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Essential Oils Are Like Fine Wines…

Editor’s Note: This is an essay written by a man who has much experience with fine wines, and is here comparing the blending of essential oils to the complexity of a really good wine. We often find an artfully created blend can surpass the aromatic wonder of many single oils. Blending sucessfully is challenging – [...]

Editor’s Note: This is an essay written by a man who has much experience with fine wines, and is here comparing the blending of essential oils to the complexity of a really good wine. We often find an artfully created blend can surpass the aromatic wonder of many single oils. Blending sucessfully is challenging – it takes intuition, knowledge and patience. As noted here, your blends may not always smell great right away; oftentimes they’ll need to ‘stew’ for awhile before the majic of all the notes together is apparent…

From the Author: I spent 30 years, my whole adult life up to this point, in the wine industry. I owned a retail store and, over the course of those 30 years, tasted and smelled literally thousands of wines. Of the many aspects of wine that I found fascinating, I think the most interesting is how wines change over time.

Young wines are brash and exuberant. The nose of a young wine is redolent with bright ripe fruit, oak if there is any, and, if it’s a truly great wine, a few other nuances to add interest. As a wine ages, the primary aromas of fresh fruit give way to the secondary, or what is known as tertiary aromas. At this stage the fruit aromas are replaced by non-fruit aromas, ie. earth, truffle, forest floor, and spice. Whereas in a young wine, the aromas are compartmentalized and separate, in a mature wine the aromas are far more interesting and meld into a seamless and complex bouquet.

So, you are probably thinking, what does this have to do with essential oils? I’ve come to learn that essential oil blends evolve in much the same way wine does. My wife has been experimenting with essential oils for many years and has developed a number of blends that she uses in her line of body care products. The process of blending oils is a combination of art and science and takes years to master. The synergy of a successful blend is far more compelling than any one essential oil alone.

Today, she let me smell a “green” or new blend that she had just created and had me compare its aroma to the same blend that had aged for about one year. The difference was startling. The new blend had the segmented aspect of a young wine with each essential oil’s particular scent distinct and separate from the other. In the year old blend the different scents had melded into a very complex bouquet where no one scent dominated the other. Instead, they were seamlessly intertwined to create a scent where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
I now have a much greater appreciation for the expertise involved in the blending of these precious oils. It has also allowed me to use the knowledge I gained from the many years I’ve spent with my nose stuck in a wineglass to assist her in identifying the many nuances that a successful essential oil blend creates. Wine tasting and blending essential oils are both acquired skills that take many years to perfect and the combinations are limitless. As with both, the lesson is simple. The more you learn the more you realize how little you know. But the journey, along with the opportunity for discovery, is the best part.

Mario Vitale spent 30 years in the fine wine business in Cleveland, Ohio and established one of the most successful retail wine businesses in the state. His business, Western Reserve Wines, was voted Best Wine Shop in Cleveland, and his clientele came from across the country. He sold the business in 2006 to join his wife in her skin care business and moved to Tucson, Arizona.

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