Tag - oils

Tuberose

One of the most expensive of the flower oils, this intensely fragrant Mexican flower has found international fame in perfumes such as White Shoulders and Chloe. The Aztecs prized tuberose for medicine. Hawaiian leis are often made with it. The name...

Vanilla

This tropical flower, an orchid, is a Mexican native grown in Tahiti, Java and Madagascar. Orchids are considered the most highly evolved flowers, and this is the only one with an edible fruit. When first transplanted in R‚union, vanilla...

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow

This common herb is found in temperate climates around the world. The blue calming azulene is created during distillation, although some yarrow oils lack azulene and, therefore, the color. Family: Asteraceae (Compositae) Extraction: Distilled from...

Ylang-Ylang

Ylang-ylang means “flower of flowers.” The trees, bearing fragrant drooping yellow flowers, are grown for the perfume trade in R‚union. The oil varies greatly because of climatic and botanical differences. The four commercial grades are:...

Angelica

Thought to have originated in Syria, angelica was one of the few aromatics exported to the Orient. The oil was a common flavoring and apothecary drug, and magical powers were attributed to it as the “root of the Holy Ghost.” The way...

Mimosa

A common Australian tree-also called by the less poetic name “black wattle”-mimosa is grown in Africa, Europe and warmer sections of the United States. It is used mostly in perfume. Family: Mimosaceae Extraction: Absolute, concrete. The...

Thyme

Rudyard Kipling wrote of the “wind-bit thyme that smells like the perfume of the dawn in paradise.” Ancient Greeks complimented each other as “smelling like thymbra”; their word thymain meant “to burn as incense,”...

Myrrh

This small, scrubby tree from the Middle East and northeast Africa isn’t very handsome, but it makes up for its lackluster looks with the precious gum it exudes. An important trade item for more than a thousand years, myrrh was a primary...

Myrtle

The Biblical Queen Esther changed her name to Hadassah, after the Hebrew word hadas, for “myrtle.” This small, attractive North African tree now makes itself at home throughout the Mediterranean, and was a favorite in the ancient gardens...

Oakmoss

This lichen (a combination of a fungus and algae), which hangs from trees like Spanish moss, was found in Egyptian royal tombs. It is a fixative in chypre-type perfumes (named after Cyprus, the home of this moss) and was a popular 16th-century...

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