Fresh flowers as a rule

Excepting the articles made in Turkey and India (especially oil of
rose), most aromatic substances are manufactured in southern France
and the adjoining regions of Italy, while a few (oils of peppermint
and lavender) are produced in England; a few also (oils of peppermint,
spearmint, wintergreen, sassafras, etc.) in the United States. However,
as we have stated above, it is possible to cultivate some plants from
which odors are extracted in the warm sections of this country, and
to obtain the most expensive perfumes from them. Among these plants
our experience leads us to suggest violets, roses, reseda, lavender,
mints, syringa, lilac, and several others to which the climate is

The methods by which the odors can be extracted from the plants differ
according to the physical properties of the raw material and the
chemical composition of the aromatic substance. We shall here briefly
describe the methods thus far known, and at the same time add our
own experience in this most important part of the art of perfumery.
The aromatic substances are obtained by pressure, by distillation,
by maceration (infusion), by absorption (enfleurage) through air or
through carbonic acid, and by extraction.


Certain aromatic substances that occur in large amounts in some
parts of plants, are best obtained by pressure. The rinds of certain
fruits contain an essential oil in considerable quantities inclosed
in receptacles easily distinguished under the microscope. When these
vegetable substances are subjected to strong pressure, the oil
receptacles burst and the essential oil escapes. The force is usually
applied through a screw press with a stout iron spindle; the vegetable
substances being inclosed in strong linen or horse-hair cloths, placed
between iron plates, and subjected to a gradually increasing pressure.
Comparative experiments have shown us that even with the most powerful
presses a considerable, amount of oil is lost owing to the fact that a
large number of oil receptacles remain intact. For this reason, when
oil is to be extracted by pressure, a hydraulic press is preferable,
as it develops greater power than any other press. In the hydraulic
presses used for this purpose the piston fits exactly into a hollow
iron cylinder with sieve-like openings in its circumference. The
vegetable substances are filled into this cylinder; when the pressure
is applied, the fluids escape through the perforations, and the
residue forms a compact woody cake which is then free from oil.

Besides the essential oil, watery fluid is expressed, the whole
appearing as a milky liquid, owing to the admixture of vegetable
fibres, mucilage, etc. It is collected in a tall glass cylinder which
is set in a place free from any vibration. After remaining at rest for
several hours the liquid separates into two layers, the lower being
watery and mixed with mucilage, that floating on top being almost
pure oil. The latter is separated, and finally purified by filtration
through a double paper cone in a funnel covered with a glass plate.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

It is best to separate the water and oil in a regular separatory
funnel, or in a simple apparatus illustrated in Fig. 4. It is made
by cutting the bottom from a tall flask, and fitting into the neck
by means of a cork a glass tube having a diameter of one-fourth to
one-half inch. A rubber tube with stop-cock is fastened to the glass
tube. By careful opening of the stop-cock, the watery fluid can be
drained off to the last drop.

To the perfumer this method is of little importance, since it is
applicable only to a few substances which, moreover, give cheap odors.
Still, the possession of a hydraulic press is advisable to every
manufacturer who works on a large scale, as it is useful also in the
preparation of several fixed oils frequently employed in perfumery, for
instance, oils of almonds, nuts, etc.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

Fixed oils are best extracted in so-called drop presses, the material
having first been comminuted between rollers. These are arranged
as shown in section in Fig. 5, and in ground plan in Fig. 6. The
apparatus consists of two smooth or slightly grooved iron cylinders
A and B, respectively four feet and one foot in diameter, which can
be approximated or separated by means of set screws. The material is
placed into the trough F containing a feeding roller moved by the belt
P. The scrapers FF, pressed against the cylinders by means of weighted
levers, free the rollers from adhering pieces.

The drop presses Figs. 7 and 8 consist of a hydraulic press with
cylinders A and piston B; the troughs E are movable by means of rings
between two vertical columns and every trough has a circular gutter _d_
for the reception of the expressed oil. The iron pots G have double
walls, the inner of which has a series of openings at its upper part;
these pots are filled with the bruised material to be pressed and after
this has been covered with a plate of horse-hair tissue are set in the

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

As the piston rises, the troughs E sink into the pots, the escaping oil
collects in the gutters _d_ and thence passes into a receptacle. After
pressing, the piston is allowed to sink back, the pots G are drawn
aside (Fig. 8) to tabular surfaces, and other pots are substituted for
the exhausted ones. These drop presses are suitable for the extraction
of all fixed oils and also volatile oils present in orange and lemon
peel, etc.


Many odors or essential oils possess the remarkable property that their
vapors pass so largely with that of boiling water that they can be
extracted in this way (by “distillation”) from vegetable substances,
though the essential oils have a boiling-point far above that of water.
Distillation can be employed for a large number of substances; for
instance, the essential oils present in cumin, anise, lavender, fennel,
mace, nutmeg, etc., are extracted exclusively in this manner.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

For the extraction of odors in this way, according to the quantities of
material to be worked, different apparatuses are used, some of the most
important of which will be here described.

For manufacturers who run without steam and are obliged to use a naked
flame, the adjoining apparatus (Fig. 9) will be advantageous.

It consists of a copper boiler A, the still, set in a brick furnace.
The latter is so constructed that the incandescent gases strike not
only the curved bottom of the still, but also its sides through the
flues Z left in the brickwork. The still, whose upper part projects
from the furnace, has an opening O on the left side, closed air-tight
with a screw, which serves for refilling with water during distillation
when necessary. To the margin of the still is fitted steam-tight the
helm H, made of copper or tinned iron, having a prolongation, the tube
R. The latter is joined to the conical projection _v_ which terminates
in the worm K. In some apparatuses this projection is omitted and the
tube immediately joins the worm. The latter is made of tinned iron and,
as the cut shows, is arranged in coils and supported by props _t_ in
the wooden or metal condenser F. The condenser bears above a short bent
tube _b_, and below, immediately over the bottom, an elbow tube _e_,
long enough to reach above the edge of the condenser, as indicated in
the cut.

The vegetable substances to be distilled can be put immediately into
the still and covered with water; but in this case it is advisable
to use a stirrer which must be kept moving until the water boils,
otherwise the material might burn at the bottom. But this accident can
also be prevented by applying a perforated false bottom to the still
above the flues, or by inclosing the material in a wire-sieve basket C.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.]

In place of the basket C the apparatus can also be provided with an
additional vessel containing the material to be distilled. In the still
A (Fig. 10) the water is brought to boiling, the steam rises through
the second still B in which the material is spread on a perforated
bottom. The steam laden with the vapors of the essential oil passes
through the tube R into the condenser.

It is very advantageous, and in large establishments altogether
indispensable, to use steam in the distillation of essential oils. Fig.
11 represents the arrangement of such an apparatus. The still B (which
in this case may be made of stout tinned iron) stands free and is
provided with a wooden jacket M for the purpose of retaining the heat.
Immediately above the curved bottom is a perforated plate on which the
material rests. The tube D which enters the bottom of the still is
connected with the boiler which furnishes steam at moderate tension.
H is the faucet for the admission of steam; H. is the faucet by which
the water escapes from the still at the end of the operation. After the
still is filled with the material, the faucet H is opened gradually and
a continuous stream of steam is allowed to pass through the still until
the operation is finished.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.]

When working with an open fire, as soon as vapors appear at the lower
end of the worm (Fig. 9), cold water is admitted through the tube _ne_;
as the cold water abstracts heat from the vapors and condenses them, it
becomes warm, rises to the surface, and escapes through _b_, so that
the worm is continually surrounded with cold water. If for any reason
the saving of cold water is an object, its flow may be so regulated
that the vapors are just condensed, the warm distillate being allowed
to cool in the air. When working with steam, the cold water must be
admitted the moment the steam-cock is opened, and the flow of cold
water should be ample during the distillation, which in this case is
much shorter.

The large apparatuses here described are generally used, especially
for the extraction from vegetable substances of odors present in
considerable quantity, for instance, mace, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon,
etc., or from bulky material as the various flowers. For very expensive
odors, smaller apparatuses are often employed, the construction of
which resembles that of the ones described. For this purpose small
glass apparatuses are very suitable; they are illustrated in Fig. 12.

