Godey's Lady's Book, September 1835

September 1835



Take of sweet scented honey water 1 oz., eau sans pareille,* 1 1-2 do., essence de jasmin, 5 drachms, syrup of cloves and spirit of violets, each, 4 dr., calamus aromaticus,* long rooted cyperus,* lavender, each, 2 do., essence of neroli,* 1 scruple.* Mix. Some add a few grains of musk and ambergris: it is sweet scented, and also made into a ratafia with sugar.

* Eau sans pareille, "unequalled water," is another perfume, made with citrus fruits; you can see some recipes here. Calamus aromaticus is Acorus calamus, or sweet flag, and Asian plant historically used in medicine and perfumes. Cyperus is a genus containing hundreds of species of plants; I don't know which is meant here. Neroli is bitter orange. A scruple is 1/24 of an ounce.


The flowers are stratified with wool or cotton, impregnated with oil of behu, or nut oil, in an earthen vessel, closely covered, and kept for some time in a warm bath; this is repeated with fresh flowers, until the oil is well scented; the wool, &c. is then put into a sufficient quantity of spirit of wine, and distilled in balneum mariae.*

* A balneum mariae is a bain-marie, which can refer to a double boiler or the more complicated system of putting whatever you're cooking into pots inside a tray of water, then baking it.


Take of coriander seeds a pound, cassia, 4 oz., cloves and gum benzoin,* each, 2 oz., oil of rhodium,* essence of lemon, essence of bergamot, and oil of lavender, each, 1 drachm, rectified spirit of wine, 20 pints, rose water, 2 quarts, nutmeg water, 1 quart, musk and ambergris, each, 12 grains. Distill it in a water bath to dryness.

Another method. -- Put 2 drachms each, of tincture of ambergris, and tincture of musk, in a quart of rectified spirits or wine, and half a pint of water; filter and put it up in small bottles.

* Benzoin is a tree resin used as a fixative for scents. Oil of rhodium is rosewood oil, distilled from Brazilian rosewood.


The royal society of Edinburgh received from Dr. Monro the following account of the manner in which this costly perfume is prepared in the east. Steep a large quantity of the petals of the rose, freed from every extraneous matter, in pure water, in an earthen or wooden vessel, which is exposed daily to the sun, and housed at night, till a scum rises to the surface. This is the ottar, which carefully absorb by a very small piece of cotton tied to the end of a stick. The oil collected, squeeze out of the cotton into a very diminutive vial, stop it for use. The collection of it should be continued whilst any scum is produced.