It's 'make your own diffuser' time.
First fail - I got the wrong reeds. The reeds are really short compared to the bottle. Darn. I could, of course, use a different container but the whole idea was that the bottles were too nice to not reuse.
I stuffed each bottle with three Tesco carrier bags. That added 30p to the overall cost.
After I finished stuffing I realised that I was never getting those bags out again. When these bottles need cleaning then I can see me having to throw them out instead. This goes against my instincts as I hate that sort of waste. On the other hand, I will need another Merlyn bottle or two. I really love this stuff, much more than Baileys, so it would be no hardship getting spare bottles. For those interested, here is a bottle of Merlyn with the picture taken from a proper site.
And here is the link to their homepage. I wish I hadn't looked. They do very nice looking Welsh alcohol and I don't want to be too much my father's daughter.
Apparently there is a lot of science to the whole diffuser thingy. It is to do with the absorption and evaporation of oils and I feel outwitted. There are a lot of different recipes on the internet, but I decided to follow the Treehugger one as it looked lovely and clear - link is here.
The recipes I looked at for the diffuser all suggested a carrier oil 'like safflower or sweet almond'. Tesco don't sell either, and they looked expensive on eBay. I checked with Wikipedia, and they also include rapeseed or canola oil, which I cook with, link here. I also already had the cheap vodka.
In the end I decided to go with the vodka/water/essential oil mix. It is supposed to evaporate quicker, but I knew that I would have a foul job trying to clean the bottles and I thought they would get grim at a slower pace without the oil. Here is the kit here - cheap vodka, essential oil and a mixing jug.
And here is the finished diffuser.
I get two lovely looking diffusers. I used most of the bottle of vodka and goodness knows how much essential oil as the carrier bags didn't take up as much room as I expected. The cost for two is sort of...
One bottle of vodka - cheapest currently at Tesco is £10
Essential oil (if I had to buy and didn't have it in) I can pick it up for £1.60 (I used bergamot which I love!)
The reeds, which were the wrong size and apparently I could use bamboo skewers instead, were £2.49, but in my defence I have fifty left.
And not forgetting the carrier bags - 30p
Diffusers at Tesco, including Clementine Spice which sounds amazingly refreshing are £4 each, or two for £8 to compare to my costing, expected to last six weeks. Mind you, they include (4-Isopropenyl-1-methylcyclohexene; 2-Benzylideneoctanal; 2-Benzylideneheptanal; 3, 7-Dimethylocta-2, 6-dien-1-ol), May produce an allergic reaction - something I copied and pasted because there was no way I was going to be able to type that lot out.
I think that once the Merlyn bottle diffusers have run out I shall make up a couple of diffusers in smaller, pretty bottles that do not need complicated stuffing and actually I think the £14.09 will go a lot further than the Tesco ones. It is a learning curve. After all, I used most of the vodka (left over mixture stored in the vodka bottle) but there is plenty of essential oil left and enough reeds for ten more.
So not an entire win, but not really a fail.