I have great fun smelling new stuff. When I go online to look for a product I’ve encountered in my reading, I’m so tempted by tantalizing descriptions of other various materials that I never escape unscathed; I may order twelve things instead of one.
I just got more orris concrete for Green Iris and practically swooned when I gave it a sniff. The stuff costs a fortune—$800 for an ounce. From the same company, I discovered carnation concrete. Since, unlike absolutes, concretes contain the original waxes extracted from the flower, they have a subtle complexity all their own and help (at least in theory) fix perfumes and make them stay longer on the skin.
I also got a bottle of opoponax absolute which is distinct and different than the essential oil. While both exude a rooty, resiny, caramelized sweetness, the absolute is deeper and has none of the sometimes-aggressive aspects I smell in the oil. I use it in Ambergris.
I had no intention of buying it, but when I saw cypress absolute, I was intrigued. It isn’t coniferous like you’d expect and has a delightful and dirty funk that I’m going to put to good use.
Another weirdo is angelica root absolute. Usually angelica root is sold as a distillate—an essential oil—instead of an absolute, extracted with hexane, which is essentially highly purified gasoline. The absolute isn’t green and rooty like the essential oil, but enormously complex with a bit of funk coupled with caramel-butterscotch.
Seven versions of grapefruit, among them white, pink, and “ruby red,” now sit on my desk, some indifferent, some extraordinary. The best, one brand of pink grapefruit, goes into the top note for Green Iris.