Exploring the obscure – my journey

Home » Uncategorized » Starting your own journey into historical perfumery – equipment, tools, aromatics suppliers.

Starting your own journey into historical perfumery – equipment, tools, aromatics suppliers.

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I have started putting together a list of the basics needed to start your own fragrance research laboratory at home. Here are my suggestions for tools and suppliers I have tested before.

Equipment and tools

Most items can be purchased on eBay, Amazon, science surplus store on university campuses.

Keep the tools/utensils separate from the regular cooking ones!

•Single use muffin forms for weighing
•Distillation apparatus
(for custom orders of glass sets visit https://historicalglassworks.com/)
•Source of heat (apartment living limits me to use of the electric stove top and tea lights use for open fire source)
•Flat and round bottom Florentine flasks
•Bowls of different sizes (I like glass)
•Tools for mixing like spoons, glass rods
•Funnels (I recommend stainless steel or glass ones, it is possible to also order custom made pottery funnels and sieves)
•Dark glass bottles for storage (I like the round boston glass bottles, the caps can be easily replaced as they tend to degrade)
•Larger containers for storing prepared waters (I recycle glass jars)
•Bain-marie or double boiler
•Cylinders, measuring cups and spoons
•Laboratory pipettes (0.2 ml and 1 ml)
•Filtering material (tightly woven cloth or paper coffee filters)
•Mortar and pestle (glass, porcelain, bronze, wood) or spice grinder (as replacement for servants!)
•Notebook for keeping notes (electronic or traditional)

Suppliers of aromatics

Store all ingredients in tightly closed containers.
Some raw resins should be kept in freezer to prevent mold growth (raw pine resin) and help with aliquoting (like labdanum resin).

This list is probably very subjective. I will be adding new places as I test them and can report my level of satisfaction. If anyone can recommend more good sources for aromatics, please comment on this post. Thank you!














•Your local herbal stores 

•And own garden (if you have access to one)

Suggested substitutes for animal-derived ingredients:


• Ambergris essence (IFF)

• Oil of ambergris (Ambrein, epicoprosterol, co-prosterol)

• Essential oils of labdanum, scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma), balsam fir and seaweed  (Fucus vesiculosus) mixed with bee glue (propolis) and powdered sepia bone, aged for a few months

Deer musk

• Muskrat gland tincture or macerate (in gurjum balsam or sandalwood essential oil)

• Ambrette seeds and ambrette seeds absolute (recommended when heating is not involved in processing of fragrance)

• Tonquitone essence (IFF)


• Civet replacement (Hermitage Oils)

•Custom made glass distillation sets


• Instructions for the reverse pot cover distillation method


• Copper alembics


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