The still, a retort A, consists of a spherical vessel with a bottle
neck _t_ which is either closed with a cork or carries a thermometer
or glass tube, and with a lateral tube, the neck of the retort,
connected with the adapter _r_. The latter passes into the condenser
C. At the lower end of R is the bent adapter _v_ under which is placed
the receptacle for the distillate. The tube C is closed with corks,
at its lower end is the ascending tube _h_, and at its upper end the
descending tube _g_. During the distillation cold water flows in
through _h_ which cools the tube _r_ and escapes at _g_. The tube C,
as will be readily understood, acts like the condenser in the larger
apparatuses above described. In order to prevent the breaking of the
retort, it is not heated over a flame, but is set in a tin vessel B
filled with water. The comminuted vegetable material is inserted with
water through the up-turned neck of the retort into the latter; the
vessel B is filled with water which is raised to the boiling-point.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.]

During distillation we obtain at the lower end of the condenser pure
water and essential oil. When larger quantities are to be distilled
it is advisable to use a Florentine flask as a receptacle for the
separation of the oil and water (Fig. 13). It consists of a glass
bottle from the bottom of which ascends a tube curved above; the latter
rises high enough to bring the curvature slightly below the neck of the
flask. During the distillation the flask becomes filled with water W,
on which floats a layer of oil O; the excess of water escapes through
_a_ at _d_ until the flask finally contains more oil and very little

[Illustration: FIG. 13.]

When producing essential oils on a large scale, instead of the frail
Florentine flasks it is advisable to use separators, the construction
of which is illustrated in Fig. 14. They consist of glass cylinders,
conical above and below, supported on a suitable frame. The water
accumulating under the oil is allowed to escape by opening the
stop-cock; when the first separator is filled with oil, the succeeding
distillate passes through the horizontal tube into the next separator,

[Illustration: FIG. 14.]

When the distillation is carried on in an ordinary still, we obtain,
besides the essential oil, a considerable quantity of aromatic water,
that is, a solution of the oil in water.

An apparatus which obviates the losses caused thereby is that of
Schimmel described below, which is well adapted to the manufacture on a
large scale. The apparatus is patented.

The nearly spherical still D (Fig. 15) is surrounded by a jacket M;
the inlet steam tube R is connected with a branch _r_ which enters the
interior of the still as a spiral tube with numerous perforations,
while R opens into the space M. When _r_ is opened, distillation takes
place by direct steam; when R is opened, by indirect steam; when both
faucets are opened, the still is heated at the same time with direct
and indirect steam.

[Illustration: FIG. 15.]

The vapors rising from the still D pass through the helm C and the tube
A into the worm K; the fluid condensed in the latter drops into the tin
Florentine flask F, the aromatic water flowing from the latter passes
back into the still D through the Welter funnel T and is distilled over
again, so that the entire distillation can be effected with very little
water, and it is continued until the water escaping from the Florentine
flask is freed from oil and odorless.

When working with superheated steam, it is necessary to set under the
funnel tube T a vessel twice the size of the Florentine flask, which is
provided with a stop-cock above and below. The lower cock is closed,
the vessel is allowed to fill with water from F, then the upper cock is
closed, the contents being allowed to escape into D by opening, when
the cocks are again reversed.

The use of superheated steam is important especially with material
which gives up the contained oil with difficulty, such as woods.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.]

For freeing the essential oil completely from water we use a so-called
separating funnel (Fig. 16). This consists of a glass funnel T resting
on a suitable support G, which is closed above with a glass plate
ground to fit, drawn out below into a fine point S, and provided with a
glass stop-cock H. The contents of the Florentine flask are poured into
the funnel which is covered with the glass plate and allowed to stand
at rest until the layer of oil O is clearly separated from the water W.
By careful opening of the stop-cock the water is allowed to escape and
the oil is immediately filled into bottles which are closed air tight
and preserved in a cool and dark place.


Some odors, like those of cassie, rose, reseda, syringa, jasmine,
violets, and many other fragrant blossoms, cannot be obtained by
distillation as completely or as sweet-scented as by the process
of maceration which is in general use among the large perfumers in
southern France. This process is based on the property of fats to
absorb odorous substances with avidity and to yield them almost
entirely to strong alcohol. According to the fat employed for the
maceration of the flowers—a solid fat like lard or a liquid like olive
oil—odorous products are obtained which are known either as pomades
or as perfumed oils (huiles antiques). By repeatedly treating fresh
flowers with the same fat the manufacturer is able to perfume the
pomade or oil at will, and in the factories these varying strengths
are designated by numbers; the higher numbers indicating the stronger

The process of maceration is very simple. The fat is put into porcelain
or enamelled iron pots which are heated, in a shallow vessel filled
with water, to 40 or at most 50° C. (104-122° F.); the flowers are
inclosed in small bags of fine linen and hung into the fat, where they
are allowed to remain for from one-half to two days. At the end of that
time the bags are removed, drained, expressed, refilled with fresh
flowers, and replaced in the fat. This procedure is repeated twelve to
sixteen times or oftener, thus producing pomades or oils of varying

[Illustration: FIG. 17.]

As the odors are much superior when the flowers are only a short
time in contact with the fat, it is better to use an apparatus for
continuous operation (Fig. 17). It consists of a box K made of tin
plate, which is divided into from five to ten compartments by vertical
septa and can be closed water tight by a lid to be screwed on. The
septa have alternate upper and lower openings. The compartments contain
each a basket of tinned wire filled with the flowers for maceration,
then the lid is closed and the box heated in a water bath to 40 or
50° C. (104-122° F.). The stop-cock H in tube R is now opened. This
admits melted fat or oil from a vessel above to the first compartment
in which it rises through the basket filled with flowers whose odor it
abstracts. The additional fat coming from above drives it over through
the opening O_{2} into compartment 2, where it comes in contact with
fresh flowers, passes through O_{3} into the third compartment, and so
on through 4 and 5, until it finally escapes through R_{1} well charged
with odor. According to requirements a larger number of compartments
may be employed.

When all the fat has passed through the apparatus, it is opened, the
basket is removed from compartment 1, the basket from No. 2 is placed
in 1, that from 3 in 2, etc.; basket 1 is emptied, filled with fresh
flowers, and placed in compartment 5, so that every basket gradually
passes through all compartments to No. 1. In this way the fat rapidly
absorbs all the odor.

The odorous substances are abstracted from the pomades or huiles
antiques by treatment with strong alcohol (90-95%) which dissolves the
essential oils but not the fats. The huiles antiques with the alcohol
are placed in large glass bottles and frequently shaken. In order to
abstract the odors from pomades, the latter are allowed to congeal and
are divided into small pieces which are inserted into the bottles of
alcohol. A better plan is to fill the pomades into a tin cylinder with
a narrow opening in front and to express the pomades, by a well-fitting
piston, in the shape of a thin thread which thus presents a large
surface to the action of the alcohol, thus hastening the absorption
of the odor. The alcoholic solution obtained after some weeks is then
distilled off at a low temperature. We shall recur to this hereafter.

No matter how long the fats are left in contact with alcohol, they do
not yield up to it all the odor, but retain a small portion of it and
hence have a very fragrant smell. They are, therefore, brought into
commerce as perfumed oils or pomades bearing the name of the odorous
substance they contain: orange flower, reseda pomade or oil, etc.; they
are highly prized and are sometimes used again for the extraction of
the same odor.

Some odors cannot bear even the slight rise of temperature necessary
for their extraction by the method of maceration or infusion. For these
delicate odors one of the following methods may be employed.


In this method the absorbing power of fat is likewise used for
retaining the odors, but the flowers are treated with the fat at
ordinary temperatures. This procedure which is employed especially in
southern France is carried out as follows. The fat (lard) is spread to
a thickness of about one-quarter inch on glass plates G one yard long
and two feet wide, which are inserted in wooden frames R and sprinkled
with flowers F (Fig. 18). The frames are superimposed (the cut shows
two of the frames) and left for from one to three days, when fresh
flowers are substituted for the wilted ones, and so on until the pomade
has attained the desired strength.

[Illustration: FIG. 18.]

