New Hampshire: Making Perfume in 1862

FOR THE LADIES.  To Obtain and Preserve the Perfume of Flowers.–Did it ever occur to the reader to inquire whence and how are obtained the vast amount of odors or perfumery of flowers that is used?

A large part of that used in this country and Great Britain is obtained from the Southern part of France, where seeds and flowers are raised by scores of tons for this purpose. The odors are first absorbed by purified lard, and the odor extracted afterwards by the use of spirits of wine, (alcohol.)  A very few kinds of plants are used for this purpose, the great variety of perfumes being skillful combinations of a few. But every lady who has in the garden the Lily of the Valley, the Honeysuckle, the Myrtle, the Clover Pink, Rose, or other odorous flowers, may be her own perfumer. All she needs is a little pure lard. Common lard may be purified by melting and pouring it into water a few times. Dr. Piesse gives the following directions:

  At the season when the flowers are in bloom, obtain one pound of fine lard, melt and strain it through a hair sieve or cloth, into cold spring water, repeating the process several times, using a pinch of salt and a pinch of alum in each water–then wash in plain water, and finally remelt and cast in a pan.  Put this clarified fat into a glue-pot, and place it where sufficiently warm to keep it liquid.

Into this fat throw as many flowers as you can, and there let them remain 24 hours, then strain the fat from the spent flowers, and add fresh ones; repeating this operation for a week, when the fat will have become very highly perfumed.

To turn this pomade into an extract suitable for the handkerchief, cut the perfumed fat into small pieces, drop them into a wide-mouthed bottle and cover with best alcohol a week, and then strain it off.–[Amer. Agriculturist].

–Farmer's Cabinet, Amherst NH, 10 April 1862


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