Friday, January 22, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Lemon

If it's Venus Day it must be the day we illuminate notes and flavors in perfume. Lemon is the flavor and fragrance that my co-creator Beth and I will delve into this day.

FRAGRANCE: Roxana Villa

Expressed from the peel of the lemon, this fresh, clarifying and uplifting essential oil is used in both aromatherapy and natural perfume. California is one of the leading producers of the expressed essence in the United States along with Arizona. Other countries producing the essential oil include Cyprus, Italy and my homeland of Argentina.

Indigenous to Northern India and Asia lemon came to Europe in the 12th century by way of crusaders. The seeds of the citrus fruit lime was introduced to
the West Indies via Christopher Columbus in 1493. That same year the seeds of lemons arrived to the shores of America.

Here in California the citrus arrived in 1769 via Father Junipero Serra and his friars during the time the missions were being built. In 1840 the California citrus industry is born on two acres of land near what is now downtown Los Angeles. Read more about the history of Citrus in California at this informative timeline supplied by Sunkist.

Lemon essential oil is obtained by pressing the rind of the fruit to extract the green to pale yellow oil or via distillation. The pressed variety is the most widely sought after by those the aromatic field as it is the most fragrant. Rich in limonene, a monterpene, lemon essential oil has a wealth of therapeutic properties in aromatherapy. Below is a snippet from a newsletter I published in October 2001. The article is titled CREATING AN AROMATIC LIFESTYLE - Nature’s Disinfectants.

In our homes we can replace many toxic, synthetic chemicals with natural substitutes.
We, and our beloved blue planet, are organic beings. Using pure botanical products in our homes enhances our immediate environment, improves our immune systems, and adds to the growing awareness of natural products that support life and an organic agricultural industry. Unlike conventional cleansers, pure essential oils lift the spirit. The most effective form of using essential oils as a means of disinfecting is in the air. Odors, smoke, pollens and microbes can be substantially reduced and eliminated while cleansing the air. Essential oils provide the additional effect of elevating the mood of anyone within the vicinity of the aromatic molecules. The French doctor Jean Valnet found that many bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses cannot survive in the presence of vaporized essences. For example: within fifteen minutes essential oil of Lemon can kill the meningoccus bacteria. Some of the most powerful bactericidal, antiviral and antifungal essential oils according to the doctor include Eucalyptus, Clove, Niaouli, Thyme, Garlic, Sandalwood, Lemon, Cinnamon, Lavender, German Chamomile and Peppermint.

As in aromatherapy, where lemon essential oil is used to uplift the spirit, in perfumery the light filled essence has similar properties. Adding the essence to natural perfume provides refreshing, fruity and sparkling top notes to a formula. In both aromatherapy and perfumery the essential oil can be used to obscure more therapeutic notes like those found in eucalyptus.

The most typical uses of essential oil of lemon is in a colonge. Here is a slightly altered formula for a traditional eau de Cologne from An Introduction to Perfumery by Tony Curtis and David Williams:

Bergamot 27 drops
Lemon 20 drops
Orange, Sweet 16 drops
Neroli 12 drops
Lavender 6 drops
Rosemary 4 drops
Thyme 1 drop
Clove Bud 1 drop
Petitgrain 3 drops
Clary Sage 2 drops
Benzoin 3 drops

Combine these essential oils and allow to sit for a few days or weeks to meld. Add the synergy to at least 300 drops of a high grade ethanol to create your natural cologne.

If you would rather purchase a handmade botanical cologne based on the infamous 4711, I suggest my recreation titled Blossom.

Please take a journey over to to read the continuation of Perfume Illuminated: Lemon
FLAVOR: Beth Shreibman Gehring
at the Windsphere Witch blog

1 comment:

Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Goodness Roxana,
That fragrance sounds absolutely wonderful! I didn't realize that the lemon wasn't indigenous to California. That was fascinating to find out! I tend to love colognes with a lemon note in the summer....I find them so unbelievably refreshing. My mother wore 4711 always, in fact it was the last bottle of cologne that she ever gave me and even in it's current reformulation I still love it. I bet that your "Blossom" is much closer to the real thing though!