Friday, May 4, 2007

On the exotic fragrance trail

I am enjoying my time away from Brazil. I never realized how much I missed springtime flowers like peach blossoms, tulips and lilac. I was always so greedy when it came to the flowers I loved. One tulip was never enough, I gathered them by armloads along with lilac when I could find them. Often from someone else's garden. One of my projects here will be to make shampoo soap so I brought my essential oils from Brazil and I am now searching for the ideal fragrance blends for my daughters. Oregon peppermint is refreshing and clean but it is too strong for Brooke and some oils play havoc with Shannon's skin. So, the obsessive that I am, I spent a better part of this morning trying to understand the various qualities and benefits of various essential oils.

For example, grapefruit oil helps fight skin issues, is a natural diuretic, and has a positive effect on mood. The girls both love bergamot (also good for depression, acne, eczema, tension) but the skin residue requires caution in strong sunlight. So far so good but as I research further I am learning that those fragrances are top notes. They come on strong at first but disappear within a few minutes. A good fragrance blend needs long lasting mid notes like rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, anise, clary sage and even longer lasting base notes like sandalwood, cedarwood, black pepper, clove or vanilla. The most intriguing fragrance I have come across is the basis for a high end men's cologne known as Bois du Portugal by Creed. When I first saw the description of one of its essential oils, vetiver, as deep, sweet, woody, smoky, earthy, balsam, amber and damp forest floor, I knew I had to roll the Comandante in it and dress him in a tweed jacket. Even the description is exciting.

Apparently the most exclusive vetiver root grows and is entirely consumed in Northern India. However, Brazil and the Carribean areas produce and distribute it commercially. I think it will soon find its way into my shampoo bars and bath soap.

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