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 FrenchEnfleurage 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 SayTo 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).
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.