< Back to Newsletters

Forest Accord Newsletter

The Anyksciai GroveSwan in forest lake

What scents abound! Pine resin fills the air.
The scent of flowers gentle breezes bear.
In clearings white-red clover, camomile
And thyme with fragrance rare your nose beguile.
The presence of an anthill you can tell.
Leaf, needle, pine-cone have a different smell
Each time you pass. A breeze however slight
Will bring new scents each time for your delight.
Here's aromatic cranberry and moss.
Here orchard-blossom scents you come across.
The forest like a living creature breathes:
The nearby field and meadowland it wreathes
In fragrance, while among its pines in turn
The scents of field and meadow you discern.
All mingle in the air, so thick they come
Your nose cannot distinguish every one.
It is as if wood, meadow, field combine
Their richest scents to make a perfume fine
Which to God's glory they are offering
As they together sigh, rejoice and sing.
Their voices weave a hymn of many parts
To touch with perfect harmony our hearts.

Poem by Antanas Baranauskas
(1835 – 1902)

We will continue on with the theme of accords in this newsletter. It seems a nice time to present some information on conifer eo's and absolutes as during this season their regal beauty is greatly revealed because the deciduous trees that surround them have lost their leaves. Here in the Pacific Northwest we are surrounded by their quiet and elegant presence and their precious aromas.

In this letter a forest base will be built that endeavors to capture some of the complex sweet resinous, rich balsamic green coniferous bouquet that one might encounter in variety of forest settings. As with all aromatic themes, even within one specific category, one may bend their composition in an number of direction by selection of particular ingredients-bringing out some special highlight by the choices they make.

Here are a few of the absolutes and essential oils that can be used in creating forest accords:

Silver Fir eo, Grand Fir eo, Templin eo, Artemisia herb-alba eo, Fir Balsam eo and abs, Cade eo, sweet birch eo, birch tar eo,, Himalayan cedarwood eo, Atlas cedarwood eo, Virginia cedarwood eo, Hinoki wood eo, Hinoki leaf eo, Western red cedar leaf, Eastern cedar leaf, Sugi bark eo, Cypress eo and abs, oakmoss abs, Douglas fir eo, blue hemlock spruce eo and abs, Black spruce eo and abs, Galbanum eo and abs , Juniper berry eo and co2 extract, Labdanum abs, Laurel leaf eo and abs, Lavandin abs, Lavender ab and eo, Myrrh eo and co2, Forest/scotch pine eo and abs, Maritime pine eo, Black pine eo, Ocean pine eo, White cedar abs, Wintergreen eo.

It is important to note that when one is constructing a specific accord such as the Forest Accord of this newsletter-that not all the essential oils, co2 extracts, absolutes used Fir coneneed be from coniferous plants like cedar, pine, spruce, fir etc. There are other species of plants which have certain notes within the oils that the produce that may be invaluable in constructing a forest-like scent. Galbanum eo and abs, Lavender eo and abs, Labdanum abs, Myrrh eo and co2 extract, Oakmoss abs fit that category.

As one goes on developing their olfactory memory database in the form of a diary or any other means which is found suitable here are a few words associated with coniferous essences that may help link an odor to a specific aromatic:

rich, balsamic, sweet, oily, pineaceous, fresh, resinous, fruity, lemony, turpentine-like, , spruce-like, cedar-like, green, camphoraeous, medicinal, precious woods, dry, cresylic, delicate, nutty, soft, coumarinic, refreshing , bitter, spicy, sharp, warm.

The language for describing olfactory sensation is at best limited and many of the same adjectives appear in different fragrance family categories so it requires some careful thinking as to how to link words together in a way that will bring to mind the specific essence that one wishes evoke from their memory database. It is an invaluable skill for the aspiring perfumer and, although it might take a good deal of effort in the beginning to devise a system that works for ones own self-it will prove well worth it when begins their blending experiments. The ability to not only describe a scent at the moment one is smelling but also keep in ones mind the changes that occur in it as it evolves through its "aromatic life" is invaluable. In due course of time one may be able to weave together a number of individual scents that complement each other in a uniquely vibrant way. The poetry and beauty inherent in such creations helps keep alive that quiet place within the heart a sense of freshness, wonder and delight.

