Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lantana(Lantana camara) essential oil/Madagascar

Lantana(Lantana camara) essential oil/Madagascar

Images of Lantana

Lantana essential oil is a colorless to pale yellow liquid displaying a rich green, herbaceous bouquet with a resinous, balsamic undertone

In natural perfumery used in herbal accords, fougere, chypres, ambre notes, colognes

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Lantana(Lantana camara)

Labdanum(Cistus ladanifera) essential oil/Spain

Labdanum(Cistus ladanifera) essential oil/Spain

Labdanum essential oil is distilled from the labdanum resin(the absolute is extracted using a two step process of hexane extraction to produce the concrete and then washed with alcohol, chilled, filtered and vacuum distilled or a direct alcohol extration.
It is important to distinguish between citus and labdanum because cistus is produced from the freshly harvested leaves and not the resin)
Labdanum essential oil is a golden liquid with an intense, sweet, resinous-ambery-powdery bouquet with a wine-like, dried fruit, leathery, spicy undertone

In natural perfumery it is used in ambre notes, chypre, fougere, colognes, sacred perfumes, forest accords, new mown hay, spice accoreds, incense notes and as a excellent fixative in high class florals and other perfume types


Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Cistus(Cistus ladanifer)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-from Outdoor Papers by THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON.

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Water Lilies by THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON.

WATER-LILIES.

THE inconstant April mornings drop showers or sunbeams over the glistening lake, while far beneath its surface a murky mass disengages itself from the muddy bottom, and rises slowly through the waves. The tasselled alder-branches droop above it; the last year's blackbird's nest swings over it in the grape-vine; the newly-opened Hepaticas and Epigaeas on the neighboring bank peer down modestly to look for it; the water-skater (Gerris) pauses on the surface near it, casting on the shallow bottom the odd shadow of his feet, like three pairs of boxing-gloves ; the Notonecta, or water-boatman, rows round and round it, sometimes on his breast, sometimes on his back; queer caddis-worms trail their selfmade homesteads of leaves or twigs beside it; the Dytiscus, dorbug of the water, blunders clumsily against it; the tadpole wriggles his stupid way to it, and rests upon it, meditating of future frogdom; the passing wild-duck dives and nibbles at it; the mink and muskrat brush it with their soft fur ; the spotted turtle slides over it; the slow larvae of gauzy dragon-flies cling sleepily to its sides and await their change: all these fair or uncouth creatures feel, through the dim waves, the blessed longing of spring ; and yet not one of them dreams that within that murky mass there lies a treasure too white and beautiful to be yet intrusted to the waves, and that for many a day the bud must yearn toward the surface, before, aspiring above it, as mortals to heaven, it meets the sunshine with the answering beauty of the Water-Lily.

Days and weeks have passed away; the wild-duck has flown onward, to dive for his luncheon in some remoter lake; the tadpoles have made themselves legs, with which they have vanished ; the caddis-worms have sealed themselves up in their cylinders, and emerged again as winged insects; the dragon-flies have crawled up the water-reeds, and, clinging with heads upturned, have undergone the change which symbolizes immortality; the world is transformed from spring to summer; the lily-buds are opened into glossy leaf and radiant flower, and we have come for the harvest.

We visitors lodged, last night, in the old English phrase, " at the sign of the Oak and Star." Wishing, not, indeed, like the ancient magicians, to gather magic berry and bud before sunrise, but at least to see these treasures of the lake in their morning hour, we camped last night on a little island, which one tall tree almost covers with its branches, while a dense undergrowth of young chestnuts and birches fills all the intervening space, touching the water all around the circular, shelving shore. Yesterday was hot, but the night was cool, and we kindled a gypsy fire of twigs, less for warmth than for society. The first gleam made the dark, lonely islet into a cheering home, turned the protecting tree to a starlit roof, and the chestnut-sprays to illuminated walls. To us, lying beneath their shelter, every fresh flickering of the fire kindled the leaves into brightness and banished into dark interstices the lake and sky; then the fire died into embers, the leaves faded into solid darkness in their turn, and water and heavens showed light and close and near, until fresh twigs caught fire and the blaze came up again. Kising to look forth, at intervals, during the peaceful hours, — for it is the worst feature of a night out-doors, that sleeping seems such a waste of time, — we watched the hilly and wooded shores of the lake sink into gloom and glimmer into dawn again, amid the low plash of waters and the noises of the night.

Precisely at half past three, a song-sparrow above our heads gave one liquid trill, so inexpressibly sudden and delicious, that it seemed to set to music every atom of freshness and fragrance that Nature held ; then the spell was broken, and the whole shore and lake were vocal with song. Joining in this jubilee of morning, we were early in motion; bathing and breakfast, though they seemed indisputably in accordance with the instincts of the Universe, yet did not detain us long, and we were promptly on our way to Lily Pond. Will the reader join us ?

It is one of those summer days when a veil of mist gradually burns away before the intense sunshine, and the sultry morning only plays at coolness, and that with its earliest visitors alone. But we are before the sunlight, though not before the sunrise, and can watch the pretty game of alternating mist and shine. Stray gleams of glory lend their trailing magnificence to the tops of chestnut-trees, floating vapors raise the outlines of the hills and make mystery of the wooded islands, and, as we glide through the placid water, we can sing, with the Chorus in the "Ion" of Euripides, " O immense and brilliant air, resound with our cries of joy!"

Almost every town has its Lily Pond dear to boys and maidens, and partially equalizing, by its annual delights, the presence or absence of other geographical advantages. Ours is accessible from the larger lake only by taking the skiff over a narrow embankment, which protects our fairy-land by its presence, and eight distant factories by its dam. Once beyond it, we are in a realm of dark Lethean water, utterly unlike the sunny depths of the main lake. Hither the water-lilies have retreated, to a domain of their own. In the bosom of these shallow waves, there stand hundreds of submerged and dismasted roots, still upright, spreading their vast, uncouth limbs like enormous spiders beneath the surface. They are remnants of border wars with the axe, vegetable Witheringtons, still fighting on their stumps, but gradually sinking into the soft ooze, and ready, perhaps, when a score of centuries has piled two more strata of similar remains in mud above them, to furnish foundations for a newer New Orleans ; that city having been lately discovered to be thus supported.

The present decline in the manufacturing business is clear revenue to the water-lilies, and these ponds are higher than usual, because the idle mills do not draw them off. But we may notice, in observing the shores, that peculiar charm of water, that, whether its quantity be greater or less, its grace is the same; it makes its own boundary in lake or river, and where its edge is, there seems the natural and permanent margin. And the same natural fitness, without reference to mere quantity, extends to its flowery children. Before us lie islands and continents of lilies, acres of charms, whole, vast, unbroken surfaces of stainless whiteness. And yet, as we approach them, every islanded cup that floats in lonely dignity, apart from the multitude, appears as perfect in itself, couched in white expanded perfection, its reflection taking a faint glory of pink that is scarcely perceptible in the flower. As we glide gently among them, the air grows fragrant, and a stray breeze flaps the leaves, as if to welcome us. Each floating flower becomes suddenly a ship at anchor, or rather seems beating up against the summer wind, in a regatta of blossoms.

Early as it is in the day, the greater part of the flowers are already expanded. Indeed, that experience of Thoreau's, of watching them open in the first sunbeams, rank by rank, is not easily obtained, unless perhaps in a narrow stream, where the beautiful slumberers are more regularly marshalled. In our lake, at least, they open irregularly, though rapidly. But, this morning, many linger as buds, while others peer up, in half-expanded beauty, beneath the lifted leaves, frolicsome as Pucks or baby-nymphs. As you raise the leaf, in such cases, it is impossible not to imagine that a pair of tiny hands have upheld it, and that the pretty head will dip down again, and disappear. Others, again, have expanded all but the inmost pair of white petals, and these spring apart at the first touch of the finger on the stem. Some spread vast vases of fragrance, six or seven inches in diameter, while others are small and delicate, with petals like fine lacework. Smaller still, we sometimes pass a flotilla of infant leaves, an inch in diameter. All these grow from the dark water, — and the blacker it is, the fairer their whiteness shows. But your eye follows the stem often vainly into those sombre depths, and vainly seeks to behold Sabrina fair, sitting with her twisted braids of lilies, beneath the glassy, cool, but not translucent wave* Bo not start, when, in such an effort, only your own dreamy face looks back upon you, beyond the gunwale of the reflected boat, and you find that you float double, self and shadow.

Let us rest our paddles, and look round us, while the idle motion sways our light skiff onward, now half embayed among the lily-pads, now lazily gliding over intervening gulfs. There is a great deal going on in these waters and their fringing woods and meadows. All the summer long, the pond is bordered with successive walls of flowers. In early spring emerge the yellow catkins of the swamp-willow, first; then the long tassels of the graceful alders expand and droop, till they weep their yellow dust upon the water; then come the birch-blossoms, more tardily; then the downy leaves and white clusters of the medlar or shad-bush {Amelanchier Canadensis of Gray) ; these dropping, the roseate chalices of the mountain-laurel open; as they fade into melancholy brown, the sweet Azalea uncloses; and before its last honeyed blossom has trailed down, dying, from the stem, the more fragrant Clethra starts out above, the button-bush thrusts forth its merry face amid wild roses, and the Clematis waves its sprays of beauty. Mingled with these grow, lower, the spirasas, white and pink, yellow touch-me-not, fresh white arrowhead, bright blue vervain and skullcap, dull snakehead, gay monkey-flower, coarse eupatoriums, milkweeds, golden-rods, asters, thistles, and a host beside. Beneath, the brilliant scarlet cardinal-flower begins to palisade the moist shores; and after its superb reflection has passed away from the waters, the grotesque witch-hazel flares out its narrow yellow petals amidst the October leaves, and so ends the floral year. There is not a week during all these months, when one cannot stand in the boat and wreathe garlands of blossoms from the shores.

These all crowd around the brink, and watch, day and night, the opening and closing of the water-lilies. Meanwhile, upon the. waters, our queen keeps her chosen court, nor can one of these mere land-loving blossoms touch the hem of her garment. In truth, she bears no sister near her throne. There is but this one species among us, Nymphcea odorata. The beautiful little rose-colored Nymphcea sanguinea, which once adorned the Botanic Garden at Cambridge, was merely an occasional variety of costume. She has, indeed, an English half-sister, Nymphcea alba, less beautiful, less fragrant, but keeping more fashionable hours, — not opening (according to Linnaeus) till seven, nor closing till four. And she has a humble cousin, the yellow Nuphar, who keeps commonly aloof, as becomes a poor relation, though created from the self-same mud, — a fact which Hawthorne has beautifully moralized. The prouder Nelumbium, a secondcousin, lineal descendant of the sacred bean of Pythagoras, has fallen to an obscurer position, and dwells, like a sturdy democrat, in the Far West.

