Do It Yourself: Perfume

According to Lady Ann Fanshawe (1625–80, wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe, English ambassador to Spain), ‘All Perfumes are best made in July’, so you’ve just got time. Here is her recipe for making perfumed ‘paste beades’:

Grind the quantity of Amber you please upon a stone of purpose such as the Painters use &c & one quarter part of Algalla [civet]; & the like of Almisile [almizcle or musk] of so much quantety as the Amber & then putt thereunto a little Alquitira [tragacanth gum], & boyle the same together to a Mass, & there of make the Beades with your hands as you please, putting thorough them a thred with a nidle, & so drie them.

Or you might like ‘To perfume Damaske Roses’ to make scented sachets for your clothes:

Take Damaske Roses putt them into a wide mouthed glasse, & stopp them Close with partchement. sett them upon leades in the sunne, or some other very hotte place where the sunn comes, shaking them twise or thrice a day till they be dry, then make a powder thus.

Take Cleare & faire Beniot [?Benzoin], Storax [a resin from the Levant storax tree with a vanilla scent], Galean [?Galia aromatica, which included musk], Lignum Aloes [agarwood, which smells a little like sandalwood], Amber Grise [ambergris, from the gut of the sperm whale], Mace of Levanto, Lemon Peele, Cittorn [citron] Peele, Orange Peele, Orange Flowers, sweete Marjoram, Lemon time [thyme], Myrtell Leaves, bruise the Leathes, beate your Powders, & take what proportions will seve [serve] your Roses, & mixe your Quanteties as best pleas your Sence; then putt all your Powders into the Glasse, tye them with paper & parchment & wax, & a parchment over that, that no ayre possibly can gett in, nor sent come out, sett em in the heat of the Sunne as longe as it Lasts & in the Evenings & night keepe it in a Stove, this do for a mounth or five weeks, then you may use it, putt into little sarsenett baggs, & layer amunge your Clothes. it will last longest with woollen. this is a rare perfume putting a little of it into a perfuming pann, with Orange Flower water or Rose water or lemmon time water.

Source: Wellcome Library, MS/7113


One thought on “Do It Yourself: Perfume

  1. Pingback: The Giant’s Shoulders: The Fiftieth Anniversary Edition | From the Hands of Quacks

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