Seville Lavender Absolute

Seville Lavender Absolute/Lavandula luisieri

Habitat: Lavandula luisieri (Rozeira) Rivas-Martínez is an endemic plant from the Iberian Peninsula which belongs to the Lamiaceae family. L.luisieri, Genista falcata Brot. and Lavandula pedunculata (Miller) Cav. ssp. sampaiana (Rozeira) Franco can be found together in some regions of Central Eastern Portugal where old vegetation of meso-mediterranean communities occurs.

Today's essence of exploration will be the absolute extracted from the flowers of Lavandula luisieri, a unique type of Lavender found growing in Spain and Portugal.
This is a relatively new material it terms of availability as a natural essence. Little also has been published as to its role in the lives of the people that live in close proximity to the abundantly growing wild harvested plants so the main focus of this exploration will be simply on its aroma. Technically it is a subspecies of Lavandula stoechas and it in Spain is sometimes called Seville Lavender.
Harvest-In the vicinity of Almaden de Plata, Spain where Lavandula luisieri grows wild among other fragrant plants like cistus. Gathered in full bloom April-May and hand harvested in traditional way using only a sickle. Only that much is harvested which leaves the plant healthy and hearty for future generations.

Olfactory Properties of Seville Lavender Absolute

After placing a few drops on the AromaStone it takes about 60-120 seconds for the first aromatic molecules to be detectable in the air. The absolute is more viscous than the essential oil as it possesses, like all absolutes the alcohol soluble waxes and pigments, of the material extracted. These waxes, which naturally coat the plant parts protecting it from environmental fluctuations of temperature, etc also as as a natural fixative in the absolute which helps slow the rate of evaporation of the volatile parts of the essence.
Once the aroma begins to spread in the environment, one detects a soft-sweet, fruity(fig-like, dried fruit)/herbaceous bouquet which is distinctly different than any other lavender I have ever encountered. It takes about 20-30 minutes for this slowly emerging fruity/herbaceous bouquet to saturate the room. In the 30 minute range a new aroma begins to rise out of the aforementioned heart note. It has a distinctly ambery/leathery note to it. At around the 45 minute mark one feels that the personality of the essence has manifested itself and can be studied further at leisure without reference to the passing of time.
The atmospheric effect of the odor is quiet, warm, rich and mellow-portraying a sunny old warm charm and unassuming friendliness. It takes one into its confidence by slow degrees and leaves one filled with gladness of the acquaintance of a trusted companion.

Blends well with abies alba/silver fir eo; angelica root eo, co2 and abs; amyris eo; bay leaf eo and abs; bergamot eo; blood orange eo; bois de rose eo; calamus eo and co2; camphor, white eo; cananga eo; caraway seed eo and co2; cardamon seed eo, co2 and abs; carnation abs; cassie abs; all cedarwood eo's; chamomile, blue eo and co2; chamomile, english eo and co2; chamomile, wild eo and abs; cistus eo and abs; clary sage eo and abs; cognac, white eo; cognac, green eo; coriander eo and co2; costus root eo and co2; cypress eo and abs; estragon eo and abs; fir needle eo and abs; flouve abs; frankincense eo, co2 and abs; galabanum eo, co2 and abs; grapefruit eo; guaicwood eo; gurjun balsam eo; hay absolute; hyssop eo, co2 and abs; helichrysum eo and abs; juniperberry eo, co2 and abs; labdanum eo and abs; lavindin eo and abs; lavender eo, co2 and abs; lemon eo; lemon essence eo; lime eo; lime essence eo; mace eo and co2; marjoram eo and co2; melissa/lemon balm eo, co2 and abs; musk, black attar; myrrh eo, co2 and abs; myrtle eo; orange, sweet eo; orange, sweet essence eo; orange, bitter eo; orange flowers abs; patchouli eo, co2 and abs; petitgrain eo; petitgrain lemon eo; petitgrain mandarin eo; petitgrain combava eo; petitgrain bergamot eo; pimento berry/allspice eo, co2 and abs; pine needle eo and abs; rosa damascena eo and abs; rosa centifolia abs; rosa bourbonia abs; rosemary eo, co2 and abs; rosemary verbenone; tonka bean abs; vetiver eo, co2 and abs; violet leaf abs; ylang eo, co2 and abs

Useful in creating lavender cologne, citrus cologne, fougere, geographical perfume, herbal bouquets, amber bases; forest fragrances; new mown essences; oriental bouquets

Benefits of in-depth study of single note essences

I feel very sure that if a person takes up the study of even a select a few essences that are very dear to their heart that the lessons learned during that in-depth study will totally change the way in which they view the entire world of natural aromas. Each essence has many levels of beauty that are worth exploring and as we become aware of both the evident and subtle charms of each oil, then we begin to see how they relate to the many other botanical treasures with which we may come in contact.

