Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home-Made Perfume: Report #1

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.


  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.

  2. Apparently I can get 190 proof here. I'll get you some!

  3. Alison, clearly there are many advantages to living in the Wild West.