I grow Hops. I still have a lot from the previous year's harvest. Besides using it for the obvious, I want to find alternate uses for my leftovers. Hops soap is on the list, but I need my soap-maker friend to help me with that.
I have a bed pillow that is my fourth best friend, filled with buckwheat, lavender, dried rose petals, organic wool, and.... hops. Lots of hops. Gosh darn it smells so good! I love the citrus-like smell of hops. The reason I share that last bit is that whilst sleeping or just doing my evening thinking on that Heaven Head-rest it occurred to me that if I could capture the Essence of hops into something that beer purveyors could enjoy the way I do my pillow, without the pillow part, then maybe I might offer something new unto this world.
I did a bit of research online, looking into the properties that hops offers the soul, and imparts to the body. I was impressed with the words and explanations, even though I intuitively knew all this. I have made tinctures in the past with dandelions and clover and such and wondered, "What if I make a tincture with Hops cones, use that as a base, and maybe experiment with adding different sorts of Essential oils?" I have a huge collection of mostly Doterra oils so my playground equipment there was overflowing. I found amongst the Search results of "Make DIY Cologne essential oils" something on Instructables.
This is the Instructable I'm referencing:
This gave me a great starting platform to reference and inspire more searches for specific knowledge based on what I wanted to create. I bounced back between this and many forums to distill the essence of what to use and what is unnecessary, and then just forged ahead to come up with something I think is unique, fresh and new to the world. (That's sounds a bit over-the-top, but I am talking about pushing the boundaries in finding new uses for Hops.)
This is what you'll need:
1. Dried hops cones
3. Various essential oils
4. quart glass jar with lid
5. glass spray bottle
6. small funnel
7. Pen/paper for keeping track of recipes
8. some friends and family to test out the scented sprays on.
Step 1: Make the Tincture
A Tincture is a root, herb, flower, etc. that uses alcohol, usually vodka, to preserve and extract. The process goes something like this: Gather desired plant medium, stuff full into canning jar, pour vodka to fill, cover and put away for six weeks for fresh medium, up to full year if using dried medium. This leeches the goodness(and badness) from medium, of which you partake small amounts of throughout the following six months, usually the winter. (As an aside, an Infusion is similar in that you stuff a glass jar with dried medium, fill with boiling water and let sit overnight, and enjoy the next day.)
According to above process, I stuffed a quart glass jar with beautiful, aromatic, dried hops cones, then poured the Everclear in, filling to about an inch below the top. I pressed the hops at the top downward into the liquid with a small wooden spoon. Closed that up and put it away for a week. Why only a week and not six? Are you kidding me? This is too exciting to wait! Besides, I think the smell will impart immediately, and waiting 6 weeks with the possibility of no noticeable difference in scent intensity sounds boring.
Step 2: Hops Man Spray #1
I gathered up my entire collection of essential oils. I smelled each one to determine if it was appropriate for something that someone would want to smell like. Only about 1/4 made the cut. Then, My Man Friend and I started smelling each one of those, trying to decide what it made us feel like or what it reminded us of. Some were obvious, and some were pretty complex.
I wanted to create blends, so the next step was finding groups of 2 or three that seemed to complement each other. For instance, if one was strong and sweet, then I wanted to pair it with something light and citrusy. We just kept smelling them all, and eventually made a grouping. The first grouping was made up of Sandalwood, Coriander, and Wild Orange. I decided on a recipe(how many drops of each) by non-scientifically grouping them into low, middle and high notes. Sandalwood would make a great base as it is complex and musky. Coriander has a sharp and spicy feel, so I thought that would add some nuance, and Wild Orange has that zesty citrusy twang to give it some lightness.
We held all three in our hand, with the caps off, and moved them around and under our noses, to see if they indeed produced an interesting effect. We both liked the effect a lot, so I knew this was a winner. I decided the recipe would be:
12 drops of Sandalwood
8 drops of Coriander
4 drops of Wild Orange
The Hops Tincture
Using the little funnel, I poured the hops tincture into a blue glass spray bottle until about 1" below the bottom of the black cap. (It smelled SO GOOD, but do I really like the hops smell.) To that I added my oil recipe above. I gently shook it then applied it to our wrists.
It was great! We had to name it. My friend said lounge, and then I thought Moroccan... Moroccan Lounge!
The method of smelling is one of timing. The first sniff after letting it dry for a few seconds is different then after another 30 seconds. Some compounds are just more volatile so dissipate faster. The smell can still be there, but it becomes more background. I think the initial spray can provide one feeling, and then after a minute or an hour the resulting scents can produce others.
That was easy and fun! Let's make another...
Step 3: Spray #2 ~ Black Forest
This second recipe was built from White Fir, Arborvitae and Black Pepper. The proportions were: 12 drops of White Fir, 8 drops of Arborvitae, and 4 of Black Pepper. I sprayed the result on available skin real estate far enough away from our wrists, and also got my daughter involved. My friend said it reminded him of woodshop, but something more. I thought it smelled kind of mossy, and so after a while my daughter suggested Black Forest, a perfectly studly name to describe the scent.
Step 4: Let's Make More!
Honestly, the blending part was pretty easy, but the naming part seemed to be taking the most time. Maybe it was getting late, or maybe someone wasn't watering down my Islay Mist appropriately. Coincidentally, the third Hops Man Spray practically named itself, possibly due to those two factors.
The recipe for the third:
Frankincense(very sweet) ~ 12 drops
Myrrh(kinda mellow) ~ 8 drops
Bergamot(citrus) ~ 4 drops
How Biblical! I blurted out something like Jesus Come, but then realized such a sophisticated scent needed a less crass name, maybe disguised a bit, like phonetically. I realized that Hey Zeus, sounds exactly like the spanish pronunciation. Cool!! Hey Zeus Cometh. Maybe I need to work on it a bit. How about Jesus Cum Laude. That's funny enough.
At this point it was getting really late and we were being silly, so I quickly made two more scents and had no luck naming them. Their appellations would have to be divined at another time. Anyway, here were the recipes:
Hops Man Spray #4:
Lavender ~ 16 drops
Cassia(cinnamon) ~ 8 drops
The cinnamon smell is very strong, but the floral aspect of the Lavender and the citrus of the Hops come through very gently.
Hops Man Spray #5:
Spearmint ~ 12 drops
Ylang Ylang ~ 8 drops
Clove ~ 4 drops
Considering that gum is made from sometimes spearmint and sometimes clove, this scent does make you think of gum. The Ylang Ylang adds a strong, floral sweetness so it counteracts that a bit - picture sitting in a valley of lilies.
Step 5: Labels & Final Product
I wanted to make some labels for the bottles. I just grabbed a nice, hand-drawn picture from online and added some Algerian font. I would just hand-write in ink the name of the fragrance just below the text.
And I had to name the last two: How about CinnamAn, and Lily of the Man Cave. That's all I got and it'll have to be good enough for now.
I also printed out an ingredient list for each on some nice card stock.
And that's it! I'll put these on display with the Hops soap after it's been made.
I hope this 'ible inspired you to find creative and natural ways to make your own body sprays. The key is finding some scents that make you feel good!
I entered this into the Remix 2.0 contest, and would love a vote from you if you think I deserve it.