How to Extract Lilac Fragrance

Overview

You, or someone you know, probably loves the smell of lilac. But once the flowers die, the fragrance goes with them. Lilacs are one of the few flowers whose essence can be effectively extracted. You can preserve the scent of the flowers through an ancient technique called enfleurage. Perfume makers have used this method for centuries and it is still used in some forms today. This process may seem a little strange and is certainly not easy or quick, but it produces a concentrated, perfumed lilac elixir.

Step 1

Place two plates next to each other so that you have two sets of five plates each. Melt the lard and pour it into the bottom of each plate so that it covers the bottom with a 1/2-inch-deep layer.

Step 2

Allow the fat to solidify. Score the surface of the lard in a criss-cross pattern with the butter knife. Distribute 2 cups of the lilac flowers evenly among the 10 plates, placing them carefully in the grooves of the lard.

Step 3

Place one set of plates on top of the other and tape the plates together, sealing the gap between the plates. Allow these plates to set in a cool, dark area for two days.

Step 4

Remove the tape after two days and replace the lilac petals with 2 cups of fresh petals. Reseal the plates and place them back in the area. Repeat this action six more times for a total of 18 days.

Step 5

Remove the petals from each plate and place the lard into the glass jars so that each is about half full with lard. Top each jar with ethyl alcohol until the jars are nearly full. Seal the jars and shake them thoroughly. Place the jars in a dark area for three months, shaking the jars each day or at least five times a week.

Step 6

Place the funnel on top of the quart-sized jar. Fold the muslin in half and place it over the funnel. Pour the contents of each small jar into the muslin-covered funnel and strain the solution into the large jar. The fat will not pass through the muslin.

Step 7

Add fixative oil to the lilac essence, about two drops per 1/4 cup. Seal and store the jar.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure that the flowers do not touch the plate directly as fungus could grow and spoil the fragrance. The solution should not be added to any substance intended for consumption.

Things You'll Need

  • 10 large, shallow glass or ceramic plates
  • 2 lbs. lard
  • 8 lbs. fragrant lilac flowers
  • Butter knife
  • Duct or masking tape
  • 4 pint-sized glass jars
  • Ethyl alcohol, 1 quart
  • Piece of muslin fabric, 1 foot long
  • Large funnel
  • Quart-sized glass jar
  • Container of fixative oil (see Tips)

References

  • AllSands: How to Extract Essential Oil From Flowers
Keywords: lilac flowers, extracting flower fragrance, making perfume

About this Author

Jeremy Cato is a young, fledgling writer from Atlanta who graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and an English degree from Morehouse College. Demand Studios is his first experience as a paid writer.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Extract Lilac Fragrance