The beautiful scent found with many herbs is easily lost. Dried herbs or oils can loose the scent very quickly; but there are ways of holding it.
Without a fixative, perfumes release essential oils at various times resulting in a fragrance that changes over time – no good if you’re going out for a long night! A good fixative will prevent both uneven oil release, and poor after smell. Synthetic and natural fixatives are used in modern perfumery. Animal fixatives include ambergris (an intestinal waxy substance from sperm whales), musk and clivet. Fixatives can be added to essential oils to improve their properties.
There are many essential oils that have high boiling points – this means they slow down the evaporation of perfume. Useful essential oils include:
Other dried plant materials that are good fixatives but that can only be used in pot pourri include:
flowers of chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla and Anthemis nobilis)
leaves of clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
lemon verbena leaves
russian tarragon leaves
angelica seeds and roots
sweet vanilla grass
Other natural fixatives in the forms of resins and oleo-resins include:
balsam of Peru
balsam of Tolu