How to: Enfleurage with Fresh Lilac


How to capture and retain the fragrance of lilacs? Enfleurage is probably your best option.
This was my very first try at enfleurage, and because it turned out successfully, I thought you might like to take a peek at the process I used and maybe even try it too.


It's French

Enfleurage is a very old method of capturing extremely delicate and almost uncapture-able fragrances from plants. The traditional medium is purified fat, but any neutral-smelling fat that is solid at room temperature will do (so say experts). For this exercise, I used neutrally-scented coconut oil simply because I happened to have some at hand.

While there are several methods of enfleurage (most of which including frames, nets, glass plates, and other equipment), this method seemed most suitable for my situation – also because this was a very small batch.

The batch size was about 100 gr and involved a single flower for each new infusion.

What Enfleurage Experts Say

To capture as much of the fragrance as possible, it is important to pick blossoms in the morning (as soon as the dew is gone).

Carefully pluck petals/blossoms from the stem and place in a bowl. Use only petals/blossoms and avoid green bits (I did remove the visible green bits from this bowl before I continued).

We were having a bit of a warm spell when I made this batch so my coconut oil was in a liquid state.

100 grams of oil was spooned over the blossoms.



Cover the bowl with something that will allow for evaporation of any moisture from the blossoms but keep little buggy visitors out.

I used a piece of muslin and 2 clips: like this


Let the mixture sit for a max of 48 hours (preferably only 24) at room temperature (where the oil will solidify).

Every 24-48 hours, strain the oil and replace with fresh flowers until you are happy with the intensity of the fragrance.

I used the muslin cloth to strain the oil and replaced with a fresh cloth each day.

I like a scent that is not too pungent, and find lilac can become cloying for my taste if it is too strong. Five infusions was enough to give a lovely light whiff of fresh lilac.



After the final filtering, there may let some liquid from the blossoms present. As liquid is heavier than oil, it will gather at the bottom. There wasn't much in mine – you can see it in this picture - the darker shade at the bottom of the jar.

I used a syringe to draw the liquid up from the bottom and discarded it.

Cap the jar and store cool.

Result: pictured at the top.

Trying it Out

Initial test of lilac 'balm' directly on skin: beautiful scent. I plan to use this in a simple skin balm with neutural-smelling vegan waxes so the lilac can be the star fragrance.

Do Tell

Have you ever tried enfleurage? What did you make? Please share in a comment below!

Comments

Heather Behan said…
Hi Lisa, I love this! I've often wondered if I could capture some of the glorious flower scents I come across. Thank you so much and I will definitely try this when I find some suitable flowers. You are a wonderful inspiration. Heather xx
Jade Violet said…
Hi lisa, I've been using the technique of enfleurage on my garden flowers for many years. I use palm fat.I have experimented with many fats and flowers over the years, and palm fat has worked best for me. It doesn't have a scent, It stays solid , which makes it much easier to lay the flowers on the fat. Coconut oil has a very coconut scent, which tends to overpower the delicate fragrance of enfleurage flowers.
Lise M Andersen said…
@Heather - Thanks for your kind comment! Please feel free to share your experiences in a comment when you have given this a try - and have fun!

@Jade Violet - Thanks for sharing Jade! I would have used another oil if I had had it at hand, but then again I was surprised at how well this worked with the coconut oil I had. It was a deodorized version of coconut oil, so, no scent at all except the lilacs! My future versions will be with palm oil. Do hyou work with glass ålates and nets and such? I'd love to hear more about your process!
Wonderful idea Lise! I have studied this method but as you said all these nets and stuff made it look difficult. I was wondering how you remove flowers when the oil is solid, do you warm it up a bit? Or are they all on the surface and easy to remove? I have many roses at this point, but they dont seem to perfume the oil very well!! Yours must be wonderful!