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Spice Accord Newsletter

Continuing on with our series on accords, the one on spices is next on the agenda. Each accord theme is a delight to contemplate on every level because they are related to such divergent spicesexperiences in the life.The sunny citrus accord speaks of warm Mediterranean countries with their frost-free climates in which the rich golds, oranges, green and yellow orchard fruits ripen in the warm sun of their native countries, dispensing a delightful cheering aroma to all who venture in their presence either in fruit or flower.

The forest accord tells its story of deep pine, fir, and cedar forests cloaking hills and mountains in their evergreen beauty while dispensing into the air their fresh, vibrant, resinous-balsamic odors which one inhales in deep calm breaths restoring health and happiness to body, mind and soul.

The spice accord with its aromatic array of ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, and clove speaks to us of tropical islands and ancient trade routes where these precious scents were much sought after for their use in culinary delights, exotic incenses and rare unguents.

With all the unique associations that each accord presents it is no wonder that being in the presence of them awakens in us deep and wonder filled emotions that are associated with things we have actually or experienced or imagined in our quiet reveries. It is what makes blending together the essences that form a single accord, or different accords with each other such a special and rewarding experience. The more we appreciate the stories behind each aromatic essence the deeper becomes the connection to the perfumes that can be created with them. The perfumer is, in truth, an aromatic story-teller, a type of enchanter or enchantress, weaving into their creations the fabric of their own life experience.

"Spicy" Essences
Essential oils, co2 extracts and absolutes which come under the heading of spicy are the following( please note that co2 select and total extracts are wonderful for capturing the total aroma of spices as the extraction process occurs under very low temperatures hence the aromatic molecules are not altered by heat as my occur in essential oil distillation)

Allspice/pimenta berry eo, co2 extract and absolute; cardamon eo, co2 extract and absolute; ginger eo, co2 and absolute; turmeric eo and co2 extract; cinnamon co2 and eo; cassia co2 and eo; nutmeg abs, co2 and eo; asafetida eo and abs; garlic eo; black pepper co2 and eo; clove abs, co2 and eo; saffron co2 and abs, coriander eo and co2; dill seed eo and co2; sweet fennel co2 and eo; bitter fennel co2 and eo; caraway co2 and eo; ajowan eo, anise eo and co2; star anise eo; mace eo and co2; onion eo; pink pepper co2 and eo; bay leaf eo and abs; cascarilla eo; fenugreek eo, co2 and abs; galangal eo and co2; capsicum co2 and eo; cumin eo, co2 and abs;

Words associated with "Spicy" Essences
Here are some of the words associated with spices that might be used as descriptors for them as one seeks to build up their olfactory vocabulary.

rich, sweet, powdery, aromatic, pungent, sweet, hot. spicy, alliaceous,, bitter, peppery, penetrating, warm, woody, balsamic, intense, powerful, dry, diffusive, oriental,, refreshing, green, curry powder, clean, earthy, camphoraceous, cineol-like, tenacious, medicinal, terpeney, light, sulfuric, biting, burning, exotic

Please note that in evolving your diary of descriptive words for odors, it may be necessary to combine two words together(a kind of verbal accord) to get closer to the note one wishes to describe-for example; dry-woody, warm-spicy, balsamic-spicy, fresh-peppery, sweet-spicy, warm-aromatic, woody-peppery, sweet-balsamic, burning-aromatic,spicy-aromatic, dry-powdery

Literary references to spices

The rich aroma of the wild cinnamon, and of many other spices, loaded the air with delicious odours, as the soft breeze wept over the island from the sea.
--from Oliver Ellis
By James Grant

When I awoke, I found myself extended on a pile of cushions. My armor had been removed, and I was arrayed in a loose silken robe. Around me stood four open censers, filled with aromatic spices and with scented woods. The flame which rose from them shed a changeful light around, dimly and by snatches revealing the rocky walls and fantastic furnishing of the chamber.
--from Arabesques
By Sarah Dana Loring Greenough, Richard S. Greenough

A heavy vapor ascended into his nostrils, a vapor warm with the perfume of burning sandalwood and aromatic unguents and spices. He felt a drowsiness come upon him, struggled to cast it off, and yielded. With a sigh like a tired child's he sagged into the waiting arms and was lowered to the ground.
--from The Argus Pheasant
By John Charles Beecham

She lifted the cover and perfumes from the land of spices rolled up. In one end of the basket lay ten enormous sugar cakes the tops of which had been liberally dotted with circles cut from stick candy. The candy had melting in baking and made transparent wells of waxy sweetness and in the center o each cake was a fat turtle made from a raisin with cloves for head and fee. The remainder of the basket was filled with big spiced pears that could be held by their stems while they were eaten. The girls shrieked and attacked the cookies, and of all the treats Elanora offered perhaps none was quite so long remembered as that.
--from A Girl of the Limberlost
By Gene Stratton-Porter

