The Art of Perfumery - And Methods of Obtaining the Odors of Plants
by G. W. Septimus Piesse
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Transcriber's note: Footnotes moved to end of text

The Art





From the rafters of the roof of the Drying House are suspended in bunches all the herbs that the grower cultivates. To accelerate the desiccation of rose leaves and other petals, the Drying House is fitted up with large cupboards, which are slightly warmed with a convolving flue, heated from a fire below.

The flower buds are placed upon trays made of canvas stretched upon a frame rack, being not less than twelve feet long by four feet wide. When charged they are placed on shelves in the warm cupboards till dry.







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PRINTED BY C. SHERMAN & SON, 19 St. James Street.


By universal consent, the physical faculties of man have been divided into five senses,—seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. It is of matter pertaining to the faculty of Smelling that this book mainly treats. Of the five senses, that of smelling is the least valued, and, as a consequence, is the least tutored; but we must not conclude from this, our own act, that it is of insignificant importance to our welfare and happiness.

By neglecting to tutor the olfactory nerve, we are constantly led to breathe impure air, and thus poison the body by neglecting the warning given at the gate of the lungs. Persons who use perfumes are more sensitive to the presence of a vitiated atmosphere than those who consider the faculty of smelling as an almost useless gift.

In the early ages of the world the use of perfumes was in constant practice, and it had the high sanction of Scriptural authority.

The patrons of perfumery have always been considered the most civilized and refined people of the earth. If refinement consists in knowing how to enjoy the faculties which we possess, then must we learn not only how to distinguish the harmony of color and form, in order to please the sight, the melody of sweet sounds to delight the ear; the comfort of appropriate fabrics to cover the body, and to please the touch, but the smelling faculty must be shown how to gratify itself with the odoriferous products of the garden and the forest.

Pathologically considered, the use of perfumes is in the highest degree prophylactic; the refreshing qualities of the citrine odors to an invalid is well known. Health has often been restored when life and death trembled in the balance, by the mere sprinkling of essence of cedrat in a sick chamber.

The commercial value of flowers is of no mean importance to the wealth of nations. But, vast as is the consumption of perfumes by the people under the rule of the British Empire, little has been done in England towards the establishment of flower-farms, or the production of the raw odorous substances in demand by the manufacturing perfumers of Britain; consequently nearly the whole are the produce of foreign countries. However, I have every hope that ere long the subject will attract the attention of the Society of Arts, and favorable results will doubtless follow. Much of the waste land in England, and especially in Ireland, could be very profitably employed if cultivated with odor-bearing plants.

The climate of some of the British colonies especially fits them for the production of odors from flowers that require elevated temperature to bring them to perfection.

But for the lamented death of Mr. Charles Piesse,[A] Colonial Secretary for Western Australia, I have every reason to believe that flower-farms would have been established in that colony long ere the publication of this work. Though thus personally frustrated in adapting a new and useful description of labor to British enterprise, I am no less sanguine of the final result in other hands.

Mr. Kemble, of Jamaica, has recently sent to England some fine samples of Oil of Behn. The Moringa, from which it is produced, has been successfully cultivated by him. The Oil of Behn, being a perfectly inodorous fat oil, is a valuable agent for extracting the odors of flowers by the maceration process.

At no distant period I hope to see, either at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, or elsewhere, a place to illustrate the commercial use of flowers—eye-lectures on the methods of obtaining the odors of plants and their various uses. The horticulturists of England, being generally unacquainted with the methods of economizing the scents from the flowers they cultivate, entirely lose what would be a very profitable source of income. For many ages copper ore was thrown over the cliffs into the sea by the Cornish miners working the tin streams; how much wealth was thus cast away by ignorance we know not, but there is a perfect parallel between the old miners and the modern gardeners.

Many readers of the "Gardeners' Chronicle" and of the "Annals of Pharmacy and Chemistry" will recognize in the following pages much matter that has already passed under their eyes.

To be of the service intended, such matter must however have a book form; I have therefore collected from the above-mentioned periodicals all that I considered might be useful to the reader.

To Sir Wm. Hooker, Dr. Lindley, Mr. W. Dickinson, and Mr. W. Bastick, I respectfully tender my thanks for the assistance they have so freely given whenever I have had occasion to seek their advice.





Perfumes in use from the Earliest Periods—Origin lost in the Depth of its Antiquity—Possibly derived from Religious Observances—Incense or Frankincense burned in Honor of the Divinities—Early Christians put to Death for refusing to offer Incense to Idols—Use of perfumes by the Greeks and Romans—Pliny and Seneca observe that some of the luxurious People scent themselves Three Times a Day—Use of Incense in the Romish Church—Scriptural Authority for the use of Perfume—Composition of the Holy Perfume—The Prophet's Simile—St. Ephraem's Will—Fragrant Tapers—Constantine provides fragrant Oil to burn at the Altars—Frangipanni—Trade in the East in Perfume Drugs—The Art of Perfumery of little Distinction in England—Solly's admirable Remarks on Trade Secrets—British Horticulturists neglect to collect the Fragrance of the Flowers they cultivate—The South of France the principal Seat of the Art—England noted for Lavender—Some Plants yield more than one Perfume—Odor of Plants owing to a peculiar Principle known as Essential Oil or Otto


Consumption of Perfumery—Methods of obtaining the Odors:—Expression, Distillation, Maceration, Absorption


Steam-Still—Macerating Pan—Ottos exhibited at the Crystal Palace of 1851—SIMPLE EXTRACTS:—Allspice, Almond, Artificial Otto of Almonds, Anise, Balm, Balsams, Bay, Bergamot, Benzoin, Caraway, Cascarilla, Cassia, Cassie, Cedar, Cedrat, Cinnamon, Citron, Citronella, Clove, Dill, Eglantine or Sweet Brier, Elder, Fennel, Flag, Geranium, Heliotrope, Honeysuckle, Hovenia, Jasmine, Jonquil, Laurel, Lavender, Lemon-grass, Lilac, Lily, Mace, Magnolia, Marjoram, Meadow-sweet, Melissa, Mignonette, Miribane, Mint, Myrtle, Neroli, Nutmeg, Olibanum, Orange, Orris, Palm, Patchouly, Sweet Pea (Theory of Odors), Pineapple, Pink, Rhodium (Rose yields two Odors), Rosemary, Sage, Santal, Sassafras, Spike, Storax, Syringa, Thyme, Tonquin, Tuberose, Vanilla, Verbena or Vervain, Violet, Vitivert, Volkameria, Wallflower, Winter-green—Duty on Essential Oils—Quantity imported—Statistics, &c.





SMELLING SALTS:—Ammonia, Preston Salts, Inexhaustible Salts, Eau de Luce, Sal Volatile

ACETIC ACID AND ITS USE IN PERFUMERY.—Aromatic Vinegar, Henry's Vinegar, Vinaigre a la Rose, Four Thieves' Vinegar, Hygienic Vinegar, Violet Vinegar, Toilet Vinegar, Vinaigre de Cologne



Proposed Use of the Term "Otto" to denote the odoriferous Principle of Plants

COMPOUND ODORS:—The Alhambra Perfume—The Bosphorus Bouquet—Bouquet d'Amour—Bouquet des Fleurs du Val d'Andorre—Buckingham Palace Bouquet—Delices—The Court Nosegay—Eau de Chypre—The Empress Eugenie's Nosegay—Esterhazy—Ess Bouquet—Eau de Cologne. (French and English Spirit.) Flowers of Erin—Royal Hunt Bouquet—Extract of Flowers—The Guards' Bouquet—Italian Nosegay—English Jockey Club—French Jockey Club. (Difference of the Odor of English and French Perfumes due to the Spirit of Grape and Corn Spirit.) A Japanese Perfume—The Kew Garden Nosegay—Millefleurs—Millefleurs et Lavender—Delcroix's Lavender—Marechale—Mousselaine—Bouquet de Montpellier—Caprice de la Mode—May Flowers—Neptune, or Naval Nosegay—Bouquet of all Nations—Isle of Wight Bouquet—Bouquet du Roi—Bouquet de la Reine Victoria—Rondeletia. (Odors properly blended produce new Fragrances.) Bouquet Royal—Suave—Spring Flowers—Tulip Nosegay—The Wood Violet—Windsor Castle Bouquet—Yacht Club Nosegay


The ancient Perfumes were only odoriferous Gums—Abstaining from the Use of Perfumes a Sign of Humiliation—The Vase at Alnwick Castle—Sachet Powders—Sachet au Chypre—Sachet a la Frangipanne—Heliotrope Sachet—Lavender Sachet—Sachet a la Marechale—Mousselaine—Millefleur—Portugal Sachet—Patchouly Sachet—Pot Pourri—Olla Podrida—Rose Sachet—Santal-wood Sachet—Sachet (without a name)—Vervain Sachet—Vitivert—Violet Sachet—Perfumed Leather—Russia Leather—Peau d'Espagne—Perfumed Letter Paper—Perfumed Book-markers—Cassolettes, and Printaniers

