today was the day to filter out the flowers and pour the resulting eau de lavande into a bottle.

I got out my faithful piece of cheesecloth and draped it over my smallest funnel–and ran into trouble right away. The neck of the funnel was the same diameter as the neck of the bottle, which meant that I had to hold the funnel tightly against the mouth of the bottle with one hand while pouring the contents of the baby food jar with the other. As a result, a good bit of the eau leaked out onto the counter top.

One handed, I nevertheless managed to give the lavender flowers–which were looking pale and wan, having lost all their color to the vodka–a good wringing-out. Then came the moment of truth: I brought the bottle to my nose, inhaled–and all I could smell was alcohol, with perhaps the vaguest tinge of lavender. I gave the bottle a good shaking, sniffed again, and this time I could smell…nothing at all.

I looked at the purplish puddles on the counter and, instead of wiping them off with a sponge, I swept my hands and forearms over them until my skin had absorbed all the liquid and the counter was dry. Surely now, I thought, my skin will smell like lavender. I put my forearm to my nose and, by concentrating really hard, thought I could detect maybe a hint of l.

Not wanting to waste the fruit of my labors, I abandoned my principles and poured some store- bought lavender oil into the bottle and shook it well. Then I sprayed myself with that, and yes, the oil made a little difference, though not much.

I have read that sandalwood oil acts as a fixative in perfume, so next I\’ll get some of that and see if I can get my perfume to smell like…well, just to smell, period.

But don\’t hold your breath.

6 Responses

  1. Dona, I think the oilier methods may work better. Or maybe this recipe didn't work well because I used vodka, instead of the much more powerful, but impossible to get without a special license, Everclear.

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