This procedure is very cumbrous and tedious and therefore had better be
modified thus: In an air-tight box K (Fig. 19) we place a larger number
of glass plates _g_ covered with lard drawn into fine threads by means
of a syringe. This box is connected with a smaller one K_{1} which is
filled with fresh flowers and provided with openings below and above,
O and O_{1}. The latter, O_{1} communicates by a tube with box K, at
whose upper end is a tube _e_ terminating in an exhaust fan so that the
air must pass through the apparatus in the direction indicated by the
arrows. A small fan V driven by clockwork will answer. The air drawn
from K_{1} is laden with odors and in passing over the fat as shown
by the arrows gives them up completely to the fat. The use of this
apparatus has very important advantages: the absorption is effected
rapidly, requires little power, and the flowers do not come at all into
contact with the fat which therefore can take up nothing but the odors
present in the air.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.]

Instead of charging the fat with odors by either one of the methods
here described, carbonic acid can also be employed with advantage, by
means of the apparatus illustrated in Fig. 20. The large glass vessel
G contains pieces of white marble M upon which hydrochloric acid is
poured at intervals through the funnel tube R. A current of carbonic
acid is thus developed, which passes through a wash bottle W filled
with water, then through the tin vessel B containing fresh flowers,
and finally into a bottle A filled with strong alcohol and set in cold
water, after which it escapes through the tube _e_. The carbonic acid
absorbs the aromatic vapors from B and leaves them in the alcohol which
absorbs them. (G, R, W are made of glass, B of tin.)

[Illustration: FIG. 20.]


This method is based on the fact that some volatile liquids such as
ether, chloroform, petroleum ether, or bisulphide of carbon possess the
property of rapidly extracting the aromatic substances from flowers;
when they are evaporated at a gentle heat they leave the pure odors
behind. In our opinion this process is the best of all for the perfumer
and it is to be regretted that it is not more generally used.

As a rule we employ either petroleum ether or bisulphide of carbon (see
above, pp. 65, 66) because these products are cheaper than ether or

The apparatus we use for this purpose is illustrated in Fig. 21. It
consists of a cylinder C made of tinned iron, which is provided above
with a circular gutter R terminating in a stop-cock _h_ and which
can be closed by a lid D bearing a stop-cock _o_. A tube _b_ with a
stop-cock _a_ enters the bottom of the cylinder. The latter is filled
with the flowers, the volatile liquid (petroleum ether, bisulphide
of carbon, etc.) is poured over them, the lid is put on, and the
gutter R filled with water, thereby sealing the contents of the vessel

After the extraction, which requires about thirty to forty minutes,
stop-cock _o_ is opened first, then stop-cock _a_, and the liquid
is allowed to escape into the retort of the still (Fig. 12). If the
extraction is to be repeated, the water is allowed to escape from the
gutter through _h_, the lid is opened, and the solvent is again poured
over the flowers.

For operation on a larger scale the glass retorts are too small and
should be replaced by tin vessels (Fig. 22) having the form of a
wide-mouthed bottle F; they are closed by a lid D which is rendered
air tight by being clamped upon the flange of the vessel (R) with iron
screws S, a pasteboard washer being interposed; a curved glass tube
connects the apparatus with the condenser of Fig. 12.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.]

[Illustration: FIG. 22.]

The solutions of the aromatic substances are evaporated in these
apparatuses at the lowest possible temperature, the solvent being
condensed and used over again. The heat required is for ether about
36° C. (97° F.), for chloroform about 65° C. (149° F.), for petroleum
ether about 56° C. (133° F.), and for bisulphide of carbon about 45° C.
(113° F.). If it is desired to obtain the aromatic substances pure from
an alcoholic extract of the pomades made by one of the above-described
processes—which is rarely done since these solutions are generally
used as such for perfumes—a heat of 75 to 80 C. (167 to 176° F.) is

Another extraction apparatus illustrated in Fig. 23 is well adapted to
operations on a large scale. Its main parts are the extractor E and the
still B. The former is set in a vat W continually supplied with cold
water. The still B is surrounded with hot water in the boiler K.

To start the apparatus the cone C is removed, the vessel E is filled
with the material to be extracted, and C is replaced. The faucets H_{2}
and H_{4} are opened, the solvent is poured into the still through the
latter, when these faucets are closed and those marked H and H_{1} are

[Illustration: FIG. 23.]

The water in K is heated until the contents of B are in brisk
ebullition; the vapor rises through RH, is condensed on entering E and
falls in small drops on the material. This fine rain of the solvent
dissolves the aromatic substances and flows back into B, where it is
again evaporated, and so on.

At the end of the extraction the faucets H and H_{1} are closed and
H_{2}, is opened. The vapors of the solvent pass through it into a worm
where they are condensed; the essential oil remaining in B is drained
off by opening H_{3}.

For still larger operations more perfect apparatuses are employed,
such as those of Seiffert and Vohl. Seiffert’s apparatus (Fig. 24)
consists of a battery of jacketed cylinders; steam circulates in the
space between the cylinders and the jackets. Each cylinder contains a
plate covered with a wire net on which the flowers to be extracted are
placed. All the cylinders having been filled and closed, the solvent is
admitted from a container above, through S and _a_ into C^2; when this
is filled the liquid flows through _a_^2_b_^3_c_^n into C. The solution
saturated with essential oil leaves the apparatus through _d_^n and
_p_ and enters a reservoir. The course of the liquid is aided by the
suction of an air-pump acting on _p_.

When the reservoir contains an amount of fluid equal to that in C^n,
_d_^n is closed, _a_^n is opened, and C connected with C^1 through
_b_^n and _c_^1. That the contents of C^2 are completely extracted is
shown by the fact that the liquid appears colorless in the glass tube
inserted in _b_^2; _a_^1 and C^2 are closed; _a_^2 and C^3 are opened,
thereby excluding C^2 from the current of bisulphide of carbon which
then flows through C^3C^nC^1. In order to permit the free flow of
the bisulphide of carbon through S despite the exclusion of C^2, the
faucets _a_^1_a_^2_a_^3_a_^n must be two-way cocks; in one position
they connect S with _b_; in the other they close _b_ and leave the
passage through S open.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.]

In order to collect the bisulphide of carbon present in the extracted
residue in C^2, faucet _g_^2 is opened and the bisulphide of carbon
allowed to escape through _h_. The faucet _e_^2 in tube L on being
opened admits compressed air to C^2, thus hastening the outflow. If
nothing escapes below, faucets _f_^2 and _f_^x are opened, steam enters
through tube D between jacket and cylinder; the bisulphide of carbon
vapor passes through _g_^2 and _h_ into the worm. After the expulsion
of the bisulphide of carbon, C^3 is emptied, refilled, connected with
C^1, and bisulphide of carbon admitted from C^3 in the manner above

An extraction apparatus which has been much recommended of late is the
so-called “Excelsior Apparatus” made by Wegelin and Huebner, Halle a.
S., which can be worked with any desired solvent. The construction of
the apparatus (Figs. 25 and 26) is as follows.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.]

[Illustration: FIG. 26.]

The solvent is admitted to the reservoir R in the lower part of the
condenser B through the tube indicated in the figure. The material
to be extracted having been filled into the cylinder A through the
manhole, the apparatus is closed. The cold water is admitted to the
condenser by opening a faucet. The three-way cock shown in Fig. 25 is
so placed as to open a communication of the overflow tube with A. The
faucet at the lower end of the reservoir R is now opened sufficiently
and the solvent passes into A from above, and as it descends takes
up more and more oil, flows through the sieve-plate, and escapes
through the tube at the bottom of A through the three-way cock, the
overflow tube, and the drain tube into the accumulator C. The opening
of a faucet now admits steam to the heating coil, when the solvent
evaporates, leaving the oil or fat behind. It is condensed in B,
again returns to R, whence it passes once more through the faucet
into the extractor A. The vessel C and the tubes leading to A and C
are surrounded with felt to prevent loss of heat. A sample taken from
the small cock at the foot of A (it has a small plate in the interior
of the tube) will show when the extraction in A may be looked upon as
finished. The solvent is distilled off or recovered from the residue
in A in the following manner. First the faucet in R is closed. The
three-way cock A is set to establish direct communication between A and
C, thus cutting off the overflow tube. Hence all the solvent in A flows
into C for distillation, while the oil is left behind. Steam being
admitted to the residue, the solvent rises as vapor through the upper
tube from A to B and collects in a liquid state in R. To drive off the
last traces of the solvent from the fat or oil obtained, steam is blown
into C by opening the valve. Besides the solvent, watery vapor enters B
and forms a layer of water in R under the solvent. By taking a sample
from the test-cock of the reservoir C which has an internal small
plate, the termination of the process is ascertained. The gauge tube at
the reservoir shows the level of the solvent and water. The water is
drawn off by opening the faucet at the lower end of the reservoir. A is
emptied through the manhole and by draining the oil from C through the
discharge cock. The tube R is closed by a light valve so as to prevent
evaporation of the solvent. All the apparatuses work without pressure
so that there is no danger from overstrain.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.]

