Two Rosewater Perfumes, 1559

These recipes are from a book which I found sitting amongst the medical texts at my local university library.  It is titled The Treasure of Euonimus and is dated 1559.  I think you can also download a copy of this through Google Play.  I have scaled down my recipe somewhat from the original but you can always message me for the original quantities or look at the manuscript itself.  They only take about 25 hours to make, so you can whip up some while you wait on the previous recipe.


Camphor Rose Perfume–add 1/2 tbsp of camphor to 4 oz of rosewater.  You can mix this up in a mason jar and seal it tightly.  Since this does not contain alcohol, you can enhance the scent by immersing it in a water bath which I described in my Lavender Water recipe.  Be careful and gentle if you choose to do this.  After 25 hours have passed (no kidding, the recipe specifically says 25 hours) you can strain off the camphor and use your new scent.  I think it makes the rosewater slightly bracing and refreshing.


Clove Rose Perfume–add 1 tsp of dried cloves to 4 oz. of rosewater.  You can seal this up in a jar just as in the previous recipe.  You can also do a water bath here because it contains no alcohol.  Once again, just be careful and gentle.  After 25 hours ( the magic number it seems) your scent is ready.  I left my cloves in the mix, but you can strain them off if you like.  The cloves give your rosewater a slightly spicy scent which I find delightful.



Next time we’ll cover something not in the perfume department.  Recently I have been helping a friend with a business project and have been redacting “A Treatment for the Prevention & Cure of Sunburn” from the 12th century medical text known as the Trotula.


Noble Water of Naples, another perfume from 1555

Now that my recent move is complete I am back to creating and redacting in a much larger space.  I am continuing with my series of Renaissance perfumes.  This one is from the same book as my Lavender Water (see previous post), Notandissimi Secreti de L’arte Profumatoria.  This book was published by Gioventura Rosetti in 1555.  Unlike my earlier recipes this one will take several weeks to finish but the results have been worth it.  If you will be attending Pennsic War this year, I will be teaching a class on this and will have several perfumes for you to check out at the Known World Arts & Sciences display.  My teaching schedule can be found on the About the Authoress page.  without further ado here is the recipe;


1 cup rosewater


1/2 cup Lavender water (see previous recipe)


1/4 cup Water of Tripoli (recipe follows)


2/3 cup of myrtle water (recipe follows)


3-4 drops of ambergris oil


The first step is to make your ingredients.  Myrtle water is made by adding 1/4 cup of dried myrtle leaves to a 5 ounce mason jar and pouring in 4 ounces of aqua vitae (really cheap vodka).  Seal the jar and let sit in a cool dry place for a minimum of two weeks.  When the two weeks are up, you just strain out the leaves and dilute your perfume with 12 ounces of distilled water.  


You can find out how to make lavender water from my previous post.  You can purchase rosewater at Middle Eastern grocery stores or health food stores.  My ambergris oil is the synthetic version due to its prohibitive cost.  You can buy a bottle from Amazon or stores which have aromatherapy or occult supplies.  The recipe for Tripoli water can be found below.  


To make Tripoli water, take one coil of aloewood, 3/4 ounce of benzoin, 1 drop of musk oil, 10 cloves, 2 drops of sandalwood oil, one cinnamon stick, and 1 drop of liquid styrax in a 5 ounce mason jar.  To this rather strong smelling mixture add 4 ounces of aqua vitae ( cheap vodka).  Just like your other ingredients, you seal the jar and let it sit for a few weeks.  When the time is up, add 12 ounces of distilled water.  


Of course any of these waters can stand alone as an independent perfume, but if you want to make “A Noble Water of Naples”, combine them in the amounts listed above.  The result is a slightly spicy floral scent which you can use as a hair rinse, body splash, or freshener for sheets and clothes.


Next time, we’ll be looking at a few rosewater based perfumes, so you might want to stock up while you’re at the store.