Pastils—The Censer—Vase in the British Museum—Method of using the Censer—Incense for Altar Service—Yellow Pastils—Dr. Paris's Pastils—Perfumer's Pastils—Piesse's Pastils—Fumigation—The Perfume Lamp—Incandescent Platinum—Eau a Bruler—Eau pour Bruler—Fumigating Paper—Perfuming Spills—Odoriferous Lighters



Perfumed Soap—Ancient Origin of Soap—Early Records of the Soap Trade in England—Perfumers not Soap Makers—Remelting—Primary Soaps—Curd Soap—Oil Soap—Castile Soap—Marine Soap—Yellow Soap—Palm Soap—Excise Duty on Soap—Fig Soft Soap—Naples Soft Soap—The remelting Process—Soap cutting—Soap stamping—Scented Soaps

Almond Soap—Camphor Soap—Honey Soap—White Windsor Soap—Brown Windsor Soap—Sand Soap—Fuller's Earth Soap—Scenting Soaps Hot—Scenting Soaps Cold—Colored Soaps:—Red, Green, Blue, Brown Soaps—Otto of Rose Soap—Tonquin Musk Soap—Orange-Flower Soap—Santal-wood Soap—Spermaceti Soap—Citron Soap—Frangipanne Soap—Patchouly Soap—Soft or Potash Soaps—Saponaceous Cream of Almonds—Soap Powders—Rypophagon Soap—Ambrosial Cream—Transparent soft Soap—Transparent hard Soap—Medicated Soaps—Juniper Tar Soap—Iodine Soap—Sulphur Soap—Bromine Soap—Creosote Soap—Mercurial Soap—Croton Oil Soap—Their Use in Cutaneous Diseases



Form Emulsions or Milks when mixed with Water—Prone to Change—Amandine—Olivine—Honey and Almond Paste—Pure Almond Paste—Almond Meal—Pistachio Nut Meal—Jasmine Emulsion—Violet Emulsion



Liebig's notice of Almond Milk—Milk of Roses—Milk of Almonds—Milk of Elder—Milk of Dandelion—Milk of Cucumber—Essence of Cucumber—Milk of Pistachio Nuts—Lait Virginal—Extract of Elder Flowers



Manipulation—Cold Cream of Almonds—Violet Cold Cream—Imitation Violet Cold Cream—Cold Cream of various Flowers—Camphor Cold Cream—Cucumber Cold Cream—Piver's Pomade of Cucumber—Pomade Divine—Almond Balls—Camphor Balls—Camphor Paste—Glycerine Balsam—Rose Lip Salve—White Lip Salve—Common Lip Salve



Pomatum, as its name implies, originally made with Apples—Scentless Grease—Enfleurage and Maceration process—Acacia, or Cassie Pomade—Benzoin Pomade and Oil—Vanilla Oil and Pomade—Pomade called Bear's Grease—Circassian Cream—Balsam of Flowers—Crystallized Oils—Castor Oil Pomatum—Balsam of Neroli—Marrow Cream—Marrow Pomatum—Violet Pomatum—Pomade Double, Millefleurs—Pomade a la Heliotrope—Huile Antique—Philocome—Pomade Hongroise—Hard or Stick Pomatums—Black and Brown Cosmetique



Painting the Face universal among the Women of Egypt—Kohhl, the Smoke of Gum Labdanum, used by the Girls of Greece to color the Lashes and Sockets of the Eye—Turkish Hair Dye—Rastikopetra Dye—Litharge Dye—Silver Dye—Hair Dyes, with Mordant—Inodorous Dye—Brown and Black Hair Dye—Liquid Lead Dye—Depilatory, Rusma



Violet Powder—Rose Face Powder—Perle Powder—Liquid Blanc for Theatrical Use—Calcined Talc—Rouge and Red Paints—Bloom of Roses—Carmine Toilet Rouge—Carthamus Flowers—Pink Saucers—Crepon Rouge



Mialhi's Tooth Powder—Camphorated Chalk—Quinine Tooth Powder—Prepared Charcoal—Peruvian Bark Powder—Homoeopathic Chalk—Cuttle-Fish Powder—Borax and Myrrh—Farina Piesse's Dentifrice—Rose Tooth Powder—Opiate Paste—Violet Mouth Wash—Eau Botot—Botanic Styptic—Tincture of Myrrh and Borax—Myrrh with Eau de Cologne—Camphorated Eau de Cologne



Rosemary Hair Wash—Athenian Water—Vegetable or Botanic Hair Wash—Astringent Extract of Roses and Rosemary—Saponaceous Wash—Egg Julep—Bandolines—Rose and Almond Bandoline

Contents of Appendix.

Manufacture of Glycerine

Test for Alcohol in Essential Oils

Detection of Poppy and other drying Oils in Almond and Olive Oil

Coloring matter of Volatile Oils

Artificial Preparation of Otto of Cinnamon

Detection of Spike Oil and Turpentine in Lavender Oil

The Orange Flower Waters of Commerce

Concentrated Elder Water

ARNALL on Spirits of Wine

Purification of Spirits by Filtration

COBB on Otto of Lemons

BASTICK on Benzoic Acid

On the Coloring matters of Flowers

Bleaching Bees' Wax

Chemical Examination of Naples Soap

Manufacture of Soap

How to Ascertain the Commercial Value of Soap

On the Natural Fats

Perfumes as Preventives of Mouldiness

BASTICK on Fusel Oil

BASTICK'S Pine Apple Flavor

WAGNER'S Essence of Quince

Preparation of Rum-ether

Artificial Fruit essences

Volatile Oil of Gaultheria

Application of Chemistry to Perfumery

Correspondence from the Journal of the Society of Arts

Quantities of Ottos yielded by various Plants

French and English Weights and Measures compared


Drying House, Mitcham, Surrey, (Frontispiece.)

Smelling, from the Dresden Gallery, (Vignette.)

Pipette, to draw off small Portions of Otto from Water

Tap Funnel for separating Ottos from Waters, and Spirits from Oil

The Almond

Styrax Benzoin

Cassie Buds

The Clove

The Jasmine

The Orange

The Patchouly Plant





Civet Cat

Musk Pod

Musk Deer

The Censer

Perfume Lamp

Slab Soap Gauge

Barring Gauge

Squaring Gauge

Soap Scoops

Soap Press


Soap Plane

Oil Runner




"By Nature's swift and secret working hand The garden glows, and fills the liberal air With lavish odors. There let me draw Ethereal soul, there drink reviving gales, Profusely breathing from the spicy groves And vales of fragrance."—THOMSON.

Among the numerous gratifications derived from the cultivation of flowers, that of rearing them for the sake of their perfumes stands pre-eminent. It is proved from the oldest records, that perfumes have been in use from the earliest periods. The origin of this, like that of many other arts, is lost in the depth of its antiquity; though it had its rise, no doubt, in religious observances. Among the nations of antiquity, an offering of perfumes was regarded as a token of the most profound respect and homage. Incense, or Frankincense, which exudes by incision and dries as a gum, from Arbor-thurifera, was formerly burnt in the temples of all religions, in honor of the divinities that were there adored. Many of the primitive Christians were put to death because they would not offer incense to idols.

"Of the use of these luxuries by the Greeks, and afterwards by the Romans, Pliny and Seneca gives much information respecting perfume drugs, the method of collecting them, and the prices at which they sold. Oils and powder perfumery were most lavishly used, for even three times a day did some of the luxurious people anoint and scent themselves, carrying their precious perfumes with them to the baths in costly and elegant boxes called NARTHECIA."

In the Romish Church incense is used in many ceremonies, and particularly at the solemn funerals of the hierarchy, and other personages of exalted rank.

Pliny makes a note of the tree from which frankincense is procured, and certain passages in his works indicate that dried flowers were used in his time by way of perfume, and that they were, as now, mixed with spices, a compound which the modern perfumer calls pot-pourri, used for scenting apartments, and generally placed in some ornamental Vase.

It was not uncommon among the Egyptian ladies to carry about the person a little pouch of odoriferous gums, as is the case to the present day among the Chinese, and to wear beads made of scented wood. The "bdellium" mentioned by Moses in Genesis is a perfuming gum, resembling frankincense, if not identical with it.

Several passages in Exodus prove the use of perfumes at a very early period among the Hebrews. In the thirtieth chapter of Exodus the Lord said unto Moses: "1. And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon; of Shittim wood shalt thou make it." "7. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning; when he dresseth the lamps he shall burn incense upon it." "34. Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight." "35. And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together pure and holy." "36. And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee; it shall be unto you most holy." "37. And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof; it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord." "38. Whosoever shall make like unto that to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people."

