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domingo, 13 de dezembro de 2015

Christmas Scents: Part IV, Cloves

by: Juliett Ptoyan

Friday 's here, so let's continue our discussion about New Year's fragrances! For those who joined us just now: in "Christmas Scents" we are discovering trees, plants and herbs, which are associated with the upcoming holidays. We already looked into sprucefir, and cinnamon, and now I'd like to talk about cloves, the spice with which everything becomes better.
This inexpensive spice that can be found in any local market, is actually the dried flower buds of clove trees (Syzygium aromaticum), imported from Tanzania, Indonesia and Madagascar. The tree belongs to the myrtle family (which already includeseucalyptus, tea tree, myrtle itself and a few dozen other names); as all of them, clove contains a high amount of essential oil.
The low cost of this spice is caused by the relative ease of production: unopened buds are harvested, fermented (too much pathos: they're just dried under the sun until they make a cracking sound when breaking) and sold to an intermediary company for packaging and further implementation.
The essential oil of cloves is produced with steam or water distillation; in this process they include not only the buds, but the leaves and branches too, although the quality of the last ones is considered to be lower. Compared with conifers, the output of cloves is much higher - up to 18%, which gives us as much as 180 ml of oil per kg of raw material. This number varies depending on geography, but in any case it's impressive, isn't it? The same applies to the quality of the oil, but there is a higher dependency on what kind of raw material is used - buds, leaves or branches. Clove bud oil is often falsified, and under this name sometimes the guise of processing of other parts of the plant is sold; dishonest producers can also add here the waste that remains after the separation of eugenol.
The spicy, hot, slightly astringent smell of clove oil is caused by its high (73.5 - 96.9%, depending on the part of the plant) concentration of eugenol, which can also be found in  ylang-ylang, rose, basil and some myrtle oils. Like cinnamal, it came under restrictions of the IFRA: up to 0.5% in compound is still ok, but if you add more, it can increase the sensitivity of the skin. Eugenol, by the way, is extracted not only from cloves: it can successfully be synthesized and such an analog, of course, costs cheaper. I have a sample of it... Oh, you should bury it in several boxes, or this thing perfumes the whole house, and no pills will help you to get rid of the headache. Perfumery really is a dangerous thing!
This ingredient appeared in perfumery in the first half of the twentieth century; saturated colors of clove can be found in many and many vintage perfumes:  Fidji,Paloma Picasso1932 by Chanel - just to name a few. Of course, there is sandyL'Elephant Kenzo, burning Carnation CDG; and Lush uses eugenol among other ingredients in Karma - it has a certain New Year's vibe, but for me it seems a rather peculiar variation on the orientals. Pretty cloves we also find in the Royall Spyce: here is clearly visible its fractional texture and it looks surprisingly cheerful in this type of water - an all-purpose lotion is a great thing, and even more so when offered in such cute bottles (and with a spicy gunpowder inside). YsatisL'Air du Temps, old Bellodgia- you know what I mean.
Cloves have been used for more than a couple of centuries in preparing for the New Year: English housewifes, not yet succumbed to emancipation, carefully decorated oranges with these scented tacks and used it as an interior fragrance. The same can still be done - many lifestyle blogs suggest to tie crosswise a silk or velvet ribbon around a citrus and to cover the remaining space with buds. You can hang these beauties from the chandelier, the Christmas tree, or just present them to friends as a souvenir. This pomander smells great, and looks quite a festive.
Do you love cloves? Maybe your signature fragrance has it, or you plan to make  a  pomander? Do you add it to teas or food?
Wishing you a fragrant weekend!

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