But, undisturbed, the water-lily reigns on, with her retinue around her. The tall pickerel-weed (Pontederia) is her gentleman-usher, gorgeous in blue and gold through July, somewhat rusty in August. The watershield (Hydropeltis) is chief maid-of-honor; a high-born lady she, not without royal blood indeed, but with rather a bend sinister; not precisely beautiful, but very fastidious; encased over her whole person with a gelatinous covering, literally a starched duenna. Sometimes she is suspected of conspiring to drive her mistress from the throne; for we have observed certain slow watercourses where the leaves of the water-lily have been almost wholly replaced, in a series of years, by the similar, but smaller, leaves of the water-shield. More rarely seen is the slender Utricularia, a dainty maiden, whose light feet scarce touch the water, — with the still more delicate floating white "Water-Ranunculus, and the shy Villarsia, whose submerged flowers merely peep one day above the surface and then close again forever. Then there are many humbler attendants, Potamogetons or pondweeds. And here float little emissaries from the dominions of land; for the fallen florets of the Viburnum drift among the lily-pads, with mast-like stamens erect, sprinkling the water with a strange beauty, and cheating us with the promise of a new aquatic flower.

These are the still life of this sequestered nook; but it is in fact a crowded thoroughfare. No tropic jungle more swarms with busy existence than these midsummer waters and their bushy banks. The warm and humming air is filled with insect sounds, ranging from the murmur of invisible gnats and midges, to the impetuous whirring of the great Libellulse, large almost as swallows, and hawking high in air for their food. Swift butterflies glance by, moths flutter, flies buzz, grasshoppers and katydids pipe their shrill notes, sharp as the edges of the sunbeams. Busy bees go humming past, straight as arrows, express-freight-trains from one blossoming copse to another. Showy wasps of many species fume uselessly about, in gallant uniforms, wasting an immense deal of unnecessary anger on the sultry universe. Graceful, stingless Sphexes and Ichneumon-flies emulate their bustle, without their weapons. Delicate lady-birds come and go to the milkweeds, spotted almost as regularly as if Nature had decided to number the species, like policemen or hack-drivers, from one to twenty. Elegant little Lepturse fly with them, so gay and airy, they hardly seem like beetles. Phryganea? (nes caddis-worms), lace-flies, and long-tailed Ephemerae flutter more heavily by. On the large alder-flowers clings the superb Desmocerus palliatus, beautiful as a tropical insect, with his steel-blue armor and his golden cloak (pallium) above his shoulders, grandest knight on this Field of the Cloth of Gold. The countless fire-flies which spangled the evening mist now only crawl sleepily, daylight creatures, with the lustre buried in their milky bodies. More wholly children of night, the soft, luxurious Sphinxes (or hawkmoths) come not here; fine ladies of the insect world, their home is among gardens and green-houses, late and languid by day, but all night long upon the wing, dancing in the air with unwearied muscles till long past midnight, and supping on honey at last. They come not; but the nobler butterflies soar above us, stoop a moment to the water, and then with a few lazy wavings of their sumptuous wings float far over the oak-trees to the woods they love.

All these hover near the water-lily; but its special parasites are an enamelled beetle (Dohacia metallica) which keeps house permanently in the flower, and a few smaller ones which tenant the surface of the leaves,-— larva, pupa, and perfect insect, forty feeding like one, and each leading its whole earthly career on this floating island of perishable verdure. The " beautiful blue damsel-flies " alight also in multitudes among them, so fearless that they perch with equal readiness on our boat or paddle, and so various that two adjacent ponds will sometimes be haunted by two distinct sets of species. In the water, among the leaves, little shining whirlwigs wheel round and round, Mtj joining in the dance, till, at the slightest alarm, they whirl away to some safer ball-room, and renew the merriment. On every floating log, as we approach it, there is a convention of turtles, sitting in calm debate, like mailed barons, till, as we draw near, they plump into the water, and paddle away for some subaqueous Eunnymede. Beneath, the shy and stately pickerel vanishes at a glance, shoals of minnows glide, black and bearded pouts frisk aimlessly, soft waternewts hang poised without motion, and slender pickerelfrogs cease occasionally their submerged croaking, and, darting to the surface with swift vertical strokes, gulp a mouthful of fresh air, and down again to renew the moist soliloquy.

Time would fail us to tell of the feathered life around us, — the blackbirds that build securely in these thickets, the stray swallows that dip their wings in the quiet waters, and the kingfishers that still bring, as the ancients fabled, halcyon days. Yonder stands, against the shore, a bittern, motionless in that wreath of mist which makes his long-legged person almost as dim as his far-off booming by night. There poises a hawk, before sweeping down to some chosen bough in the dense forest; and there fly a pair of blue-jays, screaming, from tree to tree. As for wild quadrupeds, the race is almost passed away. Far to the north, indeed, the great moose still browses on the lily-pads, and the shy beaver nibbles them; but here the few lingering four-footed creatures only haunt, but do not graze upon, these floating pastures. Eyes more favored than ours may yet chance to spy an otter in this still place; there by the shore are the small footprints of a mink; that dark thing disappearing in the waters yonder, a soft mass of drowned fur, is a " musquash." Later in the season, a mound of earth will be his winter dwelling-place ; and those myriad muscle-shells at the water's edge are the remnant of his banquets, — once banquets for the Indians, too.

But we must return to our lilies. There is no sense of wealth like floating in this archipelago of white and green. The emotions of avarice become almost demoralizing. Every flower bears a fragrant California in its bosom, and you feel impoverished at the thought of leaving one behind. But after the first half-hour of eager grasping, one becomes fastidious, rather avoids those on which the wasps and flies have alighted, and seeks only the stainless. But handle them tenderly, as if you loved them. Do not grasp at the open flower as if it were a peony or a hollyhock, for then it will come off, stalkless, in your hand, and you will cast it blighted upon the water; but coil your thumb and second finger affectionately around it, press the extended forefinger firmly to the stem below, and, with one steady pull, you will secure a long and delicate stalk, fit to twine around the graceful head of your beloved, as the Hindoo goddess of beauty encircled with a Lotus the brow of Eama.

Consider the lilies. All over our rural watercourses, at midsummer, float these cups of snow. They are Nature's symbols of coolness. They suggest to us the white garments of their Oriental worshippers. They come with the white roses, and prepare the way for the white lilies of the garden. The white doe of Bylstone and Andrew Marvell's fawn might fitly bathe amid their beauties. Yonder steep bank slopes down to the lake-side, one solid mass of pale pink laurel, but, once upon the water, a purer tint prevails. The pink fades into a lingering flush, and the white creature floats peerless, set in green without and gold within. That bright circle of stamens is the very ring with which Doges once wedded the Adriatic; Venice has lost it, but it dropped into the water-lily's bosom, and there it rests forever. So perfect in form, so redundant in beauty, so delicate, so spotless, so fragrant, — what presumptuous lover ever dared, in his most enamored hour, to liken his mistress to a water-lily ? No human Blanche or Lilian was ever so fair as that.

The water-lily comes of an ancient and sacred family of white-robed priests. They assisted at the most momentous religious ceremonies, from the beginning of recorded time. The Egyptian Lotus was a sacred plant; it was dedicated to Harpocrates and to the god Nofr Atmoo, — Nofr meaning good, whence the name of our yellow lily, Nuphar. But the true Egyptian flower was Nymphcea Lotus, though Nymphcea ccerulea, Moore's " blue water-lilies,'* can be traced on the sculptures also. It was cultivated in tanks in the gardens; it was the chief material for festal wreaths; a single bud hung over the forehead of many a queenly dame; and the sculptures represent the weary flowers as dropping from the heated hands of belles, in the later hours of the feast. Eock softly on the waters, fair lilies! your Eastern kindred have rocked on the stormier bosom of Cleopatra. The Egyptian Lotus was, moreover, the emblem of the sacred Nile, — as the Hindoo species, of the sacred Ganges; and each was held the symbol of the creation of the world from the waters. The sacred bull Apis was wreathed with its garlands; there were niches for water, to place it among tombs; it was carved in the capitals of columns; it was represented on plates and vases; the sculptures show it in many sacred uses, even as a burnt-offering; Isis holds it; and the god Nilus still binds a wreath of water-lilies around the throne of Memnon.

From Egypt the Lotus was carried to Assyria, and Layard found it among fir-cones and honeysuckles on the later sculptures of Nineveh. The Greeks dedicated it to the nymphs, whence the name Nymphcea. Nor did the Romans disregard it, though the Lotus to which Ovid's nymph Lotis was changed, servato nomine, was a tree, and not a flower. Still different a thing was the en chanted stem of the Lotus-eaters of Herodotus, which prosaic botanists have reduced to the Zizyphus Lotus found by Mungo Park, translating also the yellow Lotusdust into a mere " farina, tasting like sweet gingerbread." But in the Lotus of Hindostan we find our flower again, and the Oriental sacred books are cool with waterlilies. Open the Vishnu Purana at any page, and it is a Sortes Liliance. The orb of the earth is Lotus-shaped, and is upborne by the tusks of Vesava, as if he had been sporting in a lake where the leaves and blossoms float. Brahma, first incarnation of Vishnu, creator of the world, was born from a Lotus; so was Sri or Lakshmu, the Hindoo Venus, goddess of beauty and prosperity, protectress of womanhood, whose worship guards the house from all danger. " Seated on a full-blown Lotus, and holding a Lotus in her hand, the goddess Sri, radiant with beauty, rose from the waves." The Lotus is the chief ornament of the subterranean Eden, Patala, and the holy mountain Meru is thought to be shaped like its seed-vessel, larger at summit than at base. When the heavenly Urvasi fled from her earthly spouse, Puriivavas, he found her sporting with four nymphs of heaven, in a lake beautified with the Lotus. When the virtuous Prahlada was burned at the stake, he cried to his cruel father, " The fire burneth me not, and all around I behold the face of the sky, cool and fragrant with beds of Lotus-flowers!" Above all, the graceful history of the transformations of Krishna is everywhere hung with these fresh chaplets. Every successive maiden whom the deity wooes is Lotus-eyed, Lotus-mouthed, or Lotus-cheeked, and the youthful hero wears always a Lotus-wreath. Also " the clear sky was bright with the autumnal moon, and the air fragrant with the perfume of the wild water-lily, in whose buds the clustering bees were murmuring their song."

Elsewhere we find fuller details. " In the primordial state of the world, the rudimental universe, submerged in water, reposed on the bosom of the Eternal. Brahma, the architect of the world, poised on a Lotus-leaf, floated upon the waters, and all that he was able to discern with his eight eyes was water and darkness. Amid scenes so ungenial and dismal, the god sank into a profound reverie, when he thus soliloquized : ' Who am I ? Whence am I ?' In this state of abstraction Brahma continued during the period of a century and a half of the gods, without apparent benefit or a solution of his inquiries, — a circumstance which caused him great uneasiness of mind." It is a comfort, however, to know that subsequently a voice came to him, on which he rose, " seated himself upon the Lotus in an attitude of contemplation, and reflected upon the Eternal, who soon appeared to him in the form of a man with a thousand heads," — a questionable exchange for his Lotus-solitude.

