“I choose notes with a cool quality for the “wet, dark” earth aspect from which the fragrance will be built upon, such as: Mitti Attar, Patchouli, and Vetiver. I see the base as a dark leather chord in juxtaposition to the bright floral heart. I add a touch of Kewda Attar for its cool, watery element and a hint of Black Musk Attar.”
This is the base for “The Three Graces” perfume, including three traditional Indian Attars. These precious gems are hydodistilled in India, utilizing a five thousand year old process. The materials; flowers, herbs, woods, seeds or a combination, are hydrodistilled into a base of sandalwood. The process is very labor intensive and thus can be some of the costliness materials for the botanical/natural perfumer.
Mitti Attar: Indian distilled baked earth, after the first Monsoon Rain.
Black Musk Attar: A compound of spices, woods and herbs.
Kewda Attar: The “screw pine” flower, Pandanus odoritissimus.
Vetiver: Roots of a tall growing grass.
Patchouli: Distilled from the dry leaves of the herbaceous herb.
Since this is a base “leather” accord, for a final perfume consisting of twenty ingredients, I will cease to add other elements. This is the first time I have intended an exact number of ingredients for a perfume. At the moment it is feeling rather restrictive, however, I feel compelled to remain true to the poem from which this was birthed. The total number of essences in this perfume matches the twenty words in the Ezra Pound poem.
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Images courtesy of Christopher McMahon and Manoj Avasthi. Above left are the Mitti Patties drying in the Indian Sun. Above, on left are Kewda flowers in a basket and just to the left is bundled Vetiver.