Such a study need not be very expensive. A few drops of oil go a long way and lead to many hours of pleasure. If one adopts some similar method of exploration to the one I use, then a small 1/4 ounce bottle yields an abundance of smelling pleasure. If 1/4 ounce bottle contains almost 150 drops and one is using just 5-10 drops per exploration then one can easily see how many times one could repeat their studies. If one wishes to stretch their funds even further they could use a natural diluent like fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil or undenatured alcohol with the essence being studied. The fractionated coconut oil and jojoba will tend to slow down the rate of evaporation a bit and the perfumers alcohol will speed it up so that needs to be taken into account but the point is that a little goes a long way. If one considers using a 25% dilution which I would recommend for very expensive oils than a 1/4 ounce bottle would yield 1 ounce of beautiful essence.

One might even consider getting together a local study group of these precious essences and share the cost of procurement. There are many creative ways to make such studies affordable and most of all enjoyable and creative.

Links for Lavandula luisieri

Lavandula luisieri links-
New compounds from the Absolute and Essential Oil of Lavandula luisieri
Images of Lavandula luisieri

Since beginning to explore each essence in more depth, I have also been thinking about subjects related to this subject and I thought it might be helpful to include some links and video clips of the subject of the anatomy of the nose, the sense of smell, etc. The whole subject is profoundly interesting and since it is the nose that is utilized in exploring the subject I though to start there.

Anatomy of the Nose

The human nose with reference to nose types,culture, origin, famous noses,etc
The nose By Gabrielle Glaser
Quotations about the Nose
A wonderful childrens series of books about a dog named Nose

Olfactory Exploration of Natural Essences/Mandarin Orange

Commencement of the White Lotus Aromatics Blog

Today commences a project which began with the series of Aromatic Absolutes which was in 12 parts and can be found in our newsletter archive. The main focus of the blog will be an attempt to share with aroma enthusiasts some olfactory details of individual essential oils, co2 extracts, attars etc. This sharing is only meant to act as an encouragement for people like myself to explore the botanical treasures that come into their hands in an in depth and intimate way. It takes time and patience to probe the many faceted personalities of natural essences but by doing so one gradually builds up a body of living knowledge which proves immensely useful if one wishes to incorporate these aromatic entities in perfumes, cosmetics, incense, etc. Even if one only wishes to simply enjoy each essence for what it is, a perfect harmonious blend of aromatic molecules created over vast periods of time in natures laboratory in the form of the individual plants, then there explorations will not be in vain. One can spend many golden hours smelling these individual essences and connecting them with the plants, the environments in which they grow, the cultures which nurture them, the ways in which they have been used in medicine, religion, art, their place in literature etc.

Developing Ones Technique of Evaluation

There are numerous avenues one can explore in relationship to anyone aromatic plant and the essences it yields and each avenue has its own special place in the grand scheme of things. One of the greatest benefits one derives from such olfactory explorations is that in a very simple and direct way, one connects themselves with a world that has been loved by all human beings in all parts of the world since times beyond reckoning. This profoundly simple and direct knowledge creates a heart to heart link not only with humans but the elegant tapestry of life in its multitudinous forms. As one devotes time to smelling the many pure oils that are available to us today and connects them up with the plants in the ancient world from which they come and the modern world in which they now exist, and ones perception deepens to realize how interconnected they are with the environments in which they grow and the influence they had on the people that live in their proximity, then a whole fresh and delightful awareness dawns where one also feels connected with the grand mystery of life in which we are all participating. This reconnecting to a more simple world which is governed by a quieter more serene pace of living and thinking(for plants continue to grow at a measured pace as they have done since the beginning of time) can greatly assist in removing from the heart things which weigh ones spirit down. It helps restore the sense of wonder, appreciation and innocence which are at the very core of ones being. I am fairly certain that if any person is willing to spend a little time in directing their attention towards this profoundly interesting subject then they will begin to feel a gladness and warmth in the heart. It may require some discipline and dedication in the beginning but it will yield a wonderful sweet fruit.

