New to Havenessence: Boronia absolute from Tasmania. One of the rarest, most expensive oils in the world. A complex floral base combines with citrus notes of melon, violet, raspberry and freesia, with a dry wood background. This exquisite, certified, oil is now available. Buy online or visit us in central London.
Native Americans used cedarwood poles to mark hunting territories. French traders named Baton Rouge, Louisiana, (meaning “red stick”) from the colour of these poles.
Virginia Cedar essential oil, distilled from the wood, twigs and leaves of Juniperus virginiana, produces a wonderful, deep, balsamic woody aroma with hints of sandalwood.
Available now from Havenessence — catnip essential oil (Nepeta cataria). Guaranteed to drive eighty percent of cats ape as they respond to the active ingredient Nepetalactone which, interestingly, repels cockroaches and mosquitoes.
According to Scientific American:
Nepetalactone, one of catnip’s volatile oils, enters the cat’s nasal tissue, where it is believed to bind to protein receptors that stimulate sensory neurons. These cells, in turn, provoke a response in neurons in the olfactory bulb, which project to several brain regions including the amygdala (two neuronal clusters* in the midbrain that mediate emotional responses to stimuli) and the hypothalamus, the brain’s “master gland” that plays a role in regulating everything from hunger to emotions.
The amygdala integrates the information flow from the olfactory bulb cells and projects to areas governing behavior responses. The hypothalamus regulates neuroendocrine responses through the pituitary gland, creating a “sexual response.” That is, the cat essentially reacts to an artificial cat pheromone.
So catnip is a type of Viagra for cats. Almost all cats are effected, including the big felines.
Wikipedia reports that a cat may respond to catnip by:
… rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some growl, meow, scratch, or bite the hand holding it. Some cats eat dried catnip; often eating too much can cause cats to be aggressive, typically making them hiss. The main response period after exposure is generally between five and fifteen minutes, after which olfactory fatigue usually sets in. Approximately two hours after an exposure, the feline will be sensitive to another dose.
We have enough for only a few orders and sell it in 1ml batches (10-15 drops). Click here to order online or visit us in central London.
Havenessence usually stocks half a dozen lavenders from around the world. Varieties include angustifolia, hybridia sumian and latifolia. Most are steam distilled but we usually hold a lavender absolute — bright green, camphorous, powerful, expensive, to be used with caution!
But it’s our English lavenders which take pride of place: low, sweet, floral, herbaceous, soporific, without the high camphor or eucalyptus notes of lavenders grown further south.
We buy from different English counties, depending on quality and supply. Some fields and distillers are better some years than others so we move around the country, sourcing the unusual and the best.
Lavender in Britain gets a bad press, being associated with old ladies. Our English lavenders are sweet, sexy, and infinitely surprising — scents for all ages.
Lavender effects some people strongly in terms of sleep and relaxation, helping to produce a deep, dreamless sleep when dripped on the pillow or used in the bath at bedtime. Accordingly, our lavenders are a top ingredients for soaps, creams and massage oils.
As a child I was fortunate enough to take part in a lavender harvest. The field was cut and the crop transported by tractor and trailer through the lanes to where the distiller was waiting. I travelled sitting on the freshly cut lavender and, forty years later, still remember that smell. At Havenessence we can share some of that magic.
New at Havenessence — Frankincense Boswellia Sacra oil, available online or in person at Piccadilly Market, London W1.
The ancient Egyptians believed frankincense to be the sweat of gods, fallen to earth. The legendary Phoenix bird was believed to build its nest from twigs of frankincense and to feed upon the resin. Incense containing frankincense was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.
Havenessence Frankincense Sacra (Boswellia sacra) has a sweet, strong, almost floral aroma combined with balsamic and animalistic undertones. We hold just a small quantity of this special oil.
We have sourced a small amount of Prickly pear seed oil. Prickly pear is a rare, deeply moisturising oil which penetrates easily into the skin. Great for softening wrinkles, it gives the skin a velvety feel. Available in person in central London or online. If you visit us in St James’s the oil can be tried before purchase.
Prickly pear seed oil is from the seeds of the cactus Opuntia ficus indica. Originally from South America it has now spread to the Mediterranean and North Africa. It takes a huge amount of labour to extract the oil from the tiny seeds of the cactus fruit.
Coming soon to havenessence: Beeswax Absolute — Apis mellifera. Sweet, honey-like, faintly floral and musky. Solid at room temperature. Aids the anchoring of volatile notes.
havenessence absolutes are not cheap. They are scrupulously sourced and documented. Most are rare and not easily obtained in London. We are the first port of call for perfumiers and scent specialists who demand the rare, the unusual, the best, and a wide selection of precious natural oils.
Exquisite images kindly sent to us by a Piccadilly Market customer, Renate Eder, of Frangipani cuttings from Cuba which she has grown until they bloomed.
We stock Plumeria rubra absolute and use it extensively in soaps, creams and massage oils. But Plumeria alba is an unknown quantity. It’s available but wildly expensive….
…. is over. For a year I’ve been looking for a good sandalwood oil. I’ve had samples from India, Australia, the West Indies and New Caledonia. Most have been weak, watery, and generally unimpressive.
Which was frustrating because sandalwood is arguably the most important of the wood oils: a key ‘masculine’ scent, fundamental to aromatherapy and central within some cultures and religions.
So it was a joy and a relief to receive a TREMENDOUS sandalwood from Vanuatu, santalum austrocaledonicum, which we now stock.
Smokey, viscous, pungent, long-lasting, a dark honey colour. Produced in government regulated, sustainable, plantations and distilled in Vanuatu using biofuel (coconut oil).
The perils of buying Indian Sandalwood…
Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, known as Sandalwood Veerappan, murdered some 184 people, including villagers, forestry officials and police personnel. He was killed by a special police task force in 2004.