Posted by: oliveaura | April 13, 2009

Patchouli Straight from the Farm!

The Plant

Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) is a pereninal herb that belongs to the mint family. It can grow up to 3feet tall in tropical climates, is very sensitive to soil fungus and low temperatures. The plant grows best in areas where direct sunlight is not beating down on the plant and is pretty shade tolerant. Patchouli prefers moist soils in addition to hot and humid climates. The scent of patchouli can vary greatly depending on which altitudes and soils its grown on. Patchouli can be found growing on beachlines and up into the mountains. The highest yeilding oils, but lowest quality are found near sea level. There are specific heights that are needed in order to produced the highest yielding oil and aroma (judged by natural patchouli alcohol levels).  Some of the best patchouli alcohol levels range between 28-33%. Although there are claims to produce a higher yielding patchouli alcohol level, we have yet to see proof.

The three major producing countries of patchouli are:

  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia

Distillation Method

The best distillation method for patchouli is, steam distillation. Depending on the type of distiller used, patchouli can be produced as “iron-free” or “iron-enriched” patchouli.

Physical Characteristics

Patchouli can be light to dark, reddish amber.  Its viscous from medium to thick. We advise our customers to choose a thick patchouli and not one that is watery.

Aroma

We have yet to sample Chinese patchouli.

Indian patchouli (if distilled from fresh leaves) will have quite an animalistic smell to it. Other Indian patchouli is quite balsamic and sweet. Its also been reported that India may have the best balsamic patchouli.

Indonesian patchouli is quite earthy, musky with slight balsamic notes.

Patchouli will increase in potency, quality and improve aroma if it is aged. All patchouli is reported to have earthy and musky tones to them.

Uses

Patchouli is an awesome fixative and base for perfumes. You may also find patchouli in herbal medicines, specifically TCM (Traditional Chines Medicine), in cosmetics, insect repellents, western pharmaceuticals, incense and in aroma/massage therapy.

Olive Aura LLC Patchouli Oil

Olive Aura LLC has traveled to many places and many lands. We have personally visited many farmers and established indespensible relationships with them by being their gateway to larger markets.

We have discovered that a specific patchouli plant should be grown in an entirely different area (being invasive). This experiment by farmers has led them to create probably the best patchouli ever. Its secrets are using specific soil types, altitudes, land preparation and other things which I shouldn’t be indulging in right now!

We are able to supply people and companies with some of the best (or the best) patchouli on the market. Our farmers’ production capacities can reach in excess of 1 ton per month.

For inquiries about our patchouli essential oil please contact us info@oliveaura.com

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Posted by: oliveaura | April 13, 2009

Mukhallat VS Attar

The difference between Mukhallat and Attar

Perfumery has had a long recognizable history and two eastern countries stand out: Arabia and India.

We all know how reputable France has become in the fragrance world. It is a country responsible for propelling the fragrance industry into what it is today, but what about the ones who came before them?

Mukhallats

The Arabs have taught the Indians distillation techniques, but later did not pursue any enhancements in their perfumery skills. The Indians on the other hand took it a step further and France took everything even more than that. Since the Arabs did not pursue much in distillery, they became experts at fragrance blending. They are able to add essential oils, or fragrant oils to existing perfumes and enhance them greatly. This practice, or perfume category is known as “Mukhallat” which means mixture. Many Arabs were also used to just using single fragrance scents such as: Ambergris, Musk, Jasmine, and Rose.

Attars

Historically, Sandalwood has been widely available and used extensively (even to this day) in India. By incorporating Sandalwood essential oils as a base, or co-distilling them with other fragrant material (wherever possible) was practiced. A new category of perfumery was created : Attar.

Attars can be a mix of many essential oils, almost all of them having a Sandalwood base. Attars can be extremely complex perfumes since they incorporate lots of natural materials. I have even seen some Attars that have dried/fresh herbs and spices in them, infusing their aromas into a wonderful, long-lasting fragrance.

Some Mukhallats can actually be a mixture of attars, so maybe its an Attar or maybe its a Mukhallat?