Method of Exploration I Use

The method of olfactory exploration which I have adopted for this day to day sharing will now be explained. Over the 10 years since Suzanne and I have been operating White Lotus Aromatic, I have spent a good deal of time investigating each oil both in locating reliable sources for them and in exploring their aromatic properties. At one stage I traveled extensively in India over a period of 4 years in the company of Ramakant Harlaka so that a first hand experience could be gained of the production side of India's ancient and modern fragrance industry. At home I investigated many subjects connected with the oils and studied the individual essences using perfume strips, diffusers, direct application to the skin, blending different essences together etc. Each method of exploration has proved useful in gaining some insight into the personalities of each oil. Of all the tools for exploration that have proved most useful-I have come to the conclusion that the Aroma Stone is the most useful for my purposes and all the observations that will come in the coming months and years will be base on a slow and methodical exploration of one essence per day. It does not mean that the approach I am taking will be useful to everyone-everyone needs to determine what works best for them according to the time at their disposal, etc but at least this sharing may stimulate others to find some practical way to engage in an some means of exploration whereby they can increase their knowledge of this fascinating subject from day to day.

The Aroma-Stone for those who are not familiar with this very simple diffuser that operates on electricity. It has a simple open-faced ceramic bowl and generates a very mild heat. It can be left on for 24 hours a day if one wishes(we have had ours on for 18 months continuously) It is easy to clean and is silent. It does not get clogged with denser oils and in short is ideal for exploring the essences. There are a number of sources for this simple device. We procured ours from Rosanne Tartaro of Sunrose Aromatics.
Aroma-Stone Source

What I like about it is that with just a few drops of essence one can become enveloped in the aromatic aura of the co2 extract, absolute, attar or essential oil for many hours and one can then explore the oil in depth in a leisurely way. I have the Aroma Stone in my study which is a room about 15 feet by 10 feet and 5 drops of oil is enough to totally fill that room with aroma over the time span of study allocated to it. I found that a perfumers smelling strip just did not give me this multidimensional exposure to the oil, and that by applying it to the skin the aromatic properties while perceptible to others did not remain perceptible to me for that long of a period of time. What I really needed was to be able to sit in some place unencumbered by any material or visual distractions and just pay heed to the essence and its qualities in a relaxed, receptive mood and this became possible through using the Aroma Stone.

For the purpose of this project which will be to share observations on a specific essence each day(as much as possible), a few drops of that essence is placed on the Aroma Stone in the evening at 7:00 PM. Then from the next hour at least the aroma is studied as the gentle heat is released into the atmosphere stage by stage. For doing and in depth study, a one hour session is necessary because it takes that long for the essence to release the top note, heart note and base note notes successively into the atmosphere. The base notes of course will remain in the atmosphere much longer than an hour but at least one can get a general impression of the oil during that time. One very fascinating thing about using the AromaStone is that in seems that each successive stage of the aromatic life of the oil gets embedded in the other so that by the time one hour has passed one has an increasingly rich and deep aromatic impression of that essence. I have not encountered anything like it in the realm of aromatic study. I can with reasonable assurance say that if anyone is willing to make a similar exploration using a similar technique they will discover that the very same oil that they were acquainted with in smelling on a perfumers blotter, or whiffing from the bottle or from applying to the skin, will reveal itself as a totally different oil with vastly enhanced dimensions of beauty then one might have ever imagined. It does take time and patience but the rewards are so wonderful and enlightening that one will find that they look forward to the time that can be allotted each day for this study. As much as possible I would recommend not disturbing the atmosphere with any other activity during that time other than being in the room with the oil. Some light stretching exercise might be useful to keep one alert. One might also wish to have a notebook nearby to make some notes on their perceptions of the aroma being revealed.

Then this same procedure is repeated in the morning for an0ther hour before the work day begins. The Aroma Stone is cleaned with perfumers alcohol before adding a few new drops of oil and the study continued. It is very important to note the aroma in the room in the morning when one enters it after ones evenings rest. That lingering odor from the previous evenings study holds it in another level of information about the basic qualities of the oils. One may be interested to note that even some citrus oils which are basically composed of highly volatile aromatic molecules will have left a very distinct and pleasant atmospheric impression over the many hours between concluding ones study in the evening and beginning ones study in the morning. Those oils which are heavy in base notes will have left a very rich, mature and mellow odor which clearly shows why they are treasured by perfumers for their fixative properties.

