The genius of perfumers is knowing just what they have to do, to blend those into perfectly constructed scents for us to wear. Some hay fever sufferers, maybe — but most of us just love the fresh, green scent of grass. In perfumery, though, grass delivers a sweet, herbaceous scent — maybe not quite like walking past a house where the grass has just been cut, but delivering a gust or a whisper of outdoorsy freshness, nonetheless.
Have you ever enjoyed fresh lemon verbena tea? Not to be confused, incidentally, with the type of verbena grown in Britain, which has no value in perfumery.
Indole is sexy, powerful, intense — va-va-voom, in a bottle. It then conjures up jasmine and orange blossom, and goes beautifully with green notes, and other floral ingredients. That translates as having an overripe character. And, adds Alienor Massenet, 'it's very animalic Does beeswax smell? Koalas love it. So do we. Steam-extracted from the leaves of a family of super-fast-growing trees and shrubs native to Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania — over different varieties — eucalyptus can add an airiness to perfumes, with its green, camphor-y, lemon-ish facets.
Although it was also used by physicians to treat fever, headache and hysteria. As a perfume ingredient, cannabis has been in the news recently as a controversial ingredient in actor Richard E. This native of Central and South Asia, a relative of hops, is now probably grown in every country of the world albeit quite often in attics under gro-lights. Most famous as a recreational drug, the fibres of the plant can be woven into tough cloth — hemp — and every part of the flower is edible: hemp seed oil is highly nutritious, and great for skin, too internally and externally.
Though it can help to accent other herbal elements of a composition. Grant Jack. It takes a lot of elderflower to produce a little essential oil — so this note is usually recreated synthetically, to evoke that sweet, honey-like, floral-herby scent of this hedgerow plant. It might be from birch tar which has a leathery smokiness , or juniper, aldehydes or other synthetics, designed to give a skin-like scent.
Here's what leather means to perfumer Andy Tauer , and how he uses it in his creations. Solid and as uncomfortable as can be. Every evening we had to brush them, polish them. As mixed as my memories of proudly serving in the Swiss Army are, I loved the scent of my leather boots. Rough leather, made from Swiss cows, with a thickened skin due to a happy but rough life in the Alps we can dream, can't we? Leather in perfumery is not a natural essential oil that you buy. He echoes our comment above: 'You have to make your leather chord.
Birch tar can be one of the ingredients going in there. Leather as side note brings out, by contrast as so often in perfumery, flowers. It is like sticking bright colored flowers into my army boots. Wonderful, and a reminder how precious peace is. Leather and perfumery go way back together, meanwhile. He was so taken with the smell of scented gloves that he asked Creed to make it into a fragrance — and you can still smell that today….
Launched in the s, calone recreates the honey-like, watery qualities of the delectable fruit — a relation of squashes and cucumbers - which originated in Africa and south-west Asia. The availability of this synthetic ingredient has probably helped to shape the trend for aquatic fragrances, as well as for fruity-florals. Strangely, the flower itself is scent-less. We love this legend about vanilla which we found on the excellent Perfume Shrine blog. Unable to marry him due to her divine nature, she transformed herself into a plant that would provide pleasure and happiness — that plant was the Vanilla vine.
This reputation was much enhanced in when a German study found that a medication based on vanilla extract cured impotence — all smiling subjects claimed they were cured. The name? For a while, it was actually an accepted currency in Europe — ah, those were the days…. Widely used in cooking, too, in south-east Asia — and perhaps most famously, to flavour chai - its slightly camphorous properties work to freshen breath.
Camellia Japonica our garden shrub, which originated in — yes — Japan is also related to the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. Lime blossom a. We eat grapes, we drink them — and sometimes, we dab or spritz a synthesised version on our pulse points. As with many fruit ingredients, grapes are having their moment in the sun, thanks to fragrance fashion. Bond No.
The actual aroma compound itself is called oxane, FYI. And now you know. In common with many contemporary fragrance ingredients, jatamansi — or spikenard, to give it a more familiar name — was originally used in incense, as an element of sacred Roman, Indian, Hebrew and Egyptian ceremonies. With its slightly musky, woody, aromatic, earthy, warm and sensual scent, jatamansi also featured in body oils and unguents, in Roman times….
The plant valiantly grows in mountain areas above 3, metres, in countries like India, Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim. The bitter orange tree — Citrus aurantium var.
