Wooden frames of cold enfleurage

Sep 1, 2021
Good morning everybody!

In printed and online literature (amateur and professional) concerning cold enfleurage i was not able to find answers for 3 important questions:

1) Why were the used frames made of wood?

2) What kind of wood was it?

3) The closure created by the frames has to be totally airtight or it must guarantee a minimum passage of air?

Thanks a lot to everybody will help me and to all others too
 

jameshillier

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 15, 2020
I have done a successful enfleurage of jasmine from flowers on vines in my local neighbourhood over about three weeks in September 2019.

1) I don't know - but I don't think it matters.
Perhaps because it was a readily available lightweight material to mass produce frames from?

2) I don't know - but probably pine, whatever was cheapest.
All the pictures I've seen show an unfinished light-coloured timber frame.

3) I've never been told by anyone with experience (though I read it in the post linked below), but I trapped air in mine using cling wrap. My theory was that the aromatic molecules stood more chance of being captured in the fat if they were trapped there, and not given the chance to fly away into the air. Though, looking at the scale of operation shown in the images on the below link, you'll see that the frames are stacked high, and air-tightness would probably not be possible. The amount of jasmine aroma floating through the air in those factories would be enough to knock you over! So, given that, I don't think they were as worried as I was about capturing every last molecule possible.

Watch out for humidity and mould, and if some occurs, carefully scrape it out of the fat. Also sometimes insects get in there from the flowers. You have to carefully inspect each one and remove any green matter before adding to the fat.

I used dinner plates and melted the fats first so they would be easy to pour into the plate and then they solidified nice and flat.

I used three plates with a different fat in each: Cocoa butter (hardest), Coconut oil (softest) and Shea butter (the best all-rounder).

The cocoa butter has it's own mild odour which does contribute to the resulting extracted jasmine aroma in the alcohol. Being the hardest, I believe this is why it absorbed the least aroma (my guess).

Coconut oil also contributes its own character, in which case you get a delicious coconut/jasmine effect which is quite appealing. The flowers would sink into the oil sometimes as it liquefies at springtime temperatures here in Melbourne. Also some spillage occurred when I moved the plate and hadn't realised how soft the oil was. Lucky for the cling wrap.

Shea butter is basically odourless, and is the best if you're looking to capture the pure jasmine scent without the fat's own smell. It also absorbed really well and was easy to work with and did not liquefy until it was time to do so.

I don't have the equipment to do a low-pressure evaporation so I just used my alcohol as a tincture and made it into a room spray (very low concentration, but very natural and pretty smelling). and in future I don't think I'd bother trying to extract into alcohol given the time and effort that went into picking the flowers and recharging the fats every day for three weeks.

Also, filtering the alcohol (chilled, then paper funnel into a clean, empty jar) resulted in a fair bit of loss and did result in a change to the aroma of the alcohol.

If I do jasmine enfleurage again, and I still don't own or have access to a rotovap (required to evaporate the alcohol and leave behind the tiny amount of jasmine material) I will simply make soap with the fats. I made some soap from the mixture of fats which had been extracted in alcohol and the aroma was still there, however more like a ghost of jasmine, but still nice.

This is where I drew my inspiration and information from: http://africanaromatics.com/enfleurage-101/

My conclusion is that now I would prefer to pay the amount asked for jasmine absolute, because I now have a clear understanding of how labour intensive it is to create.

It was a fun experiment though, and if I one day have a jasmine vine of my own I'll give it another try.

See below for photos:


01 enfleurage.jpg
From enfleurage101: frames.

02 enfleurage.jpg
From enfleurage 101: frames.

03 jasmine.jpg
1 day's worth of collected jasmine flowers.
04 flowers on plates.jpg
Flowers on plates of different fats.
05 enfleurage fats.jpg
Each fat type in its own jar after weeks of constant recharging with jasmine
06 extracting scent to alcohol.jpg
Added alcohol to extract scent.
07 Jasmine soap .jpg
My jasmine soap
 
Last edited:

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
James, that is so cool!!! Would it have been possible to extract the absolute by first dissolving all the fats in hexane & then extracting with EtOH?
 

jameshillier

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 15, 2020
It could have been possible but I have never grasped the concept of extracting using hexane, nor would I know where to get some hexane. Something to keep in mind for next time.