[Illustration: FIG. 28.]

The solutions of the essential oils in bisulphide of carbon are
distilled off in the steam still illustrated in Fig. 27; the steam
enters at _h_, the water of condensation escapes at _d_, the liquid
to be distilled enters at _e_ from a container at a higher level. The
boiling is kept uniform by the stirring arrangement _hg_. After the
bisulphide of carbon is distilled off, air is passed through the oil by
the curved tube _a_ which has fine perforations, so as to evaporate the
last traces of the solvent.

In Vohl’s apparatus (Fig. 28), arranged for petroleum ether, the
extraction is effected with the boiling fluid; hence this apparatus
is better adapted for the cheaper oils than for the finest oils from
flowers. The apparatus consists of two extractors A A, the accumulator
B, and the condenser C. Petroleum ether is allowed to flow over the
substances to be extracted, by opening the faucets _mm_, _vh_, closing
_ogw_E, and opening _o_, the course being through _ux_ to B. When B
is two-thirds full, the flow of petroleum ether is cut off, steam
is admitted through _y_ and the contents of B are brought to the
boiling-point. The vapors pass through _g_ and are condensed in _f_
until the contents of A reach the boiling-point of the solvent, when
the vapors pass through _i_ into C, and after closing _m´_ the liquid
passes through _ml_ into the inner cylinder of the extraction apparatus
and returns through _uxx_.

After the contents of A are extracted, _m´_ is opened, _m_ closed, and
steam is admitted through _d_ into the jacket of A; the vapors of the
solvent force the liquid part of the contents through _ux_ into B.
Overfilling of B is prevented by allowing the vapors of the solvent to
escape at the proper time into the condenser through _p_ by opening
_q_. Then _v_ is closed, _q_ opened, and the steam present in A drawn
off by an exhaust applied to _p_; as soon as _p_ begins to cool, all
the petroleum ether is distilled off, the steam is cut off at _d_, and
the extract evacuated through _t_. The contents of B are brought into a
still through D and E.

[Illustration: FIG. 29.]

By employing greater pressure the extraction can also be effected by
what is called displacement; the material to be extracted is placed
in a stout-walled vessel S (Fig. 29) which is connected by a narrow
tube at least ten yards long with the vessel F containing the solvent.
Stopcock H is first opened, then stop-cock H_{1} which is closed as
soon as fluid begins to flow from it. After the liquid has remained in
contact with the material for from thirty to sixty minutes, H_{1} is
opened very slowly, the liquid is allowed to escape and is displaced
with water which is made to pass out of F in the same way as the
solvent, until the latter is completely displaced from S.

After the solvent has been distilled off, the less volatile essential
oil remains in the still almost pure, containing only traces of wax,
vegetable fat or coloring matter which are of no consequence for our
purposes. The last remnants of the solvent cannot be expelled by
distillation, but by forcing through the essential oil a current of
pure air for fifteen or twenty minutes. The essential oils then are of
the purest, unexceptionable quality.

[Illustration: FIG. 30.]

In the case of delicate oils it is better to use carbonic acid in place
of air for expelling the last traces of the solvent, as the oxygen
may impair the delicacy of the fragrance. For this purpose we use the
apparatus illustrated in Fig. 30. In the large bottle A carbonic acid
is generated by pouring hydrochloric acid over fragments of white
marble. The carbonic acid passes into the vessel B filled with water
which frees it from any adhering drops of hydrochloric acid; then into
C filled with sulphuric acid to which it yields its water so that only
pure carbonic acid escapes through the fine rose at the end of tube
D which is made of pure tin, and as it passes through the oil in E
it carries off the last traces of the volatile solvent. In its final
passage through the water in F it leaves behind any oil that may have
been carried with it.

As all the aromatic substances change in air by the gradual absorption
of oxygen, and lose their odor—become resinified—these costly
substances must be put into small bottles which they completely
fill, and be preserved in a cool dark place, as light and heat favor
resinification. The bottles must be closed with well-fitting glass

Aromatic waters or eaux aromatisées, such as jasmine water (eau de
jasmin), orange-flower water (eau de fleurs d’oranges, eau triple de
Néroli, aqua naphæ triplex), etc., are made by distillation of these
flowers with water and show a faint but very fine odor. When they
contain, besides, dilute alcohol they are called spirituous waters
or esprits. Those brought into commerce from southern France are of
excellent quality.


The quantities of essential oil obtainable from the vegetable
substances vary with the amount present in each. The following table
shows the average quantities of oil to be obtained from 100 parts of

