Illuminating our post today is the fragrance and flavor from the fleshy fruit of the peach tree, Prunus persica. A native of China, the highlight of this tree is the pretty blossoms in Spring followed by juicy edible fruit in late Summer. The corrugated seed shell of the peach is like that of the almond, both of which are categorized in the botanical subgenus Amygdalus.
In the realm of natural botanical perfume there is no peach essential oil, although I have heard of a pear extract coming out of the Bay area in California. There does exist a dark viscous peach leaf absolute from France. The substance is a bit challenging to work with due to its very thick and gooey nature. Some perfumers advocate diluting the absolute with alcohol before working with it. I prefer using the essence whole and diluting it into other essential oils. The aroma of peach leaf absolute is primarily herbaceous with a fruity character and subtle honey notes.
For our project today I thought we would delve into history and a preparation based a French apertif referred to as Vin de pêche, Peach Leaf Wine. This recipe would be best made early in the season so that you could capture the aromatic almond notes of the leaves. However, that might be tricky since there is no peach fruit yet. Thus, I suggest beginning the process early on with the leaves and adding the fruit and pit once they become available.
– Unsprayed, young peach leaves, about 40 is a good number, but will depend on your jar.
– Peach fruit sliced with the skin and the pit(s) crushed.
– An alcohol with as high of a “proof” as you can obtain. I use an Organic Grape alcohol, but something like Everclear or a high proof Vodka will do the trick.
– The container should be sterile, made of glass and have a tight fitting lid.
– Unbleached cheese clothe
1. Begin the process by cleaning with a damp cloth, make sure everything is completely dry before moving to the next step.
2. Place the leaves into the glass jar.
3. Pour the high proof alcohol over the leaves to cover completely. If you plan on adding fruit later on, make sure to add extra alcohol so that the fruit and leaves will all be covered.
4. Keep your jar in a dark cool space and shake daily.
5. When peach fruit is finally available, follow step 1 and two, substituting the fruit for the leaves.
6. Replace your jar in the dark cool space and continue to shake daily until the aroma is to your satisfaction. A full menstrum is ideal, although two weeks might just be enough.
7. When the aroma is to your liking, strain your maceration to remove all plant matter. You may need to do this a few times.
8. Now…use this summer infused base alcohol for the beginnings of a a true, authentic Peach Perfume or another fantastical creation from your vivid imagination.
I’ll be back next Summer with mine!
Images and text ©Roxana Villa, pilfering content is a violation of copyright, don’t do it.