26 August 2011

Horse Chestnuts aka Night Eyes

Horse chestnuts are the knobbly bits or growths found on a horse above the knee area of the front legs and below the hock of the hind legs. They can grow over time and can be soft or dry & brittle. They grow in layers and depending on the texture can be peeled or shaved off (sometimes falling off on their own). Being that chestnuts are growths from the horse's body they carry a bit of the horse's scent in them. Not knowing much about horses I learned recently that horses' scents are individual. I hadn't thought of that before but I guess it makes sense since scents (hahaha did you like that?) can be individual to other living beings. I already had a small chunk that I tinctured a year ago. I wanted more so I put out a request to a group of soapers who are also horse owners. Several said they'd send some to me and yesterday I received an envelope (thank you Shannon) with chestnuts from 4 different horses. I'm really excited about this because just from sniffing the little bags they're in I could tell that each one, while having that horse-y smell, was a bit different in it's scent and odor intensity. 

Chestnut from 24 y/o Appaloosa
Learning this made me wonder how differently the tinctures would come out, how much of the horse-y smell would come through in the alcohol. The chestnuts that I have are from horses that range in age from 8-24 yrs. Whether age or breed  makes a difference I don't know but I'm thrilled to start this experiment and see what comes of it. There's probably someone's findings on this subject somewhere on the web but I like to do some things myself. :^) 

I started working on a white flower accord.  The first sample was just the flower essences. The second had horse chestnut tincture added. What I noticed was that in the first sample jasmine came through very strong. In the second the jasmine was tamed while the michelia alba took over. I also noticed it cut some of the headiness of the florals. I haven't done the skin test with these yet but will update when I do.

Note: The name Horse Chestnut also refers to the nut of the Aesculus hippocastanum tree. To learn more about horse chestnut/night eyes you can search "chestnut & night eyes" or "chestnut & horse anatomy".


aromatarii said...

Hi Lisa,
You might remember I am also tincturing my stallions chestnuts.
I have two other horses, a mare
and a gelding. I am on my way out
now to do my morning chores and guess what I will add to my list.
I had not thought so much of how
they might differ.

Lisa BTB said...

Hi Denise,
Yes I do remember. How is it turning out? I know little about horses and never thought much about the scent differences either. This is turning into a very interesting project.