Friday, November 12, 2010

Natural Isolates

With the advent of Perfumer Shelley Waddington's new Natural Isolates Course, the topic of isolates is on natural perfumer's minds once again. Here are my thoughts and feelings however, I understand and accept that yours may be different.

I have a very excellent nose, which is great at detecting synthetic material. My dear nose used to get completely clogged when I walked passed the perfume counter in large department stores. My lungs felt heavy and I always got a headache, too. When I signed up for this course, I was sent the set of 18 isolates, which have been extracted from natural sources such as aniseed, cassia, lime, litsea, and sugar, to name a few, and I have not had any bad reactions from them whatsoever. These isolates can be used in natural perfumery and some of them can be used in the desserts I create such as the homemade ice cream (think raspberry ketone), which I make with the grandkids. Natural Isolates come from a 'parent essential oil' or from ‘other natural material'.

If we follow along the processing of plants, essential oils are a steam extraction of herbs, tinctures are an alcohol extraction of herbs, tea is a water extraction of herbs, herbs being the bio-mass or 'other natural material'. When we do these processes, we 'isolate' some of the chemical components that make up the whole herb (ie: Rose oil has at least 400 chemical components). These (essential oils, tinctures, teas, and natural isolates) can all be used in our natural perfumery.

Natural isolates (or natural aroma-chemicals) are a single chemical constituent that have been separated from an essential oil ie: the ones I've named above. For your information, because the creation of our beloved absolutes requires that hexane gas be passed through the plant material to extract the aromatic molecules, these were heartily rejected by Natural Perfumers for years, as well. They are in full use today.

I have attached my piece of prose called 'Explorers' below, as that is what we are; we are on the leading edge of this wonderful frontier called Natural Perfumery and defining what is natural and which lines we will and will not cross is all a part of the process.

I see that others are also having a re-think about all of this. Having visited several other Natural Perfumers’ websites/blogs over these last few months, and seeing that they are including a section on creating natural perfumes using isolates in their courses, and that they are incorporating natural isolates into their perfume creations, I wanted to have a closer look, too.

I have not yet made the shift to include Natural Isolates in my perfumes or write a section for my Natural Perfumery Course as I am taking the next year to get used to them and see how they work before I offer them to the public.

The purpose of this email is to make you aware of some new thinking on my part and to start a discussion on this topic of Natural Isolates. I would love to know what your thoughts and feeling are.
Here is a list of the ones with which I am experimenting:

Acetaldehyde Natural
Benzaldehyde Natural
Butyl Butyrate Natural
Bucco Leaf Natural
Citral Natural
Citronellol Natural
Ethyl Decadienoate Natural
Ethyl Lactate Natural
Eugenol Natural
Heliotropine Natural Odor
Limettol Natural
Methyl Anthrilate Natural
Methyl Cinnamate Natural
Phenyl Ethyl Alcohol Natural
Raspberry Ketone Natural
Strawberry Furanone Natural
Vanillin Natural
Vinyl Guiacol Natural
I have found some great information about these in Shelley's course and at

Explorers, Each Of Us
© 2004 Lyn E. Ayre, Ph.D.

In the mid 1400’s, explorers set sail in a state-of-the-art sailing ship, to find a new land. They came to an island paradise and decided to go ashore. A landing party was chosen and the men boarded the rowboats and began to paddle to the golden sandy beach. They looked back and saw their majestic ship, in all its glory, bobbing on the horizon. It was a beautiful sight to see the white sails silhouetted against the blue sky.

Looking forward, they were heartened to see the villagers gathering to greet them. As they ran their boats aground, the Chief approached them with arms open wide in welcome. Though they did not know the language yet, they readily understood the language of the heart that these beautiful people showed them.

The inhabitants circled around the rowboats and seemed to make a great fuss about them. Others were milling about, chatting with each other, as their kids played in the sand.
The landing party was invited to dinner and preparations were made. There was something strange, though. Not one of the folks they’d encountered had said anything at all about the great ship on the horizon.

During supper, the village medicine man came to join the happy group. As he approached the beach, he noticed something different about the ocean. He saw faint, peculiar ripples in the distance. He wondered what was causing this phenomena, as he sat down to eat with his family and friends.

Every day, this Shaman came to the beach and gazed at the ripples. Over the following weeks, things began to come clearer, until, eventually, he saw a great boat on the horizon, such as he had never seen before.

He called to his people and pointed it out to them. Over the next few days, each in his or her own time, were able to see it. They didn’t know why they hadn’t noticed it before. The answer, of course, is they didn’t have a frame of reference in their consciousness and so they could not see.
I’m here to tell you, there is a great ship on the horizon such as you have never seen before. It is full of all your hopes and dreams, wishes and visions for your future. All you have to do is imagine and believe that it is so. Adjust your sight a little. Shift your thinking somewhat. Use courage to walk through the fear that is holding you back. Do the next right thing. Take the next step forward. Take your place in the world and shine your light. Live your life. You’ll never regret it taking a chance on yourself.

‘What do you really want?’ I ask and await their answer. Upon hearing it, I say, ‘Okay, just know that it is already yours. Now, let’s go get it.’

Then the journey begins and we’re on the big ship of dreams.

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