This is Brahminism; but the other great form of Oriental religion has carried the same fair symbol with it. One of the Bibles of the Buddhists is named " The White Lotus of the Good Law." A pious Nepaulese bowed in reverence before a vase of lilies which perfumed the study of Sir William Jones. At sunset in Thibet, the French missionaries tell us, every inhabitant of every village prostrates himself in the public square, and the holy invocation, " O, the gem in the Lotus!" goes murmuring over hill and valley, like the sound of many bees. It is no unmeaning phrase, but an utterance of ardent desire to be absorbed into that Brahma whose emblem is the sacred flower. This mystic formula or "mani" is imprinted on the pavement of the streets, it floats on flags from the temples, and the wealthy Buddhists maintain sculptor-missionaries, Old Mortalities of the waterlily, who, wandering to distant lands, carve the blessed words upon cliff and stone.

Having got thus far into Orientalism, we can hardly expect to get out again without some slight entanglement in philology. Lily-pads. Whence pads? No other leaf is identified with that singular monosyllable. Has our floating Lotus-leaf any connection with padding, or with a footpad? with the ambling pad of an abbot, or a paddle, or a paddock, or a padlock ? with many-domed Padua proud, or with St. Patrick ? Is the name derived from the Anglo-Saxon paad or petthian, or the Greek Trariay? All the etymologists are silent; Tooke and Richardson ignore the problem; and of the innumerable pamphlets in the Worcester and Webster Controversy, loading the tables of school-committee-men, not one ventures to grapple with the lily-pad.

But was there ever a philological trouble for which the Sanscrit could not afford at least a conjectural cure ? A dictionary of that extremely venerable tongue is an ostrich's stomach, which can crack the hardest etymological nut. The Sanscrit name for the Lotus is simply Padma. The learned Brahmins call the Egyptian deities Padma Devi, or Lotus-Gods; the second of the eighteen Hindoo Puranas is styled the Padma Purana, because it treats of the "epoch when the world was a golden Lotus"; and the sacred incantation which goes murmuring through Thibet is " Om mani padme houm." It would be singular, if upon these delicate floating leaves a fragment of our earliest vernacular has been borne down to us, so that here the school-boy is more learned than the savans.

This lets us down easily to the more familiar uses of this plant divine. By the Nile, in early days, the waterlily was good not merely for devotion, but for diet " From the seeds of the Lotus," said Pliny, " the Egyptians make bread." The Hindoos still eat the seeds, roasted in sand; also the stalks and roots. In South America, from the seeds of the Victoria (Nymphcea Victoria, now Victoria Regia) a farina is made, preferred to that of the finest wheat, — Bonpland even suggesting to our reluctant imagination Victoria-pies. But the European species are used, so far as is reported, only in dyeing, and as food (if the truth be told) of swine. Our own water-lily is rather more powerful in its uses; the root contains tannin and gallic acid, and a decoction of it "gives a black precipitate, with sulphate of iron." It graciously consents to become an astringent, and a styptic, and a poultice, and, banished from all other temples, still lingers in those of iEsculapius.

The botanist also finds his special satisfactions in the flower. It has some strange peculiarities of structure. So loose is the internal distribution of its tissues, that it was for some time held doubtful to which of the two great vegetable divisions, exogenous or endogenous, it belonged. Its petals, moreover, furnish the best example of the gradual transition of petals into stamens, — illustrating that wonderful law of identity which is the great discovery of modern science. Every child knows this peculiarity of the water-lily, but the extent of it seems to vary with season and locality, and sometimes one finds a succession of flowers almost entirely free from this confusion of organs.

The reader may not care to learn that the order of Nymphasacese "differs from Ranunculaceae in the consolidation of its carpels, from Papaveraceas in the placentation not being parietal, and from Nelumbiaceae in the want of a large truncated disc containing monospermous achenia"; but they may like to know that the water-lily has relations on land, in all gradations of society, from poppy to magnolia, and yet does not conform its habits precisely to those of any of them. Its great black roots, sometimes as large as a man's arm, form a network at the bottom of the water. Its stem floats, an airy four-celled tube, adapting itself to the depth, and stiff in shallows, like the stalk of the yellow lily: and it contracts and curves downward when seedtime approaches. The leaves show beneath the magnifier beautiful adaptations of structure. They are not, like those of land-plants, constructed with deep veins to receive the rain and conduct it to the stem, but are smooth and glossy, and of even surface. The leaves of landvegetation have also thousands of little breathing-pores* principally on the under side: the apple-leaf, for instance, has twenty-four thousand to a square inch. But here they are fewer; they are wholly on the upper side, and, whereas in other cases they open or shut according to the moisture of the atmosphere, here the greedy leaves* secure of moisture, scarcely deign to close them. Nevertheless, even these give some recognition of hygrometric necessities, and, though living on the water, and not merely christened with dewdrops like other leaves* but baptized by immersion all the time, they are yet known to suffer in drought and to take pleasure in the rain.

Afterx speaking of the various kindred of the water* lily, it would be wrong to leave our fragrant subject with*out due mention of its most magnificent, most lovely relative, at first claimed even as its twin sister, and classed as a Nymphaea. I once lived near neighbor to a Victoria Regia. Nothing in the world of vegetable existence has such a human interest. The charm is not in the mere size of the plant, which disappoints everybody, as Niagara does, when tried by that sole standard. The leaves of the Victoria, indeed, attain a diameter of six feet; the largest flowers, of twenty-three inches, — four times the size of the largest of our water-lilies. But it is not the measurements of the Victoria, it is its life which fascinates. It is not a thing merely of dimensions, nor merely of beauty, but a creature of vitality and motion. Those vast leaves expand and change almost visibly. They have been known to grow half an inch an hour, eight inches a day. Rising one day from the water, a mere clenched mass of yellow prickles, a leaf is transformed the next day to a crimson salver, gorgeously tinted on its upturned rim. Then it spreads into a raft of green, armed with long thorns, and supported by a framework of ribs and cross-pieces, an inch thick, and so substantial, that the Brazil Indians, while gathering the seed-vessels, place their young children on the leaves; —yrupe, or water-platter, they call the accommodating plant. But even these expanding leaves are not the glory of the Victoria; the glory is in the opening of the flower.

I have sometimes looked in, for a passing moment, at the green-house, its dwelling-place, during the period of flowering, — and . then stayed for more than an hour, unable to leave the fascinating scene. After the strange flower-bud has reared its dark head from the placid tank, moving it a little, uneasily, like some imprisoned water creature, it pauses for a moment in a sort of dumb despair. Then trembling again, and collecting all its powers, it thrusts open, with an indignant jerk, the rough calyx-leaves, and the beautiful disrobing begins. The firm, white, central cone, first so closely infolded, quivers a little, and swiftly, before your eyes, the first of the hundred petals detaches its delicate edges, and springs back, opening towards the water, while its white reflection opens to meet it from below. Many moments of repose follow, — you watch, — another petal trembles, detaches, springs open, and is still. Then another, and another, and another. Each movement is so quiet, yet so decided, so living, so human, that the radiant creature seems a Musidora of the water, and you almost blush with a sense of guilt, in gazing on that peerless privacy. As petal by petal slowly opens, there still stands the central cone of snow, a glacier, an alp, a jungfrau, while each avalanche of whiteness seems the last. Meanwhile a strange rich odor fills the air, and Nature seems to concentrate all fascinations and claim all senses for this jubilee of her darling.

So pass the enchanted moments of the evening, till the fair thing pauses at last, and remains for hours unchanged. In the morning, one by one, those white petals close again, shutting all their beauty in, and you watch through the short sleep for the period of waking. Can this bright transfigured creature appear again, in the same chaste loveliness? Your fancy can scarcely trust it, fearing some disastrous change; and your fancy is too true a prophet. Come again, after the second day's opening, and you start at the transformation which one hour has secretly produced. Can this be the virgin Victoria, — this thing of crimson passion, this pile of pink and yellow, relaxed, expanded, voluptuous, lolling languidly upon the water, never to rise again ? In this short time every tint of every petal is transformed; it is gorgeous in beauty, but it is " Hebe turned to Magdalen."

Such is the Victoria Kegia. But our rustic water-lily, our innocent Nymphsea, never claiming such a hot-house glory, never drooping into such a blush, blooms on placidly in the quiet waters, till she modestly folds her leaves for the last time, and bows her head beneath the surface forever. Next year she lives for us only in her children, fair and pure as herself.

Nay, not alone in them, but also in memory. The fair vision will not fade from us, though the paddle has dipped its last crystal drop from the waves, and the boat is drawn upon the shore. We may yet visit many lovely and lonely places, — meadows thick with violet, or the homes of the shy Bhodora, or those sloping forest-haunts where the slight Linnaea hangs its twin-born heads,— but no scene will linger on our vision like this annual Feast of the Lilies. On scorching mountains, amid raw prairie-winds, or upon the regal ocean, the white pageant shall come back to memory again, with all the luxury of summer heats, and all the fragrant coolness that can relieve them. We shall fancy ourselves again among these fleets of anchored lilies, — again, like Urvasi, sporting amid the Lake of Lotuses.

For that which is remembered is often more vivid than that which is seen. The eye paints better in the presence, the heart in the absence, of the object most dear. " He who longs after beautiful Nature can best describe her," said Bettine; " he who is in the midst of her loveliness can only lie down and enjoy." It enhances the truth of the poet's verses, that he writes them in his study. Absence is the very air of passion, and all the best description is in memoriam. As with our human beloved, when the graceful presence is with us, we cannot analyze or describe, but merely possess, and only after its departure can it be portrayed by our yearning desires; so is it with Nature : only in losing her do we gain the power to describe her, and we are introduced to Art, as we are to Eternity, by the dropping away of our companions.

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Trailing arbutus by Winthrop Packard

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Trailing arbutus by Winthrop Packard

The trailing arbutus is peculiarly the flower of Plymouth. Not that it grows there alone, indeed within easy reach of the landing place of the Pilgrims it is not easy now to find it. Once, no doubt, it blossomed about the feet of the pioneers, sending up its fragrance to them as they trod sturdily along their first street and through their new found fields that first spring after their arrival. My, but their hearts must have been homesick for the English May they had left behind! and in memory of the pink and white of the hawthorn hedges they called this pink and white flower which peered from the oval-leaved vines trailed about their feet, mayflower. It surely must have grown on the slopes of Burial Hill, down toward Town Brook, but now one will look in vain for it there. I found my first blossom of the year by following the brook up to its headwaters in Billington Sea. The brook itself is greatly changed since Bradford's day. Its waters are now held back by dams where it winds through the sand hills and one mill after another sits by the side of the ponds thus formed. Yet the "sea" itself must be much the same in itself and its surroundings as it was in Billington's time. Nor do I wholly believe the legend which has it that Billington thought it was a sea in very truth. It is too obviously a pond to have deceived even this unsophisticated wanderer. It covers but little over three hundred acres including its islands and winding coves.

