Ambergris Since antiquity, one of the most valuable of perfume gredients and also one of the most legendary. Ambergris is found in oily, grey lumps floating in the sea, mainly in the Indian Ocean, or cast on to its shores. Speculation about the origin of this material persisted until the 19th century. The substance is excreted by the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) after it has been feeding on cuttle fish, The lumps usually weigh a pound or two, but may be up to seventy pounds weight and occasionally much larger. Its odour is most unpleasant in the raw state and it has to be considerably diluted, by dissolving in alcohol, when it becomes highly fragrant, with a scent which has a similarity with labdanum. It is usually used in the form of a tincture. The fragrance is very persistent. The weathering of ambergris while it is in the sea is an important factor in its fragrancy; ambergris removed directly from the body of a whale, or freshly expelled from it, is nauseating and must be aged over several years before it can be used in perfumery.
Ambergris was not known to the Greeks and Romans and appears to have come into use during early Arab times. It was included in a list of items sent as tribute from the Yemen to the Persian Emperor in the 6th century AD, and al-Kindi, early 9th century AD, used it in a number of his perfume recipes. It also appeared in a Byzantine list of perfumes permitted to be sold in Constantinople in about 895 AD. It enjoyed a reputation as an aphrodisiac.
Solid ambergris is said to retain its perfume for three centuries or more. In Elizabethan times it was used to perfume gloves because its scent remained on them despite repeated washing. For centuries it has been very highly valued by perfumers as a fixative. However, because of the growing scarcity and consequent costliness of ‘floating’ ambergris and environmental objections to obtaining it by killing whales, it is now rarely used in perfumery other than in a synthesized form. Quality perfumes which contain ambergris include ‘Miss Dior‘, ‘Parure’ and ‘Vol de Nuit’.
Gum Ammoniacum of modern times is a resin collected from insect punctures in the stem of the Persian Ammoniacum plant (Dorema ammoniacum = Diserneston gummiferum), which grows up to 7 feet tall in Arabia, Iran, Turkestan, India and S. Siberia. The resin, a white latex which soon hardens, is known as Tear Ammoniacum when collected off the stem and Lump Ammoniacum when picked up from the ground (when it usually contains dust and grit). It has an odour resembling castoreum, for which it is sometimes used as a substitute, and is ground up for use as a fixative in pot pourri and sachets; it also has medicinal uses.
of Oman in 1983 to revive the ancient association of Arabia with high class perfumes. The company now sells ‘Amouage‘ perfume world wide at the top level of international quality perfumes. Created by Guy Robert, ‘Amouage’ is a floral-oriental fragrance unique for its range of over 120 natural ingredients (it contains unusually few synthethics); many of these are rare and costly, making it one of the most expensive perfumes on the market. The floral-fruity top note includes rose (three varieties), jasmine, geranium, orris, bergamot and tuberose, blended with peach, apricot and lime. The spicy heart contains, with many other constituents, patchouli, sandalwood, labdanum, myrrh, frankincense and ylang-ylang. Among the most dominant lower notes are vanilla, vetiver, ambergris, civet and musk. It is marketed in containers of gilded silver and semi-precious stones developed by Aspreys, and is also now sold in flacons made by Baccarat and Brosse. In 1991 it was selected as ‘Star Product of the Year’ at Cannes.
Ambergris (from the sperm whale), Castoreum (beaver), Civet (civet cat), Hyraceum (hyrax), Musk (musk deer), Propolis (bee), Sweet Hoof (marine snail).
Stratford-on-Avon). It is now one of the largest manufacturers of fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries in the world. It opened in Britain, as Avon Cosmetics Ltd, in 1959, selling to the mass market directly through its representatives, the ‘Avon ladies’. Avon fragrances, of which two or three new ones are introduced every year, are sold as sprays at eau de toilette concentration and include some long-standing lines such as ‘Moonwind’ (1971) and ‘Charisma’ (1968). Many of them are created for Avon by one or other of the large wholesale fragrance manufacturers (see Perfume Manufacture). The company’s main headquarters and factory complex is at Suffern, in California, and a factory in Northampton manufactures products sold in Britain and Europe. In 1987 Avon entered the quality perfume market by acquiring Giorgio Beverly Hills.
The term Balm of Gilead is sometimes used for the buds of the Scented Poplar (Populus balsamifera), a N. American tree, and for a shrub Cedronella tryphylla, found in the Canary Islands, and also for some other plants with a balsamic fragrance.