Nose of a Mukhallat vs Nose of Attar

The nose of a Mukhallat blender operates on a completely different level than the Attar producer. Perfumers producing Mukhallats have to bear in mind the many scents they will be blending and must have a very keen sense of smell. An Attar producer may find it difficult to compose a fragrance that is well suited particularly because almost all the scents revolve around Sandalwood thus limiting them in some aspects. This is not to say that there is an endless possibility of creating wonderful Attars. Each producer has his or her own complex issues they must deal with. It is also known that a person composing Mukhallats can create more wonderful scents than other perfumers (GENERALLY SPEAKING!) and its reason why you may find Mukhallat blenders such as myself, having a tougher time adjusting or juggling between Mukhallat composing and traditional (or maybe not so traditional) perfumery.

Posted by: oliveaura | April 11, 2009

Olive Aura GREEN iDeaS- “STOP POSING AS GREEN”

In the United States of America, we owe it alot to our folks in charge from the past and the present who have gotten us into this ugly and global environmental mess. Our politicians sit back and watch as businessmen destroy the environment and make profit, then turn around and pose to the general public with their multi-million dollar ads and lie.

We all know the oil companies that come on TV and pose as GREEN companies who were always looking to save the environment. … Just play some sweet commercial music in the background, say everything with a smile and everyone will believe you.

People in USA have been trained to believe these pathological liars out of clean-heartedness. If someone has the audacity to lie to you after heavy accusations.. you might as well just say “theres no way hes not speaking the truth, anyone in his situation WOULD BE TOO ASHAMED TO even speak up”.

Arriving Late to the Scene

Another point… why so late? why so late “environmentally concsious” company?

You know, these companies… they remind me of that serial killer who plotted a murder that was made to look like suicide.. and then the killer arrives at the scene and puts on a show for friends, family and the cops… yeah…just like that.

Green Technologies that Aren’t Green ?

Yeah… thats right. You heard it… or read it for that matter.

Green technology cannot be so eco-friendly!

Ex.. new cars today are relying more and more on newer and lighter plastics from these ‘clean green’ oil companies. (Plastics come from oil right?)

They’re relying on keeping the combustion engine in-tact, because it has created so many industries. Breaking those industries means…OMG I think I’m choking.. rich people might lose their unspent money and…(its so hard for me to say.. I hope I don’t tear-up) and.. they might lose their irresponsible companies.

Companies that are “GREEN” are only using sophisticated technology that does help reduce environmental impact, but they’re not using whats more efficient and readily availalbe.

For instance, we hear all this hype about electrical cars, but has anyone stopped to think where our electricity comes from? Most of our electricity comes from burning coal and other harmful sources. The only thing an electric car that runs on batteries of today does is transfer the already needed energy from gasoline and rely more heavly on other industries which are also part of the problem.

What about the batteries?

Batteries for electrical cars are using new chemicals which may have serious impacts on the environment.

What Companies need to do

What companies should do is look for more effecient technology. Maybe technology simpler technology is whats needed rather than highly-sophisticated and costly technologies. Take for example, the magnetic engine. It’s been used in a Japanese motorcycle that’s just been unveiled recently, however, there is even better than that. Sometime around the late 80’s or early 90’s an American created a magnetic engine. Search it on youtube and see what you get. Its called “FREE ENGERGY” We can use such systems for today’s enhancements and tomorrows security.

Less dependance on OIL is what we need, not less dependance on foreign oil. Be careful when listening to politicians and always follow the dollar. Maybe some people are talking about less dependance on foreign oil because they want to drill right here at home?

Please note that I am not against industry, economy, generating profits or synthetics at all. As I’ve stated before, we just need to REDUCE, RESUE, & RECYCLE.

Somethings we just can’t get rid of without serious impact so we need to find ways to help reduce that amount of negative impact to a bare-minimum and reuse things so that they don’t have to end up in our landfills. That also includes SAFE recycling, because not everything that gets recycled is worth it.

Think about it?

Do you want to burn some petro-based plastics that will release deadly toxins into the air and reuse them again in other plastics? Maybe somethings aren’t worth the time and effort, or maybe they shouldn’t been there in the first place.

Posted by: oliveaura | April 10, 2009

How to Store Essential & Fragrance Oils Part 2

Storing Oils to Increase Quality

Storing tinctures, patchouli, and some fragrance blends until they mature is really simple.

Storing agarwood is quite the contrary in some cases. There are certain things an agarwood producer can do in order to manipulate agarwood to his upmost advantage. Those, however, are trade secrets. I won’t reveal those secrets in order to retain the honour of myself and other agarwood producers.