Material. Name of Plant. Mean Yield
per 100 Parts.
Ajowan seed Ptychotis Ajowan 3·000
Alant root Inula Helenium 0·600
Allspice Myrtus Pimenta 3·500
Almonds, bitter Amygdala amara 0·400-0·700
Angelica seed Archangelica officinalis 1·150
Angelica root, Thuring. ” ” 0·750
” ” Saxon ” ” 1·000
Anise seed, Russian Pimpinella Anisum 2·800
” ” Thuring. ” ” 2·400
” ” Morav. ” ” 2·600
Anise seed, Chili Pimpinella Anisum 2·400
” ” Spanish ” ” 3·000
” ” Levant ” ” 1·300
Anise chaff ” ” 0·666
Arnica flowers Arnica montana 0·040
Arnica root ” ” 1·100
Asafœtida Ferula Asafœtida 3·250
Avens root Geum urbanum 0·040
Basilicum herb, fresh Ocymum basilicum 0·040
Bay leaves Pimenta acris 2·300-2·600
Bear’s berry Uva ursi 1·010
Beech tar Betula alba 20·000
Bergamots ab. 3·400
Betel leaves Piper Betle 0·550
Bitter almond meal Amygdala amara 0·950
Buchu leaves Barosma crenulata 2·600
Butter-bur oil Tussilago Petasites 0·056
Calamus root Acorus Calamus 2·800
Camomile, German Matricaria Chamomilla 4·000-6·000
” Roman Anthemis nobilis 3·000
Caraway seed,
Cult. German Carum Carvi 4·000
” Dutch ” ” 5·500
” East Prussian ” ” 5·000
” Moravian ” ” 5·000
Wild German ” ” 6·000-7·000
” Norwegian ” ” 6·000-6·500
” Russian ” ” 3·000
Cardamoms, Ceylon Elettaria Cardamomum 4·250
” Madras ” ” 4·300
” Malabar ” ” 1·750
” Siam ” ” 1·350
Carrot seed Daucus Carota 1·650
Cascarilla bark Croton Eluteria 1·500
Cassia flowers Cinnamomum Cassia 3·500
Cassia wood ” ” 0·285
Cedar wood Juniperus virginianus 0·700-1·000
Celery herb Apium graveolens 0·200
Celery seed ” ” 0·300
Chekan leaves Myrtus Chekan 1·000
Cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamomum zeylanicum 0·900-1·250
” white Canella alba 1·000
Cloves, Amboina Caryophyllus aromaticus 19·000
” Bourbon ” ” 18·000
” Zanzibar ” ” 17·500
” stems ” ” 6·000
Common wormwood herb Artemisia Abrotanum 0·040
” ” root ” ” 0·100
Copaiva balsam, Para Copaifera officinalis 45·000
” ” East Ind. Dipterocarpus turbinatus 65·000
Coriander seed,
Thuringian Coriandrum sativum 0·800
Russian ” ” 0·900
Dutch ” ” 0·600
East Indian ” ” 0·150
Italian ” ” 0·700
Mogadore ” ” 0·600
Crisp mint herb Mentha crispa 1·000
Cubebs Piper Cubeba 12·000-16·000
Culilaban bark Laurus Culilavan 3·400
Cumin seed, Mogadore Cuminum Cyminum 3·000
” ” Maltese ” ” 3·900
” ” Syrian ” ” 4·200
” ” East Indian ” ” 2·250
Curcuma root Curcuma longa 5·200
Dill seed, German Anethum graveolens 3·800
” ” Russian ” ” 4·000
” ” East Indian Anethum Sowa 2·000
Elder flowers Sambucus niger 0·025
Elemi resin Icica Abilo 17·000
Eucalyptus leaves, dry Eucalyptus globulus 3·000
Fennel seed,
Saxon Foeniculum vulgare 5·000-5·600
Galician ” ” 6·000
East Indian Foeniculum Panmorium 2·200
Galanga root Alpinia Galanga 0·750
Galbanum resin Galbanum officinale 6·500
Geranium Pelargonium odoratissimum 0·115
Ginger root,
African Zingiber officinale 2·600
Bengal ” ” 2·000
Japan ” ” 1·800
Cochin China ” ” 1·900
Hazel root Asarum europæum 1·100
Heracleum seed Heracleum Sphondylium 1·000
Hop flowers Humulus Lupulus 0·700
Hop meal, lupulin ” ” 2·250
Hyssop herb Hyssopa officinalis 0·400
Iva herb Iva moschata 0·400
Juniper berries,
German Juniperus communis 0·500-0·700
Italian ” ” 1·100-1·200
Hungarian ” ” 1·000-1·100
Laurel berries Laurus nobilis 1·000
Laurel leaves ” ” 2·400
Laurel, Californian Oreodaphne californica 7·600
Lavender flowers,
German Lavandula vera 2·900
Linaloe wood Elaphrium graveolens 5·000
Lovage root Levisticum officinale 0·600
Mace Myristica fragrans 11·000-16·000
Marjoram herb, fresh Origanum Majorana 0·350
” ” dry ” ” 0·900
Marsh-rosemary oil Ledum palustre 0·350
Massoy bark Massoia aromatica
Masterwort root Imperatoria Ostruthium 0·800
Matico leaves Piper angustifolium 2·400
Matricaria herb Matricaria Parthenium 0·030
Melissa herb Melissa officinalis 0·100
Michelia bark Michelia nilagirica 0·300
Milfoil herb Achillea Millefolium 0·080
Musk seed Hibiscus Abelmoschus 0·200
Mustard seed,
Dutch Sinapis nigra 0·850
German ” ” 0·750
East Indian ” ” 0·590
Pugliese ” ” 0·750
Mustard seed, Russian Sinapis juncea 0·500
Myrrh Balsamodendron Myrrha 2·500-6·500
Myrtle Myrtus communis 0·275
Nigella seed Nigella sativa 0·300
Nutmegs Myristica fragrans 8·000-10·000
Olibanum resin Boswellia, var. spec 6·300
Opoponax resin Pastinaca Opoponax 6·500
Orange peel, sweet Citrus Aurantium 2·500
Orris root Iris florentina 0·200
Parsley herb Apium Petroselinum 0·300
Parsley seed ” ” 3·000
Parsnip seed Pastinaca sativa 2·400
Patchouly herb Pogostemon Patchouly 1·500-4·000
Peach kernels Amygdalus persica 0·800-1·000
Pellitory root Valeriana celtia 1·000
Pepper, black Piper nigrum 2·200
Peppermint, fresh Mentha piperita 0·300
Peppermint, dry ” ” 1·000-1·250
Peru balsam Toluifera Pereiræ 0·400
Pimpernel root Pimpinella saxifraga 0·025
Poplar sprouts Populus niger 0·500
Rhodium wood Convolvulus Scoparius 0·050
Rose flowers, fresh Rosa centifolia 0·050
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis 1·550
Rue herb Ruta graveolens 0·180
Sage herb, German Salvia officinalis 1·400
” ” Italian ” ” 1·700
Santal wood,
East Indian Santalum album 4·500
Macassar ” ” 2·500
West Indian Unknown 2·700
Sassafras wood Sassafras officinalis 2·600
Savin herb Juniperus Sabina 3·750
Snakeroot, Canadian Asarum canadense 2·800-3·250
” Virginian Aristolochia Serpentaria 2·000
Star-anise, Chinese Illicium anisatum 5·000
” Japanese Illicium religiosum 1·000
Storax Liquidambar orientalis 1·000
Sumbul root Ferula Sumbul 0·300
Tansy herb Tanacetum vulgare 0·150
Thyme Thymus Serpyllum 0·200
” dry ” ” 0·100
Valerian root, German Valeriana officinalis 0·950
” ” Dutch ” ” 1·000
” ” Japan Patrinia scabiosæfolia
Vetiver root Andropogon muricatus 0·200-0·350
Violet flowers Viola odorata 0·030
Water-yarrow seed Phellandrium aquaticum 1·300
Wintersweet marjoram Origanum creticum 3·500
Worm seed Artemisia maritima 2·000
Wormwood herb Artemisia Absinthium 0·300-0·400
Zedoary root Curcuma Zedoaria 1·300

Fresh flowers as a rule contain more aromatic material than wilted
ones; the yield of dried herbs, leaves, etc., is usually greater than
that of the fresh, because the latter contain much water which is
lost in drying. When such vegetable materials cannot be worked fresh,
which is best, they should be completely dried, spread on boards, at
a moderate temperature in the shade and preserved in dry airy rooms,
special care being had to guard against mould.

In a preceding chapter on the chemical properties of the vegetable
substances many of their characteristics have been described. In this
place we need only describe the physical properties of the essential
oils, and with some of them to lay stress on those peculiarities by
which they are specially differentiated. This knowledge is of the
greatest importance to the manufacturer of perfumery because no
single individual is in a position to prepare all aromatic substances
himself, but must rely on commerce for some of them; and in no group of
chemicals is adulteration as frequent and as difficult of demonstration
as among the aromatics. These adulterations are carried so far that
many essential oils occurring in commerce under certain names often
have nothing in common with the substance for which they are sold but
the name.


The oil of Acacia farnesiana is greenish-yellow and viscid; the density
and boiling-point, which are of the greatest importance with reference
to the genuineness of an essential oil, are not yet accurately known.
Moreover, this oil never occurs in commerce as such, but its odor is
present in perfumes, fixed oils, and pomades.


should be colorless or faintly yellow; a dark yellow color indicates
old and inferior quality. The characteristics of this oil are the odor,
its aromatic sweet taste, and especially the property of solidifying
at a comparatively high temperature, 10-15° C. (50-59° F.), which
is due to the separation of a stearopten, anethol. Oil of anise is
frequently adulterated with or replaced by oil of star-anise. The easy
solidification of the oil of anise is not always proof of its good
quality, for the oil from anise chaff, which congeals at a still higher
temperature, is sometimes mixed with it, and this has a less fine odor
than that distilled from the seed. One part by weight of oil of anise
is soluble in an equal weight of alcohol of 94%.


has a pale yellow color which becomes greenish when the oil is kept in
copper vessels, and a strong agreeable odor. This oil requires the
greatest care in its preservation, as it abstracts oxygen from the air
with extreme rapidity, when it changes its superior odor so that it can
hardly be distinguished from oil of turpentine.


when pure, is a colorless, refractive liquid which is heavier than
water. The vessels in which this product is preserved must be stoppered
air-tight, for in the air the oil very quickly changes into a white,
odorless mass of crystals consisting of benzoic acid.

Oil of bitter almond is formed by the action of the amygdalin upon the
emulsin present in the fruit, bitter-almond meal being deprived of
fat and left in contact with water for some hours at from 40-45° C.
(104-113° F.). Besides oil of bitter almond, sugar and prussic acid are
likewise formed. The crude oil distilled from the meal is freed from
the prussic acid by agitation with ferrous chloride and lime-water, and


has usually a greenish color, and has a burning, camphoraceous and at
the same time cooling taste. It has a peculiar odor resembling that of
camphor and rosemary.


This oil, which is very viscid and of a yellow or reddish color, must
usually be mixed with other essential oils in order to furnish pleasant


Oil of chamomile, from Matricaria Chamomilla (common chamomile), which
is specially characterized by its magnificent dark-blue color, has a
marked narcotic odor and is very high-priced, owing to the small yield
of oil by the flowers. The oil from Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile)
has also a blue color which gradually becomes greenish-yellow.