1. True Camomile (Anthemis nobilis), also called Roman CamomiLe, English Camomile, Common Camomile and Manzanilla, a small low-growing herb with a scent of apples (the name Camomile derives from the Greek ‘ground apple’ and Manzanilla means in Spanish ‘little apple’). The plant is native to the Mediterranean area and also found growing in Iran, India and elsewhere. The apple-scented oil, usually called Oil of Roman Camomile, is steam-distilled from the flowers and used in liqueurs as well as in perfumes (examples of its use in modern quality perfumery are ‘Giorgi Beverly Hills’, ‘Ivoire’ and ‘Xia-Xiang’). The dried flowers are used in sachets and pot pourri. This plant has been grown for centuries in English gardens for its use as a general domestic medicine; in the Middle Ages it was used as a strewing herb. The ancient Egyptians used it to cure ague.
2. German Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla), also called Wild Camomile, Blue Camomile and Scented Mayweed, a small herb growing from Europe to Afghanistan and now cultivated widely, particularly in Egypt, Hungary and Germany, for its essential oil (Oil of German Camomile) obtained from the flowers. This oil, which is steam-distilled, has a very sweet apple fragrance and is used in perfumes and for scenting shampoos, liqueurs and tobaccos. A similar oil is derived from a closely related plant, Matricaria discoidea, also cultivated widely.
Camphor was one of the most popular of all perfume ingredients in the early Arab world. It features in more than a quarter of al-Kindi’s perfume recipes and in many other medieval Arab works, including the Arabian Nights Tales. In Europe it was once a popular ingredient in pomanders, because it was thought to prevent infectious diseases.
The dry crystals are sometimes used in sachets and pot pourri.
A similar balsam is obtained from the Borneo Camphor tree (Dryobalanops camphora = D. aromatica), from which is produced East Indian Oil of Camphor, much prized by the Chinese for scenting soaps but little used in the West. This balsam is also used for manufacturing Borneol, occasionally used in soap perfumery. The balsam is also used locally as an incense.
Caraway was well known in classical times. Pliny states that it was named after Caria, in Asia Minor, where it was first found. In early times it was believed that anything containing it would be safe from theft, also that it would prevent lovers from becoming fickle and pigeons from straying. Dioscorides advised that the oil was good for ‘pale-faced girls’.
Cassia and cinnamon were among the most popular perfume materials of ancient times but were often confused in the classical texts. They are referred to in ancient Egyptian unguent recipes, and Theophrastus quotes them as ingredients of Megalaeion perfume. Their use in both Greece and Rome is well testified. The Bible contains a number of references to them and both were constituents of the Jewish holy anointing oil. But scholars do not believe that either product came in those times from the plants which provide them today. Herodotus said they both came from Arabia. Other classical authors described plants quite different from those of today, and a trade which, in around 300 BC, brought these materials to a S. Arabian Red Sea port on rafts from the nearby African coasts. It is now thought probable that the cinnamon of ancient times was a bark later called Qirfah in Arabic which the Arabs of a later period regarded as an inferior sort of cinnamon coming from S. Arabia and Africa; but the tree which provided it has not yet been identified. Similarly the cassia of ancient times may have been a bark known to later Arabs as Sallkha, which also has not yet been identified further. Al-Kindi listed both these materials in his perfume recipes of the 8th century AD. By the 1st century AD it would appear that both Qirfah and Sallkha were beginning to be replaced by the superior forms of cinnamon and cassia available from the Far East which we know today and which assumed the names of the earlier materials. See also Cinnamon.
1.Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) native to N. America, provides Red Cedarwood Oil, also called Cedarwood Oil, which is the cedar oil mostly used today. This oil, which has to be employed very sparingly, is found among the main ingredients of some 14% of all modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Caleche‘, ‘Calendre’ and ‘Ma Liberte’) and in soaps; it is a good fixative and is a principal constituent of Extract of White Rose. N. American Indians burned the leaves as an incense.
2.Indian Juniper, also called Pencil Cedar and Appura (Juniperus macropoda), found in N. India and Malaysia, provides a Cedar Oil distilled from its sawdust and shavings.
3.Prickly Cedar (Juniperus oxycedrus), also called Prickly Juniper, yields Oil of Cade, distilled from the wood and nowadays used medicinally. It has a leathery, tar-like odour and was used by the early Arab perfume makers in many of their perfume recipes.
4.Cedar of Lebanon, also called Himalayan Cedar (Cedrus libani provides a cedar oil sometimes used in perfumery.
5.Atlas Cedar, also called Atlantic Cedar (Cedrus atlanticus), which grows in N. Africa, provides an essential oil with a balsamic odour.
6.White Cedar (Thuja occidentals) provides Arbor Vitae Oil.
In early times the twigs and roots of cedar were much used in incenses. The ancient Egyptians made coffins from the wood because of its durability and fragrance, and also used cedar oil in embalming. Dried cedarwood fragments are still used in sachets and pot pourri.
An oil with the odour of Basil is also distilled from the leaves of this tree and is known as Champaca Leaf Oil.
