Saturday, December 5, 2015

ABCs of Essential Oils - Kewda

I started this entry forever ago, or really the end of September, but that feels so long ago, doesn't it? Anyway, life gets in the way, and I suppose I might write about that some day, but for now, here is kewda.

Pandanus odoratissimus

"K" was a little difficult to fill, since while there are some oils that begin with "k," I either haven't sniffed them or they're used primarily for aromatherapy. But then I remembered kewda (sometimes called kewra), a rare essential oil with an odd odor. And by odd odor, I mean it's like someone punched you in the nose.

I'm honestly not sure if anyone else feels that way about kewda, since most of the descriptions are much more polite, calling it "strong" or "penetrating." It's not a bad odor, but it is intense. Calling it ethereal is rather apt- according to Arctander, it is around 75% Methyl-beta-phenylethyl Ether. Interpret that as you will. Arctander describes it as "...intensely sharp, very powerful and diffusive, but also very sweet, hyacinth-honeylike..." and recommends evaluating it at 1% or less.

You may also find kewda attar, which includes sandalwood. The soft scent of sandalwood may help you appreciate the scent of kewda better, provided that you appreciate sandalwood to begin with (I love it, but not everyone does).

Distilled or extracted from the large flower spikes of a small tree in India, kewda is a rare essence, but is worth seeking out for those interested in composing unique floral fragrances.

Ho Wood

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