Aromatic Herbal Scented gloves
and how to do it.

by Jeanne Rose

There are a number of ways of doing this, the most practical seems to be either soaking the leather in perfume (water or spirit based), or by working a fat based perfume into the skins, or using a potpourri in the gloves. The potpourri is listed in Herbs & Things. The book is available on the website. Labdanum is a good beginning for scented gloves.

Labdanum Cistus Ladaniferus

I started to scent my gloves a few years ago, and realized there was a possibility that others might enjoy this project. Looking through all my books, references, etc. I realized there was much in the old books about scenting gloves. But I wanted it to be simpler than scenting the leather and then making the gloves. So I lined my glove drawer with saran wrap to contain the scent and keep it inside the drawer. Then I paired up my gloves and folded each pair like a pair of socks so that the inside of the glove would be either touching the saran wrap or the inside of the drawer only. Then I blended some oils that had been traditionally used in scenting leather: Birch leaf with Tobacco absolute and a touch of citrus added made a nice blend. We make this scent in our Blending Class & Natural Perfumery class. I put the scent on some muslin cloth. I covered the scented muslin with a sheet of paper. I put down a layer of gloves (6 pairs) in drawer, then a sheet of paper, then the scented muslin, a sheet of paper and another layer of gloves with the saran wrap pulled up and over the top layer of gloves. The drawer was closed for the summer months. In the fall, when I needed gloves for warmth or driving, they were sweetly scented and ready to wear. … Jeanne Rose

"The Italian influence swept through France, helped along by Caterina de Medici's marriage to France's Prince Henri II. Making the journey with her were her alchemist (who probably also made her poisons too, but that's another story) and her perfumer, who set up shop in Paris. The towns of Montpellier and Grasse, already strongly influenced by neighboring Genoa, had long produced the perfumed gloves that were in high style among the elite. (The gloves were most often perfumed with Neroli, or with animal scents such as ambergris and civet. Apparently this wasn't always appreciated. A 17th-century dramatist, Philip Massinger, complained: "Lady, I would descend to kiss thy hand/but that 'tis gloved, and civet makes me sick.") These towns took the lead, as France's growing fragrance trade began to predominate over Italy's. England was also influenced by the Italian love of scent. A pair of scented gloves so captured the attention of Queen Elizabeth I, she had a perfumed leather cape and shoes made to match." …From:

Here is a later recipe from Piesse's "The Art of Perfumery" (1855): "Peau d'Espagne, or Spanish Skin is nothing more than highly perfumed leather. Good sound pieces of wash-leather are to be steeped in a mixture of Ottos, in which are dissolved some odiferous gum resins thus: Otto of Neroli, Otto of Rose, Santal, of each half an ounce; Otto of Lavender, Verbena, Bergamot, of each a quarter of an ounce; Otto of Cloves and Cinnamon, of each two drachms; with any others thought fit. In this mixture dissolve about two ounces gum Benzoin; now place the skin to steep in it for a day or so, then hang it over a line to dry. A paste is now to be made by rubbing in a mortar one drachm of civet with one drachm of grain musk, and enough solution of gum Acacia or gum Tragacanth to give it a spreading consistence; a little if any of the Otto’s may be left from the steep stirred in with the civet, &c., greatly assists in making the whole of equal body; the skin being cut up in pieces of about four inches square are then to be spread over, plaster fashion, with the last-named compost; two pieces being put together, having the civet plaster inside them, are then to be placed between sheets of paper, weighed or pressed, and left to dry thus for a week; finally, each double skin, now called ‘peau d'Espagne’, is to be enveloped in some pretty silk or satin, and finished off to the taste of the vendor. Skin or leather thus prepared evolves a pleasant odor for years, and hence they are frequently called "the inexhaustible sachet". Being flat they are much used for perfuming writing paper."

In regards to Russian Leather, “its perfume is due to the aromatic Saunders wood in which it is tanned, and to the empyreumatic oil of the birch tree, with which it is curried." Information on Labdanum and the herbs and essential oils to use is available in The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations by Jeanne Rose

Another simple approach to scenting gloves is to make a wonderfully smelling potpourri in May/June when the Roses are blooming. A mixture of Rose petals, Sandalwood, Cloves and Lavender blossoms, folded into a square of cloth can be placed in the glove drawer. Over a period of time it will scent the leather. … see pages 233-247 Herbs & Things by Jeanne Rose.

Classes, Seminars and books are available from Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy. Rose, Jeanne. Herb & Things. Available from Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy

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Jeanne Rose has been teaching and researching natural remedies for 33 years, beginning with her first book, Herbs & Things, now in its second edition.  To get in touch, to purchase the books, to understand aromatherapy, herbalism, hydrosols and essential oils, to sign up for the in-person Seminars with Jeanne Rose, visit her website at or e-mail for information at  Jeanne Rose also teaches a distance learning program, home-study courses both in Herbalism and Aromatherapy. She is Executive Director of the Aromatic Plant Project and can be reached at  You may also call 415/564-6785.

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