This essential oil differs from the others mainly by being firm and
crystalline at ordinary temperatures. Chinese or Japanese camphor melts
at 175° C. (347° F.) and boils at 205° C. (401° F.). Camphor is seldom
used alone, as its odor is hardly fragrant; but it finds frequent
application in the preparation of mouth washes, toilet vinegars, etc.
In commerce so-called Borneo camphor is also met with (though rarely),
which closely resembles the Chinese in appearance and other qualities,
but is more friable and melts at 189° C. (388·4° F.).


is not used pure in perfumery, the bark being generally employed


has a yellow color, gradually becoming dark reddish-brown, and an odor
resembling that of oil of cinnamon, but the odor is not so fine, nor
so strong, as that of the latter. The taste of the oil is of special
importance: while that of true oil of cinnamon is burning though sweet,
oil of cassia has a sharper taste, and this taste is considered by some
a good mark of recognition of the rather common adulteration of true
oil of cinnamon which is much more costly.


This oil, obtained from the wood of the Juniperus virginiana (not from
the true cedar, Cedrus Libani), is clear like water, has a pleasant
odor, and differs from most essential oils by congealing at a very low
temperature (-22° C. or-8° F.) and by its uncommon resinification in
contact with air.


Oil of citron is usually merely a synonym for “oil of lemon.” But in
perfumery it has been customary to designate the oil of lemon which was
extracted by the écuelle process, as “oil of citron-zeste” or “oil of
citron,” while “oil of lemon” meant the distilled oil. Since there is
no difficulty at the present time in obtaining all the hand-pressed oil
that may be required, and of the finest quality, there is no longer any
necessity for making the before-mentioned distinction.


is one of the most important essential oils for the perfumer as well
as the manufacturer of liqueurs, confectioner, etc. The oil is pale
yellow, and of a very strong refreshing odor which it loses rapidly
in contact with the air, when it acquires a disagreeable odor of
turpentine and gradually resinifies. This change is particularly marked
under the influence of light. Its spec. grav. is 0·850 at 20° C. (68°
F.). It is soluble in an equal volume of strong alcohol or glacial
acetic acid. The hand-pressed oil has a much finer aroma than that
obtained by distillation.


This oil is hardly ever made in Europe, since it is imported in
excellent quality and at low prices from India and especially the
island of Ceylon. (See above, p. 29.)


This oil, which is imported in considerable quantities from India
(chiefly Ceylon), is colorless and possesses a very pleasant odor of
lemon which at the same time recalls that of roses and still more that
of geranium, which is not rarely adulterated with it. (See above, p.


has a pale yellow color and a burning, sharp, aromatic taste. Like
oil of cubebs (oleum cubebæ), oil of dill (oleum anethi), and oil of
fennel (oleum fœniculi) which latter also has a rather low congealing
point (-8° C. or +17° F.), this oil is used less in perfumery than
for scenting soap and in the manufacture of liqueurs. But it should
be noted that these oils, as well as those of bergamot, caraway,
star-anise, and some others, could well be employed for cheap perfumes
and for scenting soap. Oil of dill also finds application alone in the
preparation of some face washes, and the dried fennel herb in cheap


can be made at slight cost from the flowers, as the raw material is
obtainable without much trouble; it forms a yellow, strong-scented oil.
In perfumery, however, use is generally made only of the pomade made
from the fresh flowers or the alcoholic extract prepared from it. Or
else the odor is imitated by means of terpineol, which is now on the
market under the name of lilacin.


It is necessary to distinguish clearly between oil of true geranium
distilled in Southern France and Algiers from species of Pelargonium;
and Turkish oil of geranium, also known as Palmarosa oil, oil of
geranium grass, oil of Rusa grass, etc., which is distilled in India
from ginger grass. (See above, p. 33.)

The first-mentioned oil has a much finer aroma than the second. The two
oils are frequently confounded, even in prominent works of reference.

When oil of geranium or of rose geranium is directed to be used, the
French (or Algerian, or Spanish) oil should be employed. These cost
more than twice as much as the so-called Turkish or palmarosa oil.


This oil which does not yet occur in commerce (we find merely the
pomade and the alcoholic extract of the latter) has been made by
the author experimentally; the most suitable method was found to be
extraction with petroleum ether. As the plant, Heliotropium peruvianum,
the source of this delightful odor, is frequently cultivated in
our gardens, the preparation of the oil by this method is to be
recommended, being less expensive and more rapid than by the use of
fat, while the product obtained with petroleum ether is as fine as that
extracted by alcohol from the pomade.


The remark made under the head of oil of lilac applies equally to this
oil. For the benefit of those who wish to make this oil in its pure
form we may add that it is absolutely necessary to select only the
freshest flowers, otherwise the odor will be very much impaired.


not to be confounded with the oil of Syringa or German jasmine
(Philadelphus coronarius), is colorless or yellowish and has a very
strong, almost narcotic odor. It is one of the most valuable and at the
same time most expensive aromatic substances employed in perfumery.
Genuine oil of jasmine can be obtained only from Southern France at
very high prices. What is usually sold as “oil of jasmine” is a fixed
oil impregnated with the aroma of jasmine.


is not used as such in perfumery; at most cherry-laurel water may be
employed. But as this has the odor of oil of bitter almond and as
the presence of some prussic acid, on account of which the officinal
cherry-laurel water is used, is of no value to the perfumer and is,
in fact, undesirable, owing to its poisonous quality, we substitute
in all cases a corresponding quantity of oil of bitter almond for
cherry-laurel water.


is light brown, somewhat viscid; the odor recalls that of the oils of
cinnamon, sassafras, and clove. It has been used for scenting soap.


is light yellow and has an aromatic odor and burning taste. In
perfumery it is used only for very cheap odors and for scenting soap;
it finds its chief application in the manufacture of liqueurs.


This oil is of great importance to the perfumer and is imported in
unsurpassed quality from England (Mitcham); it is light yellow, has a
burning sharp taste, and is exceedingly sensitive to light and air,
under the action of which it loses its refreshing odor in a very brief
time and acquires a common smell recalling that of turpentine.

The buyer of this oil should take care to secure the true oil of
lavender (from Lavandula vera); for the oil of spike-lavender is sold
under the same name. This, prepared from Lavandula Spica, has a similar
odor to the genuine, but cannot be compared with it in delicacy. For
this reason, too, the difference in the price between the two is
considerable. True English oil of lavender costs ten times as much
as oil of spike-lavender. The English brand of the true oil is of so
excellent a quality that it brings four or five times as much as the
best French oil, which is sold under the name of huile de lavande des
Alpes. Yet during the last decade or so the French oil of lavender
flowers has become so much improved in quality that it has become a
serious rival to the Mitcham oil.


made from the flowers of the well-known garden plant, and


likewise from the ornamental plant, are, strange to say, not
manufactured in any place, to our knowledge. Experiments made by us in
this direction prove that the odors of these plants can be obtained
either by absorption or, more readily, by extraction. The perfumes thus
far occurring under these names are always combinations of different
scents which, though pleasant, have but little in common with the
plants whose names they bear.

In this connection we may say that the perfumes sold under the names
of various flowers often have no relation to them, but are mixtures
of various odors. While it cannot be denied that perfumes may be made
in this manner which resemble those of the respective plants, it is
unquestionably an imperfection in the art of perfumery that these
odors are not really made from the flowers mentioned. To give another
characteristic instance, we may add that the delightful odor of the
well-known lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)—a plant which grows
wild abundantly in many of our forests—has not yet been produced, and
that even imitations of this odor, which in delicacy and fragrance
stands next to those of the rose and violet, are seldom met with in


obtained from the fruits of the lemon-tree, is one of the most
important products, both statistically and economically, of the Citrus
family. In German works there is often a confusion between “oil of
citron” and “oil of lemon,” it being supposed by the authors that the
“Citronen-öl” is derived from the citron (Citrus medica), and the
“Limonen-öl” from the lemon (Citrus Limonum). There is, indeed, some
oil made, occasionally, from the citron, but it does not figure in
price-lists. The oil of the lemon, on the other hand, is very commonly
called “Citronen-öl,” and the fruit itself “Citrone.” Hence, when
“Citronen-öl” is quoted in a formula, it may be assumed at once that
oil of lemon is intended. It is very liable to resinify, when it loses
its fragrance.


is green, and usually mixed with the fixed oil of the same plant. It
finds more frequent application in the manufacture of liqueurs than
in perfumery; but as it has a pleasant odor it might well be used for
cheap perfumes. But in that event it must be freed from the fixed oil
by distillation.


likewise, has not yet been prepared as such. The remarks made above
under the head of oils of lily and wallflower apply also to this odor.
The so-called magnolia perfumes are mixtures of different odors.


