May 25, 2009

Roses are much friendlier than poison ivy.



I walk in Augusta, Kentucky, down by the Ohio River.

ADDED: The hymn playing in the second half of the video is "Faith of Our Fathers." That's also the name of a Philip K. Dick story. Wikipedia has an article on the Dick story, but not the hymn. That says something, doesn't it?

IN THE COMMENTS: Traditionalguy writes:
Memorial day is for a remembrance of the real heroes who really died for us. This is the one day we don't push marketing myths and science fiction tales from the wide world of commerce and politics. So it is fitting to see poison ivy, roses, Faith of Our Fathers, and the Ohio River all just being themselves.

39 comments:

chickenlittle said...

Why are fragrant roses rare? I've noticed that too.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"The hymn playing in the second half of the video is "Faith of Our Fathers." That's also the name of a Philip K. Dick story. Wikipedia has an article on the Dick story, but not the hymn. That says something, doesn't it?"

It says that a bunch of hippies run Wikipedia...

birdie bob said...

I believe the first hymn is Eternal Father, Strong to Save aka The Navy Hymn. Very fitting for Memorial Day.

chickenlittle said...

It says that a bunch of hippies run Wikipedia...

This all reminds me of Google's yellow ribbon. To do it right, they'd have to take a chance. But at least they didn't ignore it completely.

rhhardin said...

The birds are Northern Oriole, House Sparrow and Robin.

rhhardin said...

You can plant Box Elder and everybody will think it's poison ivy.

El Presidente said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Memorial day is for a remembrance of the real heroes who really died for us. This is the one day we don't push marketing myths and science fiction tales from the wide world of commerce and politics. So it is fitting to see poison ivy, roses, Faith of Our Fathers, and the Ohio River all just being themselves.

Quayle said...

And here is a choir doing the hymn.

And here for our soldiers who gave their lives for us and became pligrams to the unknown.

Now, back to the ribs.

Palladian said...

"Why are fragrant roses rare? I've noticed that too."

There are only two roses really worth cultivating for use in perfumery, R. damascena (the "damask" rose) and R. centifolia (called the "cabbage rose" or "Rose de Mai"). Both of these produce several products such as rose oil (or "rose otto" or "rose attar") which is extracted through steam distillation, and rose absolute, which is extracted with a solvent such as hexane. There are also new rose products extracted through supercritical CO2 extraction.

All of these products are expensive, the best ones being terrifically expensive, such as the superior rose otto from Bulgaria and the increasingly rare rose oil from France.

All these products find use in high-end perfumery even today. I spent years developing a rose base for use in my perfumery products. It contains dozens of ingredients including amounts of natural rose products. The funny thing is that rose oil and rose absolute don't smell like living roses. If you want that effect you have to do a lot of work to bring it "back to life". My rose base was formulated to smell like a painting of a rose done in slightly unnatural colors.

chuck b. said...

"Why are fragrant roses rare? I've noticed that too."

Fragrance became rare when the market selected other factors like duration, form, and color of bloom and disease resistance over fragrance.

If you want fragrance you can still buy antique roses (many of which typically bloom for a month), or antique rose hybrids (e.g., David Austin roses) online or at specialty nurseries.

There are other options, but that's it in a nutshell.

Funny video.

Deb said...

At my younger daughter's high school graduation on Saturday evening, a 27 year Marine veteran inducted his son into the Naval Academy (I hope that is the right terminology). It was extremely moving, a father and son, repeating those words, on Memorial Day weekend. There was not a dry eye in the church. Of course I had been crying since the moment I saw my lovely, petite 17 year old walk down the aisle in her cap and gown. May I say she graduated with highest honors from a very tough science, math, and technology magnet school? No? Oh. Well never mind, then.

chuck b. said...

"The funny thing is that rose oil and rose absolute don't smell like living roses"

The fragrance is hard to describe, isn't it? There's a company in Sonoma County that runs a rose oil and rose water workshop every year (http://www.russian-river-rose.com/) I took a whiff of their oil product and all I could come up with was "smells like a bowl of very ripe tropical fruit".


