One of my recent projects was a lilac tincture.
A tincture is composed of plants, such as herbs or flowers, and a liquid. The liquid is generally alcohol but can be glycerin or vinegar.
I began the project with a pick of fresh lilac booms. I selected the blooms during a cool part of the day, to ensure the bud and flowers were at their best fragrance.
I then removed the flowers and buds from the stems, with careful consideration to not crush the flowers. I noticed right away that the buds were most aromatic. My thoughts were to not damage the flowers, to ensure they released their fragrant oils into the tincture, not on the scissors or my hands. Now I believe I should have crushed some of the flowers, or chopped them into smaller bits, to help them release aromatic oils during the tincture process.
I then placed all of the flowers and buds in a clean quart glass jar. I filled the jar to the rim with the plant material.
The final step was to cover the plant material with alcohol. I used perfumer’s alcohol, which is what I had on hand. As the flowers packed down from the liquid, I ensured the alcohol covered the plant material by at least one to two inches. Then I tightly covered the jar.
The watching then began…the jar will set for at least 2 weeks. In this case, because my goal is fragrance, I will check the tincture again in several months, giving the jar a light shake now and then to distribute the plant material and natural oils.
The color transformation was amazing. After adding the alcohol the flowers instantly changed from lilac, lavender, and a rose color to nearly a periwinkle blue. Beautiful. As I write this, the color of the alcohol in the jar holds a slight green hue. Interesting.
More on this project later. Results to follow!