After years of trying to track down my favourite vanilla oil from the Body Shop I was told that it is officially not available for purchase anymore. I wore that perfume since my early 20s and absolutely loved it (especially since it’s one of the only fragrances that I could wear without the constant sneezing, watery eyes and headaches). And I used to get so many compliments as well! The scent was really a perfect mix between sweet with a hint of spice and was mild enough not to be too overbearing. Besides the odd comment about smelling like a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies I really loved everything about that oil.
So after seeing it on ebay for $150 a bottle I finally decided that I needed to try my hand at perfume making. And in the end I have to admit that it’s quite simple. All you really need is lots of patience to get you through the 4-6 weeks of waiting until it’s finished. Patience is definitely not my strong point so I actually found that the most difficult part.
The finished product has a really lovely deep vanilla scent that actually lasts for quite a long time. I use it as a body perfume, room freshener and bath oil. I’ve even been know to put a bit on our beloved cat Birdie because, well, he stinks.
Everything you need to make this simple Vanilla Perfume Oil is shown in the photo above: vanilla beans, vodka and jojoba oil.
Read on for full instructions on how to make your own…
Vanilla Oil Perfume
1. Take 8-10 vanilla beans (they don’t have to be high quality or expensive beans), slit them down the middle and with a knife scrape down to remove bean paste. Put paste in small glass jar. After removing paste cut the beans into small pieces and add to jar.
2. Pour enough vodka into jar to cover the chopped up vanilla beans. The alcohol will soak into the beans and absorb the rich vanilla scent.
3. Place jar somewhere dry and not too cold (some say it’s also better to store the jar in a dark place but I personally left it on the window sill in my kitchen). Let stand for anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months depending on how strong a fragrance you want. Like I said before, the waiting was the hardest part. I opened that jar daily to see how the scent was absorbing and getting stronger.
4. When ready, strain the liquid from the vanilla pieces with a piece of cheesecloth, thin cotton or even ladies pantyhose (hate that word!). Put the strained liquid into a clean glass jar and pour in the jojoba oil (I used about 2 times the amount of oil than there was vanilla liquid). You can re-use the vanilla paste and beans to start a new batch of perfume as well. Just add in a few new beans and start the process from the beginning.
5. Make sure to store in a relatively cool and dry place in order for it to last longer (it should be good for at least several months).
**Although I really like this scent I’m in the process of trying another method which skips using any sort of alcohol. I’m steeping the chopped beans and paste directly in the jojoba oil for several months. That way there won’t be a mixture that separates and has to be shaken before using.
**If you can’t get Jojoba oil (or it’s too expensive) almond oil is supposed to be a great substitute.