Orris Root: Method For Perfumes Cosmetics Gin
All about Orris Root Plant
Orris root is extracted from the aromatic rhizomes of three types of bearded irises. I grow these three types of irises used for Orris root preparation in my garden. They are Iris Florentina, Iris germanica, and iris pallida – my image. Irises are perennial plants with beautiful blooms and are grown around the world. The bearded Irises have a sweet fragrance and iris pallida has the best fragrance out of the three. It will take 2 to 3 years for the iris plant to mature. Plants are harvested at this stage and it is used in various ways after drying it. The main ingredient of Orris root is myristic acid. The drying period may vary according to the product prepared using Orris root. If used for perfumes or for the potpourri, the rhizome should dry for at least 2 years. For the preparation of gin, it is dried for at least 5 years.
Harvesting the Rhizomes
Irises are slow growing plant variety and hence it will take at least 3 to 4 years for the rhizomes to mature. To harvest the rhizomes, pull out the plants during autumn and clean the soil and debris from the rhizomes. If you want to replant the roots, lift the iris plants during summer and replant the younger rhizomes back in the soil. The larger rhizomes can be dried for making the extract.
How to Dry Orris Roots?
To dry the Orris roots, place the pieces of rhizomes in a dark but dry and ventilated area in a single layer. Placing them in cabinets or in the pantry will be ideal. Make sure that the rhizomes are out of reach of children and pets. It will take at least two years of drying for the Orris roots to develop the fragrance. Smell the roots after two years to check whether they have the aroma.
Processing the Roots
Once the roots get dried fully, grate them or finely chop them till they get affine consistency. You can use these chopped roots into potpourri mix along with dried petals of flowers, herbs, essential oils and spices. For other uses, the powder of Orris roots is first dissolved in water and is used after distillation. Orris enhances the fragrance of the potpourri mixture. It is also used in producing bath crystals, incense powders, as a stabiliser in cosmetic products.
Orris Root for Perfumes
You can use Orris root by infusing the smell in perfumes. To make the perfume of Orris root, mix 2 ounces of vodka with ½ ounce finely chopped dried Orris root. Keep this in a closed bottle for 2 weeks. Make sure that you shake the vodka-Orris roots mix each day for 2 weeks. After two weeks, your perfume will be ready for use. Orris root powder or extract are used in tooth powders, soaps and toothpastes as they have good fragrance and antiseptic properties. Some of the perfumes which use Orris roots include Orris Noir, Iris Silver Mist, Iris Nobile, Aqua di Parma, etc.
Use of Orris Root in Gincos
The distilled Orris roots have floral as well as earthy sweetness and have a taste similar to that liquorice. They are used in many brands of Gin to add depth and texture to the drink. Plymouth Gin is an example.