Oil of marjoram, which is obtained by distillation from the dried
herb, has a strong aromatic odor. It is mentioned as having often been
used in perfumery for scenting soap instead of oil of thyme, whose
odor, moreover, is very similar to that of marjoram, but this is a
mistake, due to the fact that ordinary oil of thyme has long been sold
under the name of oil of origanum. True oil of marjoram costs about
twelve dollars a pound, while oil of thyme (so-called oil of origanum)
is worth only about eighty cents. It is rarely employed for volatile


The oil of Melissa officinalis, owing to the very small yield, is quite
expensive. It is used only for the preparation of some perfumes which
owe their peculiar qualities to this strong odor. This oil must not
be confounded with the spurious oil of melissa, also called oil of
citron-melissa, which is identical with oil of lemon grass (see page


Although all the mints possess an agreeable odor, only three varieties
find extensive application. There are the oils from Mentha piperita,
peppermint; Mentha viridis, spearmint; and Mentha crispa, crispmint.
The oils of English manufacture are highly esteemed, but the United
States also produces them of excellent quality. At one time the
cultivation of mints, particularly peppermint, was greatly extended,
with the expectation of deriving satisfactory profit from the
enterprise. It has, however, been conclusively shown that the market
cannot absorb more than a certain quantity of these products; and that
any over-production brings loss and disappointment to the investor.
Beside the three kinds of mint above mentioned, there is another
species, Mentha arvensis, a native of Japan, which is extensively
cultivated there, and is the chief source of the menthol of commerce,
so well known as an efficient remedy for neuralgia, migraine, etc., in
form of menthol cones. The three varieties of the mint oils previously
mentioned are distinguished, aside from their pleasant odor, by the
property of leaving a very refreshing and cooling taste in the mouth,
and for this reason they form the most important constituent of all
fine mouth washes.

True oil of peppermint, Oleum Menthæ piperitæ, when pure is colorless,
very mobile, of a burning sharp taste which is followed by a peculiar
coolness. The commercial product is usually pale green. Oil of
crispmint, Oleum Menthæ crispæ, which in Europe is often sold to
novices as oil of peppermint, has always a more or less yellow color
and resembles the oil of peppermint in its properties, but it is less
fine and cheaper. The same is true of the oil of spearmint, but this
has a very characteristic odor and taste, distinctly different from

As above stated, the oils of mint are extensively used for mouth
washes, also for scenting soap, in liqueurs and pastils, but rarely in
handkerchief perfumes.


These oils are prepared either from the seed coat (Oleum Macidis)
or the nutmeg itself (Oleum Myristicæ). Oil of mace generally has
a yellowish-red color in tint varying from dark to light and even
colorless. Its taste is agreeable and mild and the odor exceedingly
strong. Like oil of nutmeg, it is extensively used in the manufacture
of liqueurs and for scenting soap. The oil prepared by distillation
from the nutmeg is, when fresh, almost colorless or at most faintly
yellow, of a burning sharp taste, and an aromatic odor. Like oil of
mace, it is used in the manufacture of liqueurs and soaps and also in
many perfumes.

In India a third valuable product is obtained from the nutmeg by
expression of the ripe fruits and is called nutmeg butter. This
is bright yellow and consists of a true fat and an essential oil.
Its odor is very pleasant and a very superior soap can be made by
saponification of this valuable product with soda lye.


This oil is of a greenish color and very mobile, but it is not a
commercial product; the manufacturer must prepare the oil himself from
the leaves, though the yield is small. The articles sold as so-called
essence of myrtle are always mixtures of different odors. Southern
France, however, exports at high prices a myrtle water (eau des anges)
which is really made by distillation of the leaves with water.


As to the odor to which this flower owes its fragrance we may repeat
what we have said just now with reference to the oil of myrtle: we
have never succeeded in obtaining this oil in commerce. The so-called
essence of narcissus, though a very pleasant mixture, contains no trace
of the true oil. As to


the same remark applies: the compositions sold under the name of
essence d’œillet, however, have a very striking odor of pink.


This oil when fresh is colorless, but soon becomes yellowish or brown.
It is heavier than water in which it sinks and is characterized by an
exceedingly strong burning taste and a spicy odor. It remains at least
partly fluid at a very low temperature, namely,-20° C. (-4° F.).


commercially known also under the French names huile de fleurs
d’oranges, huile néroli, huile néroli pétale, is obtained from the
flowers of the orange-tree in Southern France, where the orange is
specially planted for this purpose. The odor of the oil varies with the
mode of its preparation; that obtained by distillation with water has
a different odor from that made by maceration with fat and extraction
with alcohol. The latter variety of oil as such, however, is not
found in commerce, the alcoholic extract entering at once into the
composition of the perfumes.

The French manufacturers of this oil, which is of great importance in
perfumery, distinguish several varieties. The most valuable is the oil
from the flowers of Citrus vulgaris (or Citrus Bigaradia), the true
bitter orange (or Seville orange) tree. This is the so-called néroli
bigarade. That called néroli pétale is obtained from the same flowers
carefully deprived of their floral envelopes, so that only the petals
are subjected to distillation. Much cheaper than these two is the oil
of petit grain which is distilled from the leaves and sometimes also
unripe fruits of various trees of the Citrus order.

All these oils are among the most delicate; when fresh they are
colorless and have a peculiar bitter taste; exposed to light and air
they assume a reddish tint and undergo rapid resinification. They
should, therefore, be preserved in particularly well-closed vessels in
a dark, cool place.

Not to be confounded with these oils is the


of which there are two kinds, one from the bitter orange, known also
as Oil of Orange, Bigarade, and the other from the sweet orange, also
known as Oil of Portugal. Both are extracted from the peel of the fruit
by mechanical means. Both oils of orange peel are golden yellow, and
have a pleasant, refreshing odor recalling that of the fruit. They
find application for scenting soap, in toilet waters, and in some true
perfumes. When oil of orange or oil of orange peel is mentioned in any
formula, without further specification, the oil of _bitter_ orange peel
should be used.


This oil, which might be manufactured with advantage in India, the
home of the plant, is, strange to say, not imported from that country,
but is distilled in Europe from the dried herb. Fresh oil of patchouly
is brown in color, very viscid, almost like balsam, and surpasses all
other essential oils in the intensity of its odor. Owing to the strong
odor, pure oil of patchouly must really be called ill-smelling; only
when highly diluted does the odor become pleasant, and then forms a
useful ingredient of many perfumes as the fundamental odor in the


Oil of false jasmine, from the flowers of Philadelphus coronarius,
is not made as such; in Southern France, however, the flowers
are frequently used for the preparation of a cheap pomade known
commercially as orange-flower pomade. A personal experiment made with
the view to obtain the pure odor by extraction of the flowers with
petroleum ether has shown that this plant is suitable for making very
fine preparations, both handkerchief perfumes and pomades.


of a burning sharp taste and odor, is colorless, but is hardly ever
used for the purposes of the perfumer—at most for soaps—but all the
more frequently in the manufacture of liqueurs, and particularly also
in that of artificial bay-rum.


has not been made thus far, though there is no doubt that this perfume,
too, can be prepared pure from the alcoholic extract of the pomade.
The properties of the oil should resemble those of the finest néroli


This oil, obtained by distillation of the herb, is colorless or pale
yellow, of a very strong, penetrating odor; it is used in some washes,
but more particularly as an ingredient in the manufacture of artificial
cognac, for which purpose the plant is specially cultivated in France.