"It was from this religious custom, of employing incense in the ancient temples, that the royal prophet drew that beautiful simile of his, when he petitioned that his prayers might ascend before the Lord like incense, Luke 1:10. It was while all the multitude was praying without, at the hour of incense, that there appeared to Zachary an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. That the nations attached a meaning not only of personal reverence, but also of religious homage, to an offering of incense, is demonstrable from the instance of the Magi, who, having fallen down to adore the new-born Jesus, and recognized his Divinity, presented Him with gold, myrrh and frankincense. The primitive Christians imitated the example of the Jews, and adopted the use of incense at the celebration of the Liturgy. St. Ephraem, a father of the Syriac Church, directed in his will that no aromatic perfumes should be bestowed upon him at his funeral, but that the spices should rather be given to the sanctuary. The use of incense in all the Oriental churches is perpetual, and almost daily; nor do any of them ever celebrate their Liturgy without it, unless compelled by necessity. The Coptic, as well as other Eastern Christians, observe the same ceremonial as the Latin Church in incensing their altar, the sacred vessels, and ecclesiastical personages."—DR. ROCK'S Hierurgia.

Perfumes were used in the Church service, not only under the form of incense, but also mixed in the oil and wax for the lamps and lights commanded to be burned in the house of the Lord. The brilliancy and fragrance which were often shed around a martyr's sepulchre, at the celebration of his festival, by multitudes of lamps and tapers, fed with aromatics, have been noticed by St. Paulinus:—

"With crowded lamps are these bright altars crowned, And waxen tapers, shedding perfume round From fragrant wicks, beam calm a scented ray, To gladden night, and joy e'en radiant day."

DR. ROCK'S Hierurgia.

Constantine the Great provided fragrant oils, to be burned at the altars of the greater churches in Rome; and St. Paulinus, of Nola, a writer of the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, tells us how, in his times, wax tapers were made for church use, so as to shed fragrance as they burned:—

"Lumina cerates adolentur odora papyris."

A perfume in common use, even to this day, was the invention of one of the earliest of the Roman nobles, named Frangipani, and still bears his name; it is a powder, or sachet, composed of every known spice, in equal proportions, to which is added ground iris or orris root, in weight equal to the whole, with one per cent. of musk or civet. A liquid of the same name, invented by his grandson Mercutio Frangipani, is also in common use, prepared by digesting the Frangipane powder in rectified spirits, which dissolves out the fragrant principles. This has the merit of being the most lasting perfume made.

"The trade for the East in perfume-drugs caused many a vessel to spread its sails to the Red Sea, and many a camel to plod over that tract which gave to Greece and Syria their importance as markets, and vitality to the rocky city of Petra. Southern Italy was not long ere it occupied itself in ministering to the luxury of the wealthy, by manufacturing scented unguents and perfumes. So numerous were the UNGUENTARII, or perfumers, that they are said to have filled the great street of ancient Capua."—HOFMANN.

As an art, in England, perfumery has attained little or no distinction. This has arisen from those who follow it as a trade, maintaining a mysterious secrecy about their processes. No manufacture can ever become great or important to the community that is carried on under a veil of mystery.

"On the subject of trade mystery I will only observe, that I am convinced that it would be far more to the interest of manufacturers if they were more willing to profit by the experience of others, and less fearful and jealous of the supposed secrets of their craft. It is a great mistake to think that a successful manufacturer is one who has carefully preserved the secrets of his trade, or that peculiar modes of effecting simple things, processes unknown in other factories, and mysteries beyond the comprehension of the vulgar, are in any way essential to skill as a manufacturer, or to success as a trader."—PROFESSOR SOLLY.

If the horticulturists of England were instructed how to collect the odors of flowers, a new branch of manufacture would spring up to vie with our neighbors' skill in it across the Channel.

Of our five senses, that of SMELLING has been treated with comparative indifference. However, as knowledge progresses, the various faculties with which the Creator has thought proper in his wisdom to endow man will become developed, and the faculty of Smelling will meet with its share of tuition as well as Sight, Hearing, Touch, and Taste.

Flowers yield perfumes in all climates, but those growing in the warmer latitudes are most prolific in their odor, while those from the colder are the sweetest. Hooker, in his travels in Iceland, speaks of the delightful fragrance of the flowers in the valley of Skardsheidi; we know that winter-green, violets, and primroses are found here, and the wild thyme, in great abundance. Mr. Louis Piesse, in company with Captain Sturt, exploring the wild regions of South Australia, writes: "The rains have clothed the earth with a green as beautiful as a Shropshire meadow in May, and with flowers, too, as sweet as an English violet; the pure white anemone resembles it in scent. The Yellow Wattle, when in flower, is splendid, and emits a most fragrant odor."

Though many of the finest perfumes come from the East Indies, Ceylon, Mexico, and Peru, the South of Europe is the only real garden of utility to the perfumer. Grasse and Nice are the principal seats of the art; from their geographical position, the grower, within comparatively short distances, has at command that change of climate best fitted to bring to perfection the plants required for his trade. On the seacoast his Cassiae grows without fear of frost, one night of which would destroy all the plants for a season; while, nearer the Alps, his violets are found sweeter than if grown in the warmer situations, where the orange tree and mignionette bloom to perfection. England can claim the superiority in the growth of lavender and peppermint; the essential oils extracted from these plants grown at Mitcham, in Surrey, realize eight times the price in the market of those produced in France or elsewhere, and are fully worth the difference for delicacy of odor.

The odors of plants reside in different parts of them, sometimes in the roots, as in the iris and vitivert; the stem or wood, in cedar and sandal; the leaves, in mint, patchouly, and thyme; the flower, in the roses and violets; the seeds in the Tonquin bean and caraway; the bark, in cinnamon, &c.

Some plants yield more than one odor, which are quite distinct and characteristic. The orange tree, for instance, gives three—from the leaves one called petit grain; from the flowers we procure neroli; and from the rind of the fruit, essential oil of orange, essence of Portugal. On this account, perhaps, this tree is the most valuable of all to the operative perfumer.

The fragrance or odor of plants is owing, in nearly all cases, to a perfectly volatile oil, either contained in small vessels, or sacs within them, or generated from time to time, during their life, as when in blossom. Some few exude, by incision, odoriferous gums, as benzoin, olibanum, myrrh, &c.; others give, by the same act, what are called balsams, which appear to be mixtures of an odorous oil and an inodorous gum. Some of these balsams are procured in the country to which the plant is indigenous by boiling it in water for a time, straining, and then boiling again, or evaporating it down till it assumes the consistency of treacle. In this latter way is balsam of Peru procured from the Myroxylon peruiferum, and the balsam of Tolu from the Myroxylon toluiferum. Though their odors are agreeable, they are not much applied in perfumery for handkerchief use, but by some they are mixed with soap, and in England they are valued more for their medicinal properties than for their fragrance.


"Were not summer's distillations left A liquid prisoner, pent in walls of glass, Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft, Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was; But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet, Leese but their show, their substance still lives sweet."


The extensive flower farms in the neighborhood of Nice, Grasse, Montpellier, and Cannes, in France, at Adrianople (Turkey in Asia), at Broussa and Uslak (Turkey in Asia), and at Mitcham, in England, in a measure indicate the commercial importance of that branch of chemistry called perfumery.

British India and Europe consume annually, at the very lowest estimate, 150,000 gallons of perfumed spirits, under various titles, such as eau de Cologne, essence of lavender, esprit de rose, &c. The art of perfumery does not, however, confine itself to the production of scents for the handkerchief and bath, but extends to imparting odor to inodorous bodies, such as soap, oil, starch, and grease, which are consumed at the toilette of fashion. Some idea of the commercial importance of this art may be formed, when we state that one of the large perfumers of Grasse and Paris employs annually 80,000 lbs. of orange flowers, 60,000 lbs. of cassia flowers, 54,000 lbs. of rose-leaves, 32,000 lbs. of jasmine blossoms, 32,000 lbs. of violets, 20,000 lbs. of tubereuse, 16,000 lbs. of lilac, besides rosemary, mint, lemon, citron, thyme, and other odorous plants in large proportion. In fact, the quantity of odoriferous substances used in this way is far beyond the conception of those even used to abstract statistics.

To the chemical philosopher, the study of perfumery opens a book as yet unread; for the practical perfumer, on his laboratory shelves, exhibits many rare essential oils, such as essential oil of the flower of the Acacia farnesiana, essential oil of violets, tubereuse, jasmine, and others, the compositions of which have yet to be determined.

The exquisite pleasure derived from smelling fragrant flowers would almost instinctively induce man to attempt to separate the odoriferous principle from them, so as to have the perfume when the season denies the flowers. Thus we find the alchemists of old, torturing the plants in every way their invention could devise for this end; and it is on their experiments that the whole art of perfumery has been reared. Without recapitulating those facts which may be found diffused through nearly all the old authors on medical botany, chemistry, pharmacy, and works of this character, from the time of Paracelsus to Celnart, we may state at once the mode of operation adopted by the practical perfumer of the present day for preparing the various extracts or essences, waters, oils, pomades, &c., used in his calling.