So having completed two sessions with the same essence, one in the evening and one in the morning, the notes of those experiences will be noted in the daily blog. Kindly note that these impressions are highly individual in nature. No two humans will be exactly alike in describing the same essence. Also the language of olfactory perception is somewhat scanty as one is trying to describe and experience which has no outer form, color or texture. All descriptions are simply meant to help fix in ones personal olfactory memory database and essentially non-verbal, non-visual experience. Nonetheless this endeavor proves invaluable as one begins to gain deeper knowledge of the subject because in due course if one can call forth from their memory the specific essence at will, they will then be able to know how it will work in the sublime tapestry of creating a new aroma by combining it with others.

Developing a Relationship with each Essence
No matter how one evolves their technique, I feel it is very important for someone aspiring to explore this realm to spend time with each oil in a concentrated way. One needs to make friends with each essence before it begins to yield some of its secrets. It needs to be appreciated and treasured for the gift that it holds within it and this can only happen when one patiently cultivates that relationship. This, no doubt, sounds like an easy thing to do but with so many wonderful oils to be explored it can prove a challenge. For 10 years I have been intensively involved with natural aromatics and have smelled thousands of oils but have seldom spent a significant period of time with any one oil with the expressed purpose of plumbing its depths. Only very recently did it occur to me that I should endeavor to explore each essence with greater care and attention. Even two hours with a single oil can hardly be considered sufficient to begin to know it but it is a start and feel that already this concentrated period of time has proved beneficial.

Mandarin, Red(Citrus reticulata)/South Africa(non-sprayed)

"The mandarin orange is native to China. This fruit, with aromatic top notes of orange blossom and jasmine, is an important symbol in Chines culture and tradition. The red-gold color of mandarin oranges that are piled high on family altars during Chinese New Year is synonymous with wealth and prosperity, appearing next in importance to red, the auspicious color of good luck and success. A symbol of good fortune, mandarin oranges are exchanges as offerings of goodwill during this festive season. Marking the end of the Chinese New Year celebration, the Chap Goh Mels(literally the fifteen day of the lunar New Year) Festival traditionally serves as a day for matchmaking. Mandarin oranges are thrown by girls into the rivers to honor the full moon in the hopes of gaining a husband. The streets are jam-packed with young men attempting to catch glimpses of the young damsels, who normally would not be allowed out-of-doors in the old days."
Heavenly Fragrance: Cooking with Aromatic Asian Herbs, Fruits, Spices and Seasonings
By Carol Selva Rajah, David (FRW) Thompson, Masano Kawana

There are many descriptions of oranges cultivated in China, but the orange par excellence of the Celestial Empire, is the mandarin orange, this fruit is of a flatter form than the other oranges, and somewhat smaller; the rind being of the brilliant color of the Seville orange. To be eaten perfection, this orange must be used immediately after it has been taken from the tree, as it will not keep above two or three days; although we cannot say, as a friend of ours did, that it was worth taking a voyage to China, to taste the mandarin orange in perfection, we can conscientiously affirm and declare, upon our veracity, that it is a most delicious fruit.
The orange plantations in China are truly splendid and magnificent, far surpassing those of any other part of Asia or Europe; the size and luxuriance of the blosoms are mot extraordinary, their beauty is peculiar to China and their fragrance is almost overpowering.
China and the Chinese
By Henry Charles Sirr

Olfactory Exploration of Mandarin,Red(cold pressed) Essential Oil from South Africa
Within a few seconds of placing a few drops on the Aroma-Stone the more volatile aromatic molecules of the Red Mandarin essential oil become vigorously activated and rapidly begin to disperse into the room. As one begins to study the oils through gentle deep inhalations the warm, rich, sunny, slightly tangy-pungent aroma becomes detectable. Within five minutes the entire room is permeated with this first layer of aromatic life force of the fruit peel.

As more and more delectable aromatic molecules disperse in the air, the atmosphere becomes richer and richer with their odor. As one continues to inhale these molecules through the nostrils allowing the vapors to penetrate into the lungs and deep down into the stomach one feels that they are having a type of gently stimulating internal aromatic bath. The brain center which registers these aromatic molecules meanwhile begins to produce images related to the oil.

After about 5 minutes another layer of aromatic molecules begins to intermingle with the first set. This has a more juicy, sweet character to it and perfectly comingles with the more tangy-pungent aromas. This harmonious blend continues to mature for 15-30 minutes when the third layer begins to manifest. This has wonderful delicate fresh floral character which has a distinctly neroli/jasmine like quality to it.
At the 30 minute point all three layers have melded together into a perfectly scrumptious bouquet at which point the oil displays its aromatic peak which continues for the next half hour before it begins to gently subside. The aroma is a very accessible one and the breathing pattern established on it is effortless as all the parts of the bouquet are familiar and enchanting.

