Please, could you introduce yourself ?
My name is Maxine Hyndman and one of the many things I have decided to learn is how to make perfumes - not something that smells like aromatherapy but a real perfume and so I signed up for the online Perfumery Art School's two year online course.
What led you to plant tinctures, and to tincturing by yourself ?
Hmmm, I have to think about that one... well I would say that in the beginning I was obsessed to just begin smelling things and since I couldn't afford to purchase everything I set my sights on I had to wait and patiently gather them a bit at a time so while waiting for some shipments to arrive or the money to manifest I decided to use what I had around me and because I have the good fortune of living in the Alps there's a lot of raw materials to start experimenting with!
Do you remember the first tincture you have realized ?
I sure do, it was a piece of resin my husband had been keeping in the car that he would use as a chewing gum every once a while. One day while we were driving I saw him do it and got the mad idea to use that to start tincturing and since neither one of us knew the origins of the resin that tincture is now called "Resin Unknown".
Where did you find the information/training to guide you ?
Initially it was just my curiosity and desire to start smelling and learning that really guided me, but having the school as support was helpful in giving me the courage to continue.
What information source (book, website, blog, training) would you recommend for someone aspiring to enlarge his/her “tinctures” culture ?
The perfume portal Basenotes was and remains immensely useful and there I found someone in the perfume making forum that just focuses on tinctures and her wealth of knowledge and experience is large. I also found a couple recipes I really like on the Hermitage website, I'm not sure if it's still up there but he had posted a wonderful recipe for a Vanilla tincture that is out of this world wonderful! I changed it a bit to suit my own tastes. Another blog that has a lot of information is http://tambela.com/blog/.
What kind of tinctures do you realize most often and with which purpose ?
I haven't been making perfumes for so long to have made one specific one many times so I have many different types because I like to try lots of different things.
Olfactively, which one is your favorite tincture ?
I absolutely love my white Ambergris and my Larch resin tinctures but the best one is my Lapsang Souchong tea tincture.
Photograph : the Lapsang Souchong tea tincture of Maxine
Could you give us your recipe ?
This is a really simple one: 50gr of Lapsang Souchong tea into 100gr of pure 96° grain alcohol. I miwed the tincture on August 26 and filtered it out on December 18th 2013 and the smell is simply gorgeous!
Resins, food, plants more or less dry, more ore less concentrated alcohol, macerating time, replacement, filtering, conservation, and so on… Not that simple… What would you advise to a beginner to avoid spoiling raw material?
First of all recognize that spoiling precious raw materials is a part of this learning process, it cannot be avoided if we are to learn. Yes, this is an expensive craft/hobby I have to be honest. But one can minimize the errors with proper research, some basic, sound education wherever you can get it, and a process (which I learned from the school) that is your own including the proper proportions every time so that you're not producing things as a hit and a miss ans the right tools like a good scale, one that measures in 0.01 or if you can afford it 0.001. Then commit yourself from the beginning to weigh EVERYTHING ALWAYS.
Photographs : white ambergris of Maxine, before and after tincturing
In which types of preparation do you use your tinctures ? And in which proportions ?
I typically wouldn't do more than 20gr of raw materials, between 10gr - 20gr is ideal in 50ml of alcohol because then if you don't like it you won't end up with a lot of wasted material and calculate that you will lose some of the tincture in the filtering process.
A little recipe ?
I weighed out 40gr of Mate tea and added 125ml of alcohol but the tea ended up soaking up all the alcohol so I doubled the alcohol to 250ml and ended up with a wonderfully, smooth 16% tincture after 6 weeks.
Photographs : Mate tea and basmati rice tinctures of Maxine
How can we follow you on the web ?
You can check me out at Her Two Scents http://www.hertwoscents.com.
The photographs from this article come from http://www.hertwoscents.com with the courtesy of Maxine, thank you very much Maxine !