Using the refridgerator

Cooling some essential oil blends and fragrance mixes in the fridge for few days or weeks can help sometimes. Its more of a fun thing to use. I really don’t have any scientific data to prove it helps, but  I do use this option when storing and making fragrances sometimes.

Making Ambergris

To make an ambergris tincture you will need some pure alchol, some raw ambergris, a bottle, and some place to just let your tincture sit anywhere from 6 months to 1 year.

Grind your ambergris into a fine powder and pour it into a bottle of alcohol. Close the cap tightly and shake vigorously. Place in a cabinet and let it sit. Give it a few shakes every 1-2weeks and just be patient. Be sure to add a good amount of ambergris per alcohol solution if you want it thick.

Posted by: oliveaura | April 10, 2009

How to Store Essential & Fragrance Oils Part 1

Storing essential oils and fragrance oils can hugely effect shelf-life and quality. Learning how to properly store your oils can help retain consistency in your products. Almost everything in the world has an expiry date on it, even if you can’t read it, find it, or see it, there is an expiry date on it.  So its important we learn which products need storage to retain consistency and quality and which ones do not.

As materials break down, consistency and quality MAY start to fade-off. Chemical and physical changes can occur, so its very important we take care to learn how to store these oils to retain or increase quality.

Rule # 1

Keep all oils out of the light as much as possible!

Rule #2

Keep essential and fragrance oils away from heat! 

The main problem in extracting essential oils comes from heat. Scientists are always looking for a way to strike organic matter in a way that reduces heat, because high temperatures destroy oils and reduce their quality so please don’t get your oils hot after they’ve already been hurt from some methods of distillation

Rule # 3

Try to use glass!

Glass bottles are best because they are neutral and won’t react with your product. The best bottles to use are dark coloured bottles. If you hate those dark amber/ brown bottles, try using BLUE or GREEN coloured bottles.

Rule #4

Avoid metal!

Metals can react to the fragrance and essential oils for the better or for the worse. Unless you have an already proven data results at your disposal about which oils are safe to use in metal containers, avoid them.

Although, generally-speaking, aluminum bottles are safe to use.. they have their draw-backs. The first draw back is in its costs. Second, they are heavier. Third, you cannot tell how low your stock is when using aluminum bottles.

Rule#5

Never use plastic!

Although plastic bottles, especially bio-degradable plastic bottles are low-cost and great for shipping to your customers they have many draw backs they are:

  • Most cannot be recycled
  • Cheaply manufacturer bottles have leakage problems
  • Fragrance and essential oils break the plastic down (especially PET bottles)

Rule#6

Avoid Air!

Keeping your bottles sealed, air tight, and limit exposure to air. Oils may oxidize and turn your product rancid much quicker than you think!

Rule #7

Label your bottles!

Usin a computer generated or special code you can go create should be clearly labeled on each bottle. Keep a file for each code that contains the following:

  • Common name of essential oil
  • Scientific name of essential oil
  • Origin of your oil (Santalum Album is a Sandalwood species that grows in many countries, India being the best. This helps keep track of oils even though they may have the same common and scientific name as mentioned above)
  • Name of the fragrance oil
  • Name of manufacturer
  • Production method (i.e. steam distilled, synthetically produced, solvent extraction etc)
  • Date of production (if you can find out how fresh your oil is, it helps alot)
  • Date of expiry (if known)
  • Date you bottled the oil
  • Date you began storing the oil

See part 2 of this topic for more information by clicking here.

Posted by: oliveaura | April 8, 2009

Sandalwood -Species-Growth-Regions

Where Sandalwood Grows

Sandalwood has a fairly good spread over the earth. It’s found in the west from Central America, Caribbean, South America, and stretches itself in the east from various parts of North Africa and then into India. You may also find sandalwood in South East Asia, Japan and Australia and in Hawaii. WOW

Different Families of Sandalwood

1.       Santalaceae

A.      Santalum

i.                     Album

ii.                   Austrocaledonicum

iii.                  Ellipticum

iv.                 Freycinetianum

v.                   Haleakalae

vi.                 Paniculatum

vii.                Spicatum

viii.              Yasi

2.       Rutacea

B.      Amyris

i.                     Balsamifera

How Does Sandalwood Grow?

Sandalwood species are parasitic. They artificially produce their own nutrients but start off using host trees to suck the living life out of them (i.e. their water and nutrients). 