The processes are divided into four distinct operations; viz.—

1. Expression; 2. Distillation; 3. Maceration; 4. Absorption.

1. Expression is only adopted where the plant is very prolific in its volatile or essential oil,—i.e. its odor; such, for instance, as is found in the pellicle or outer peel of the orange, lemon, and citron, and a few others. In these cases, the parts of the plant containing the odoriferous principle are put sometimes in a cloth bag, and at others by themselves into a press, and by mere mechanical force it is squeezed out. The press is an iron vessel of immense strength, varying in size from six inches in diameter, and twelve deep, and upwards, to contain one hundred weight or more; it has a small aperture at the bottom to allow the expressed material to run for collection; in the interior is placed a perforated false bottom, and on this the substance to be squeezed is placed, covered with an iron plate fitting the interior; this is connected with a powerful screw, which, being turned, forces the substance so closely together, that the little vessels containing the essential oils are burst, and it thus escapes. The common tincture press is indeed a model of such an instrument. The oils which are thus collected are contaminated with watery extracts, which exudes at the same time, and from which it has to be separated; this it does by itself in a measure, by standing in a quiet place, and it is then poured off and strained.

2. Distillation.—The plant, or part of it, which contains the odoriferous principle, is placed in an iron, copper, or glass pan, varying in size from that capable of holding from one to twenty gallons, and covered with water; to the pan a dome-shaped lid is fitted, terminating with a pipe, which is twisted corkscrew fashion, and fixed in a bucket, with the end peeping out like a tap in a barrel. The water in the still—for such is the name of the apparatus—is made to boil; and having no other exit, the steam must pass through the coiled pipe; which, being surrounded with cold water in the bucket, condenses the vapor before it can arrive at the tap. With the steam, the volatile oils—i.e. perfume—rises, and is liquefied at the same time. The liquids which thus run over, on standing for a time, separate into two portions, and are finally divided with a funnel having a stopcock in the narrow part of it. By this process, the majority of the volatile or essential oils are procured. In some few instances alcohol—i.e. rectified spirit of wine—is placed upon the odorous materials in lieu of water, which, on being distilled, comes away with the perfuming substance dissolved in it. But this process is now nearly obsolete, as it is found more beneficial to draw the oil or essence first with water, and afterwards to dissolve it in the spirit. The low temperature at which spirit boils, compared with water, causes a great loss of essential oil, the heat not being sufficient to disengage it from the plant, especially where seeds such as cloves or caraway are employed. It so happens, however, that the finest odors, the recherche as the Parisians say, cannot be procured by this method; then recourse is had to the next process.

3. Maceration.—Of all the processes for procuring the perfumes of flowers, this is the most important to the perfumer, and is the least understood in England; as this operation yields not only the most exquisite essences indirectly, but also nearly all those fine pomades known here as "French pomatums," so much admired for the strength of fragrance, together with "French oils" equally perfumed. The operation is conducted thus:—For what is called pomade, a certain quantity of purified mutton or deer suet is put into a clean metal or porcelain pan, this being melted by a steam heat; the kind of flowers required for the odor wanted are carefully picked and put into the liquid fat, and allowed to remain from twelve to forty-eight hours; the fat has a particular affinity or attraction for the oil of flowers, and thus, as it were, draws it out of them, and becomes itself, by their aid, highly perfumed; the fat is strained from the spent flowers, and fresh are added four or five times over, till the pomade is of the required strength; these various strengths of pomatums are noted by the French makers as Nos. 6, 12, 18, and 24, the higher numerals indicating the amount of fragrance in them. For perfumed oils the same operation is followed; but, in lieu of suet, fine olive oil or oil of ben, derived from the ben nuts of the Levant, is used, and the same results are obtained. These oils are called "Huile Antique" of such and such a flower.

When neither of the foregoing processes gives satisfactory results, the method of procedure adopted is by,—

4. Absorption, or Enfleurage.—The odors of some flowers are so delicate and volatile, that the heat required in the previously named processes would greatly modify, if not entirely spoil them; this process is, therefore, conducted cold, thus:—Square frames, about three inches deep, with a glass bottom, say two feet wide and three feet long, are procured; over the glass a layer of fat is spread, about half an inch thick, with a kind of plaster knife or spatula; into this the flower buds are stuck, cup downwards, and ranged completely over it, and there left from twelve to seventy-two hours.

Some houses, such as that of Messrs. Pilar and Sons; Pascal Brothers; H. Herman, and a few others, have 3000 such frames at work during the season; as they are filled, they are piled one over the other, the flowers are changed so long as the plants continue to bloom, which now and then exceeds two or three months.

For oils of the same plants, coarse linen cloths are imbued with the finest olive oil or oil of ben, and stretched upon a frame made of iron; on these the flowers are laid and suffered to remain a few days. This operation is repeated several times, after which the cloths are subjected to great pressure, to remove the now perfumed oil.

As we cannot give any general rule for working, without misleading the reader, we prefer explaining the process required for each when we come to speak of the individual flower or plant.


Whenever a Still is named, or an article is said to be distilled or "drawn," it must be understood to be done so by steam apparatus, as this is the only mode which can be adopted for obtaining anything like a delicate odor; the old plan of having the fire immediately under the still, conveying an empyreumatic or burnt smell to the result, has become obsolete in every well-regulated perfumatory.

The steam-still differs from the one described only in the lower part, or pan, which is made double, so as to allow steam from a boiler to circulate round the pan for the purpose of boiling the contents, instead of the direct fire. In macerating, the heat is applied in the same way, or by a contrivance like the common glue-pot, as made use of nowadays.

This description of apparatus will be found very useful for experiments which we will suggest by-and-by.

The perfumes for the handkerchief, as found in the shops of Paris and London, are either simple or compound; the former are called extracts, extraits, esprits, or essences, and the latter bouquets and nosegays, which are mixtures of the extracts so compounded in quantity that no one flower or odor can be discovered as predominating over another; and when made of the delicate-scented flowers carefully blended, they produce an exquisite sensation on the olfactory nerve, and are therefore much prized by all who can afford to purchase them.

We shall first explain the mode for obtaining the simple extracts of flowers. This will be followed by the process for preparing ambergris, musk, and civet, substances, which, though of animal origin, are of the utmost importance as forming a large part in the most approved bouquets; and we shall conclude this department of the art with recipes for all the fashionable bouquets and nosegays, the value of which, we doubt not, will be estimated according to the labor bestowed upon their analysis.

In order to render the work more easy of consultation, we have adopted the alphabetical arrangement in preference to a more scientific classification.

Among the collection of ottos of the East India Company at the Exhibition of 1851, were several hitherto unknown in this country, and possessing much interest.

It is to be regretted, that no person having any practical knowledge of perfumery was placed on the jury of Class IV or XXIX. Had such been the case, the desires of the exhibitors would probably have been realized, and European perfumers benefited by the introduction of new odors from the East. Some of the ottos sent by a native perfumer of Benares were deemed worthy of honorable mention. Such as Chumeylee, Beyla, Begla, Moteya, and many others from the Moluccas, but without any information respecting them.

We are not going to speak of, perhaps, more than a tithe of the plants that have a perfume—only those will be mentioned that are used by the operative perfumer, and such as are imitated by him in consequence of there being a demand for the article, which circumstances prevent him from obtaining in its genuine state. The first that comes under our notice is—

ALLSPICE.—The odoriferous principle of allspice, commonly called pimento, is obtained by distilling the dried fruit, before it is quite ripe, of the Eugenia pimenta and Myrtus pimenta with water. It is thus procured as an essential oil; it is but little used in perfumery, and when so, only in combination with other spice oils; for scenting soap it is, however, very agreeable, and much resembles the smell of cloves, and deserves more attention than it has hitherto received. Mixed in the proportion of two ounces of oil of allspice with one gallon of rectified spirit of wine, it forms what may be termed extract of allspice, which extract will be found very useful in the manufacture of low-priced bouquets.


"Mark well the flow'ring almonds in the wood; If od'rous blooms the bearing branches load, The glebe will answer to the sylvan reign, Great heats will follow, and large crops of grain."


This perfume has been much esteemed for many ages. It may be procured by distilling the leaves of any of the laurel tribe, and the kernels of stone fruit; for trade purposes, it is obtained from the bitter almonds, and exists in the skin or pellicle that covers the seed after it is shelled. In the ordinary way, the almonds are put into the press for the purpose of obtaining the mild or fat oil from the nut; the cake which is left after this process is then mixed with salt and water, and allowed to remain together for about twenty-four hours prior to distillation. The reason for moistening the cake is well understood to the practical chemist, and although we are not treating the subject of perfumery in a chemical sense, but only in a practical way, it may not be inappropriate here to observe, that the essential oil of almonds does not exist ready formed to any extent in the nut, but that it is produced by a species of fermentation, from the amygdalin and emulsine contained in the almonds, together with the water that is added. Analogous substances exist in laurel leaves, and hence the same course is to be pursued when they are distilled. Some manufacturers put the moistened cake into a bag of coarse cloth, or spread it upon a sieve, and then force the stream through it; in either case, the essential oil of the almond rises with the watery vapor, and is condensed in the still-worm. In this concentrated form, the odor of almonds is far from agreeable; but when diluted with spirit, in the proportion of about one and a half ounce of the oil to a gallon of spirit or alcohol, it is very pleasant.