I think, rather, its name was given in good natured derision of Billington and his idea of the importance of his discovery, a form of quaint humor not unknown in the descendants to the Pilgrims of this day. Yet the waters of the little winding pond are as clear as those of the sea which breaks on the rocks of Manomet or the Gurnet, and the hilly shores, close set with deciduous growth, are almost as wild as they were then. The robins that greeted the dawn on Burial Hill sang here at midday, blackbirds chorused, and song sparrows sent forth their tinkling songs from the shrubby growths. Plymouth woods, here at least, are a monotony of oaks. Yet here and there in the low places a maple has become a burning bush of ruby flame, and along the bog edges the willows are in the full glory of their yellow plumes. The richest massed coloring one can see in the region today, though, is that of the cranberry bogs. Looking away from the sun the thick-set vines are a level floor of rich maroon, not a level color but a background showing the brush marks of a master painter's hand. Toward the sun this color lightens and silvers to tiny jewel points where the light glances from glossy leaf tips. The later spring growth will fleck the bogs with greens, but the maroon background will still be there.

The arbutus does not trail in all spots beneath the oaks, even in this secluded wilderness. Sometimes one thinks he sees broad stretches green with its rounded leaves only to find last year's checkerberries grinning coral red at him, instead of the soft pink tints and spicy odor of the Epigtea blooms. Sometimes the pyrola simulates it and cracks the gloss on its leaves with a wan wintergreen smile at the success of the deception. But after a little the eye learns to discriminate in winter greens and to know the outline of the arbutus leaf and its grouping from that of the others. Then success in the hunt should come rapidly. After all Epigaea and Gaultheria are vines closely allied, and it is no wonder that there is a family resemblance. The checkerberry's spicy flavor permeates leaves, stem and fruit. That of the arbutus seems more volatile and ethereal. It concentrates in the blossom and lifts from that to course the air invisibly an aromatic fragrance that the little winds of the woods sometimes carry far to those who love it, over hill and dale. Given a day of bright sun and slow moving soft air and one may easily hunt the Plymouth mayflower by scent. Even after the grouped leaves are surely sighted the flowers are still to be found. The winds of winter have strewn the ground deep with oak leaves and half buried the vines in them for safety from the cold. Out from among these the blossoms seem to peer shyly, like sweet little Pilgrim children, ready to draw back behind their mother's aprons if they do not like the appearance of the coming stranger. Perhaps they do withdraw at discretion, and this is very likely why some people who come from far to hunt find many mayflowers, while others get few or none.

Just as the Mayflower in which the Pilgrims sailed to Plymouth seems to have been but one of many English ships of that name, so the trailing arbutus is not the only flower to be called mayflower in New England. The mayflower of the English fields and hedgerows was preeminently the hawthorn, known often just as "the may." But there is a species of bitter cress in England with showy flowers, Cardamine pratensis, which is also called mayflower and the name is given to the yellow bloom of the marsh marigold, Caltha palustria, often known, less lovingly, as "blobs." The Caltha is common to both Europe and America and, though it is often hereabout known by the nickname of "cowslip" which the early English settlers seem to have given it, I do not hear it called mayflower. In localities where the arbutus is not common the name mayflower is here most commonly given to the pink and white Anemone nemorosa, the wind flower of the meadow margins and low woods, and to the rock saxifrage, Saxifraga virginiensis, both of which are among the earliest blossoms of the month.

None can visit Plymouth without wishing to climb the bold promontory of "hither Manomet." The legend has it that Eric the Red, the Viking who explored New England shores centuries before the first Englishman heard of them, made this his burial hill and that somewhere beneath its forests his bones lie to this day. I sought long for mayflowers on the seaward slopes and in the rough gullies of these "highlands of Plymouth," I did not find them there.

On the landward slopes, gentler and less windswept, down toward the "sweet waters" that flow from inland to the sea, you may with patient search find many. But the heights shall reward you, if not with mayflowers with greater and more lasting joys. The woods of Manomet were full of butterflies. Splendid specimens of Vanessa antiopa danced together by twos and threes in every sunny glade, the gold edging of bright raknent showing beneath their "mourning cloaks" of rich seal brown. Here in the rich sunshine Launcelot might well have said:

Myself beheld three spirits, mad with joy,
Come dashing down on a tall wayside flower.

Here Grapta interrogationis carried his ever present question mark from one dry leaf to another asking always that unanswerable "why?" Here Pyrameis huntera, well named the hunter's butterfly, flashed red through the woodland,scouting silently and becoming invisible in ambush as a hunter should. Here a tiny fleck of sky, the spirit bluebird of the spring which the entomologists have woefully named Lycaema pseudargiolus, fluttered along the ground as if a new born flower tried quivering flight, and brown Hesperiidae, "bedouins of the pathless air," buzzed in vanishing eccentricity. But it was not for these that I lingered long on the seaward crest. There below me lay the bay that the exploring Pilgrims entered at such hazard, that but the day before had been blotted out with a freezing storm and gray with snow, now smiling in unforgettable beauty at my feet, bringing irresistibly to mind the one who sang,

My soul today is far away,
Sailing the blue Vesuvian bay.

At Naples indeed could be no softer, fairer skies than this June day of late April brought to Plymouth Bay and spread over the waters that nestled within the curve of that splendid young moon of white sand that sweeps from Manomet to the tip of the sandspit, with the Gurnet far to the right and Plymouth's white houses rising in the middle distance. It lacked only the cone of Vesuvius smoking beyond to make the memory complete.

Nor has the Bay of Naples bluer waters than those that danced below me. Some stray current of the Gulf Stream must have curled about the tip of Cape Cod and spread its wonder bloom over them. Here were the same exquisite soft blues, shoaling into tender green, that I have seen among the Florida keys. Surely it was like a transformation scene. The day before the torn sea wild with wind and the dun clouds of a northeast gale hiding the distance with a mystery of dread, a wind that beat the forest with snow and chilled to the marrow; and this day the warmth of an Italian spring and the blue Vesuvian Bay.

The Pilgrims had their seasons of storm and stress, but there came to them too halcyon days like this when the mayflower bloomed in all the woodland about them, the mourning cloak butterflies danced with joy down the sunny glades, and the bay spread its wonderful blue beneath their feet in the delicious promise of June. Nor is it any wonder that in spite of hardships and disaster manifold they yet found heart to write home that it was a fayere lande and bountiful.

But for all the lure of Plymouth woods with their fragrance of trailing arbutus, from all the grandeur of the wide outlook from Manomet Heights, the hearts of all who come to Plymouth must lead them back to the resting place of the fathers on the brow of the little hill in the midst of the town. There where the grass was not yet green and the buttercups that will later shine in gold have put forth but the tiniest beginnings of their fuzzy, three-parted leaves, I watched the sun sink, big and red in a golden mist, over a land of whose coming material greatness Bradford and his fellow Pilgrims could have had no inkling. Seaward the tropic bloom of the water was all gone, and there as the sun passed I saw the cool steel of the bay catch the last rays in little dimples of silver light. Manomet withdrew, blue and mysterious in the haze of nightfall. Out over the Gurnet, beyond, the sky caught purples from the colors in the west, and there, dropping below the horizon line, east northeast toward England, I saw a sail vanish in the soft haze as if it might be the first Mayflower, sailing away from the heavy-hearted Pilgrims, toward England and home. The sun's last ray touched it with a fleck of rose as it passed, a rose like that Which tipped the petals of the mayflowers that I held in my hand, mayflowers that sent up to me in the coolness of the gathering April night a fragrance as aromatic and beloved as is the memory of the lives of the Pilgrims that slept all about me on the brow of Burial Hill. Bradford wrote gravely and simply the chronicles of these, and no more, yet the fervent faith and sturdy love for fair play, unquenchable in the hearts of these men, breathes from every page, a fragrance that shall go forth on the winds of the world forevermore.

Khella(Ammi visnaga) essential oil/Morocco

Khella(Ammi visnaga) essential oil/Morocco

Images for Khella

Khella essential oil is a colorless to pale yellow liquid displaying a very rich, sweet, balsamic, herbaceous, coumarinic odor with a woody-spicy undertone

In natural perfumery used in ayurvedic preparations, apothecary blends, herbal accords, diffuser blends, new mown hay, incense bouquet


Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Khella (Ammi visnaga)

Kapur kachari root (Hedychium spicatum) essential oil/India

Kapur kachari root (Hedychium spicatum) essential oil/India

Images for Kapur kachari

Kapur kachari essential oil is a pale yellow to amber colored liquid displaying a woody, spicy, rooty, camphoraceous bouquet the dry-woody note remaining deep into the dryout. Tenacity is very good

In natural perfumery used in spice accords, precious woods notes, Oriental bouquets, heavy florals, incense bouquets, ayurvedic preparations

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Kapur kachari(Hedychium spicatum)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Tale of a Fan by Lafcadio Hearn

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Tale of a Fan by Lafcadio Hearn

Pah ! it is too devilishly hot to write anything about anything practical and serious — let us dream dreams.

We picked up a little fan in a street-car the other day — a Japanese fabric, with bursts of blue sky upon it, and grotesque foliage sharply cut against a horizon of white paper, and wonderful clouds as pink as Love, and birds of form as unfamiliar as the extinct wonders of ornithology resurrected by Cuvieresque art. Where did those Japanese get their exquisite taste for color and tint-contrasts? — Is their sky so divinely blue? — Are their sunsets so virginally carnation? — Are the breasts of their maidens and the milky peaks of their mountains so white?

But the fairy colors were less strongly suggestive than something impalpable, invisible, indescribable, yet voluptuously enchanting which clung to the fan spirit-wise — a tender little scent — a mischievous perfume — a titillating, tantalizing aroma — an odor inspirational as of the sacred gums whose incense intoxicates the priests of oracles. Did you ever lay your hand upon a pillow covered with the living supple silk of a woman's hair? Well, the intoxicating odor of that hair is something not to be forgotten: if we might try to imagine what the ambrosial odors of paradise are, we dare not compare them to anything else; — the odor of youth in its pliancy, flexibility, rounded softness, delicious coolness, dove-daintiness, delightful plasticity — all that suggests slenderness graceful as a Venetian wineglass, and suppleness as downy-soft as the necks of swans.

1 Item, July 1,1881. Hearn's own title.

Naturally that little aroma itself provoked fancies; — as we looked at the fan we could almost evoke the spirit of a hand and arm, of phantom ivory, the glimmer of a ghostly ring, the shimmer of spectral lace about the wrist; — but nothing more. Yet it seemed to us that even odors might be analyzed; that perhaps in some future age men might describe persons they had never seen by such individual aromas, just as in the Arabian tale one describes minutely a maimed camel and its burthen which he has never beheld.

There are blond and brunette odors; — the white rose is sweet, but the ruddy is sweeter; the perfume of pallid flowers may be potent, as that of the tuberose whose intensity sickens with surfeit of pleasures, but the odors of deeply tinted flowers are passionate and satiate not, quenching desire only to rekindle it.

There are human blossoms more delicious than any rose's heart nestling in pink. There is a sharp, tart, invigorating, penetrating, tropical sweetness in brunette perfumes; blond odors are either faint as those of a Chinese yellow rose, or fiercely ravishing as that of the white jessamine — so bewitching for the moment, but which few can endure all night in the sleeping-room, making the heart of the sleeper faint.

Now the odor of the fan was not a blond odor: — it was sharply sweet as new-mown hay in autumn, keenly pleasant as a clear breeze blowing over sea foam: — what were frankincense and spikenard and cinnamon and all the odors of the merchant compared with it? — What could have been compared with it, indeed, save the smell of the garments of the young Shulamitess or the whispering robes of the Queen of Sheba? And these were brunettes.