 

Sandalwood Uses

Traditionally Sandalwood and its various varieties have been used by native peoples as a food source from its fruits and as medicine. Other uses included crafts and furniture. Its leaves were burned as an insect repellent. Essential oil and perfumery related use are traditional but not as ancient as the uses mentioned above.

 

Some Sandalwood varieties not mentioned above due yield a fragrant scent but do not yield fragrant essential oils.

 

Quality of Sandalwood

The quality of Sandalwood depends on its age, species, climate, soil conditions, rainfall, and region. The most valued Sandalwood today is the Santalum Album species which can be found in Southern India, Indonesia and North Western Australia. The most valued of Santalum Album today comes from various regions of India, most notably South East India. Next are the Indonesian and then Australian.

 

In addition to producing Santalum Album in North Western Australia, Santalum Spicatum is commercially produced for main uses as incense due to the very little to none oil yields.  

 

Historically, and in my opinion, the best Sandalwood comes from Hawaii. Hawaiian Sandalwood was on the brink of extinction due to Chinese demand of Sandalwood which caused over harvestation. It may be possible some other native Hawaiian Sandalwood species may have gone extinct without our knowledge. The U.S. government has produced a program which is being implemented today that seeks to replant lost native species (of all plants) and continual effort is saving the Hawaiian natural habitats.

 

One species of Sandalwood has been extinct due to habitat loss in South America.

 

To purchase the scent of sandalwood please click here.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: oliveaura | April 6, 2009

Agarwood GUBAL

What is Agarwood Gubal?

Agarwood Gubal is the highest- sinking grade agarwood available. The longer the aromatic resin in the agarwood producing trees ages, the heavier, denser and more crytalized the resin can become. Some Gubal can get so dense and crytalized they appear to be meterorites that fell out of the sky.

Gubal agarwood takes the longest time to produce and it is also the reason why its the most expensive. Almost no one will distill Gubal for commercial purposes because its too expensive and its essential oil yield is extremely low.

Gubal begins soon as agarwood resin crystalizes. It must have a certain percentage of crystalization before it can be graded as “gubal”. Some Gubal will get so much crsytalization in it, that it will appear to be a giant rock with shards of glass in it.

What is Gubal used for?

Gubal is used mainly as an incense. Many Arabs, especially traditional perfumers, love to use the extremely rare and high grades of Gubal because of its strong, long-lasting scent. Even if you were to seal Gubal in a wooden box, its scent will enamate from it.

Agarwood Gubal is extremely rare and prestigious which is why it is so expensive. Chances are, its only in the hands of few around the world right now.

The lowest grade of agarwood gubal comes from Aextoxylon genus from the family  Thymelaeceae.

NOTE: Some Agarwood gets classified as Gubal in its very early stages before it even reaches Sinking-Grade quality due to its high resin ratios.

Posted by: oliveaura | April 3, 2009

Natural Perfume Fixatives

Fixatives

Their use in perfumery is essential as they help elongate shelf-life and integrate fragrances by blending aromasand holding individual or overall scents over time. Many fixatives also serve as basenotes such as sandalwood or vanilla. Natural fixatives can be tinctures, gums, resins, powders or essential oils each of them can come from an animal or plant source.

There is a possibilty that one may use herbs in a fragrance to enhance it and use it as a fixative as well.

Finding the right fixative with the right scent to add to a fragrance can be difficult because sometimes you have to build a fragrance around your basenote or fixative. However, certain fixatives just guide you into perfect smells such as sandalwood and vanilla.

Here is a partial list of natural fixatives used in perfumery:

Plant Sources

  • Sandalwood
  • Patchouli
  • Orris Root
  • Vetiver
  • Vanilla
  • Frankincense
  • Oakmoss
  • Labdanum
  • Angelica root
  • Benzoin
  • Calamus root
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary sage
  • Gurjun balsam
  • Myrrh
  • Peru Balsam
  • Benzoin resin (styrax)
  • Ylang Ylang

Animal Sources

  • Ambergris
  • Musk (from Deer)
  • Musk (from Civet)
  • Castor oil (from beaver)
  •  

    Posted by: oliveaura | April 1, 2009

    The Scent of Aquilaria Agallocha: Indian Oud

    The two most well-known and natural Aquilaria trees that grow in India are: Aquilaria Agallocha and Aquilaria Khasiana.