The essential oil of almonds, enters into combination with soap, cold cream, and many other materials prepared by the perfumer; for which see their respective titles.

Fourteen pounds of the cake yield about one ounce of essential oil.

In experiments with this substance, it must be carefully remembered that it is exceedingly poisonous, and, therefore, great caution is necessary in its admixture with substances used as a cosmetic, otherwise dangerous results may ensue.

Artificial Otto of Almonds.—Five or six years ago, Mr. Mansfield, of Weybridge, took out a patent for the manufacture of otto of almonds from benzole. (Benzole is obtained from tar oil.) His apparatus, according to the Report of the juries of the 1851 Exhibition, consists of a large glass tube in the form of a coil, which at the upper end divides into two tubes; each of which is provided with a funnel. A stream of nitric acid flows slowly into one of the funnels, and benzole into the other. The two substances meet at the point of union of the tubes, and a combination ensues with the evolution of heat. As the newly formed compound flows down through the coil it becomes cool, and is collected at the lower extremity; it then requires to be washed with water, and lastly with a dilute solution of carbonate of soda, to render it fit for use. Nitro-benzole, which is the chemical name for this artificial otto of almonds, has a different odor to the true otto of almonds, but it can nevertheless be used for perfuming soap. Mr. Mansfield writes to me under date of January 3d, 1855:—"In 1851, Messrs. Gosnell, of Three King Court, began to make this perfume under my license; latterly I withdrew the license from them by their consent, and since then it is not made that I am aware of." It is, however, quite common in Paris.

ANISE.—The odorous principle is procured by distilling the seeds of the plant Pimpinella anisum; the product is the oil of aniseed of commerce. As it congeals at a temperature of about 50 deg. Fahr., it is frequently adulterated with a little spermaceti, to give a certain solidity to it, whereby other cheaper essential oils can be added to it with less chance of detection. As the oil of aniseed is quite soluble in spirit, and the spermaceti insoluble, the fraud is easily detected.

This perfume is exceedingly strong, and is, therefore, well adapted for mixing with soap and for scenting pomatums, but does not do nicely in compounds for handkerchief use.

BALM, oil of Balm, called also oil of Melissa, is obtained by distilling the leaves of the Melissa officinalis with water; it comes from the still tap with the condensed steam or water, from which it is separated with the tap funnel. But it is very little used in perfumery, if we except its combination in Aqua di Argento.

BALSAM.—Under this title there are two or three substances used in perfumery, such as balsam of Peru, balsam of Tolu, and balsam of storax (also called liquid amber). The first-named, is procured from the Myroxylon peruiferum; it exudes from the tree when wounded, and is also obtained by boiling down the bark and branches in water. The latter is the most common method for procuring it. It has a strong odor, like benzoin.

Balsam of Tolu flows from the Toluifera balsammum. It resembles common resin (rosin); with the least warmth, however, it runs to a liquid, like brown treacle. The smell of it is particularly agreeable, and being soluble in alcohol makes a good basis for a bouquet, giving in this respect a permanence of odor to a perfume which the simple solution of an oil would not possess. For this purpose all these balsams are very useful, though not so much used as they might be.

"ULEX has found that balsam of Tolu is frequently adulterated with common resin. To detect this adulteration he pours sulphuric acid on the balsam, and heats the mixture, when the balsam dissolves to a cherry-red fluid, without evolving sulphurous acid, but with the escape of benzoic or cinnamic acid, if no common resin is present. On the contrary, the balsam foams, blackens, and much sulphurous acid is set free, if it is adulterated with common resin."—Archives der Pharmacie.

Balsam of storax, commonly called gum styrax, is obtained in the same manner, and possessing similar properties, with a slight variation of odor, is applicable in the same manner as the above.

They are all imported from South America, Chili, and Mexico, where the trees that produce them are indigenous.

BAY, oil of sweet Bay, also termed essential oil of laurel-berries, is a very fragrant substance, procured by distillation from the berries of the bay laurel. Though very pleasant, it is not much used.

BERGAMOT.—This most useful perfume is procured from the Citrus Bergamia, by expression from the peel of the fruit. It has a soft sweet odor, too well known to need description here. When new and good it has a greenish-yellow tint, but loses its greenness by age, especially if kept in imperfectly corked bottles. It then becomes cloudy from the deposit of resinous matter, produced by the contact of the air, and acquires a turpentine smell.

It is best preserved in well-stoppered bottles, kept in a cool cellar, and in the dark; light, especially the direct sunshine, quickly deteriorates its odor. This observation may be applied, indeed, to all perfumes, except rose, which is not so spoiled.

When bergamot is mixed with other essential oils it greatly adds to their richness, and gives a sweetness to spice oils attainable by no other means, and such compounds are much used in the most highly scented soaps. Mixed with rectified spirit in the proportions of about four ounces of bergamot to a gallon, it forms what is called "extract of bergamot," and in this state is used for the handkerchief. Though well covered with extract of orris and other matters, it is the leading ingredient in Bayley and Blew's Ess. Bouquet (see BOUQUETS).

BENZOIN, also called Benjamin.—This is a very useful substance to perfumers. It exudes from the Styrax benzoin by wounding the tree, and drying, becomes a hard gum-resin. It is principally imported from Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and Siam. The best kind comes from the latter place, and used to be called Amygdaloides, because of its being interspersed with several white spots, which resemble broken almonds. When heated, these white specks rise as a smoke, which is easily condensed upon paper. The material thus separated from the benzoin is called flowers of benzoin in commerce, and by chemists is termed benzoic acid. It has all, or nearly all, the odor of the resin from which it is derived.

The extract, or tincture of benzoin, forms a good basis for a bouquet.[B] Like balsam of Tolu, it gives permanence and body to a perfume made with an essential oil in spirit.

The principal consumption of benzoin is in the manufacture of pastilles (see PASTILLES), and for the preparation of fictitious vanilla pomade (see POMATUMS).

CARAWAY.—This odoriferous principle is drawn by distillation from the seeds of the Carum carui. It has a very pleasant smell, quite familiar enough without description. It is well adapted to perfume soap, for which it is much used in England, though rarely if ever on the continent; when dissolved in spirit it may be used in combination with oil of lavender and bergamot for the manufacture of cheap essences, in a similar way to cloves (see CLOVES). If caraway seeds are ground, they are well adapted for mixing to form sachet powder (see SACHETS).

CASCARILLA.—The bark is used in the formation of pastilles, and also enters into the composition known as Eau a Bruler, for perfuming apartments, to which we refer.

The bark alone of this plant is used by the manufacturing perfumer, and that only in the fabrication of pastilles. The Cascarilla gratissimus is however so fragrant, that according to Burnett its leaves are gathered by the Koras of the Cape of Good Hope as a perfume, and both the C. fragrans and C. fragilis are odoriferous. It behooves perfumers, therefore, who are on the look out for novelties, to obtain these leaves and ascertain the result of their distillation.

Messrs. Herring and Co., some years ago, drew the oil of cascarilla, but it was only offered to the trade as a curiosity.

CASSIA.—The essential oil of cassia is procured by distilling the outer bark of the Cinnamomum cassia. 1 cwt. of bark yields rather more than three quarters of a pound of oil; it has a pale yellow color; in smell it much resembles cinnamon, although very inferior to it. It is principally used for perfuming soap, especially what is called "military soap," as it is more aromatic or spicy than flowery in odor; it therefore finds no place for handkerchief use.


"The short narcissus and fair daffodil, Pansies to please the sight, and cassie sweet to swell."

DRYDEN'S Virgil.

This is one of those fine odors which enters into the composition of the best handkerchief bouquets.

When smelled at alone, it has an intense violet odor, and is rather sickly sweet.

It is procured by maceration from the Acacia farnesiana. The purified fat is melted, into which the flowers are thrown and left to digest for several hours; the spent flowers are removed, and fresh are added, eight or ten times, until sufficient richness of perfume is obtained. As many flowers are used as the grease will cover, when they are put into it, in a liquid state.

After being strained, and the pomade has been kept at a heat sufficient only to retain its liquidity, all impurities will subside by standing for a few days. Finally cooled, it is the cassie pomade of commerce. The Huile de Cassie, or fat oil of cassie, is prepared in a similar manner, substituting the oil of Egyptian ben nut, olive oil, or almond oil, in place of suet. Both these preparations are obviously only a solution of the true essential oil of cassie flowers in the neutral fatty body. Europe may shortly be expecting to import a similar scented pomade from South Australia, derived from the Wattle, a plant that belongs to the same genus as the A. farnesiana, and which grows most luxuriantly in Australia. Mutton fat being cheap, and the wattle plentiful, a profitable trade may be anticipated in curing the flowers, &c.

To prepare the extract of cassie, take six pounds of No. 24 (best quality) cassie pomade, and place upon it one gallon of the best rectified spirit, as sent out by Bowerbank, of Bishopsgate. After it has digested for three weeks or a month, at a summer heat, it is fit to draw from the pomatum, and, if good, has a beautiful green color and rich flowery smell of the cassie blossom. All extracts made by this process—maceration, or, as it may be called, cold infusion, give a more natural smell of the flowers to the result, than by merely dissolving the essential oil (procured by distillation) in the spirit; moreover, where the odor of the flower exists in only very minute quantities, as in the present instance, and with violet, jasmine, &c., it is the only practical mode of proceeding.