The strength of living perfumes evidences the comparative intensity of the life exhaling them. Strong sweet odors bespeak the vigor of youth in blossom. Intensity of life in the brunette is usually coincident with nervous activity and slender elegance. — Young, slenderly graceful, with dark eyes and hair, skin probably a Spanish olive! — did such an one lose a little Japanese fan in car No. of the C. C. R. R. during the slumberous heat of Wednesday morning?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ho Wood (Cinnamomum camphora) essential oil-China

Ho Wood (Cinnamomum camphora) essential oil-China

Ho Wood oil is a pale yellow to colorless liquid displaying a sweet, woody-floral bouquet
with a delicate balsamic-herbaceous undertone

In natural perfumery it is used in herbal bouquets, soap perfumes, floral notes, colognes, and as a general blender-modifier in a wide variety of compositions due to its soft, sweet bouquet which melds well with almost every type of perfume compositions

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Ho Wood(Cinnamomum camphora)

Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis) essential oil-Bosnia

Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis) essential oil-Bosnia

Juniper berry essential oil is a water white to pale yellow liquid displaying a fresh, sweet, warm, resinous-balsamic bouquet with a coniferous woody undertone

In natural perfumery it is used for conifer accords, forest notes, amber bases, fougere, sacred perfume, incense bouquets, chypres, after-shave lotions, colognes, spice accords

"Juniper berry oil is used in perfumery for its fresh-balsamic notes, as a modifier for various pine needle oils(with which it blends very well) with citrus oils in room spray perfumes, in ambres, fougeres, after-shave fragrances, spice compositions, etc. Labdanum absolute is an excellent fixative for juniper berry oil." Steffen Arctander

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Ho Wood(Cinnamomum camphora)

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Ho Wood(Cinnamomum camphora)

Images of Cinnamomum camphora

Wikipedia

Dictionary of Flavors By Dolf A. De Rovira

Encyclopedia of Food and Color Additives, Volumes 1-3 By George A. Burdock

PROSEA : Plant Resources of South-East Esia 19, Essential-oil Plants By L.P.A Oyen and Nguyen Xuan Dung (Editors)

Common fragrance and flavor materials: preparation, properties, and uses By Kurt Bauer, Dorothea Garbe, Horst Surburg

Hyssop(Hyssopus officinalis) essential oil/Bulgaria and England

Hyssop(Hyssopus officinalis) essential oil/Bulgaria and England

Hyssop essential oil is a colorless to pale yellow or light green liquid displaying a sweet, green herbaceous, slightly camphoraceous bouquet with a spicy-aromatic undertone

In natural perfumery used in sacred perfumes, colognes, fougere, ambre bases, Oriental bases, high class florals

"In perfumery, the oil will induce a rich, body, warm and spicy-herbaceous notes and personality of typical character to certain types of fragrances, e. g. the citrus types of colognes, fougeres, ambres and light-aldehyic fragrances as well as heavy, Oriental bases." Steffen Arctander

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Hyssop(Hyssop officinalis)

Helichrysum italicum/Immortelle essential oil/Corsica and Bosnia

Helichrysum italicum/Immortelle essential oil/Corsica and Bosnia

Helichyrsum italicum

Helichrysum italicum essential oil/Corsica is a pale yellow liquid displaying a rich,sweet, honeyed, herbaceous-aromatic bouquet with fruity, tea-like undertone of good tenacity
Helichrysum italicum esssential oil/Bosnia is a pale yellow liquid with a rich spicy-aromatic bouquet but the undertone is green, hay-like in character

In natural perfumery used in spicy accords, amber notes, high class florals, chypre, sacred perfumes, fruity accords

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Helichrysum/Immortelle(Helichrysum italicum)

Olfatory Descriptiion of Essential Oils-"D-G"

Olfatory Descriptiion of Essential Oils-"D-G"

Davana (Artemisia pallens) essential oil/India

Elemi(Canarium luzonicum) essential oil/Phillipines

Erigeron(Erigeron canadensis) essential oil/USA

Eucalyptus, lemon(Eucalyptus citriodora) essential oil/South Africa

Eucalyptus, Red River Gum(Eucalyptus camaldulensis) essential oil/Nepal

Eucalyptus macarthurii essential oil/South Africa

Eucalyptus radiata essential oil/Australia

Eucalyptus/Blue Gum(Eucalyptus globulus) essential oil/Australia

Eucalyptus smithii essential oil/South Africa

Fennel, Sweet(Foeniculum vulgare var. amara) essential oil/Bulgaria

Fir, Grand(Abies grandis) essential oil/Bosnia

Fir balsam(Abies balsamea) essential oil/Canada

Fir Douglas(Pseudotsuga menziesii) essential oil/Bosnia

Frankincense, Indian(Boswellia serrata) essential oil/India

Frankincense, Somalian(Boswellia carteri) essential oil/Somalia

Galangal(Kaempferia galanga) essential oil/Indonesia

Galbanum(Ferula galbaniflua) essential oil/Iran

Geranium(Pelargonium roseum asperum) essential oil/South Africa


Geranium(Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil/Himalayas, India


Gingergrass(Cympopogan martini var sofia ) essential oil/India

Grapefruit, White/distilled(Citrus paradisi) essential oil/South Africa

Grapefruit, Pink/cold pressed(Citrus paradisi) essential oil/South Africa

Guaicawood(Bulnesia sarmientoi) essential oil/Paraquay

Grapefruit, Pink/cold pressed(Citrus paradisi) essential oil/South Africa

Grapefruit, Pink/cold pressed(Citrus paradisi) essential oil/South Africa

Pink grapefruit essential oil is a reddish-pink to light pink colored liquid displaying a fresh, tangy, sweet citrus bouquet

In natural perfumery used in colognes, forest notes, topnote in floral perfumes, citrus accords, diffuser blends

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Grapefruit(Citrus paradisi)

Gingergrass(Cympopogan martini var sofia ) essential oil/India

Gingergrass(Cympopogan martini var sofia ) essential oil/India

Gingergrass essential oil is a light yellow liquid displaying a sweet, aromatic-spicy, herbaceous bouquet with a woody, roseaceous undertone

In natural perfumery used in inexpensive colognes, rose bouquets, spice accords, tea notes, soap perfumes, herbal accords. A lovely oil that deserves wider usage in natural perfumery

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Gingergrass(Cympopogan martini var sofia )

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-The Third Room by George Estes

THE THIRD ROOM.

Abdamon and Baana entered another treasure room stocked with perfumes, musks, attars and other sweet odors from all parts of the old world, packed in the most marvelous containers,—beautifully engraved or etched bottles, some inlaid with silver, gold and precious stones, some cunning and grotesque, made of skin to represent tiny animals and birds. Others, for powders and incense, were boxes of the most costly woods and precious metals, most of them beautifully carved, inlaid and graven with jewel designs of the morning glory, hyssop, acacia, and honeysuckle. Among these were alabaster boxes of snow-white, filled with every delightful fragrance, which were thrown in the mausoleum during obsequies over the dead.

There were musks of castor so powerful that they could be used for the most unique and startling purposes. They were of many different odors and bouquets, all of which were replete with hidden meaning to those who understood them, there being a language of perfumes known only to the initiated. By means of this language a communication of thoughts could be carried on between those familiar with it, under the very noses, it might be said, of others without their knowledge. In this manner conferences between monarchs and important persons were often secretly controlled to the advantage of those who understood the musks, which were changed and given out as those using them desired. Assassination of kings and rulers were arranged for and carried through in the very presence of the victim, by this subtle method of communication.

These musks were so powerful that caravans could, by" means of their odors, communicate with following caravans if not more than a day behind, informing them of locations of water-holes, dangerous places and possibilities of attack by Bedouins or desert tribesmen.

There were boxes of ambergris, that strange and excessively rare substance thrown out by whales, and found floating or on the seacoast, the lucky finder of even a small quantity being made richer than if he had located a mine of free gold.

Perfume-makers from the earliest times have paid fabulous prices for this rare substance and it is as valuable today as at any time in the world's history; and yet it is not a perfume at all, but is used as a base necessary in the preparation of perfumes and blending of boquets.

There were jars of attars; essential oils obtained by the distillation of roses and other flowers; citron and orange oils from the great island of Sicily; gum, resins and balsams of benzoin, tolu, storax and myrrh from the far East; perfumed toilet soap made from lupine flower, glasswort and lote leaves; perfumes for the bath and fountain.

Among the choicest perfumes were powders, to be sprinkled in water and poured into bowls of glass, marble or porcelain kept in the sleeping chamber, which would induce sleep; other perfumes in the form of spun threads which looked like silk, and when woven into pillows, spreads or coverlets would make the sleeper's rest deep and profound.

There were perfumes imprisoned in delicate globules which might be thrown upon the hair and clothing of the guests of the household; the globules thus broken would release their contents to the guests' great delight; pots of incense from the far East, so deep and rich in their Oriental perfumes that their odors would cause the occupants of the chambers where they were released to travel in their imaginations through the lands of the Yellow River and the distant Ind, and in deep reveries the dreamer would hear the low, continuous chanting of white-bearded priests, punctuated by the clash of scimitars upon brazen shields, the stolid "chock" of bullock-carts and the jingle of the ropes of bells on the trappings of swaying elephants as they moved in long procession through narrow overhung streets.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guaicawood(Bulnesia sarmientoi) essential oil/Paraquay

Guaicawood(Bulnesia sarmientoi) essential oil/Paraquay

Guiacawood essential oil is a solid waxy mass at room temperature which is beige in color and displays a sweet, creamy woody-balsamic aroma with vanillic-amber undertone of good tenacity

In natural perfumery, guiacawood oil serves as an excellent low cost fixative, blender and modifier due to its gentle aromatic profile which blends well with most essences. Its soft rounded character is valued for its ability to smooth off course edges in a composition and allow gentle transitions from one phase of the aromatic life of an essence to the next. It is often blended with either copaiba balsam or gurjun balsam in a 50-50 ratio so that it remains in a liquid state.

