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Earthy Accord Newsletter

The stars all swimming in theautumn forest
green depths
Like little silver fish.
And the round moon lay on the
silken breast of the pool
Like a breastplate on a
Valkyrie's bosom;
The trees bent low, and all
around were nightsounds...
Thy lulled out all turbulency,
they stole away the world
From me, stretched on
brown leaves,
Scented with earth-scent,
and damp
with earth-tears.

"City Tides"
By Archie Austin Coates

This month we will continue with the series of accords with the theme of earthy or rooty notes. As we travel about the world into the many climes, topographies, etc we encounter a great diversity of soil types which in turn provide the nourishing foundation for the innumerable trees, shrubs, perennials, vines that populated the earth. Amongst this grand diversity of botanical luminaries we fine those which capture something of the aroma of the soil in which they live, for soil itself is alive with scent. Many of aroma ladened aromatic co2 extracts, absolutes, attars, and essential oils which have earthy scents are distilled or extracted from roots which live directly in the soil. They have their own special role to play in perfume, often lending a solid, long-lasting foundation or base to the artist creation that help hold or fix the fragrance or the more evanescent elements the composition may contain.

Before enumerating the earthy/rooty essences, their olfactory descriptors etc I thought I might mention a very simple method for studying the individual oils to imprint upon the mind the aromatic qualities exhibited by each. Typically, when studying an oil through the various stages of topnote, middle note, and dryout, one uses a perfumers blotter paper that has been dipped into the essence, and then commences to sniff it periodically throughout the day. Generally one sniffs the blotter paper every 1 or 2 minutes over the first 10-15 minutes to understand its olfactory properties for it is the topnote is first to fade before giving rise to the heart and base(dry-out) notes. Then one may study the heart note at less frequent intervals, perhaps once every 5 minutes until one finds that the oils identity has become fixed in the dry- out note where very little change occurs. Even that note needs to be studied again and again over the course of the day but at 60 minute intervals. This is what I call the rational method of studying the individual essences and it plays a very important role in one olfactory education.

But there is another way to conduct ones olfactory research which may be less scientific but also can prove to be more accessible to folks who take a more intuitional approach to the subject. In this method one needs to have a selection of cotton handkerchiefs(enough to last one between the time one washes their clothes) All one needs to do is select the oil of the day to be studied and place a few drops on a cotton strip of cloth or a cotton ball which is then enfolded in the handkerchief. The handkerchief is then placed in a pocket or carried in a small pouch preferably located somewhere on the front part of the body below the nose so that all day long one may get whiffs of the oil one is studying. Cotton has very fine absorbent and fixative qualities allowing a slow release of the aromatic qualities which gently envelope one in their aroma throughout the day. Through this method one experiences the oil in an intuitive way and becomes aware of "aura" of the essence which in turn helps to fix it in ones olfactory database.

This particular waymushroom of experiencing the individual oils becomes even more valuable when one enters the world of blending individual essences with each other to create ones own signature perfumes or for enjoying the perfumes of others. If perfumes are applied directly to the skin, then within a relatively short time the heat generated by the body disperses the aromatic molecules but if the very same essence is put on a cotton ball or strip of cloth and enfolded in an handkerchief then the aura of the perfume will surr0und throughout the entire day and night. It is a most cost effective way to enjoy fragrance prolonging the life of ones precious aromatic creations or acquisitions many fold.

Angelica root(Angelica archangelica)eo, co2 and absolute; Calamus root(Acorus calamus)co2 and eo: Costus(Saussarea lappa)root co2 and eo; Elecampane(Inula graveolens)root co2 and eo; Licorice root abs, co2 and eo; Orris root(Iris floretina)eo, co2 and abs; Valerian(Valeriana officinalis)eo and co2; Cyperus/Nagarmotha eo and co2; Spikenard(Nardostachys jatamansi) co2 and eo; Vetiver(vetiveria ziasanoides) eo and co2; Galangal(Kaempferia galangal) eo, Zeodara eo; Lovage root(Levistium officinale) co2 and eo, Ginger root(Zingiber officinalis)co2, eo and abs; Alpinia galangal root eo and co2; Spike Ginger(Hedychium spictaum)eo and co2; Atractylis lancea eo and co2; Gentian root(Gentiana lutea)abs; Mitti(distillation of the earth) Attar