Sidenote: Adding a few drops of rose water (or maybe they said rose oil) to bottle of cheap sparkling wine can markedly improve the taste of the wine, apparently.

Ann Althouse said...

rhhardin said..."You can plant Box Elder and everybody will think it's poison ivy."

Nuh-uh. I learned just the other day how to tell the difference. The box elder has an opposite leaf arrangement and poison ivy has alternate leaf arrangement. We know our phyllotaxy around here.

Now it's your turn to talk about Fibonacci numbers.

Palladian said...

"The fragrance is hard to describe, isn't it? There's a company in Sonoma County that runs a rose oil and rose water workshop every year (http://www.russian-river-rose.com/) I took a whiff of their oil product and all I could come up with was "smells like a bowl of very ripe tropical fruit"."

All those esters and alcohols!

There are very few flower extracts that smell like the living flower. The extraction processes are harsh and usually hot, so you lose a lot of components. All the light molecules fly away. Hence, one aspect of the art of perfumery is to put the dew back on the rose, so to speak.

Some of the most highly-scented flowers produce no essential oils that are viably extractable, such as lilac. Lilac scents are always reconstructions. Same with lily-of-the-valley.

Jason (the commenter) said...

If you want fragrance you can still buy antique roses (many of which typically bloom for a month), or antique rose hybrids (e.g., David Austin roses) online or at specialty nurseries.

Don't forget the rugosa roses. They smell nice, are as tough as nails, and produce lots of pretty hips.

TMink said...

Ah yes, but every rose has its thorn.

Trey

chickenlittle said...

Lilac scents are always reconstructions. Same with lily-of-the-valley.

Can't one GC-MS a dose of the natural scent, ID all the components (laborious & tedious, but only needs doing once) and then reconstruct exactly? Sure some of the components might have to be extracted or synthesized. I would think an exact match should be feasible?

chickenlittle said...

My last comment assumed that all of the components were known compounds. If they weren't, there are other methods to employ (and would think that the fragrance industry would have already done so long ago).

chuck b. said...

Go back to the idea of volatility. Once you've resynthesized the chemicals, then what?

chickenlittle said...

Once you've resynthesized the chemicals, then what?

Put 'em all in a can of air freshener or something. I can see transesterification could be a problem though, but not insurmountable. Isn't there a market for that?

chuck b. said...

Well, I suspect volatility is an even more intractable problem than you suspect.

Also, transesterification isn't a problem, per se; it's ester hydrolysis, which leaves you with the rancid smell of light-weight carboxylic acids.

Ask Palladian to tell you about how perfumers use less volatile pyrrole- and indole-based alkaloids as scent mimetics instead of esters.

MadisonMan said...

Did you know the word phyllotaxy before today? I note that the 2nd google hit mentions fibonacci.

My favorite Memorial Day celebration in Madison is the gunfire at the Confederate Cemetery in Forest Hill. Then taps is blown on a bugle.

chuck b. said...

My favorite Memorial Day celebration was 10+ years ago, visiting military cemeteries in Georgia. They made a real show of it, and I was very moved.

Jason (the commenter) said...

chickenlittle : Put 'em all in a can of air freshener or something.

A rose is a living thing that can constantly produce more fragrance molecules and thereby maintain a balanced smell. With perfumes, once one of the molecules dissipates, it's gone for good. If the remaining ones smell odd without it, people wont want your perfume.

The point isn't just to reproduce a rose scent, but to have the other scents that will be experienced as the perfume ages smell good as well.

Palladian said...

"Can't one GC-MS a dose of the natural scent, ID all the components (laborious & tedious, but only needs doing once) and then reconstruct exactly? Sure some of the components might have to be extracted or synthesized. I would think an exact match should be feasible?"