Used in sacred perfumes, incense bouquets, new mown hay, Oriental perfumes, precious woods accords, earth notes, high class florals, amber essences, fougere

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Guaicawood(Bulnesia sarmientoi)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Grapefruit(Citrus paradisi)

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Grapefruit(Citrus paradisi)

Wikipedia

University of Purdue

History of Grapefruit

Holistic Online

Pink or Ruby Grapefruit

Citrus fruit: biology, technology and evaluation By Milind S. Ladaniya

Ginger, Fresh(Zingiber officinalis) essential oil/Indonesia

Ginger, Fresh(Zingiber officinalis) essential oil/Indonesia

Fresh Ginger essential oil is a colorless to pale yellow liquid displaying a tangy, warm fresh, light, citrus(topnote), aromatic-spicy bouquet with an sweet, woody-balsamic undertone of good tenacity

In natural perfumery used in spice accords, culinary perfumes, Oriental bases, spice accords

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Ginger(Zingiber officinalis)

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Geranium(Pelargonium roseum asperum)

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Geranium(Pelargonium roseum asperum)

Images for Rose geranium

The healing trail: essential oils of Madagascar By Georges M. Halpern, Peter Weverka

Annual report on essential oils, aromatic chemicals and related materials By Schimmel & Co, Schimmel & Co. Aktiengesellschaft, Miltitz bei Leipzig

Natural sources of flavorings, Issue 3 By Council of Europe

Fenaroli's handbook of flavor ingredients: George A. Burdock By George A. Burdock, Giovanni Fenaroli (Prof. Dr.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Geranium(Pelargonium roseum asperum) essential oil/South Africa

Geranium(Pelargonium roseum asperum) essential oil/South Africa

Rose geranium essential oil is a pale yellow to pale green liquid displaying a sweet, fresh, green-leafy, roseaceous bouquet with a delicate herbaceous/minty undertone

In natural perfumery used in fougere, chypre, high class florals, green notes, herbal bouquets, new mown hay

Research Links for Aromatic Plants-Geranium(Pelargonium roseum asperum)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Scent of the Sea by Various

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Scent of the Sea by Various


The scent of the sea and the smells of the shipyards as they come up to me in the memory of far-off summer mornings! Many names and faces have grown dim, but these are as keen and clear as when a boy I breathed them in with delight as I took the steep road from my father's house and came speedily to the seats of romance.

These scents were the genii loci, the tutelary presences that guarded the mysteries that set us apart from the more prosaic world. We caught the scent of the sea first, which lay at the very foot of the street. There we turned sharply to the right, where one branch of the road led down to an old wharf, and the other passed on to the shipyards. At the junction stood a bucket-and-chain well, where we always stopped to drink. In front of the well lay a marine railway, where in retrospection I always see a team of horses plodding round and round before the bar of the windlass that almost imperceptibly drew a dingy hull from the water, I catch the swish of the brooms of men who stand under her as she slowly emerges, scrubbing away the barnacles and ocean slime. Everywhere about us in this region the earth was carpeted with chips, some darkened with age and dropping away into a woody dust, but some bright and freshly cut, still redolent with the odor of their special woods. We caught the odor of tar from long stretches of standing rigging, the pungent scent of coils of hempen cordage, the smell of tar and fresh paint. About us sounded the slurring chip-chip of adzes trimming the timbers along the chalked lines, the slow, loud clang of sledge-hammers driving home the iron bolts, the mellow ring of calkers' ironsand mallets echoing on the hollow decks, the thundering fall of a great piece of timber as the cant-hooks tumbled it down from the piled logs. We watched the slow rising of the great shears, and the stepping of masts. It was all a preparation for adventure in which we never lost interest.
from A Boyhood Alongshore
By L. FRANK TOOKER

It was one of those " perfect days in June " of which the charming Lowell has sung so beautifully. The sun shone down pretty hot, it is true; but, in the grand old woods, the little that glimmered through was only enough to dispel the otherwise dampness, and give a warmth to the woody fragrance that was delightful indeed. And there came a scent of sea-air there also; for this delightful retreat, which was the eastern limits of Squire Grayson's farm, was washed by the waters of old ocean, and could boast of its terrific storms as well as its delicious calms. Even this afternoon, along with the scent of the sea, came a faint murmur, arising from the swirl of the water among the rocks that studded the shore in that locality, and which was known as " Merrill's Reef;" taking its name from Captain Merrill, whose vessel was driven upon the dangerous locality many years before, all hands perishing in the storm's fury.
from THE BEECHWOOD CHIPS.
BY KARL MARDLE.


The great old house of Drumgool, ugly as a barn, with a triton dressed in moss and blowing a conch shell before the front door, stands literally in the roar of the sea.

From the top front windows you can see the Atlantic, blue in summer, grey in winter, tremendous in calm or storm; and the eternal roar of the league-long waves comes over the stunted fir trees sheltering the house front, a lullaby or menace just as your fancy wills.

Everything around Drumgool is on a vast and splendid scale. To the east, beyond Drumboyne, beyond the golden gorse, the mournful black bogs, and the flushes of purple heather, the sun with one sweep of his brush paints thirty miles of hills.

Vast hills ever changing, and always beautiful, gone now in the driving mist and rain, now unwreathing themselves of cloud and disclosing sunlit crag and purple glen outlined against the far-off blue, and magical with the desolate beauty of distance.

The golden eagle still haunts these hills, and lying upon the moors of a summer's day you may see the peregrine falcon hanging in the air above and watch him vanish to the cry of the grouse he has struck down, whose head he will tear off amidst the gorse.

Out here on the moors, under the sun on a day like this, you are in the pleasant company of Laziness and Loneliness and Distance and Summer. The scent of the gorse is mixed with the scent of the sea, and the silence of the far-off hills with the sound of the billows booming amidst the coves of the coast.

Except for the sea and the sigh of the wind amidst the heather bells there is not a sound nor token of man except a pale wreath of peat smoke away there six miles towards the hills where lies the village of Drumboyne, and that building away to the west towards the sea, which is Drumgool House.
from Garryowen
By Henry De Vere Stacpoole

Along that low-lying coast that stretched in monotonous levels southward from the Boston of that day, the old farm-houses were far more numerous than the stately colonial mansions that skirted the Bay farther seaward.

Out of them, in the short, pale New England spring, when the arbutus was opening its pink buds in the pine woods along the shore and mingling its fragrance with the sea scent that was blown in by the east wind, came sturdy yeomen, who sailed away to the Banks or southward to the Cape, intent upon earning by honest toil a livelihood for the wives and children left behind; and when winter froze the earth and the dank marshes were dun and desolate, and the sullen sea roared, they returned — those that the sea had spared—to the shelter of their homes.
from A Widower &Some Spinsters
SHORT STORIES
BY MARIA LOUISE POOL

Walking, after the rain, on the cliffs towards Cadgwith, the air is at once salt and sweet; the scent of the sea and of the earth mingles in it; and it is as if one drank a perfumed wine, in which there is a sharp and suave intoxication. Overhead the sea-gulls curve in wide circles; you see them at one moment black against the pale sky, then white against the dark cliffs, then matching the flakes of foam on the sea as they fly low over it. They poise in the air, and cry and laugh with their mocking half-human voices; and are always passing to and fro in some rhythm or on some business of their own.
from A Valley in Cornwall
by Arthur Symons

I am in my garden at Fairshiels thinking that I see something of the beauty of this summer day. I know that if I could but tell of what I see and hear at this moment, the tale would be so full of wonder and magic, that the folks who read the words I set down would think that Fairshiels was the land of Goshen, and this shady spot in the manse garden, behind the old world kirk, was none other than the garden of the Lord. It is all that to me, because I love it. And yet it would be counted but a poor garden by some—a modest patch of earth enclosed, with shaven turf and shade of little trees, and roses enough and to spare, full of sunshine and the drone of bees. That is all. But, then, the finest thing in the garden is the view outside of it—as the Irishman would say. When one stands on the highest point, and looks towards the region of the rising sun, I think, on a summer day like this, it is no ill task to find an image for the inward eye, of the Land that is very far off with its sea of glass and its crystal stream. Across the raspberry bushes—and what a crop hangs there!—your eye will rest on one of the peacefullest outline of hills to be found in this broad Scots land. Lammer Law is our own hill—a quiet contented looking hill, with every shade of brown and purple painted upon its heathery brow. It is wonderful how high the ploughman climbs to steal a furrow from the face of Lammer Law, and to-day the brown heather moors on his brow are rolling away eastward, down and down, until the lowest blue spur of hills is lost in the quiet heat haze, where the scent of sea-wrack must almost come up on the wings of dawn to drench the heather-bells. What garden was ever yet complete without its south wall of red brick, where the apples and pears and plums hang ripening in the sun? And we have our south wall too, only the apples and pears and plums often sadly disappoint us after the flourish of trumpets they make in the spring. Over this red-brick south wall, with its bearded greenery, you will see six ash trees standing remote and still and solemn in the summer swelter. At the one end of these trees is Lammer Law, at the other end of them is the far-off line of the summer sea, and all behind them lies the eastern land of Lothian, with the bosky woods of Saltoun and Keith Marischal, in whose shady dells I could wager that the cushies are dovering in their noon-tide sleep.
from Fairshiels: memories of a Lammermoor parish
By Thomas Ratcliffe Barnett

OCTOBER 23. To-day I reached the sea. While I was yet many miles back
in the palmy woods, I caught the scent of the salt sea breeze which, although I had so many years lived far from sea breezes, suddenly conjured up Dunbar, its rocky coast, winds and waves; and my whole childhood, that seemed to have utterly vanished in the New World, was now restored amid the Florida woods by that one breath from the sea. Forgotten were the palms and magnolias and the thousand flowers that enclosed me. I could see only dulse and tangle, long-winged gulls, the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth, and the old castle, schools, churches, and long country rambles in search of birds' nests. I do not wonder that the weary camels coming from the scorching African deserts should be able to scent the Nile.
A thousand-mile walk to the Gulf
By John Muir

As the house was set some distance back, the east window in the attic was; the only one which commanded a view of the sea. A small table, with its legs sawed off, came exactly to the sill, and here stood a lamp, which was a lamp simply, without adornment, and held about a pint of oil.

She read the letter again and. having mastered its contents, tore it into small pieces, with that urban caution which does not come amiss in the rural districts. She understood that every night of her stay she was to light this lamp with her own hands, but why? The varnish on the table, which had once been glaring, was scratched with innumerable rings, where the rough glass had left its mark. Ruth wondered if she were face to face with a mystery.

The seaward side of the hill was a rocky cliff, and between the vegetable garden at the back of the house and the edge of the precipice were a few stumps, well-nigh covered with moss. From her vantage point, she could see the woods which began at the base of the hill, on the north side, and seemed to end at the sea. On the south, there were a few trees near the cliff, but others near them had been cut down.

Still farther south and below the hill was a grassy plain, through which a glistening river wound slowly to the ocean. Willows grew along its margin, tipped with silvery green, and with masses of purple twilight tangled in the bare branches below.

Ruth opened the window and drew a long breath. Her senses had been dulled by the years in the city, but childhood, hidden though not forgotten, came back as if by magic, with that first scent of sea and Spring.
From Lavender and old lace
By Myrtle Reed

Past the oast houses they wandered on their way to Bigberry Wood as the hawthorn hedges and the oak shaws were burgeoning, and the fields were carpeted with anemones, wild hyacinths and yellow archangel, the air redolent of spring, the nightingale singing in the blue dusk of the May night as they sauntered homewards. In June when the wild roses shed their fragrance, there mingled with it the scent of hay catching at their throats, catching in the Boy's throat now as he sat in the stillness of the choir, so vividly memory swept in upon him like a tide; memories, too, of the marshes in autumn twilight within scent and sight of the sea, the tang of the sea wind mingling with wood fires whose smoke curled up into the dusking sky.
PATER—THE BOY LOVER OF MYSTIC BEAUTY
from A book of boyhoods, Chaucer to MacDowell
By Eugénie Mary Fryer

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Incense by Lafcadio Hearn

Treasures of Aromatic Literature-Incense by Lafcadio Hearn

I See, rising out of darkness, a lotus in a vase. Most of the vase is invisible; but I know that it is of bronze, and that its glimpsing handles are bodies of dragons. Only the lotus is fully illuminated: three pure white flowers, and five great leaves of gold and green — gold above, green on the upcurling undersurface — an artificial lotus. It is bathed by a slanting stream of sunshine; — the darkness beneath and beyond is the dusk of a temple-chamber. I do not see the opening through which the radiance pours; but I am aware that it is a small window shaped in the outline-form of a temple-bell.

