Oils & Shelf Life

Discussion in 'General' started by Rai Munir, May 28, 2019.

  1. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    Shelf life? in what context?

    Most research papers that are written on the matter give essential oils a shelf life based on their medical (Eastern, Chinese etc) application that doesn't necessarily equate to the same thing for olfactory purposes.

    There is also a significant difference in the life of the essential oil between the different perfumers, for example between those who use alcohol and those who don't use alcohol.

    As mentioned earlier storage is an important factor.
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  2. Fahad

    Fahad Oud Fan


    I would have to defer to your expertise.. You've been distilling these.. Can only speak at a personal level I found the Chameli to be very close to the original smell of the flowers that are used to make Chameli flower braids, very intense and not cloying like cheap perfume but couldn't ever figure out or like the motia. Perhaps it's a different kind of Jasmine compared to the Motia that am used to and like which is Ajmals..They sell Ruh's but they're all sandalwood based and not as intense and the dry down is mostly sandalwood. As for White lotus there's no sandalwood for sure and the texture of the oil does not look like an absolute.. So what could they be?
  3. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    I don’t know what they are but they last way too long on a blotter. Also the stuff I distilled was off of the concrete so the aroma resembled a concentration of the absolute aroma, it does not give me any experience in terms of a true ruh fresh off the flowers. . The ruhs smell fundamentally different but definitely present some very fresh and life-like notes. I wish I could be confident in their provenance. What had me suspicious is someone sent me a sample of a newer oil - ruh bela (special variety of sambac the site says) it it smelled identical to batches of ruh motia from many years ago. A little too similar and linear.
  4. Rai Munir

    Rai Munir Musk Man

    Quality of aroma gets damaged or not with the passage of time is the context.

    Even then, they cannot be negated in entirety, especially regarding jasmine and rose, in my view.
    Second, only medical reference is not the focus of those papers I suppose.

    Sir, if possible would you elaborate that significant difference please?
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  5. PEARL

    PEARL Guerrilla

    @Rai Munir I had a feeling you were speaking about what I'd call the evolution of an agarwood oil over time, rather than shelf life by definition. I've gotten oils a week to just a few weeks fresh out of the still, and there has been appreciable evolution in scent profile of those oils as they age. I think we all agree on evolution of scent profile over time for younger oils.

    You mention elsewhere certain distiller oils are released fresh, drastically evolve with time to become breath-taking, while another vendor's oils evolve little because they're released after proper aging process; quality wise both second to none. That does not seem like damage over time but rather getting better. What is meant by "damaged". I appreciate watching young oils evolve, as well as old oils.

    IME young oils evolve for the better, reach a peak and plateau with no change or change so incrementally small to be imperceptible to my nose. Never had one begin to decline, from anecdotal report some have experienced decline, which could be attributed to many variables including time, outside of time as an independent variable, storage, subjective preference, etc.

    Chemically, the 1st law of thermodynamics states total amount of energy in a system is neither created nor destroyed, it can only transform. You'd have to figure out if the transformations affected a change within you subjective preference for or against the oil in the scent appreciation of the oil.

    Medicinally, those transformations could potentally do anything including reduce the efficacy of the medicine, cause toxicity, cause untoward drug:drug interactions, cause changes in the mechanism of action/pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, etc. or nothing at all.
  6. Rai Munir

    Rai Munir Musk Man

    Thanks, PEARL.
    I appreciate such balanced views.

    In the first post, I have clearly mentioned I myself am of the view that aging is essential, and is of great significance. But the way learning process doesn't end somewhere, I am inclined towards the idea that floral oils, especially jasmine and rose, lose their vibrancy, exuberance, and efficacy. Literature says it is so. Some much concerned and serious sellers endorse it. Some are indecisive about aging and quality. And some totally negate it, but no valid negation, in my view.
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  7. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    If you take the example of Rose and Jasmine and if the question is, do they become worse over time? not exclusively, there are Jasmines when freshly distilled/extracted the smell is too profuse and it is not useable in perfumery due to the high volatility it has at that time and preceptability to change. They are allowed to rest for months and some times years before application. Likewise certain rose distillations in their first days and weeks it has many volatilities that would change too drastically in a fragrance and therefore change the whole fragrance over time. They are required to age to reach a more stable state before usage in a fragrance. There isn't an exclusive relationship that age ruins it from an application perspective.