In this, and all other similar cases, the pomatum must be cut up into very small pieces, after the domestic manner of "chopping suet," prior to its being infused in the alcohol. The action of the mixture is simply a change of place in the odoriferous matter, which leaves the fat body by the superior attraction, or affinity, as the chemists say, of the spirits of wine, in which it freely dissolves.

The major part of the extract can be poured or drawn off the pomatum without trouble, but it still retains a portion in the interstices, which requires time to drain away, and this must be assisted by placing the pomatum in a large funnel, supported by a bottle, in order to collect the remainder. Finally, all the pomatum, which is now called washed pomatum, is to be put into a tin, which tin must be set into hot water, for the purpose of melting its contents; when the pomatum thus becomes liquefied, any extract that is still in it rises to the surface, and can be skimmed off, or when the pomatum becomes cold it can be poured from it.

The washed pomatum is preserved for use in the manufacture of dressing for the hair, for which purpose it is exceedingly well adapted, on account of the purity of the grease from which it was originally prepared, but more particularly on account of a certain portion of odor which it still retains; and were it not used up in this way, it would be advisable to put it for a second infusion in spirit, and thus a weaker extract could be made serviceable for lower priced articles.

I cannot leave cassie without recommending it more especially to the notice of perfumers and druggists, as an article well adapted for the purpose of the manufacture of essences for the handkerchief and pomades for the hair. When diluted with other odors, it imparts to the whole such a true flowery fragrance, that it is the admiration of all who smell it, and has not a little contributed to the great sale which certain proprietary articles have attained.

We caution the inexperienced not to confound cassie with cassia, which has a totally different odor. See ACACIA POMADE.

CEDAR WOOD now and then finds a place in a perfumer's warehouse; when ground, it does well to form a body for sachet powder. Slips of cedar wood are sold as matches for lighting lamps, because while burning an agreeable odor is evolved; some people use it also, in this condition, distributed among clothes in drawers to "prevent moth." On distillation it yields an essential oil that is exceedingly fragrant.

Messrs. Rigge and Co., of London, use it extensively for scenting soap.

LEBANON CEDAR WOOD. (For the Handkerchief.)

Otto of cedar, 1 oz. Rectified spirit, 1 pint. Esprit rose trip, 1/4 pint.

The tincture smells agreeably of the wood, from which it can readily be made. Its crimson color, however, prohibits it from being used for the handkerchief. It forms an excellent tincture for the teeth, and is the basis of the celebrated French dentifrice "eau Botot."

CEDRAT.—This perfume is procured from the rind of the citron fruit (Citrus medica), both by distillation and expression; it has a very beautiful lemony odor, and is much admired. It is principally used in the manufacture of essences for the handkerchief, being too expensive for perfuming grease or soap. What is called extract of cedrat is made by dissolving two ounces of the above essential oil of citron in one pint of spirits, to which some perfumers add half an ounce of bergamot.

CINNAMON.—Several species of the plant Laurus cinnamomum yield the cinnamon and cassia of commerce. Its name is said to be derived from China Amomum, the bark being one of the most valued spices of the East. Perfumers use both the bark and the oil, which is obtained by distillation from it. The ground bark enters into the composition of some pastilles, tooth powders, and sachets. The essential oil of cinnamon is principally brought to this country from Ceylon; it is exceedingly powerful, and must be used sparingly. In such compounds as cloves answer, so will cinnamon.

CITRON.—On distilling the flowers of the Citrus medica, a very fragrant oil is procured, which is a species of neroli, and is principally consumed by the manufacturers of eau de Cologne.

CITRONELLA.—Under this name there is an oil in the market, chiefly derived from Ceylon and the East Indies; its true origin we are unable to decide; in odor it somewhat resembles citron fruit, but is very inferior. Probably it is procured from one of the grasses of the Andropogon genus. Being cheap, it is extensively used for perfuming soap. What is now extensively sold as "honey" soap, is a fine yellow soap slightly perfumed with this oil. Some few use it for scenting grease, but it is not much admired in that way.

CLOVES.—Every part of the clove plant (Caryophyllus aromaticus) abounds with aromatic oil, but it is most fragrant and plentiful in the unexpanded flower-bud, which are the cloves of commerce. Cloves have been brought into the European market for more than 2000 years. The plant is a native of the Moluccas and other islands in the China seas. "The average annual crop of cloves," says Burnett, "is, from each tree, 2 or 2-1/2 lbs., but a fine tree has been known to yield 125 lbs. of this spice in a single season, and as 5000 cloves only weigh one pound, there must have been at least 625,000 flowers upon this single tree."

The oil of cloves may be obtained by expression from the fresh flower-buds, but the usual method of procuring it is by distillation, which is carried on to a very great extent in this country. Few essential oils have a more extensive use in perfumery than that of cloves; it combines well with grease, soap, and spirit, and, as will be seen in the recipes for the various bouquets given hereafter, it forms a leading feature in some of the most popular handkerchief essences, Rondeletia, the Guard's Bouquet, &c., and will be found where least expected. For essence of cloves, dissolve oil of cloves in the proportion of two ounces of oil to one gallon of spirit.

DILL.—Perfumers are now and then asked for "dill water;" it is, however, more a druggist's article than a perfumer's, as it is more used for its medicinal qualities than for its odor, which by the way, is rather pleasant than otherwise. Some ladies use a mixture of half dill water and half rose water, as a simple cosmetic, "to clear the complexion."

The oil of dill is procured by submitting the crushed fruit of dill (Anethum graveolens) with water to distillation. The oil floats on the surface of the distillate, from which it is separated by the funnel in the usual manner; after the separation of the oil, the "water" is fit for sale. Oil of dill may be used with advantage, if in small proportions, and mixed with other oils, for perfuming soap.

EGLANTINE, or SWEET BRIAR, notwithstanding what the poet Robert Noyes says—

"In fragrance yields, Surpassing citron groves or spicy fields,"

does not find a place in the perfumer's "scent-room" except in name. This, like many other sweet-scented plants, does not repay the labor of collecting its odor. The fragrant part of this plant is destroyed more or less under every treatment that it is put to, and hence it is discarded. As, however, the article is in demand by the public, a species of fraud is practised upon them, by imitating it thus:—


Spirituous extract of French rose pomatum, 1 pint. " " cassie, 1/4 " " " fleur d'orange, 1/4 " Esprit de rose, 1/4 " Oil of neroli, 1/2 drachm. Oil of lemon grass (verbena oil), 1/2 "

ELDER (Sambucus nigra).—The only preparation of this plant for its odorous quality used by the perfumer, is elder-flower water. To prepare it, take nine pounds of elder-flowers, free from stalk, and introduce it to the still with four gallons of water; the first three gallons that come over is all that need be preserved for use; one ounce of rectified spirit should be added to each gallon of "water" distilled, and when bottled it is ready for sale. Other preparations of elder flowers are made, such as milk of elder, extract of elder, &c., which will be found in their proper place under Cosmetics. Two or three new materials made from this flower will also be given hereafter, which are likely to meet with a very large sale on account of the reputed cooling qualities of the ingredients; of these we would call attention more particularly to cold cream of elder-flowers, and to elder oil for the hair.

The preparations of elder-flowers, if made according to the Pharmacopoeias, are perfectly useless, as the forms therein given show an utter want of knowledge of the properties of the materials employed.

FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare).—Dried fennel herb, when ground, enters into the composition of some sachet powders. The oil of fennel, in conjunction with other aromatic oils, may be used for perfuming soap. It is procurable by distillation.

FLAG (SWEET) (Acorus calamus).—The roots, or rhizome, of the sweet flag, yield by distillation a pleasant-smelling oil; 1 cwt. of the rhizome will thus yield one pound of oil. It can be used according to the pleasure of the manufacturer in scenting grease, soap, or for extracts, but requires other sweet oils with it to hide its origin.

GERANIUM (Pelargonium odoratissimum, rose-leaf geranium).—The leaves of this plant yield by distillation a very agreeable rosy-smelling oil, so much resembling real otto of rose, that it is used very extensively for the adulteration of that valuable oil, and is grown very largely for that express purpose. It is principally cultivated in the south of France, and in Turkey (by the rose-growers). In the department of Seine-et-Oise, at Montfort-Lamaury, in France, hundreds of acres of it may be seen growing. 1 cwt. of leaves will yield about two ounces of essential oil. Used to adulterate otto of rose, it is in its turn itself adulterated with ginger grass oil (Andropogon), and thus formerly was very difficult to procure genuine; on account of the increased cultivation of the plant, it is now, however, easily procured pure. Some samples are greenish-colored, others nearly white, but we prefer that of a brownish tint.