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You might better know it as the Seville orange tree. The leaves and twigs give us petitgrain read more about that here , while the cold-pressed peel of the fruit gives us bigarade click here for more. Anne Marie Orsini also known as Anna Maria de la Tremoille, and originally French , fell in love with the scent of neroli, which fragranced the air in spring.
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She was the first person to distil orange flowers to make essential oil, which she used to scent her clothes, baths and gloves. Gloves and perfumery are inextricably linked, which you can read about in our Perfume History section, here. It seems to have been something of an aphrodisiac, and kickstarted a craze among the local residents for this seductive oil, which is said to have been blended with flowery sweet notes and musk.
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Long before that, though, the bitter orange tree is thought to have been brought to Europe by the Arabs from the Middle East, when the trade routes opened up. It smells like cinnamon. Actually, it tastes like cinnamon too. It looks like cinnamon.
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Both were among the most popular perfume ingredients of ancient times, referred to as far back as ancient Egyptian unguent recipes. The twigs, buds and foliage of this 3-metre tree can be steam-distilled — but cassia is sometimes recreated synthetically, giving a potent and seriously spicy, almost earthy note that when handled with care lends itself especially well to Orientals. Add a little lemon verbena to a fragrance, and it delivers a brisk, pure, floral-citrus scent, like bruising the fragrant leaves of this shrubby plant between your fingers.
In summer scents, in particular, kiwi adds a refreshing sweetness. Kiwi fruit themselves grow on woody vines which produce incredibly dull-looking fruit greenish-brown, fuzzy — but slice them open and the luscious green flesh with its corona of black, edible seeds is revealed. This quirky fruit was originally grown in China, Japan, India and south-eastern Siberia, but has since been commercialised around the world — from New Zealand to France, via Chile and Greece.
In perfumery, apricot can be lush and sweet — like the fruit — or bitter, like the extract of the apricot kernel think of an Amaretto-ish bitter almond scent.
In modern day perfumery the scent of apricot is re-created synthetically, most often for a soft, almost fuzzy fruitiness. Sometimes, alternatively, the scent of the blossom of the apricot tree a. Michael Kors Signature. It also gives hints of tea alongside the soft powderiness. Taif roses have 30 petals and grow around the city of Taif in western Saudi Arabia, not far from Mecca. The attar of roses which is produced is powerful and expensive — and no wonder: it takes around 40, rose flowers to produce one 10 g bottle of rose attar.
The other gifts were of course myrrh — another fragrance ingredient — and gold. Also known as olibanum, frankincense is actually a resin from the Boswellia sacra tree, which grows in the Dhofar area of Oman, as well as Yemen.
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There are also forests of it in northern Ethiopia — although ecologists report that production of this resin could decline by half, over the next 15 years, as those forests are systematically cut down to make way for agriculture. Once exclusively reserved for kings and queens, frankincense has been used in religious ceremonies, burial rituals and for embalming — including for mummification. It clearly has extraordinary preservative powers, able to preserve skin for millennia.
All names for the same plant, with those fabulous yellow pom-pom flowers which look delicate, but fill a room with their dreamy sweetness in minutes. Aromatherapeutically, mimosa is said to have properties that help to relieve stress and depression, FYI. Mimosas are pod-bearing shrubs and trees now native mostly to Australia and the Pacific, though they put on a pretty spectacular show around the heartland of perfumery in Grasse, too, in the south of France.
For centuries, aside from perfumery, the mimosa tree has been used for many different purposes from medicinal to ornamental. The seeds and fruit are edible and used in many cuisines and soft drinks, the bark produces a gum that is used as a stabiliser gum Arabic and in the production for printing and ink; and the timber is used in furniture making.
Add a touch to cooking, and it turns a dish bright yellow. Honeyed and hay-like are other descriptions that perfumers give to saffron, which works especially well in Oriental-type perfumes. The ever-extravagant Romans even strewed it over the floors of public places, to scent the air on special occasions.
Saffron was also used to scent baths, houses and temples, while in medicine it was a narcotic. Today, we grow crocus in the garden — often the first herald of spring. Without realising that the stamens of the true crocus can be used in our cooking…. Originating from south America, this member of the nightshade family can be grown in greenhouses — and outside, during summer months, as ornamental, which range from white to pale purple via yellow and pink. Down the years, those have been harnessed in rituals to induce a hallucinogenic state which allowed mere mortals to connect with the Gods so legend has it.
There are other heady, rich, sweet flowers that can be used to add magic to perfumery, though. Latin name: Citrus junos.