    If you are wearing it neat, than as time passes you will have settlement of the volatile compounds and the scent becomes more round and the joyful youth turns into graceful age. Some people prefer the older grace and some the playful youth, there is use for both.

    However there are other oils that do have a real shelf life, for example cold press olive oil loses its health benefits after about 18 months, in perfect storage conditions.

    As to the alcohol and non alcohol question, correctly aged sandalwood oil develops long polymer chains, which the result is a flatter oil when smelling it neat as the chains are more complex and less volatile. However by adding the same aged sandalwood that smells flat into an alcohol based fragrance, will bring back the 'youth' of that oil, as some of the longer chains break with alcohol and turn into a beautifully complex scent. Likewise for oudhs that start to flatten out in an alcohol based fragrance they open up and bring forth amazing multifaceted dimensions that would not have been present had a young version of the same oil been used.
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  8. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    Yes - I have discovered that alcohol has an exalting effect on some ouds - kind of boosts the scent and somehow makes it easier to detect the different facets of the scent by “spacing things out” a bit. Among other things the alcohol disperses the dissolved material across a larger area / surface... i feel like it enables one to detect subtleties that are lost when the oil is applied neat. I feel there are also attributes that are lost when the oil is diluted.
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  9. Sproaty

    Sproaty Sproudy Staff Member

    Very very interesting, may have to get me some alcohol to test this with :)
  10. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    I have these 10 ml roll on bottles. Put a few drops of oud plus 10 ml alcohol. Keep adding drops and testing until the right balance between delicate dispersed and more concentrated notes. In this way, I can freely explore the subtleties of a particular oud oil while consuming very little. It’s always nice to experience the undiluted oud as well of course. The roll-on bottles don’t leak much (sometimes this is an issue with alcohol based fragrance) and they make it easy to carry and apply.
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  11. powdernose

    powdernose Admin & Oud Sprite Staff Member

    Sounds like you have better conditions than most. Most of your ouds should be fine,
    however if you are 'worried' about the best long term storage, then what you need is fridge temps, 4-5 Celsius.

    I wonder if anyone wants to try and fold the theory of relativity into this :D

    Potentially. There are general rules though and probabilities. Oxidation is not good.

    Seriously, it is not all about aroma, and even if it were, I don't understand how people can pretend that oils don't age past a best-before phase.
    What I find most disconcerting though is how passive the approach to general safety is.
    The way vendors seem to adopt this approach too, is rather reckless.
    The original post was always about single oils. How blends may affect the aging dynamic may be interesting, but the subject of the OP is the primary focus of the thread.
    The general recommendation is to never wear essential oils undiluted, in that regard we are all guilty of being careless;
    if there were no consequences to this, then sure, we could all brush away silly safety recommendations, but that is not the case, more than a few ouddicts experience skin sensitisations, from oud! Rai happens to be one of those people, so when I hear people advocating using oils fearlessly as long as they smell good to you, I feel very disappointed.
    Very few oils age as gracefully as a sandalwood. A little bit of sense and caution is never a bad thing.

    Rose for example, when fresh!, contains methyl eugenol, which is marked for carcinogenicity by IFRA:
    It also contains Farnesol, marked as a sensitiser by IFRA.
    And a large percentage of citronellol, also marked as a sensitiser by IFRA.
    Admittedly, IFRA is overcautious, and in the case of citronellol, this is most probably overreacting.
    when citronellol oxidises what you get is a good amount of hydroperoxides
    I hope no one is going to try and argue the benefits of hydroperoxides!

    A little caution goes a long way.
  12. Rai Munir

    Rai Munir Musk Man

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