White Ginger Lily/Butterfly Lily/Sontaka(Hedychium coronariam absolute/India

Olfactory Properties of White Ginger Lily/Butterfly Lily/Sontaka Absolute(Hedychium coronarium)/India
Another unique aromatic treasure has arrived which some of you may enjoy exploring and utilizing in your fine fragrant creations. This is White Ginger Lily/Butterfly Lily/Sontaka (Hedychium coronarium) absolute from Maharastra State in India.

The flower of this member of the tropical ginger family is grown extensively around Mumbai as it figures prominently in the temple worship of the people living in that area. Daily during the famous festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, tons of white ginger lily flowers are sold in the busy flower markets to decorate that ornate displays of the idols of Ganesh that are found in every home, temples and public places. The whole city becomes a fairly land of twinkling lights during this 10 day celebration and the fragrance of White Ginger Lily fills the air in the evenings as people visit the many venues where simple and elaborate alters of Ganesh are constructed. You can get some idea of the importance of this festival by visiting the images posted on Flickr

Aside from the importance of the flower in religious worship, it is a flower dearly loved by the Indian people in Maharastra and other places in India where it grows in abundance. The plants flourish with little care and their deliciously scented blossoms fill the atmosphere with their aromatic aura in the areas where they grow. Its scent is particularly noticeable in the evening. The flower is is by no means confined to India. It grows lavishly in many other places such as Vietnam, Brazil, Malaysia, Philippines, Hawaii(where it is used in lei's) and Cuba(where it is the national flower).

Years ago when I was visiting Mumbai and the surrounding flower growing areas, I became intrigued by this plant as it had such a delectable sweet floral-spicy aroma. Up to that time little if any work had been on extracting its essence. At that time the White Lotus Aromatic project was in its infancy and interactions with extractors in different parts of the country was just beginning but fortunately I was in the company of a person who had the same enthusiasm for natural aromatics as myself and who also had the expertise to take on different distillation and extraction projects. Within a few years the first extractions of concrete and absolute of White Ginger Lily commenced.

What was noticed from the very beginning was that there was a tremendous variation in aroma of the absolute. Often the very hot warm spicy note dominated the final product with the ethereal sweet floral note remaining in the background and only emerging later in the dry-out of the absolute. But gradually the extraction technique has been perfected and also the best sources for the fresh flower have been located very near to the extracting units in north of Mumbai and the results are now very much in line with the aroma of the fresh flowers.The amber colored absolute of White Ginger Lily displays a fresh, sweet, tropical floral bouquet with a lovely ginger-like, fruity undertone. The floral sweetness is very rich and deep, yet light and exhilarating as well. The tenacity is very good and the radiance is excellent.

Blends well with bergamot eo; carnation abs; champa, golden absolute; frankincense eo, co2 and abs; frangipani abs; ginger co2, eo and abs; jasmin grandiflorum abs; jasmin auriculatum abs; jasmin sambac abs; lime eo and essence; melissa/lemonbalm eo, co2 and abs; night queen abs; neroli eo; orange blossom abs; osmanthus absolute petitgrain mandarin eo; rose eo's and abs; ruh kewda; sandalwood eo, co2 and abs; verbena eo and abs; tuberose absolute; vanilla co2 and abs; ylang absolute.

This would work well in lei and garland perfumes, sacred perfumes, high class florals,
tropical bouquets, oriental accords

Interesting information about White Ginger Lily/Butterfly Lily/Sontaka
1. In Cuba it is the National Flower, known as "Mariposa blanca" literally "White Butterfly Flower", due to its similarity with a flying white butterfly.
2. White ginger lei are sometimes referred to as evening lei because they are often strung in the evening to be worn that night. With a sweet, delicate aroma and orchid-like configuration, the blossoms are woven into the finest of lei, usually strung Micronesian style, tied or woven into a flat collar. (See Lei Making Methods.) About 125 buds are required for a standard 40-inch (100-cm) lei.
3. A frequent ginger in the house gardens of the Dai people along the Mekong river. Its pretty and fragrant flowers open from April to July.
It is used in local medicine to treat cold, headache, arthritis, and injuries.
4. Its flower buds are actually edible and can be used like a vegetable. The flower buds are best picked early in the morning and stored in the refrigerator until they are ready to be used. The buds can be tossed in your salad for a spicy, gingery zest and intriguing, succulent texture. They can also be added to soups and stir-fried.
5. The buds can also be infused in hot water, together with your Chinese tea leaves, add the unique butterfly ginger fragrance to your tea.

Links for White Ginger Lily/Butterfly Lily/Sontaka Hedychium coronarium

Popular and Traditional Lei Flowers
Volatile components of ginger flowers (Hedychium coronarium koenig)
Philipine medicinal plants
Odorographia: Volume 2 By John Charles Sawer
Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary By C. P. Khare