I’d also like to mention that I referenced the videos by Charlie Pan (https://youtube.com/channel/UCmLtXpHtAPRKgvoTtBnRUSA) but she appears to have removed the videos showing filtration and evaporation using the rotovap at low pressure.
 
Sep 1, 2021
Dear James,

thanks a lot for your beautiful and didactic report.

Thanks too for your considerations about my 3 questions.

Can I ask you what quantity relationship between fat and flowers (before), and between fat and alcohol (after) you followed.

I'm going to do like this:

ENFLEURAGE
1 part of fat + 2,5 parts of flowers (exemple: 100 gr fat + 250 gr flowers)

LAVAGE DU POMADE
1 part of fat + 1 part of alcohol (exemple: 100 gr fat + 100gr alcohol)

I'm interested of knowking in particular about the quantity you stick to in the "Lavage" stage.

I'll enfleurage violets flowers and I need to obtain an alcoholic tincture (it does not need to be excessively flavored) to use in an alcoholic product.

Thaks for all you answers

Regards from Italy!!!!!
 

ourmess

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2018
It might be déclassé, but I've done enfleurage in disposable aluminum baking trays using plain Crisco as the fat, and it worked fabulously well.
 

jameshillier

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 15, 2020
What type of fat is Crisco? Coconut? Palm would probably work well too, but I'm anti palm.

ENFLEURAGE:
First decide how much fat you will use, then balance that with your supply of flowers. You don't want to use up all your flowers in the first day or two, you need to be sure you will have a constant and steady supply. You need good coverage, and of course the more flowers, the better. I don't believe every single flower needs to make physical contact with the fat. Think about how your butter absorbs the onion taste in the refrigerator just by being nearby something that had onion in it. Based on this, I think fats are really good at absorbing scent.

Some days you might leave the flowers on for 48 hours, some for 24. It depends what you can be bothered with and whether you notice the flowers developing an odd or off aroma on day two. Always remove if the scent being produced is not to your liking, because the scent will end up in your fat.

I did not bother to score my fat as the smooth surface was much neater, and did not want small crumbs of fat coming off on the flowers when I changed them over. With the smooth surface I was able to easily tip the flowers off into the bin.

LAVAGE:
I suggest as this is your first run (of many hopefully?) you might be able to experiment when it comes time to soak the fat in alcohol, try a few different jars with different ratios and see what happens with each... One could be a 1:1 ratio, another could be 1:1.5 then the third could be 1:2. Make sure you use jars that seal really well, as the alcohol can evaporate easily if not well sealed. You may also need to stick a knife in and chop the fat while it is in the alcohol to create more surface area and really get it blending well with the alcohol. Never heat the fat as the whole idea is to do it at cool temperature to preserve the floral essence.

@ourmess I don't see the difference between a plate and an aluminium tray :)

Regards from Melbourne, Australia (still in lockdown :p )
 

ourmess

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2018
What type of fat is Crisco? Coconut? Palm would probably work well too, but I'm anti palm.

Soy and palm, yeah: https://crisco.com/product/all-vegetable-shortening/

I can understand your concerns. I've also seen reporting that anti-palm-oil campaigns have been making it harder to create a sustainable farming system for it...I don't know where the reality lies, but I'm sure it falls under "It's A Lot More Complicated", as many things do. ;p
 
Sep 1, 2021
Good Morning everybody and thanks for all these extremely valuable contributions.

Here i attach for you some pics of the making of my wooden chassis.

pic1.jpg

pic2.jpg

pic3.jpg

pic4.jpg

My trusted carpenter is working on them.

It's just a prototype, for fun.

I will surely opt for a more comfortable solutions as that adopted by XII.

By the way, mr (or mrs) XII, your beautiful glass chassis don't appear to be airtight, am i right?

Regards from Italy <3
 

xii

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2015
By the way, mr (or mrs) XII, your beautiful glass chassis don't appear to be airtight, am i right?