Forest Scent in Literature
"Then the aroma she brings with her! that smell of wood and bark, the genuine old forest perfume, retained even while the faggots are burning; and throwing out that delicious fragrance which, on a cold morning, comes so refreshing from the chimnies of a clean English village: for, next to a hay field, is the healthy smell of a real forest wood-fire."
- from Pictures of Country Life
By Thomas Miller

"A light wind scattered the clouds that had for many days entombed the world in storm and gloom, and the sun broke out gloriously, setting the moisture-laden trees aglinting as though hung with a million pearls and warming the damp fir trees until the air was laden with the forest perfume."
-from The Long Labrador Trail
By Dillon Wallace

"She seemed to rise from out the page,
Clothed on with dreams and forest scent,
And light and wind, that breathed and blew;
A water-gleam, that came and went,
She seemed, who round her presence drew
A port of the light and scent."
-from Romance
by Madison Cawein

"Who can describe the sweetness of that first whiff of forest aroma! The drying branches of some prostrate fir tree load the air with a fragrance one would fain drink in never ending draughts..."
-from Woods and Lakes of Maine
By Lucius Lee Hubbard

"The roadway is very smooth and paved with pine needles, so that the carriage moves along so noiselessly that the inspiring silence of the sublime forest scene is only broken by a faint moaning of gentle zephyrs through the tree tops and the rippling of small mountain streams fed by melting snow above us. Add to this the clear, cool, bracing air laden with fine forest perfume, and heaven is yours."
-from Ralph's Scrap Book
By Edmund Bicknell

"When early twilights, more than the cold, draw the household around its hearth-heart, the logs piece out the scant day with their treasured surplus of sunlight. Nature draws out and gratifies each sense with colour, perfume, heat all the while the wood juices whistle a little tune, learned long ago in sapling days, from the peeping marsh frogs. When pine cones add their incense to the flames, with it returns the forest perfume, and if we close the eyes, the thoughts go springward to pink-pouches cypripedes and hermit thrushes."
--from The Friendship of Nature
By Mabel Osgood Wright

"And the little room with it unvarnished pine boards that held a certain forest perfume, was comforting too; the odour of peat fires still clung to the darkened rafters overhead; the candle, in its saucer-like receptacle of wood, gave just the simple, old-fashioned light that was appropriate."
--from Julius Le Vallon
By Algernon Blackwood

"On Christmas Eve the priests arrived and celebrated vespers. On Christmas Day we put on our best clothes when we got up, and in the zala, instead of the dining table, stood a big bushy Christmas tree filling the whole room with a pleasant wild forest smell of fir needles. We hurried over dinner, anxious to get done as quickly as possible and run back to our part of the house. The the zala was locked and the grown-ups decorated the Christmas tree and spread out our presents on little tables. Twenty times in the afternoon we would go running to the door to ask if it would soon be ready and peep through the key hole, and the time passed very slowly."
--from Reminiscences of Tolstoy
by Leo Tolstoy

"It was exceedingly pleasant in the dappled shadow, for the day was growing as hot as need be, and the coolness and shade soothed my excited mind into a condition of dreamy pleasure, so that I felt as if I should like to go on for ever through the balmy freshness. My companion seemed to share in my feelings, and let the horse go slower and slower as he sat inhaling the green forest scents, chief amongst which was the smell of the trodden bracken near the wayside."
--from News from Nowhere
By William Morris

Forest Accord Recipe

1 oz. Grand Fir essential oil
.5 oz. Myrrh essential oil
.5 oz. Fir Balsam absolute
.125 oz. (1/8 oz.) Galbanum essential oil
1 oz. Templin essential oil
.75 oz. (3/4 oz.)Juniper Berry essential oil
2 oz. Douglas Fir essential oil
.125 oz. (1/8 oz.) Wintergreen essential oil
.5 oz. Labdanum incense note absolute
.0625 oz. (1/16 oz.) Birch Tar essential oil
.5 oz. Oakmoss absolute
.5 oz Lavandin absolute
.5 oz. White Cedar absolute