Summer of 2020 was a strange time, but I was still able to garden, swim at our local pool, and find time to try out a few new ideas. One of those projects was creating scented alcohol.
Most of the articles I read spoke of creating your own perfume, but I only wanted to preserve the scent of summer to remind me of my gardens. I used moonflowers and nicotiana in my white-flowered blend. In another blend, I used anything and everything that smelled good without looking up information first to see if they were toxic. Smelling a fragrance is usually not dangerous, but rubbing an alcohol with an essential oil infused into it onto your skin could be life-threatening if the plant or flower is toxic. If I was hoping to create something I could put on my skin, I would make sure I used only flowers and leaves that were both fragrant and edible.
The project was simple. I bought some vodka, a very inexpensive blend, which although it had no fragrance of its own, was so cheap, it assaulted my nose every time I smelled it. The harshness did eventually disappear, but when I try my scent-making again, I will use a better quality vodka.
I used mason jars. The plastic lids I have for them create a great seal. I filled the jar with some vodka, added clean flowers, and let them sit. In fact, the flowers in the photograph are still in the vodka. The alcohol helps preserve their form and color. Eventually, the nose-wrinkling properties of the vodka disappeared and a slight scent was present. I strained the first batch of flowers out after a week or so, and added more. I kept this up over a period of several weeks. Now, in mid-winter, I enjoy smelling the perfumed vodka (called an absolute) created from summer’s flowers and foliage.
Now is the time to plan out flowers and plants to place in your garden if you want to create a scented alcohol (absolute) of your own. A few I used were: moonflowers, nicotiana, scented geranium leaves, pansies, alyssum, lemon balm, lemon verbena, rose petals and others. A few of these are non-toxic, but some are poisonous. This year I will create a non-toxic blend and see if it will work as a perfume.