As you know last Saturday I went to Wrocław to participate in a perfume workshop, this time decidated to the smell of rose and jasmine. I had a great time there. I promised you a report – so here it is! I hope that you’ll enjoy my impressions from the meeting.
The workshop started with a lecture given by Ania, a worker of Quality Missala perfume boutique and also a chemical technology graduate. She told us some fascinating things about roses and jasmine. Like the fact that only three species of rose are being used in perfumery: Damascus rose (Rosa damascena), Rose alba and Rosa centifolia, which has 100 petals. She also taught us that in different parts of the world rose oils are used for different perfumes. Did you know that that in the East rose is a masculine perfume ingredient while in the West it’s primarily used in women fragrances. Nowadays these two trends are mixed, we’re citizens of the World, aren’t we?
As she was speaking about all this interesting stuff the essential oils were roaming from hands to hands around the room. To my surprise they smelled quite different. Damascus rose oil had a slightly citrus and green vibe with a lot of freshness. Attar of the same rose had a tea-like aroma and was much lighter to my nose. I couldn’t smell anything at first whiff. The differences probably come from the method of obtaining. Oils, or actually absolutes are obtained using solvent extraction or carbon dioxide extraction. Attars are obtained through simple distillation. To obtain 1 kilogram of rose oil you need 3,5 tons of flowers which are picked by hand and at dawn.
Then it was time for the jasmine. In perfumery two species are used nowadays, these are Jasminum grandifolium (Royal jasmine) and Jasminum Sambac (Sambac jasmine). Again the essential oils started to travel around the room. To my nose the oil from Royal jasmine smelled quite animalic and heavily indolic, Sambac jasmine essence was much more pleasant as it had a fruity-floral scent. Jasmine loves sunlight and temperature varying from 15 to 18*C. Its flowers bloom in the evening and have to be collected early in the morning when their buds are still folded and it’s still cool.
You can’t allow the sun to dry the petals and cause all aroma-chemicals to evaporate. The smell of jasmine is influenced by around 100 compounds. Jasmine flowers give an oil called concrete which can be turned into an absolute. Enfleurage is a historical method of absolute production, it was developed in Grasse. The main idea of enfleurage was to let the flowers transfer all their smell into the fat spread on a glass plate. Infused fat was later dissolved in alcohol and cooled down to -55*C to separate the fat. Nowadays the process is replaced by solvent extraction. To obtain 100 grams of concrete you need 100 kilograms of flowers. From 1 hectare plantation you can produce 3 kilograms of concrete or 0,5 ml of essential oil – that is 12 drops.
At the workshop we tried 20 different perfumes, one half with a dominant rose note and the other half with jasmine as a main player. There were also a couple of fragrances that contained both jasmine and rose accords. I had a great time and am looking forward to another workshop!