The making of / I T T R /
I T T R is made in the city Kannauj which is also known as ‘the perfume capital of India’.
/ Kannauj / The city of Kannauj is to India what Grasse is to France and situated in Uttar Pradesh at the Northern part of India on the banks of sacred River Ganges. Due to its key role of perfume production, Kannauj is known as ‘the perfume capital of India’. Traditionally ittars were supplied to the Maharajas during their reigns in India over three hundred years.
In Kannauj the tradition of making ittar is still fondly preserved by artisanal craftsman and small producers and passed on from generation to generation. Traditional ittar families hold the secrets of distillation, which is a very specialised job.
In large copper pots called / deg / water and fragrant flower petals to be distilled will be placed. Copper vessels with a large belly and narrow long neck called / bhapka / captures the fragrance filled steam from the deg via a / chonga / hollow bamboo pipes that connects the deg and bhapka. The bamboo pipes are wrapped with rope made from grass and serves as an insulator to the pipes that extracts the vapours from the deg. The receiving bhapka is filled with pure sandalwood oil.
The vapours condense in the bhapka and after distillation water and oil are separated and aromatic oil molecules are absorbed by sandalwood oil. Again the water is decanted through the hole in the bhapka and mixed with the water in the deg for the next process of distillation.
This distillation process is repeated several times for fifteen up to twenty days until the sandalwood oil in the bhapka is fully saturated and achieves the desired fragrant perfume. The sandalwood oil completely gives up its own fragrance and acquires the fragrance of the ingredients that are used in the distillation process.
When the desired concentration of ittar is achieved, it will be poured into leather bottles, known as / kuppi / made of buffalo or camel leather for sedimentation and removal of moisture from ittar, to achieve the desired concentration level.