Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prima Fleur CO2 Extract: ORRIS ROOT

Orris root (Iris germanica) is the aged and dried rhizome of the cherished iris flower. Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods, Iris. The flower bursts to life each spring from the rhizome in a variety of vibrant hues, including yellow, salmon-pink, white, and the deep violet-blue so perfectly depicted in Vincent Van Gogh’s stunning painting, Irises (1889).

To the French, the three petals of the flower symbolize faith, wisdom and valor. The flower itself is often used symbolically in ceremony. This “eye of heaven,” as it has been called, is a wonder of nature appreciated for its beauty, exquisiteness, and fragrance.
The sweet scent of iris flowers is indeed heavenly, but it is the root where we find the luscious scent of violets and woods that characterize the extract called Orris root. The rhizome (root) contains the highest concentration of the desired irones compounds. Though the flower petals reach the height of their beauty by the second year, the roots must age for two to three years before they reach full maturity. During this time, the slow oxidation of triterpenoid creates the active ingredients and odorants.

In the final year, the plant can grow as tall as a person. It is necessary for the ground to be carefully weeded and maintained throughout this period. Often,  whole families assume this task and, when the plant has arrived at maturity, they tend to the long, labor-intensive pulling, cutting and drying process.
Prima Fleur's Orris Root Extract [No. 244] is of the Iris germanica variety, and is used for perfumery, and for food and flavoring. This variety of sword lily iris is also known as “Orris of Verona” whose flowers are deep violet-blue. Plant material, mainly from Morocco, is processed by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, yielding 1 kilo of extract from around 34 kilos of raw material.
Although orris may have been used medicinally at one time, its chief uses are in perfumery, soap making, and to flavor liquors, from vermouth to gin. While the Iris pallida of Italy and China has direct floral and green notes, the Iris germanica boasts fruitier, richer, strong berry notes suited for these multiple industries. The distinctive violet-like odor is the definition of luxury and of an era of romantic indulgence. Orris root blends well with florals of neroli, rose, and geranium, as well as green notes of violet leaf and galbanum.
For more information on how to order from our Premier Product line, please visit our website. For questions, or to explore custom development with exquisite botanicals from our extensive library of raw materials, please contact  or call (415) 455-0957.

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