During this period of time from 30-60 minutes into the aromatic life of this fine oil, one may enjoy the many images related to the oil that relate to the studies one has done of the history of the tree and its fruit, the places where it grows, its symbolic uses, place in literature and poetry etc. The direct perception of the qualities of the oil and the related impressions they awaken help immeasurably to fix the odor in the olfactory memory database for future reference in perfume creation.
The delicate quiet impression though of the aroma of mandarin remains pervading the atmosphere of the room until the next morning when one again the same process is repeated of study.
The morning study is made just to confirm the results of the previous evening. One may find other unique

Blends well with:
Amyris wood eo; basil eo, co2 and abs; benzoin abs; bergamot eo; blood orange eo; cassis bud abs; chamomile, english/roman eo and co2; champaca abs and attar; clary sage eo and abs; cognac, white eo; coriander seed co2, eo and abs; cypress eo and abs; geranium eo and abs; guiacwood eo; ho wood eo; ho leaf eo; lavender co2, eo and abs; lavindin eo and abs; lemon eo; lemon essence eo; lime eo; lime essence eo; mace eo and co2; mimosa abs; myrrh eo, co2 and abs; neroli eo; orange eo; orange essence eo; orange flower water abs; orange blossom abs; petitgrain bigarade eo; petitgrain bergamot eo; petitgrain combava eo; petitgrain lemon eo; petitgrain mandarin eo; rosa damascena abs; rosa bourbonia abs; rosa centifolia abs; tangerine eo; tangerine essence eo; tonka bean abs; violet leaf abs; ylang complete eo; ylang abs

Uses in Perfumery-a fine top note in many perfume creations. Valued in symbolic perfumes, geographical creations, historical bouquets, eau de cologne, neroli bases,etc

Mandarin in Literature

Lying in the hammock on a drowsy spring afternoon, with its strange September dreaminess, one can easily fancy oneself back into youthful springtime, rocking in a hammock--now on the veranda, with the cool evening breeze blowing on ones face and bringing the scent of orange flowers from the big mandarin tree in the garden.
My Australian Girlhood by Mrs. Campbell Praed

He knew every feature of the road,, and almost all the inhabitants--at least by name--of the fine stone and marble houses, each in its own garden, which lined the avenue. He did not in the least miss the smooth lawns of England and ornate flower beds; rather did his eye rest on the while and yellow Banksia roses clustering in thick masses over some stone pillars and through tall railings; on the homelike, familiar look at the big palms with the tiny flowers growing in the rough crevices of their trunks.
Long before he reached the gates of Laras' garden he felt the powerful scent of the mandarin and orange blossoms, and heard the splash of water from the fountain as it fell into the great stone basin.
A Man of Athens
By Ioulia D. Dragoum

The oranges and orange groves! Each half mile along the road they passed a heap of the lovely golden balls still dewy from the tree. Large, luscious, loose-skinned mandarin oranges--twelve a penny or sixteen a penny if you give the sugar cane, dripping with sweetness and only costing the fraction of a penny for stick four feet long.
Adventure, Sport and Travel on the Tibetan Steppes
By W. N. Fergusson, John Weston Brooke, C. H. Meares

Leaving the ferry boat, you mount into a carriage or an electric car, and you find yourself speeding along a flat peninsula, through a quadruple avenue of the most magnificent and graceful date and sago palms, on a broad and admirably kept road, edged with the loveliest turf and flowers beds of dazzling hue; and on each side of the palms, and exquisite fringe of golden poplars, locust trees and eucalyptus, sheltering a wilderness of scented mandarin-orange and lemon trees, bananas and bamboos, every imaginable delicious fruit tree, and sweet and brilliant flowering shrub and plant--in short, a veritable Garden of Paradise!
Journal of a Tour in the United States, Canada, and Mexico
Lady Howard Winefred of Glossop

Links to In-depth Information on Mandarin

Wikipedia article on Mandarin, varieties, biological characteristics, processing etc

Origin, distribution, climate, varieties, food uses, other uses

Volatile constituents of mandarin peel

Safety guidelines for use of Mandarin

General safety guidelines for essential oils

Images of Mandarin

Recipes using mandarin

Different names for Mandarin

Traditional Irish Blessing

As an introduction to this first blog I like to share this beautiful Irish blessing. A hundred thousand welcomes to you! Céad míle fáilte romhat!