There can be no exact match. Of course gas chromatography is done on live flowers and everything else, and it has aided in creating more "natural smelling" recreations of flower (and other) odors. But many of the components are unknown and you can't figure out unknowns through GC analysis. Also many of the components don't contribute anything to the scent, while some very small percentage of the components are often heavily responsible for the scent. Many of the materials that make a fresh flower smell like a fresh flower are so highly volatile that if you bottled them as part of the scent, they're gone as soon as you'd sprayed the first spray. Then you're left with a big bottle of geraniol, or linalool, or citronellol, or whatever, which is what you'd had before in pre-GC reconstructions of living flower scents.

So what this means is that you rely on the skill and artistic power of the perfumer to create an "impressionistic" scent that speaks of the flower or whatever it is you're trying to create. You can get a lot closer with some unrelated chemicals than you could if you strictly "reassembled" the scent from a GC analysis. For instance, the material used in "classical" perfumery to recreate the scent of lily-of-the-valley is hydroxycitronellal (think Dior's "Diorissimo"). Yet lily-of-the-valley contains no hydroxycitronellal.

"My last comment assumed that all of the components were known compounds. If they weren't, there are other methods to employ (and would think that the fragrance industry would have already done so long ago)."

The other methods are to hire good perfumers.

Anyway, this is all interesting but I don't really specialize in re-creating the scents of nature, which are quite good enough where they're at without my ham-handed intervention. The interesting part about perfumery is abstraction, combining these recreations and natural materials and novel synthetics to create a scent that may suggest many things but is in the end only itself. Think of Chanel No. 5, which contains very expensive natural jasmine (the perfume concentration does anyway), natural musk tinctures, rose oils, an a lot of other materials. It also owes part of its unique scent to 2-methyl undecanal and other aldehydes as much as it does to the jasmine. But in the end, it smells like itself. Wonderful, that is.

Palladian said...

"The point isn't just to reproduce a rose scent, but to have the other scents that will be experienced as the perfume ages smell good as well."

Or what Jason said. Well done!

rhhardin said...

Baseball party on way to store.

Mysterious game prepared for next door meanwhile.

Meade said...

Nicely said, traditionalguy! Along with HERE.

Meade said...

rh: I think the game on the left may be "Hillbilly Golf" and on the right, "Cornhole."

Nice pic of Vic, btw.

Lem said...

My God rh..

That windowless side of a whole house is austere, unwelcoming and frankly impolite.

Fen said...

In other news...

The Speaker of the House was misled again. This time by North Korea.

Like a victim of battered wife syndrome that just keeps going back. Good thing our fortune is not tied to her foolishness.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Pelosi's in good company- they fooled Madeline Albright, too.

I wonder what traits they share in common?

chuck b. said...

They're terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Democrats?

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

JAL said...
chickenlittle @ 1:53 This all reminds me of Google's yellow ribbon. To do it right, they'd have to take a chance. But at least they didn't ignore it completely.
I got so ticked off at google over their ignoring Memorial Day a couple years ago I dumped their tool bar and refused to use their search engine for over a year. I explained WHY in an email and they claimed no one else had complained.

Bull Shit.

They are the scum at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to honoring the military.

I looked today and ... there it was .. a teeny tiny yellow ribbon. Idiots. Memorial Day is for the guys and gals who did NOT come home... Not those we want to come home -- like my late sister-in-law's courageous father who died in France when he, an officer on recon for his unit, was ambushed by some Germans.

To this day that French village remembers and honors Lt. Col. Kent Fay: A brave and honorable man whose children and grandchildren remember and honor him also.

9:29 PM

chickenlittle said...

They are the scum at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to honoring the military.

Google is starting to smell like Microsoft-the fragrance of arrogance.

David said...

Palladian, wow, did I learn a lot of new stuff from your comments on this post. Thanks. (Now let's see if I can remember any of it.)

I nominate this post as the best riff post of 2009. It goes in all kinds of directions.

Navy Hymn is a real chill inducer.

Wow.

Jou-jou said...

Birdie Bob, you are right about the Navy Hymn. Also, Ann and Meade, did you notice people decorating graves over the weekend? That's something else you don't see as much of in the north, even the middle of Ohio. While in KY this weekend, I also saw cars pulled over on the opposite side of the road when a funeral procession went by. About 20 cars long, and everyone just sat on the shoulder until they had passed.