The reason that I see the lotus — one memory of my first visit to a Buddhist sanctuary — is that there has come to me an odor of incense. Often when I smell incense, this vision defines; and usually thereafter other sensations of my first day in Japan revive in swift succession with almost painful acuteness.

It is almost ubiquitous — this perfume of incense. It makes one element of the faint but complex and never-to-be-forgotten odor of the Far East. It haunts the dwelling-house not less than the temple — the home of the peasant not less than the yashiki of the prince. Shinto shrines, indeed, Still costlier sorts of incense — veritable luxuries — take the form of lozenges, wafers, pastilles; and a small envelope of such material may be worth four or five pounds sterling. But the commercial and industrial questions relating to Japanese incense represent the least interesting part of a remarkably curious subject.

n

Curious, indeed, but enormous by reason of its infinity of tradition and detail. I am afraid even to think of the size of the volume that would be needed to cover it. . . . Such a work would properly begin with some brief account of the earliest knowledge and use of aromatics in Japan. It would next treat of the records and legends of the first introduction of Buddhist incense from Korea — when King Sh6myo of Kudara, in 551 A.d., sent to the island-empire a collection of sutras, an image of the Buddha, and one complete set of furniture for a temple. Then something would have to be said about those classifications of incense which were made during the tenth century, in the periods of Engi and of Tenryaku — and about the report of the ancient statecouncillor, Kimitaka-Sangi, who visited China in the latter part of the thirteenth century, and transmitted to the Emperor Yomei the wisdom of the Chinese concerning incense. Then mention should be made of the ancient incenses still preserved in various Japanese temples, and of the famous fragmerits of ranjatai (publicly exhibited at Nara in the tenth year of Meiji) which furnished supplies to the three great captains, Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Iyeyasu. After this should follow an outline of the history of mixed incenses made in Japan — with notes on the classifications devised by the luxurious Takauji, and on the nomenclature established later by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, who collected one hundred and thirty varieties of incense, and invented for the more precious of them names recognized even to this day — such as "Blossom-Showering," "Smokeof-Fuji," and "Flower-of-the-Pure-Law." Examples ought to be given likewise of traditions attaching to historical incenses preserved in several princely families; together with specimens of those hereditary recipes for incense-making which have been transmitted from generation to generation through hundreds of years, and are still called after their august inventors — as "the Method of Hina-Dainagon," "the Method of Sent6-In," etc. Recipes also should be given of those strange incenses made "to imitate the perfume of the lotus, the smell of the summer breeze, and the odor of the autumn wind." Some legends of the great period of incense-luxury should be cited — such as the story of Sue Owarino-Kami, who built for himself a palace of incensewoods, and set fire to it on the night of his revolt, when the smoke of its burning perfumed the land to a distance of twelve miles. ... Of course the mere compilation of materials for a history of mixed incenses would entail the study of a host of documents, treatises, and books — particularly of such strange works as the "Kun-Shu-Rui-Sho," or "Incense-Collector's-Classifying-Manual"; — containing the teachings of the Ten Schools of the Art of Mixing Incense; directions as to the best seasons for incense-making; and instructions about the "different kinds of fire" to be used for burning incense (one kind is called "literary fire," and another "military fire"); together with rules for pressing the ashes of a censer into various artistic designs corresponding to season and occasion. ... A special chapter should certainly be given to the incensebags (kusadama) hung up in houses to drive away goblins — and to the smaller incense-bags formerly carried about the person as a protection against evil spirits. Then a very large part of the work would have to be devoted to the religious uses and legends of incense — a huge subject in itself. There would also have to be considered the curious history of the old "incense-assemblies," whose elaborate ceremonial could be explained only by help of numerous diagrams. One chapter at least would be required for the subject of the ancient importation of incensematerials from India, China, Annam, Siam, Cambodia, Ceylon, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and various islands of the Malay archipelago — places all named in rare books about incense. And a final chapter should treat of the romantic literature of incense — the poems, stories, and dramas in which incense rites are mentioned; and especially those love-songs

comparing the body to incense, and passion to the

eating flame:

Even as burns the perfume lending my robe its fragrance, Smoulders my life away, consumed by the pain of longing!

. . . The merest outline of the subject is terrifying! I shall attempt nothing more than a few notes about the religious, the luxurious, and the ghostly uses of incense.

in

The common incense everywhere burned by poor people before Buddhist icons is called "an-soku-ko." This is very cheap. Great quantities of it are burned by pilgrims in the bronze censers set before the entrances of famous temples; and in front of roadside images you may often see bundles of it. These are for the use of pious wayfarers, who pause before every Buddhist image on their path to repeat a brief prayer and, when possible, to set a few rods smouldering at the feet of the statue. But in rich temples, and during great religious ceremonies, much more expensive incense is used. Altogether three classes of perfumes are employed in Buddhist rites: ko, or incense-proper, in many varieties (the word literally means only "fragrant substance"); — dzuko, an odorous ointment; and makko, a fragrant powder. Ko is burned; dzuko is rubbed upon the hands of the priest as an ointment of purification; and makko is sprinkled about the sanctuary. This makko is said to be identical with the sandalwood powder so frequently mentioned in Buddhist texts. But it is only the true incense which can be said to bear an important relation to the religious service.

Incense [declares the "Soshi-Ryaku"1 ] is the Messenger of Earnest Desire. When the rich Sudatta wished to invite the Buddha to a repast, he made use of incense. He was wont to ascend to the roof of his house on the eve of the day of the entertainment, and to remain standing there all night, holding a censer of precious incense. And as often as he did thus, the Buddha never failed to come on the following day at the exact time desired.

This text plainly implies that incense, as a burntoffering, symbolizes the pious desires of the faithful. But it symbolizes other things also; and it has furnished many remarkable similes to Buddhist literature. Some of these, and not the least interesting, occur in prayers, of which the following, from the book called "Hoji-san" 2 is a striking example:

Let my body remain pure like a censer! — let my thought be ever as a fire of wisdom, purely consuming the incense of sila and of dhyana 1 — that so may I do homage to all the Buddhas in the Ten Directions of the Past, the Present, and the Future!

Sometimes in Buddhist sermons the destruction of Karma by virtuous effort is likened to the burning

1 "Short [or Epitomized] History of Priests." 1 "The Praise of Pious Observances."

'By sila is meant the observance of the rules of purity in act and thought. Dhyana (called by Japanese Buddhists Zenjo) is one of the higher forms of meditation.

of incense by a pure flame — sometimes, again, the life of man is compared to the smoke of incense. In his "Hundred Writings" ("Hyaku-tsG-kiri-kami"), the Shinshii priest Myoden says, quoting from the Buddhist work " Kujikkajo," or "Ninety Articles":

In the burning of incense we see that so long as any incense remains, so long does the burning continue, and the smoke mount skyward. Now the breath of this body of ours — this impermanent combination of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire — is like that smoke. And the changing of the incense into cold ashes when the flame expires is an emblem of the changing of our bodies into ashes when our funeral pyres have burnt themselves out.

He also tells us about that Incense-Paradise of which every believer ought to be reminded by the perfume of earthly incense:

In the Thirty-Second Vow for the Attainment of the Paradise of Wondrous Incense [he says] it is written: "That Paradise is formed of hundreds of thousands of different kinds of incense, and of substances incalculably precious; — the beauty of it incomparably exceeds anything in the heavens or in the sphere of man; — the fragrance of it perfumes all the worlds of the Ten Directions of Space; and all who perceive that odor practice Buddhadeeds." In ancient times there were men of superior wisdom and virtue who, by reason of their vow, obtained perception of the odor; but we, who are born with inferior wisdom and virtue in these later days, cannot obtain such perception. Nevertheless it will be well for us, when we smell the incense kindled before the image of Amida, to imagine that its odor is the wonderful fragrance of Paradise, and to repeat the Nembutsu in gratitude for the mercy of the Buddha.

IV

But the use of incense in Japan is not confined to religious rites and ceremonies: indeed the costlier kinds of incense are manufactured chiefly for social entertainments. Incense-burning has been an amusement of the aristocracy ever since the thirteenth century. Probably you have heard of the Japanese tea-ceremonies, and their curious Buddhist history; and I suppose that every foreign collector of Japanese bric-a-brac knows something about the luxury to which these ceremonies at one period attained — a luxury well attested by the quality of the beautiful utensils formerly employed in them. But there were, and still are, incense-ceremonies much more elaborate and costly than the tea-ceremonies — and also much more interesting. Besides music, embroidery, poetical composition and other branches of the old-fashioned female education, the young lady of pre-Meiji days was expected to acquire three especially polite accomplishments — the art of arranging flowers (ikebana), the art of ceremonial tea-making (cha-no-yu1 or cha-no-e), and the etiquette of incense-parties (ko-kwai or ko-e). Incenseparties were invented before the time of the Ashi

1 Girls are still trained in the art of arranging flowers, and in the etiquette of the dainty, though somewhat tedious, cha-no-yu. Buddhist priests have long enjoyed a reputation as teachers of the latter. When the pupil has reached a certain degree of proficiency, she is given a diploma or certificate. The tea used in these ceremonies is a powdered tea of remarkable fragrance — the best qualities of which fetch very high prices.

kaga Shoguns, and were most in vogue during the peaceful period of the Tokugawa rule. With the fall of the Shogunate they went out of fashion; but recently they have been to some extent revived. It is not likely, however, that they will again become really fashionable in the old sense — partly because they represented rare forms of social refinement that never can be revived, and partly because of their costliness.

In translating ko-kwai as "incense-party," I use the word "party" in the meaning that it takes in such compounds as "card-party," "whist-party," "chess-party"; — for a ko-kwai is a meeting held only with the object of playing a game — a very curious game. There are several kinds of incensegames; but in all of them the contest depends upon the ability to remember and to name different kinds of incense by the perfume alone. That variety of ko-kwai called "Jitchu-ko" ("ten-burning-incense") is generally conceded to be the most amusing; and I shall try to tell you how it is played.

The numeral "ten," in the Japanese, or rather Chinese name of this diversion, does not refer to ten kinds, but only to ten packages of incense; for Jitchii-ko, besides being the most amusing, is the very simplest, of incense-games, and is played with only four kinds of incense. One kind must be supplied by the guests invited to the party; and three are furnished by the person who gives the enter tainment. Each of the latter three supplies of incense — usually prepared in packages containing one hundred wafers — is divided into four parts; and each part is put into a separate paper numbered or marked so as to indicate the quality. Thus four packages are prepared of the incense classed as No. i, four of incense No. 2, and four of incense No. 3 — or twelve in all. But the incense given by the guests — always called "guest-incense" — is not divided: it is only put into a wrapper marked with an abbreviation of the Chinese character signifying "guest." Accordingly we have a total of thirteen packages to start with; but three are to be used in the preliminary sampling, or "experimenting" — as the Japanese term it — after the following manner.