The delightful odor of this plant which formerly could only be fixed by
maceration in fat may be readily prepared by extraction with petroleum
ether. Yet special precautions should be taken that nothing but
portions of the flowers, carefully picked off, and no green leaves are
extracted. The oil thus obtained has a yellow color and a disagreeable
odor which changes into the well-known pleasant smell of the flower
when highly diluted with alcohol.


also known as attar or otto of rose. The various species of roses give
different odors. The commercial Turkish, Persian, and Indian oils of
rose (which latter is never exported)—which, by the way, are very
generally adulterated even at their point of production—are derived
mainly from Rosa damascena, and when highly diluted yield the pleasant
odor of our ordinary garden roses. The rose oils having the odor of the
moss rose, tea rose, or dog rose are made almost exclusively in France
and in commerce do not appear pure but generally in the form of pomades
or alcoholic solutions known as essences de roses.

True rose oil is yellowish or yellow, or else greenish, and varying
from liquid almost to the consistence of butter. Between these
extremes there are all possible gradations. A comparatively very high
congealing-point is a characteristic of oil of rose. It becomes almost
solid at 14 to 20° C. (57 to 68° F.). The portion separated during
solidification is colorless, markedly crystalline, and, strange to say,
almost odorless. Pure oil of rose smells disagreeably narcotic, only
the very dilute solution shows the incomparable fragrance.

Much superior to the oils of rose which are prepared from rose leaves
(either fresh or salted) are those obtained by maceration or extraction
with petroleum ether. Those perfumes sold under the name of various
species of rose, such as moss rose, etc., are combinations of rose oil
with other aromatics.


This bright yellow light oil is obtained by distillation of the wood of
Convolvulus Scoparius. At times this oil is scarce in commerce. It has
a faint but decided odor of rose.


This oil is obtained by distillation from the herb of the rosemary
plant as a thin, pale green fluid with an aromatic odor and spicy
taste. It is used as an ingredient in some old renowned handkerchief
perfumes—for instance, Cologne water—also for flavoring soaps and


from the flowers of Salvia officinalis, is yellowish, with an odor
somewhat similar to that of oil of peppermint, but far less intense.
Like the latter it imparts a pleasant coolness to the mouth and hence
is used in some mouth washes.


The oil of santal wood (also called sandal-wood oil) has a thick,
honey-like consistence and an agreeable, rose-like odor. Formerly
it was sometimes used for the adulteration of oil of rose, but can
also very well be used alone for several perfumes and fumigating


is yellow, spicy, with a burning odor and taste; in the cold it
crystallizes only in part. The odor of this oil recalls that of fennel.
The purest form of it, or rather substitute for it, is safrol, its main
constituent, which is, however, now extracted more economically from
crude oil of camphor, in which it likewise forms an ingredient.


Several species of Spiræa, and especially Spiræa ulmaria, furnish very
pleasant odors. This oil consists mainly of salicylic aldehyde.

Despite its pleasant odor and the facility of its production, this
substance has thus far found little application in perfumery. The
natural oil of meadowsweet, owing to its extremely high price, can
hardly ever be used.


resembles in its properties the oil of anise, even in its odor; but
all connoisseurs agree that the odor of the oil of star-anise far
surpasses that of the oil of anise, hence the former is used especially
for fine perfumes. This preference, however, does not extend to all
preparations. For certain liqueurs, such as anisette, the oil obtained
from common anise (Saxon anise) is usually preferred. Many also regard
the odor of star-anise as inferior to that of fine European anise.


The essential oils of thyme (chiefly Thymus vulgaris) and some related
plants are very frequently used for scenting cheap soaps. The oils of
these plants are light yellow, and so similar in odor that it is not
possible to distinguish them except by direct comparison.


or, more correctly, vanilla camphor, the true odorous constituent
of vanilla, also called vanillin, is a crystalline substance with a
delightful odor, melting at 76° C. (169° F.). This is now extensively
made artificially from the cambium sap of pines, the coniferin being
converted by chemical processes into vanillin. One ounce of good
vanillin is equivalent to about forty ounces of best Mexican vanilla


has thus far been produced in but very small quantities from the
alcoholic extract of the true violet pomade; it has a greenish color
and when pure a narcotic odor not to be recognized as that of the
flower. The pleasant odor of violets manifests itself only in extreme


is yellow, with a very pleasant odor of lemons. Its price being quite
high, it is usually adulterated with oil of lemon-grass, or else
the latter is sold under the name of oil of verbena (see p. 30). In
fact the odors of the two oils are so similar that they are easily


from Andropogon muricatus (see p. 30), is viscid, reddish-brown, with a
very strong and lasting odor.


This product is obtained by distillation from the leaves and twigs
of Gaultheria procumbens or else by distilling the bark or leaves
of Betula lenta with water, in which case the oil is generated by
the action of the water, as it does not pre-exist in the birch,
and, moreover, in this case the oil consists of nothing but methyl
salicylate. It differs, like oil of meadowsweet, very markedly from
the other aromatic substances and mainly consists of a so-called
compound ether. It is a salicylate of methyl, boils at 220° C. (428°
F.), is much heavier than water (specific gravity 1·173 to 1·184), and
dissolves readily in alcohol and other solvents. It is used chiefly for
scenting soap; the perfumes sold as wintergreen are usually mixtures of
different substances which contain no oil of wintergreen.


is imported from Manilla. It is colorless or yellowish, and has a most
delightful characteristic odor, which is rather fugitive if not made
resistant by other substances. It forms an important constituent of
several of the most favorite and expensive essences.


is colorless, but rapidly becomes yellow in the air. It is used in some
very cheap perfumes and in the manufacture of liqueurs.


Commercially we find chiefly three varieties of essential oils which
are designated as: oil of Ceylon cinnamon, oil of Chinese cinnamon or
oil of cassia, and oil of cinnamon leaves. Oil of Ceylon cinnamon,
sometimes called “true oil of cinnamon,” made from the bark of the
twigs of the cinnamon laurel and formerly imported mainly from Ceylon
but now distilled in large amounts in Germany from imported cinnamon
“chips,” is rather viscid, golden yellow to reddish-brown in color, of
a burning though sweet taste. In the air it gradually absorbs oxygen,
when it becomes dark red, thicker, and of weaker flavor. Oil of Ceylon
cinnamon, which should always be used in perfumes or liqueurs when
simply “oil of cinnamon” is directed, has a specific gravity of 1·030
to 1·035 at 15° C. (59° F.) and boils at about 240° C. (464° F.). Its
chief constituent upon which its aroma depends is cinnamyl aldehyde.

Oil of Chinese cinnamon, or oil of cassia, has for a very long time,
up to within a few years, always reached the market in a more or less
adulterated state, a regular practice of the Chinese exporters being
to dissolve ordinary resin in it (claiming afterward that the “resin”
was caused by the oxidation of the oil through age) and often also to
add petroleum to it. These frauds have been well shown up by Schimmel
& Co., of Leipsic; and in consequence thereof, the quality of oil of
cassia exported from China has been greatly improved. Oil of cassia
when pure has a specific gravity of 1·060 to 1·065, and should contain
not less than seventy-five per cent of cinnamyl aldehyde.

Oil of cinnamon leaves is an inferior product, often used for
adulterating oil of Ceylon cinnamon. It does not deserve notice by the

As an appendix we may add in this connection a description of the


because it must be called an important substance to know for the
perfumer, inasmuch as it is very frequently used for the adulteration
of different essential oils. Oil of turpentine, which is obtained from
incisions into the bark of different fir and pine trees, the exuding
resin being distilled with water, comes into commerce from various
sources. Different sorts are distinguished, but to the perfumer only
the rectified oil of turpentine, oleum terebinthinæ rectificatum, is
important. Oil of turpentine has a yellowish color and a decidedly
disagreeable, resinous, and burnt taste. By repeated distillation,
especially over quicklime or chloride of lime (bleaching powder), it is
finally obtained as a colorless, very refractive liquid with a density
of 0·855 to 0·870 and a boiling-point at 160° C. (320° F.). Its odor
is peculiar, but not easily distinguished from that of old essential
oils, such as oils of caraway, anise, etc. One peculiarity of oil of
turpentine is that its odor is easily masked by that of other essential
oils, so that, for instance, a comparatively large quantity of oil of
turpentine needs the addition of but little oil of anise to impart to
the entire mixture a rather pronounced odor of anise. This peculiarity
has led to the frequent employment of rectified oil of turpentine for
the adulteration of other essential oils.

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