I have wanted to try this recipe for A Curious Perfume for a long time. I love perfumes and I felt very excited to finally be able to make an 18th century one.
700 ml Rose Water
15 gram Benzoin resin
1 gram Labdanum
1 gram Calamus root
A little Lemon peel
A few drops Storax essence
The photo is really bad, I’m sorry to say- my cell phone isn’t the best to take pictures it, but the batteries on my camera died on me.
|Benzoin resin, Cloves, Calamus root, Labdanum, Lemon peel|
I put the Benzoin, Cloves, Labdanum, Calamus and Lemon peel in a little fabric bag (i.e. wrapped them in a piece of old linen and sew it shut) along with the Rose water in a pan and boiled it all under a lid for 30 minutes. Then I strained it through a coffee filter. When cooled I added the Storax and poured it into a bottle.
The Storax in the original recipe was probably the resin, so I took a liberty in using essence. The result, not surprising, smells quite heavily of roses, but the other ingredients give the perfume a spicy, woody depth that makes it more interesting than just plain Rose water. It also has a hint of bee’s wax, which is odd as there is none in the recipe. The perfume looks a bit cloudy and there is some residue settling on the bottom of the bottle. I think a good shake is in order before use.
A word of warning though. The Benzoin and Labdanum melted into a sticky goo that is not water soluble. So even if most of it stayed in the fabric bag a residue was left in the pan and believe me, it’s hard to get rid off! So if you try this recipe, use a pan that you don’t care for…
Will I do it again?
Perhaps. It would be interesting to make it with Storax resin instead and see what happens. I also think the perfume would be better if left to boil a bit longer. As this perfume is without alcohol I think it has a limited shelf life, so if you don't plan to use a lot of it, make a small batch. However, I don’t much like wearing rose-based perfumes and this one if just a bit too much of that. If you do like the scent though, then I think you have an 18th century winner here!