We shall suppose the game to be arranged for a party of six — though there is no rule limiting the number of players. The six take their places in line, or in a half-circle — if the room be small; but they do not sit close together, for reasons which will presently appear. Then the host, or the person appointed to act as incense-burner, prepares a package of the incense classed as No. 1, kindles it in a censer, and passes the censer to the guest occupying the first seat,1 with the announcement: "This is incense No. 1." The guest receives the censer according to the graceful etiquette required in the ko-kwai, in

1 The places occupied by guests in a Japanese zashiki, or receptionroom, are numbered from the alcove of the apartment. The place of the most honored is immediately before the alcove: this is the first seat; and the rest are numbered from it, usually to the left.

hales the perfume, and passes on the vessel to his neighbor, who receives it in like manner and passes it to the third guest, who presents it to the fourth — and so on. When the censer has gone the round of the party, it is returned to the incense-burner. One package of incense No. 2, and one of No. 3, are similarly prepared, announced, and tested. But with the "guest-incense" no experiment is made. The player should be able to remember the different odors of the incenses tested; and he is expected to identify the guest-incense at the proper time merely by the unfamiliar quality of its fragrance.

The original thirteen packages having thus by "experimenting" been reduced to ten, each player is given one set of ten small tablets — usually of gold-lacquer — every set being differently ornamented. The backs only of these tablets are decorated; and the decoration is nearly always a floral design of some sort: — thus one set might be decorated with chrysanthemums in gold, another with tufts of iris-plants, another with a spray of plumblossoms, etc. But the faces of the tablets bear numbers or marks; and each set comprises three tablets numbered "1," three numbered "2," three numbered "3," and one marked with the character signifying " guest." After these tablet-sets have been distributed, a box called the "tablet-box" is placed before the first player; and all is ready for the real game.

The incense-burner retires behind a little screen, shuffles the flat packages like so many cards, takes the uppermost, prepares its contents in the censer, and then, returning to the party, sends the censer upon its round. This time, of course, he does not announce what kind of incense he has used. As the censer passes from hand to hand, each player, after inhaling the fume, puts into the tablet-box one tablet bearing that mark or number which he supposes to be the mark or number of the incense he has smelled. If, for example, he thinks the incense to be "guest-incense," he drops into the box that one of his tablets marked with the ideograph meaning "guest"; or if he believes that he has inhaled the perfume of No. 2, he puts into the box a tablet numbered "1." When the round is over, tablet-box and censer are both returned to the incense-burner. He takes the six tablets out of the box, and wraps them up in the paper which contained the incense guessed about. The tablets themselves keep the personal as well as the general record — since each player remembers the particular design upon his own set.

The remaining nine packages of incense are consumed and judged in the same way, according to the chance order in which the shuffling has placed them. When all the incense has been used, the tablets are taken out of their wrappings, the record is officially put into writing, and the victor of the day is announced. I here offer the translation of such a record: it will serve to explain, almost at a glance, all the complications of the game.
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According to this record the player who used the tablets decorated with the design called "Young Pine," made but two mistakes; while the holder of the "White-Lily" set made only one correct guess. But it is quite a feat to make ten correct judgments in succession. The olfactory nerves are apt to become somewhat numbed long before the game is concluded; and therefore it is customary during the ko-kwai to rinse the mouth at intervals with pure vinegar, by which operation the sensitivity is partially restored.

To the Japanese original of the foregoing record were appended the names of the players, the date of the entertainment, and the name of the place where the party was held. It is the custom in some families to enter all such records in a book especially made for the purpose, and furnished with an index which enables the ko-kwai player to refer immediately to any interesting fact belonging to the history of any past game.

The reader will have noticed that the four kinds of incense used were designated by very pretty names. The incense first mentioned, for example, is called by the poets' name for the gloaming — "Tasogare" (literally: ''Who is there?" or "Who is it?") — a word which in this relation hints of the toilet-perfume that reveals some charming presence to the lover waiting in the dusk. Perhaps some curiosity will be felt regarding the composition of these incenses. I can give the Japanese recipes for two
sorts; but I have not been able to identify all of the materials named:

a.

Recipe For Yamaji-no-tsuyu

Ingrtdltnti Prfrtkni

about

Jinko (aloes-wood) 4 momml (J oz.)

Choji (cloves) 4 niommi (J oz.)

Kunroku (olibanum) 4 momrni (J oz.)

Hakko (artemisia Schmidtiana) 4 mommi (J oz.)

Jako (musk) I bu (I oz.)

Koko (?) 4 raorami (J oz.)J K

Recipe For Baikwa

In[rtdUntt FrtptrtUni

aboat

Jinko (aloes) 20 momm6 (2 j oz.)

Choji (cloves) 12 momm6 (ij oz.)

Koko (?) 8} mommi (l^g oz.)

Byakudan (sandal-wood) 4 momm£ (\ oz.)

Kansho (spikenard) 2 bu (J oz.)

KwakkS (Bishop's-wort?) 1 bu 2 shu ('fgoz.)

Kunroku (olibanum) 3 bu 3 shu (J| oz.)

Shomokko (?) 2 bu (i oz.)

Jako (musk) 3 bu 2 shu (jV oz.)

Ryuno (refined Borneo camphor) .... 3 shu (J oz.)

The incense used at a ko-kwai ranges in value, according to the style of the entertainment, from two dollars and a half to thirty dollars per envelope of one hundred wafers — wafers usually not more than one fourth of an inch in diameter. Sometimes an incense is used worth even more than thirty dollars per envelope: this contains ranjatai, an aromatic of which the perfume is compared to that of "musk mingled with orchid-flowers." But there is some incense — never sold — which is much more precious than ranjatai — incense valued less for its composition than for its history: I mean the incense brought centuries ago from China or from India by the Buddhist missionaries, and presented to princes or to other persons of high rank. Several ancient Japanese temples also include such foreign incense among their treasures. And very rarely a little of this priceless material is contributed to an incense-party — much as in Europe, on very extraordinary occasions, some banquet is glorified by the production of a wine several hundred years old.

Like the tea-ceremonies, the ko-kwai exact observance of a very complex and ancient etiquette. But this subject could interest few readers; and I shall only mention some of the rules regarding preparations and precautions. First of all, it is required that the person invited to an incense-party shall attend the same in as odorless a condition as possible: a lady, for instance, must not use hair-oil, or put on any dress that has been kept in a perfumed chestof-drawers. Furthermore, the guest should prepare for the contest by taking a prolonged hot bath, and should eat only the lightest and least odorous kind of food before going to the rendezvous. It is forbidden to leave the room during the game, or to open any door or window, or to indulge in needless conversation. Finally I may observe that, while judging the incense, a player is expected to take not less than three inhalations, or more than five.

In this economical era, the ko-kwai takes of necessity a much humbler form than it assumed in the time of the great daimyo, of the princely abbots, and of the military aristocracy. A full set of the utensils required for the game can now be had for about fifty dollars; but the materials are of the poorest kind. The old-fashioned sets were fantastically expensive. Some were worth thousands of dollars. The incense-burner's desk — the writing-box, paperbox, tablet-box, etc. — the various stands or dai — were of the costliest gold-lacquer; — the pincers and other instruments were of gold, curiously worked; — and the censer — whether of precious metal, bronze, or porcelain — was always a chef-d'oeuvre, designed by some artist of renown.

v

Although the original signification of incense in Buddhist ceremonies was chiefly symbolical, there is good reason to suppose that various beliefs older than Buddhism — some, perhaps, peculiar to the race; others probably of Chinese or Korean derivation — began at an early period to influence the popular use of incense in Japan. Incense is still burned in the presence of a corpse with the idea that its fragrance shields both corpse and newly parted soul from malevolent demons; and by the peasants it is often burned also to drive away goblins and the evil powers presiding over diseases. But formerly it was used to summon spirits as well as to banish them. Allusions to its employment in various weird rites may be found in some of the old dramas and romances. One particular sort of incense, imported from China, was said to have the power of calling up human spirits. This was the wizard-incense referred to in such ancient love-songs as the following:

I have heard of the magical incense that summons the souls of the absent:

Would I had some to burn, in the nights when I wait alone!

There is an interesting mention of this incense in the Chinese book, "Shang-hai-king." It was called "Fwan-hwan-hiang" (by Japanese pronunciation, "Hangon-ko,") or "Spirit-Recalling-Incense"; and it was made in Tso-Chau, or the District of the Ancestors, situated by the Eastern Sea. To summon the ghost of any dead person — or even that of a living person, according to some authorities — it was only necessary to kindle some of the incense, and to pronounce certain words, while keeping the mind fixed upon the memory of that person. Then, in the smoke of the incense, the remembered face and form would appear.

In many old Japanese and Chinese books mention is made of a famous story about this incense — a story of the Chinese Emperor Wu, of the Han dynasty. When the Emperor had lost his beautiful favorite, the Lady Li, he sorrowed so much that fears were entertained for his reason. But all efforts made to divert his mind from the thought of her proved unavailing. One day he ordered some SpiritRecalling-Incense to be procured, that he might summon her from the dead. His counsellors prayed him to forego his purpose, declaring that the vision could only intensify his grief. But he gave no heed to their advice, and himself performed the rite — kindling the incense, and keeping his mind fixed upon the memory of the Lady Li. Presently, within the thick blue smoke arising from the incense, the outline of a feminine form became visible. It defined, took tints of life, slowly became luminous; and the Emperor recognized the form of his beloved. At first the apparition was faint; but it soon became distinct as a living person, and seemed with each moment to grow more beautiful. The Emperor whispered to the vision, but received no answer. He called aloud, and the presence made no sign. Then unable to control himself, he approached the censer. But the instant that he touched the smoke, the phantom trembled and vanished.

Japanese artists are still occasionally inspired by the legends of the "Hangon-ko." Only last year, in Tokyo, at an exhibition of new kakemono, I saw a picture of a young wife kneeling before an alcove wherein the smoke of the magical incense was shaping the shadow of the absent husband.1

1 Among the curious Tokyo inventions of 1898 was a new variety of cigarettes called "Hangon-so," or "Herb of Hangon" — a name suggesting that their smoke operated like the spirit-summoning incense. As a matter of fact, the chemical action of the tobacco-smoke would define, upon a paper fitted into the mouthpiece of each cigarette, the photographic image of a dancing-girl.

Although the power of making visible the forms of the dead has been claimed for one sort of incense only, the burning of any kind of incense is supposed to summon viewless spirits in multitude. These come to devour the smoke. They are called "Jikiko-ki," or "incense-eating goblins"; and they belong to the fourteenth of the thirty-six classes of Gaki (pretas) recognized by Japanese Buddhism. They are the ghosts of men who anciently, for the sake of gain, made or sold bad incense; and by the evil karma of that action they now find themselves in the state of hunger-suffering spirits, and compelled to seek their only food in the smoke of incense.