After I had dressed for dinner, I resumed my place in the arm-chair and resumed also my reverie, letting all these impressions of the past--which seemed faded like the figures in the arras, bust still warm like the embers in the fireplace, still sweet and subtle like the perfume of dead rose leaves and broken spices in the china bowls--permeate me and go to my head. Of Oke and Oke's wife I did not think, I seemed quite alone, isolated from the world, separated from it in this exotic enjoyment.
--from A Phantom Lover
By Vernon Lee


Around, a thousand wild flowers distilled their odors. The sensitive plant nodded softly in dew-drenched sprays, its rosy balls flecked with drops that glinted like gems, while all the air was heavy with its perfume of spices and honey.
--from A Fortune Hunter, Or, The Old Stone Corral
By John Dunloe Carteret

The Egyptian or spice bazaar, besides being the most lofty and finest of these covered ways, is perhaps to the eye of the European the most striking, from the vast collection of every species of Eastern drug and spice, arranged with due regard to color, and diffusing a delicious aroma through the air.
--from The Golden Horn
By Charles James Monk

Occasionally, it is true, came whiffs of pungent gales from the market of the spice-merchants, or the more refreshing aroma from the golden store of the vendors of the oranges and lemons from Jaffa. The hinged shutters of these box-like stalls, let down and loaded with great heaps of the luscious fruit, made and attractive display.
--from Hassan: a Fellah
By Henry Gillman

He liked to touch the full-blown head of the roses, when they yielded their petals at a touch into his hand, because it seemed that they gave themselves so willingly. And then, too, when the big china bull that stood in the hall was full of them, and they were mixed with spices, the embalming process seemed to give them a longer and fuller life.
--from Beside Still Waters
By Arthur Christopher Benson

There would be no occasion for accusing a man of being unpractical, because he elected to seep out an ancient and honourable manufactory of--let us say--frankincense and myrrh, the aromatic perfumes and spices of Araby, or the nutritious chocolate or fragrant coffees of our fairer walks of commerce; or (if such things pall in time), silver, or silk, or books or linens, rather that a hoary old tannery, for example, or an establishment , bottling up smells from every corner of the odiferous globe.
--from The Legend of Jerry Ladd
By Roy Rolfe Gilson

The essence of the garret fascinated Barrie, and made her heart beat heavily, as if she were on a threshold of a mystery. It was made up of many odours: a faint, not unpleasant mustiness, the smell of dusty, a perfume of old potpourri, and spices, and cloves, and camphor for moths, a vague fragrance of rosewood and worm-eaten oak, a hint of beeswax, a tang of unaired leather and old books.
--from The Heather Moon
By Charles Norris Williamson

There must have been a princely captain on her bridge, a crew bronzed in the golden wealth of the sea, and a cargo of fragrant spices--spice for a new life, spice for a new world, spice for a new suitor. So much for the healing breaths that come from over the sea.
--from Tamám
By Charles Chilton Moore

Everywhere the country was beautiful and the soil rich, the air mild and balmy with a thousand delicious scents which seemed to suggest the presence of spices,--and spices, be it remembered, were then counted the most valuable of all Eastern products; but of these spices no trace could be discovered, and the natives , when shown some specimens which Columbus had brought with them from Spain, shook their heads over them in blank ignorance.
--from Tales of the Spanish Main
By Mowbray Morris

The air was filled with the smell of more herbs and spices than I knew the names of, that went into mincemeat, fruit cake, plum pudding and pies. There was a teasing fragrance in the spiced vinegar heating for pickles, a reminder of the winesap and rambo in the boiling cider, while the newly opened bottles of grape juice filled the house with the tang of Concord and muscadine.
--from Laddie
By Gene Stratton-Porter

It is a road of dreams, as fragrant of memories as a spice garden. It leads away and away, farther than Eleusis. into the dim-locked centuries of the past.
--from The Coward of Thermopylae
By Caroline Dale Snedeke

Mary was dressed in a warm habit of green cloth, with a close hood like a child's tied under her chin; the long skirt was full of sharp creases where it had lain all summer in one of the brass-nailed East Indian chests, and a fragrance and camphor and Eastern spices blew out as the heavy folds came to the air.
--from The Tory Lover
By Sarah Orne Jewett

It need not be said that the whole embalming establishment and its neighbor was enveloped in a cloud of powerful resinous fumes, of sweet attar, of lasting musk, and of pungent spices.
--from Uarda
By George Ebers

The accumulated treasures of this chamber took hold of my imagination by their magnitude; the very fragrance exhaled by so multifarious a collection of sweet-smelling spices produced such a craving effect on me, that I never failed, when passing near, to linger for a little, and regale myself at least on the unbolted atmosphere.fresh ginger
--from Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Spice Accord Recipe

3/4 ounce Ginger co2
1/4 ounce Cardamon co2
1/8th ounce Cinnamon bark eo
3/4 ounce Nutmeg co2
1/2 ounce Black Pepper co2
1/8th ounce Clove Bud CO2
1/4 ounce Nutmeg abs
1/8th ounce Clove Bud abs
3/4 ounce Ginger(Fresh) eo
1/4 ounce Star Anise eo