Friday, February 19, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Tiger

The Tiger
By William Blake

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Lunar twelve year zodiac of the Asia is upon us. The twelve animal symbols, according to ancient lore, were chosen by Buddha. Beginning on February 14th we entered the cycle of the passionate Tiger.

To celebrate this event for today's Perfume Illuminated contribution Beth and I are focusing on the scents and flavors of Asia.


An Oriental Perfume is determined by scents with a warm, rich and spicy character. The fragrance catagories which go into composing Oriental perfumes are Amber, Incense, Balsamic, Wood, Floral and Spice with Citrus in the top notes. On a personal note this is my favorite type of perfume and the one that I tend to automatically create.

Main stream perfumes considered Orientals include: "Jicky" Guerlain 1889, "Shalimar" Guerlain 1925, "Old Spice" Shulton 1935, and "Opium" Yves St. Laurent 1977 . While attending art school in the 80's Opium was my main signature scent. My current obsession has been with the perfume devoted to Peace in the solid format, which happens to be an Oriental featuring all the notes mentioned above.

The Scents of Asia include those of China and Japan. The first scents of China were utilized for incense, sachets, tea, cosmetics, gardens and interior design featuring their flowering shrubs and trees. Many of these can be seen in their decorative arts.

The main raw materials include: Citrus, Camphor wood, Nanmu known as Southern wood, Cassia, Osmanthus, Chrysanthemums and Lotus. Today's contemporary botanical perfumer enjoys many essences from China including: Star Anise, Borage C02, Cajuput, Camphor, Cassia, Cedarwood, Champa essential oil and C02, Geranium, HoWood, Litsea Cubeba (aka May Chang), Rose (rugosa), Jasmin sambac C02, and Aglaia Absolute.

In Japan, like China and many ancient cultures, incense was the main use for fragrance. The Japanese also scented their clothing like the Chinese using sachets but also developed little laquer boxes on silken cords called Inro. Essences contained within a botanical perfumers palette from Japan include Yuzu, Shiso and Hibawood.

While on the phone this week with Beth she mentioned creating a classic five spice powder or syrup. When she described it I thought ah, this is like a Spice chord, similar to the Garam Masala chord I created. Upon researching a recipe for a five spice blend I discovered that the combination is based on the philosophy of Yin and Yang combining sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. The five spice blend from Herb Companion Magazine lists: Star anise, Fennel, Clove, Cinnamon, and Pepper, all of which exist as essential oils and can be combined for a Five Spice chord utilized in the formulation of an Oriental type perfume. The Herb Companion suggests combining the ingredients with these proportions which can be interpreted into parts and or drops.

Fennel - 4 Tablespoons
Clove - 4 Tablespoons
Cinnamon - 4 Tablespoons
Pepper - 4 Tablespoons
Star anise - 12 whole

FLAVOR: Beth Schreibman Gehring
Please continue reading about Happy Chinese New Year! at the Windesphere Witch blog

Top: Tiger by Kuniyoshi Utagawa
The Enchantress by Frederick Stuart Church from ArtMagick
All others are old engravings cleaned and placed on parchment by Roxana Villa

1 comment:

chayaruchama said...

Can't beat Blake and 5-Spice !!!! ;-

[We also can NEVER have too many opportunities for a fresh start, either !]