When dissolved in rectified spirit, in the proportion of about six ounces to the gallon, it forms the "extract of rose-leaf geranium" of the shops. A word or two is necessary about the oil of geranium, as much confusion is created respecting it, in consequence of there being an oil under the name of geranium, but which in reality is derived from the Andropogon nardus, cultivated in the Moluccas. This said andropogon (geranium!) oil can be used to adulterate the true geranium, and hence we suppose its nomenclature in the drug markets. The genuine rose-leaf geranium oil fetches about 6s. per ounce, while the andropogon oil is not worth more than that sum per pound. And we may observe here, that the perfuming essential oils are best purchased through the wholesale perfumers, as from the nature of their trade they have a better knowledge and means of obtaining the real article than the drug-broker. On account of the pleasing odor of the true oil of rose-leaf geranium, it is a valuable article for perfuming many materials, and appears to give the public great satisfaction.

HELIOTROPE.—Either by maceration or enfleurage with clarified fat, we may obtain this fine odor from the flowers of the Heliotrope Peruvianum or H. grandiflorum. Exquisite as the odor of this plant is, at present it is not applied to use by the manufacturing perfumer. This we think rather a singular fact, especially as the perfume is powerful and the flowers abundant. We should like to hear of some experiments being tried with this plant for procuring its odor in this country, and for that purpose now suggest the mode of operation which would most likely lead to successful results. For a small trial in the first instance, which can be managed by any person having the run of a garden, we will say, procure an ordinary glue-pot now in common use, which melts the material by the boiling of water; it is in fact a water-bath, in chemical parlance—one capable of holding a pound or more of melted fat. At the season when the flowers are in bloom, obtain half a pound of fine mutton suet, melt the suet and strain it through a close hair-sieve, allow the liquefied fat, as it falls from the sieve, to drop into cold spring water; this operation granulates and washes the blood and membrane from it. In order to start with a perfectly inodorous grease, the melting and granulation process may be repeated three or four times; finally, remelt the fat and cast it into a pan to free it from adhering water.

Now put the clarified suet into the macerating pot, and place it in such a position near the fire of the greenhouse, or elsewhere that will keep it warm enough to be liquid; into the fat throw as many flowers as you can, and there let them remain for twenty-four hours; at this time strain the fat from the spent flowers and add fresh ones; repeat this operation for a week: we expect at the last straining the fat will have become very highly perfumed, and when cold may be justly termed Pomade a la Heliotrope.

The cold pomade being chopped up, like suet for a pudding, is now to be put into a wide-mouthed bottle, and covered with spirits as highly rectified as can be obtained, and left to digest for a week or more; the spirit then strained off will be highly perfumed; in reality it will be extract of Heliotrope, a delightful perfume for the handkerchief. The rationale of the operation is simple enough: the fat body has a strong affinity or attraction for the odorous body, or essential oil of the flowers, and it therefore absorbs it by contact, and becomes itself perfumed. In the second operation, the spirit has a much greater attraction for the fragrant principle than the fatty matter; the former, therefore, becomes perfumed at the expense of the latter. The same experiment may be repeated with almond oil substituted for the fat.

The experiment here hinted at, may be varied with any flowers that there are to spare; indeed, by having the macerating bath larger than was mentioned above, an excellent millefleur pomade and essence might be produced from every conservatory in the kingdom, and thus we may receive another enjoyment from the cultivation of flowers beyond their beauty of form and color.

We hope that those of our readers who feel inclined to try experiments of this nature will not be deterred by saying, "they are not worth the trouble." It must be remembered, that very fine essences realize in the London perfumery warehouses 16s. per pint of 16 ounces, and that fine flowery-scented pomades fetch the same sum per pound. If the experiments are successful they should be published, as then we may hope to establish a new and important manufacture in this country. But we are digressing.

The odor of heliotrope resembles a mixture of almonds and vanilla, and is well imitated thus:—


Spirituous extract of vanilla, 1/2 pint. " " French rose pomatum, 1/4 " " " orange-flower pomatum, 2 oz. " " ambergris, 1 oz. Essential oil of almonds, 5 drops.

A preparation made in this manner under the name of Extract de Heliotrope is that which is sold in the shops of Paris and London, and is really a very nice perfume, passing well with the public for a genuine extract of heliotrope.


"Copious of flower the woodbine, pale and wan, But well compensating her sickly looks With never-cloying odors."

What the poet Cowper here says is quite true; nevertheless, it is a flower that is not used in practical perfumery, though there is no reason for abandoning it. The experiments suggested for obtaining the odor of Heliotrope and Millefleur (thousand flowers) are also applicable to this, as also to Hawthorn. A good IMITATION OF HONEYSUCKLE is made thus:—

Spirituous extract of rose pomatum, 1 pint. " " violet " 1 " " " tubereuse " 1 " Extract of vanilla, 1/4 " " Tolu, 1/4 " Otto neroli, 10 drops. " almonds, 5 "

The prime cost of a perfume made in this manner would probably be too high to meet the demand of a retail druggist; in such cases it may be diluted with rectified spirit to the extent "to make it pay," and will yet be a nice perfume. The formula generally given herein for odors is in anticipation that when bottled they will retail for at least eighteen-pence the fluid ounce! which is the average price put on the finest perfumery by the manufacturers of London and Paris.

HOVENIA.—A perfume under this name is sold to a limited extent, but if it did not smell better than the plant Hovenia dulcis or H. inequalis, a native of Japan, it would not sell at all. The article in the market is made thus:—

Rectified spirit, 1 quart. Rose-water, 1/2 pint. Otto lemons, 1/2 oz. Otto of rose, 1 drachm. " cloves, 1/2 " " neroli, 10 drops.

First dissolve the ottos in the spirit, then add the rose-water. After filtration it is ready for sale. When compounds of this kind do not become bright by passing through blotting-paper, the addition of a little carbonate of magnesia prior to filtering effectually clears them. The water in the above recipe is only added in order that the article produced may be retailed at a moderate price, and would, of course, be better without that "universal friend."


"Luxuriant above all, The jasmine throwing wide her elegant sweets."

This flower is one of the most prized by the perfumer. Its odor is delicate and sweet, and so peculiar that it is without comparison, and as such cannot be imitated. When the flowers of the Jasminum odoratissimum are distilled, repeatedly using the water of distillation over fresh flowers, the essential oil of jasmine may be procured. It is, however, exceedingly rare, on account of the enormous cost of production. There was a fine sample of six ounces exhibited in the Tunisian department of the Crystal Palace, the price of which was 9l. the fluid ounce! The plant is the Yasmyn of the Arabs, from which our name is derived.

In the perfumer's laboratory, the method of obtaining the odor is by absorption, or, as the French term it, enfleurage; that is, by spreading a mixture of pure lard and suet on a glass tray, and sticking the fresh-gathered flowers all over it, leaving them to stand a day or so, and repeating the operation with fresh flowers—the grease absorbs the odor. Finally, the pomade is scraped off the glass or slate, melted at as low a temperature as possible, and strained.

Oils strongly impregnated with the fragrance are also prepared much in the same way. Layers of cotton wool, previously steeped in oil of ben (obtained by pressure from the blanched nuts of the Moringa oleifera) are covered with jasmine flowers, which is repeated several times; finally, the cotton or linen cloths which some perfumers use, are squeezed under a press. The jasmine oil thus produced is the Huile antique au jasmin of the French houses.

The "extract of jasmine" is prepared by pouring rectified spirit on the jasmine pomade or oil, and allowing them to remain together for a fortnight at a summer heat. The best quality extract requires two pounds of pomatum to every quart of spirit. The same can be done with the oil of jasmine. If the pomade is used, it must be cut up fine previously to being put into the spirit; if the oil is used, it must be shaken well together every two or more hours, otherwise, on account of its specific gravity, the oil separates, and but little surface is exposed to the spirit. After the extract is strained off, the "washed" pomatum or oil is still useful, if remelted, in the composition of pomatum for the hair, and gives more satisfaction to a customer than any of the "creams and balms," &c. &c., made up and scented with essential oils; the one smells of the flower, the other "a nondescript."

The extract of jasmine enters into the composition of a great many of the most approved handkerchief perfumes sold by the English and French perfumers. Extract of jasmine is sold for the handkerchief often pure, but is one of those scents which, though very gratifying at first, becomes what people call "sickly" after exposure to the oxidizing influence of the air, but if judiciously mixed with other perfumes of an opposite character is sure to please the most fastidious customer.

JONQUIL.—The scent of the jonquil is very beautiful; for perfumery purposes it is however but little cultivated in comparison with jasmine and tubereuse. It is prepared exactly as jasmine. The Parisian perfumers sell a mixture which they call "extract of jonquil." The plant, however, only plays the part of a godfather to the offspring, giving it its name. The so-called jonquil is made thus:—

Spirituous extract of jasmine pomade, 1 pint. " " tubereuse " 1 " " " fleur d'orange, 1/2 " Extract of vanilla, 2 fluid ounces.