    Our topic today is about the scent that most native Indian ouds yield.

    TOP NOTES

    The most distinctive notes that come from Indian agarwood oils are the really fecal, animalistic notes that will last for a long time. For some odd reason, some people really love this scent for its animalistic notes, but others like to wait it out for its big suprise.

    Middle Notes

    As Indian agarwood starts wearing-off little by little, it tends to become a bit sweeter. Animalistic notes don’t completely fade away, the scent becomes a bitter-sweet mix with slight terpentine – hard woodsy, smoky and something just unexplainable.

    Base Notes

    Patience will be rewarded soon as the base notes start firing off. At this stage, the scent will be fairly sweet for a woody note, with nutty and bitter combination and a touch of terpentine. It is almost really hard to explain, but if you recieved a quality agarwood it’l surely smell good at this stage.

    Problem w/ OUD

    The main factor which will almost immediately shun anyone away from agarwood are its top notes, which honestly stink. Unless you’re a fan of animal and fecal smells, then surely Indian agarwood altogether will smell good. If anyone is a skilled perfumer, he (or she) can make the upmost advantage of agarwood mukhallats. One such mukhallat that incorporates the scent of agarwood magnificently is “Mukhallat Ameer“.

    Oddly enough, someone was able to discover that fruity, and slight floral can match well with animalistic. WONDERFUL!

    Posted by: oliveaura | April 1, 2009

    Agarwood is Adulterated in Arabia Pt2.

    Mukhallats

    What are mukhallats?

    Mukhallat is an Arabic term used to define a particular category of fragrances which are a blend of fragrances. You may see fragrances with the term “mukhallat” by them to indicate the type of perfume used. Moreso, mukhallat means mixture.

    If someone were to purchase a fragrance called “Irsaan” it would be much different than “Mukhallat Irsaan,” this way the buyer would know that the latter was a highly mastered fragrance that was created by blending.

    When using the term “mukhallat” people should beware that it doesn’t mean “diluted” fragrance. In fact, most mukhallats are even stronger and more potent that other fragrances which is why they are so popular in Arabia. If a customer were to walk up to a fragrance dealer, he wouldn’t purposefully select a fragrance that said ‘diluted’ in its title and the seller would definately not use the term ‘mukhallat’ to sell his products either.

    Are there Agarwood Mukhallats?

    Yes. The vast majority of agarwood oil fit the term “mukhallat” which means mixed, except that most agarwood oils today are being adulterated and mixed with nasty chemicals, poisonous essential oils and other material that is used to stretch the agarwood. On that same token, agarwood can be stretched using natural or safe carrier oils.

    Is this the same with all agarwood oil? I would say no. Some agarwood oils are a beautiful mix of other agarwood oils. Some qualify as “attars” which are traditional Indian perfumes noted for their extensive use of sandalwood oil as a base. Others would qualify as a beautiful new fragrance in which the main theme is “agarwood” and other agarwood oils are complex Arabian mukhallats which in some cases are very beautiful scents.

    After that being said, we still have people claiming mukhallats are basically a synthetic addition to extend the fragrance oil. This is the problem with ‘compounded ignorance’ and its also quite IRONIC is that the same people who talk about the ‘madison avenue approach’ (i.e. selling something much higher than what its actually worth) are also doing the same exact thing they speak against (less the synthetic dilution).

    Also, there are mentions about your skin being porous and how it will absorb anything you put on it. Lets be clear…if I put a piece of paper on my arm….I hope to death that its not going to be in my system…

    What your skin can absorb are certain materials. Those materials being used in cosmetics and toiletries should be safe, if not you need to complain to those companies and your government to regulate this stuff more often.

    Naturals and synthetics have already been explained in an earlier blog, so I won’t touch that with a stick right now. But what I will say is that anything in unsafe levels can be dangerous, especially essential oils. Lots of essential oils have natural poisonous and toxic compounds in them that would be unsafe should you exceed a certain limit.

    So if people really want to talk about something being harmful to your body, I believe they should also mention both sides to the story here and not leave out naturals (because they are selling it).

    One way people market their product is by creating an illusionary enemy (in this case: Arabs, synthetics and mukhallats), misinforming viewers, flat out lying and lack of overall reporting on the whole issue. Please beware of such pirate marketers who only wish to play with your emotions to convince you to purchase their products.

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