I am up early, as usual, but getting some work done. I am working on some perfume materials again. I have some Tonka Beans soaking in pure grain alcohol-I started this yesterday and the alcohol is already quite aromatic. I also am working on some amber oil. I had some benzoin stashed away that was the most fluid I've ever purchased. I decided to work it into some fractionated coconut oil with the help of a crock pot hot water bath. it actually mixed very well without the heat but I figure some mild heating will really help the benzoin and oil to blend. Actually, it's a good thing because it turns out the labdanum needed some additional heating and of course I have already added the vanilla. I am getting 2 ounces of amber oil out of it-a 50/50 mix of absolutes and FC oil. This is going to be an awesome base for my oil based perfumes. I may attempt to infuse the remainder of the Tonka Beans in oil when there is enough sunshine and mild weather to put it outside.
I have also discovered a VERY reasonably priced copper still thanks to Gretchen over at ADKaromatherapy. Money's a little tight right now but by the time Spring is here to stay I will have one. In the meantime I will daydream about all the local and garden plants that I can distill. We have red elder trees everywhere around here. They have the most toxic berries but also the most aromatic flowers. From my garden-Lemon Balm, Roses, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender, Basil, Calendula, Chamomile and hopefully Helichrysum. If I can talk the hubby into it I would love to buy a Rosa Rugosa bush from Horizon Herbs, too. I LOVE that essential oil and having the hydrosol on hand would be a dream. For now, I have an aromatic climbing rose and my Jackson&Perkins Aromatherapy rose that would make some dreamy rosewater. The AT rose bush makes HUGE flowers so I could get a good distillation with 3 flowers.
Just checked the amber oil again and it has clarified and turned an amber brown instead or soupy tan. Some stuff settled out and I stirred and stirred and ended up pulling out a sticky chunk of sediment about 1/4 teaspoon sized. I will strain the rest through cheesecloth but this is looking ans smelling good. I'd say I've gotten all the funky stuff out from the solvents that were used to make the absolutes. This was worth the trouble. I love benzoin but it's just so difficult to work with and so is labdanum absolute. I usually dissolve them in alcohol but it difficult to incorporate into oil based perfumes and leaves sediment in alcohol, so I couldn't use much.