I‘ve done lilac only, perhaps airtight works with other flowers. Lilac florets are all but spent within 12-16 hours. Later they either dry without colour change, or start turning brown, stick to the fat and stain it.The florets in the dry form remain unchanged for weeks smelling faintly grassy, not unlike dimethyl hydroquinone. Once brown however, they smell oily, grassy and catch mould quickly. So I keep my stuff in a dry place and allow air access.
 
Sep 1, 2021
Thanks a lot, XII. Instead, I remain doubtful about your use of the magnetic stirrer. To favor the separation of the most stubborn oily molecules I thought the use of a laboratory "centrifuge" was rather recommended.
Could you please describe me in which way a magnetic stirrer can technically help us to separate fat from alcohol?

I'm looking for the best way to favor the separation, then I would freeze the mixture and in the end filtration through a Büchner funnel.

What do you think about it?

Thanks a lot for your answers
 

xii

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2015
I guess I used the stirrer as a poor man's centrifuge. The fat kept collecting away from the center if stirred vigorously. Gravity alone didn't cut it. A centrifuge would probably do a much better job.
 
Sep 1, 2021
Very good.

And how long do you keep the fat togheter with the alcohol?
I used to read that the optimus is 1 month approximately to optimize the migration of the aroma from fat to alcohol? Do you think is the optimum timing?

And about the stirring work, do you do it once only, at the end of this fat/alcohol coexistence stage, or daily a bit, along all over this period?

Thank you

Chris
 

xii

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2015
I performed the extraction only once in many try and error stages. It likely went like this:

  1. Adding alcohol to the fat collected from chassis.
  2. Warming up the whole thing so that the fat melted.
  3. Shaking the jar. I guess for a few days, the jar being kept in a cool cellar.
  4. Decanting the upper, ethanol phase after several weeks.
  5. Using more alcohol and the stirrer to extract the fat/ethanol cake from the previous step.

Separation was a big problem. I relied on the fat becoming solid, thus coconut, and decanting/filtering. Vacuum filtering the cold fat/ethanol cake could actually work just fine. Centrifuge as well. I figured the extract made little sense: fourty plus hours of tedious work in order to obtain sub one gram quantity of an extract. And most of the work scales with the yield. Instead I just keep the pomade such as it is.
 
Sep 1, 2021
XII, you have been trying to get an extract.

Actually, i want to get an alcoholic tincture so my aim is not to separate also the alchol but only fat.

Do you thing that after the freezing>separation stages i would get a alcoholic product considerably acceptable from the side of aromaticity?
 

jameshillier

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 15, 2020
I separated mine using the freezing method. There seemed to be lot of fat left in the alcohol even though you can't see it, then when you freeze it, the alcohol turns cloudy, revealing the fat (at least that's what my guess is).

After freezing, I used a cone filter made from a square of copy paper, as this was the only paper I had on hand that was fine enough to filter out the cloudiness.

I left the jar in the freezer, filtering slowly drip-by-drip.

Repeating this process time and time again until the alcohol was clear in the freezer. Not sure if I did this correctly though, and maybe filtered out the jasmine extract I was trying to capture! I suggest trying the refigerator first, before trying the freezer, in case the freezer is responsible for some scent degradation.

Anyhow, mine seemed to have a better, more complete scent before the filtering process.
 

xii

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2015
Do you thing that after the freezing>separation stages i would get a alcoholic product considerably acceptable from the side of aromaticity?
I thought I‘d stick with the pomade. I can deal with tedious but not with hassle. If I ever decide to include lilac enfleurage in a perfume, I will probably blend some of the pomade directly in it: put in on a stirrer and cold filter the end product.
 
Sep 1, 2021
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and the experience made available.
The thread originated from a doubt about the chassis material for the enfleurage method and then took side ways.
The last issue that emerged, the one concerning the final stages of extraction, turns out to be a difficult moment and it seems that there is no unanimously followed procedure.
Soon I will open a new dedicated thread with the aim of discovering any other solutions about it.

Regards from Italy
 

Staff online

Latest News

Top