Friday, June 18, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Butter

Creamy, delicious butter is our star today at Perfume Illuminated, yum! In today's modern, western culture we automatically think of butter coming from cows, but the origins begin with goat milk. More on the history of butter can be found at this link.

In our home as a child we didn't have margarine, my mother bought real unsalted butter. However, my fondest memory is when we would visit my grandmother in Argentina where we eat real, fresh farm butter. Every morning my grandmother would set out on her various market rounds, which included the butcher for meat, the fresh produce stands for veggies and fruits and the pastry shop for baguettes and mouth watering croissants.

I followed a similar path in the eighties when I lived the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. I would go to the Fish store for the fresh catch of the day, the Italian deli for fresh pasta, the pastry shop for breads and cookies. For my fruits, vegies and flowers I tended to head to a local farmers market or the little Korean market. There was something so quaint and vital about going to these little indie stores than the big markets.

Ever since watching the film Julie and Julia, which inspired this weekly blogging project, I have come to associate butter with Julia Child. The power of films and stories is truly amazing.


Butter in perfumery appears in a variety of formats. Let's begin with a fairly new raw material for the natural, botanical perfumer Butter c02. Butter c02 is obtained through a molecular fractionation by super critical carbon dioxide. The result is extremely true to the aroma of butter left out in a dish.

This aromatic works best with other gourmand notes like: Cardamon, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, and Cacao. However, interesting and new scent sensations can be achieved by combining it with other butter notes like Tuberose and Wild Ginger Flower. When working with Butter C02 consider how one uses it for cooking, as a base to harmonize flavors. In perfume we have a term called "bridge note" referring to a material with the ability to harmonize and bring other notes together. This is fact how Butter C02 acts when blending, however, the material demands mastery, use it judiciously and you will be rewarded with new and unusual fragrance pairings.

Other butters used in perfumery are those that are derived from plants such as Cocoa, Mango and Shea for example. Here is a basic recipe to make your own Body Butter, which is very similar to creating a solid perfume.

  • 4 oz. of one or all of these: Shea butter, Mango butter and/or Cocoa butter
  • 4 oz. Jojoba seed or Almond oil. or a combination of both
  • Essential oils for fragrance, use approximately 15 drops
  • Double boiler
  • Plastic or Metal spoon with a rubber handle
  • A jar for your finished butter
How to:

1. Begin by melting the butter(s) over low heat using a double boiler. When making solid perfume I use a small ceramic casserole dish which works really well.

2. Once the butter has dissolved add the oil and stir well. I use a laboratory glass rod to stir with.

3. When the butter and oil are well combined and the mixture has cooled for a minute or two add in the essential oil, drop by drop and stir.

4. Pour your liquid butter into your jar and allow to set uncovered until solid.

5. Your final product is now ready to use or gift to someone special. Store at room temperature with a tight fitting lid and enjoy!


#1 Herb Butter with Lemon
Our friends Peleg and Ricki came by for dinner last weekend. Greg prepared most of the meal, while doing so he asked "What shall we serve with the bread?" Since I had been researching butter for this post I exclaimed "I'll make an herb butter!" The basic recipe I followed is in the Silver Palette cookbook, one of my trusty cooking bibles lest over from when I lived in NYC in the 80's. I began by softening one butter stick by leaving it next to the stove top while Greg cooked. Once softened I placed the stick in the Cuisinart with one tablespoon freshly chopped herbs and lemon juice.

#2 Tarragon Butter for Lobster, from the Julie & Julia website
Melt the 1 cup butter over medium-low heat in a small skillet. Stir in the onion, tarragon, parsley, lime juice, salt, and cayenne. Generously spoon some of the herb butter into the tail of each lobster, the cracked claws, and the body. Keep remaining butter warm for serving.

Now, onward to Beth at the Windesphere Witch blog for more buttery flavor musings.

Images: Old engravings cleaned, enhanced and placed on parchment by Roxana Villa.


Anonymous said...

Oh How Lovely!

Thank you so much for the post about butter. I came to love butter early in my adult life. We only had margarine growing up, because it was considered "healthier" than butter. My partner grew up with butter.

Will look forward to attempting some fragrant butter concoctions =)

Illuminated Perfume said...

Hi EsscentualAlchemy,
I'm so happy you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog very much, and have learned a great deal from reading it! Thank you for sharing it with the world, very generous of you.

Amanda aka Esscentual Alchemy