LAUREL.—By distillation from the berries of the Laurus nobilis, and from the leaves of the Laurus cerasus, an oil and perfumed water are procurable of a very beautiful and fragrant character. Commercially, however, it is disregarded, as from the similarity of odor to the oil distilled from the bitter almond, it is rarely, if ever, used by the perfumer, the latter being more economical.

LAVENDER.—The climate of England appears to be better adapted for the perfect development of this fine old favorite perfume than any other on the globe. "The ancients," says Burnett, "employed the flowers and the leaves to aromatize their baths, and to give a sweet scent to water in which they washed; hence the generic name of the plant, Lavandula."

Lavender is grown to an enormous extent at Mitcham, in Surrey, which is the seat of its production, in a commercial point of view. Very large quantities are also grown in France, but the fine odor of the British produce realizes in the market four times the price of that of Continental growth. Burnett says that the oil of Lavandula spica is more pleasant than that derived from the other species, but this statement must not mislead the purchaser to buy the French spike lavender, as it is not worth a tenth of that derived from the Lavandulae verae. Half-a-hundred weight of good lavender flowers yield, by distillation, from 14 to 16 oz. of essential oil.

All the inferior descriptions of oil of lavender are used for perfuming soaps and greases; but the best, that obtained from the Mitcham lavender, is entirely used in the manufacture of what is called lavender water, but which, more properly, should be called essence or extract of lavender, to be in keeping with the nomenclature of other essences prepared with spirit.

The number of formulae published for making a liquid perfume of lavender is almost endless, but the whole of them may be resolved into essence of lavender, simple; essence of lavender, compound; and lavender water.

There are two methods of making essence of lavender:—1. By distilling a mixture of essential oil of lavender and rectified spirit; and the other—2. By merely mixing the oil and the spirit together.

The first process yields the finest quality: it is that which is adopted by the firm of Smyth and Nephew, whose reputation for this article is such that it gives a good character in foreign markets, especially India, to all products of lavender of English manufacture. Lavender essence, that which is made by the still, is quite white, while that by mixture only always has a yellowish tint, which by age becomes darker and resinous.


To produce a very fine distillate, take—

Otto of English Lavender, 4 oz. Rectified spirit (60 over proof), 5 pints. Rose-water, 1 pint.

Mix and distil five pints for sale. Such essence of lavender is expensive, but at 10s. a pint of 14 oz! there is a margin for profit. It not being convenient to the general dealer to sell distilled lavender essence, the following form, by mixture, will produce a first-rate article, and nearly as white as the above.


Otto of lavender, 3-1/2 oz. Rectified spirit, 2 quarts.

The perfumer's retail price for such quality is 8s. per pint of 14 oz.

Many perfumers and druggists in making lavender water or essence, use a small portion of bergamot, with an idea of improving its quality—a very erroneous opinion; moreover, such lavender quickly discolors.


English oil of lavender, 4 oz. Spirit, 3 quarts. Rose-water, 1 pint.

Filter as above, and it is ready for sale.

COMMON LAVENDER WATER.—Same form as the above, substituting French lavender for the British.

Recipes for Rondeletia, Lavender Bouquet, and other lavender compounds, will be given when we come to speak of compound perfumes, which will be reserved until we have finished explaining the method of making the simple essences.

LEMON.—This fine perfume is abstracted from the Citrus limonum, by expression, from the rind of the fruit. The otto of lemons in the market is principally from Messina, where there are hundreds of acres of "lemon groves." Otto of lemons, like all the ottos of the Citrus family, is rapidly prone to oxidation when in contact with air and exposure to light; a high temperature is also detrimental, and as such is the case it should be preserved in a cool cellar. Most of the samples from the gas-heated shelves of the druggists' shops, are as much like essence of turpentine, to the smell, as that of lemons; rancid oil of lemons may, in a great measure, be purified by agitation with warm water and final decantation. When new and good, lemon otto may be freely used in combination with rosemary, cloves, and caraway, for perfuming powders for the nursery. From its rapid oxidation, it should not be used for perfuming grease, as it assists rather than otherwise all fats to turn rancid; hence pomatums so perfumed will not keep well. In the manufacture of other compound perfumes, it should be dissolved in spirit, in the proportion of six to eight ounces of oil to one gallon of spirit. There is a large consumption of otto of lemons in the manufacture of Eau de Cologne; that Farina uses it is easily discovered by adding a few drops of Liq. Ammoniae fort. to half an ounce of his Eau de Cologne, the smell of the lemon is thereby brought out in a remarkable manner.

Perhaps it is not out of place here to remark, that in attempts to discover the composition of certain perfumes, we are greatly assisted by the use of strong Liq. Ammoniae. Certain of the essential oils combining with the Ammonia, allow those which do not do so, if present in the compound, to be smelt.

LEMON GRASS.—According to Pereira, the otto in the market under this name is derived from the Andropogon schoenanthus a species of grass which grows abundantly in India. It is cultivated to a large extent in Ceylon and in the Moluccas purposely for the otto, which from the plant is easily procured by distillation. Lemon grass otto, or, as it is sometimes called, oil of verbena, on account of its similarity of odor to that favorite plant, is imported into this country in old English porter and stout bottles. It is very powerful, well adapted for perfuming soaps and greases, but its principal consumption is in the manufacture of artificial essence of verbena. From its comparatively low price, great strength, and fine perfume (when diluted), the lemon grass otto may be much more used than at present, with considerable advantage to the retail shopkeeper.

LILAC.—The fragrance of the flowers of this ornamental shrub is well known. The essence of lilac is obtained either by the process of maceration, or enfleurage with grease, and afterwards treating the pomatum thus formed with rectified spirit, in the same manner as previously described for cassie; the odor so much resembles tubereuse, as to be frequently used to adulterate the latter, the demand for tubereuse being at all times greater than the supply. A beautiful IMITATION OF ESSENCE OF WHITE LILAC may be compounded thus:—

Spirituous extract from tubereuse pomade, 1 pint. " of orange-flower pomade, 1/4 " Otto of almonds, 3 drops. Extract of civet, 1/2 oz.

The civet is only used to give permanence to the perfume of the handkerchief.

LILY.—The manufacturing perfumer rejects the advice of the inspired writer, to "consider the lilies of the field." Rich as they are in odor, they are not cultivated for their perfume. If lilies are thrown into oil of sweet almonds, or ben oil, they impart to it their sweet smell; but to obtain anything like fragrance, the infusion must be repeated a dozen times with the same oil, using fresh flowers for each infusion, after standing a day or so. The oil being shaken with an equal quantity of spirit for a week, gives up its odor to the alcohol, and thus extract of lilies may be made. But how it is made is thus:—


Extract of tubereuse, 1/2 pint. " jasmine, 1 oz. " fleur d'orange, 2 oz. " vanilla, 3 oz. " cassie, 1/4 pint. " rose, 1/4 " Otto of almonds, 3 drops.

Keep this mixture together for a month, and then bottle it for sale. It is a perfume that is very much admired.

MACE.—Ground mace is used in the manufacture of some of those scented powders called Sachets. A strong-smelling essential oil may be procured from it by distillation, but it is rarely used.

MAGNOLIA.—The perfume of this flower is superb; practically, however, it is of little use to the manufacturer, the large size of the blossoms and their comparative scarcity prevents their being used, but a very excellent imitation of its odor is made as under, and is that which is found in the perfumers' shops of London and Paris.


Spirituous extract of orange-flower pomatum, 1 pint. " " rose pomatum, 2 pints. " " tubereuse pomatum, 1/2 pint. " " violet pomatum, 1/2 " Essential oil of citron, 3 drs. " " almonds, 10 drops.

MARJORAM.—The otto procured by distilling Origanum majorana, commonly called oil of oringeat by the French, is exceedingly powerful, and in this respect resembles all the ottos from the different species of thyme, of which the marjoram is one. One hundred weight of the dry herb yields about ten ounces of the otto. Oringeat oil is extensively used for perfuming soap, but more in France than in England. It is the chief ingredient used by Gelle Freres, of Paris, for scenting their "Tablet Monstre Soap," so common in the London shops.

MEADOW SWEET.—A sweet-smelling otto can be produced by distilling the Spiraea ulmaria, but it is not used by perfumers.


MIGNONETTE.—But for the exquisite odor of this little flower, it would scarcely be known otherwise than as a weed. Sweet as it is in its natural state, and prolific in odor, we are not able to maintain its characteristic smell as an essence. Like many others, during separation from the plant, the fragrance is more or less modified; though not perfect, it still reminds the sense of the odor of the flowers. To give it that sweetness which it appears to want, a certain quantity of violet is added to bring it up to the market odor.

As this plant is so very prolific in odor, we think something might be done with it in England, especially as it flourishes as well in this country as in France; and we desire to see Flower Farms and organized Perfumatories established in the British Isles, for the extraction of essences and the manufacture of pomade and oils, of such flowers as are indigenous, or that thrive in the open fields of our country. Besides opening up a new field of enterprise and good investment for capital, it would give healthy employment to many women and children. Open air employment for the young is of no little consideration to maintain the stamina of the future generation; for it cannot be denied that our factory system and confined cities are prejudicial to the physical condition of the human family.

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