Descriptive terminology for earthy/rooty accord:

earthy, damp, mossy, tenacious, diffusive, musky, animalic, dark, fungal, mushroom-like, pungent, bitter, dry, spicy, rich, woody, warm, powdery, rooty, fresh, sweet, sour, powerful, ambery, smoky, clean

herbaceous-earthy, dry-woody, wet-mossy, dry-earthy, spicy-warm, sweet-rooty, fresh-aromatic, sweet-rooty, spicy-animal, bitter-burning, warm-woody, green-woody, balsamic-woody, wet soil, dry-powdery, rain-wetted dust
Earth Scent in Literature
She loved the deep shadows of their house, the cleansing earth-scent of all things. These people were absolutely unspoiled. Their cleanliness was not of flesh only; their minds were untainted, their hearts still clean.

from This Man's World
by Will Levington Comfort


The crashing thunder that had seemed like an avalanche of boulders shattered and flung earthward by the fury of the storm, began to spend itself, and close following on the peals and flashes came the damp earth-scent of rain-wetted dust and the big drops came down. By and by the thunder died away in distant grumbling, and the firey zigzags went out. There was the sound of splashing hoofs pounding along the road; and the warm, wet smell of horses' steaming hides blown back by the night wind.

from Greater Faith hath no Man
by Idah M. Strobridge


The full stream's babbling inarticulate word,
The plash of rain on big wet ivy-leaves;
I saw the woods where thick the dead leaves lie,
And smelt the fresh earth's scent-the scent of memory.

from Leaves of Life
by Edith Nesbit


There is a certain fresh earth-scent in early spring, and in the first flowers and opening leaves of the year, not unlike the 'savour' of the people's songs in all countries.
from Peasant Properties
by Frances Parthenope Verney


I fled your cold, grey glance, O sea,
The harsh cries of your leafless bay,
And purple elm-flowers called to me,
The earth scent drew my heart away.

from Songs from the Downs & Dunes
by Habberton Lulham


Moses began, when they were clear of the farm, and the hills and vales lay fresh and fair before then in soft glamour of morning sunshine, fragrant with the wholesome earth-scent made by drying dews and pungent smells of burning weeds, the blue flume of which rolled slowly up from hill-side and hollow like alter smoke.

from Ribstone Pippins
by Maxwell Gray, Mary Gleed Tuttiett


Mine are the joys of field and fold,
The rush of rain across the wold,
The wild wind, and the wet earth's scent,
The golden fray where skies are rent;
The lapwing's swift encircling flight,
The mists that gather silver-white.

from A Window in Whitechapel
By Isabel Constance Clarke


Over the low land the sunrise is coming, suffusing the wide country with pinkish lilac light; there is a suspicion of mist in the air; the turf is broken into great clods the we can almost smell, blending their earth scent with the breath of primeval morning.

from The Messenger

Are thy dreams as tender, as exquisite as mine are,
Infinitely subtler than the lightest breeze?
Songs of the sea, flung out to greet the shore;--
Sweet are the odors of the earth and ocean,
Sweeter for nestling under deep sea roar.

from Actaeon's Defense and Other Poems
by Alice Wilson
 

Earth/Rooty Accord recipe

1/8 ounce Cumin seed eo
1/4 ounce Tagetes minuta eo
1 ounce Vetiver eo(Sri Lanka)
2 ounces Vetiver w/Mitti (India)
1/4 ounce Fennel Sweet eo
1/2 ounce Geranium eo
1/2 ounce Nagarmotha eo
1/16 ounce Galbanum eo
1/4 ounce Violet Leaf abs
1/2 ounce Ginger root co
1 ounce Patchouli eo
1/4 ounce Angelica root eo
1/8 ounce Wintergreen eo