In my early aroma years, the closest I could get to Orris Root Absolute was its powder. I grew Irises and faithfully aged the bulbs, as I had read in my old perfumery books until they reached their fourth and fragrant year. I powdered the bulbs to make dry deodorant and dusting body power for our humid coastal living. I tried my hand at carving Orris Root beads which I found required far more skill than rosary bead making. Dried Orris root becomes more pronounced in scent as it becomes more dried, similar to Spikenard and Vetiver. The Iris is a very special perfumery ingredient having a fixed presence throughout history. The Egyptians preferred aged Orris Root during the time of Tutankhamen and felt it was best once it reached 20 years of age. Romans and Athenians favored the scent of Iris as did the Queen of Spain. Henry lV’s household linens were perfumed with Orris Root powder. The French Regency made Marechale, a fragrant power which included Sandalwood, Orris Root, Roses, Cloves, Cassia and Grain Musk. The formula is on my experiment list after I conquer a few other formulas. I have 2007 Orris Root powder I am patiently aging to see if it does in fact hold more fragrance at the twenty year mark. Check back with me in 2027.
Orris root is not easy to work with being almost in resinoid form, but thankfully it is concentrated with higher Irones than is typically is found on the market. Very little is needed to create a luxury botanical perfume. It smells powdery like the fresh violets I used to collect in the early spring (without the cucumber note) and complementary fatty wood notes that round out the scent. This is one aromatic absolute I wish I could show with smell – O – vision.
Suggested uses: Blends beautifully with our Mimosa Absolute (highly recommend), Cedarwood, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Labdanum Resinoid, and other delicate florals. Warms a natural perfume composition and acts as a superb fixative. I wear as a solo note when feeling particularly Queen-ish and finds it remains on on the skin for a few days.
Orris root does solidify so will require a warm water bath to work with it.