In 1921, having encouraged a perfume chemist Ernest Beaux with his experiments in the use of aldehydes, she became the first couturier to produce a perfume, ‘Chanel No. 5’, which met with resounding success. Other perfumes followed, including ‘Chanel No. 22’ (1921), ‘Gardenia'(25), ‘Bois des Iles’ (26), ‘Cuir de Russie’ (27) ‘Sycamore’ and ‘Une Idee’ (30), ‘Ivoire’ and ‘Jasmine’ (32), leading to ‘Chanel No. 19′(70), ‘Cristalle’ (74), and ‘Coco’ (84), together with three men’s fragrances – ‘Pour Monsieur’ (70), ‘Antaeus’ (82) and ‘Boir Noir’ (88), revised as ‘L’Egoiste’ (90). The company’s ‘nose’ is at present Jacques Polge. The main factory is on the outskirts of Paris. All Chanel perfumes appear in a signature Chanel bottle, which follows the pattern of the original Sem bottle for Chanel No. 5 – plain and rectangular, with a stopper cut like an emerald.
The quality perfume ‘Charles of the Ritz’ is a ‘floriental’ fragrance (see Perfume Families). Its top note, predominantly geranium, basil and tangerine, leads into a heart containing rose, jasmine, carnation and ylang-ylang, with a base note which includes amber, orange flower, sandalwood, tuberose, frankincense, vetivert and musk.
In modern times the term chypre is used to designate one of the main Perfume Families. Chypre perfumes are mostly based on oak moss, patchouli, labdanum or clary sage, with the addition of flowery notes such as rose or jasmine, and a sweet note such as bergamot or lemon.
The first of the 20th century chypre perfumes was issued by Coty in 1917 with the brand name ‘Chypre’. It provided fresh top notes of bergamot, supported by traces of lemon, neroli and orange, with a floral middle note mainly of rose and jasmine, and a base note in which oak moss predominated, but with patchouli, labdanum, storax, civet and musk in the background.
Cinnamon has a very ancient history as an important perfume ingredient. It is mentioned in the Bible, notably as an ingredient of the holy anointing oil (see Bible Perfumes) and by many Greek and Roman authors (see Greek Perfumes and Roman Perfumes), usually in conjunction with cassia. Pliny described a cinnamon unguent which also contained Xylobalsam and which ‘fetches enormous prices’. However, the cinnamon of very early times would appear to have come from a different plant, growing in areas of Africa opposite the coas S. Arabia, which has not yet been identified. On this subject see Cassia. The true cinnamon of today seems unlikely to have appeared in Europe on any scale until Roman trade with the Far East began to develop around the end of the 1st century BC. At this time the Romans also began to import malabathrum from northern India. Cinnamon brought from China was well known to Arab perfume makers by the 9th century AD. In the 17th and 18th centuries the cinnamon trade was a monopoly of the Dutch, who only handled wild produce and would not permit the tree to be cultivated.
Civet was not known in classical times nor, from its absence in the perfume recipes of al-Kindi, does it appear to have been known in the early days of the Arab perfume makers. It seems to have been discovered by the Arabs in about the 10th century AD, when it quickly established itself as one of the most desirable of all perfume ingredients. It was well known in Shakespearean England and was for long used for scenting gloves. It is now mostly used in an ‘absolute’ form (but highly diluted).
There have been various attempts, sometimes successful, to keep civet cats in captivity, in England and elsewhere, for the perfume material, but Africa has continued to provide the main supply. ‘Civetone’ (or ‘Zibethone’), the principal odorous constituent in civet, is now made synthetically, and there are many artificially made substitutes.
Coriander seeds were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Mentioned in the Bible, it was introduced into Britain by the Romans, being valuable both in medicines and cooking. Pliny noted that in his time the best coriander came from Egypt, observing that it was, among other things, an antidote for ‘the poison of the two-headed serpent’. In medieval times it was used in love potions.
Costus was known in ancient times and Theophrastus listed it as one of the principal plants used in Greek perfumery, noting that is was very long-lasting. Some commentators believe it was the cassia of the Bible. There is uncertainty whether the costus of ancient times was the same species as the plant known as costus today. Pliny referred to a white and a black variety of costus, and other writers have noted a white Arabian variety (Costus arabicus = C. speciosus), described as the most fragrant. The early Arab perfume makers used costus of one species or another in a variety of perfume oils and unguents.
House of Coty’s later perfumes have included ‘Muguet des Bois'(41), ‘Muse’ (46), ‘Accomplice’ (54), ‘Imprevu’ (65), ‘Masumi’ (68), ‘Exclamation!‘( (90). Coty believed that his perfumes should be supplied in containers of impeccable taste, and his early perfumes were sold in flacons by Baccarat and Lalique.
1.Cyperus longus. Called Cyperus, Long Cyperus, Sweet Cyperus and English Galingale. Native to central Europe, Italy and Sicily, but also found in English marshes, where it grows up to 4 feet high. The rhizomes, sometimes called Cypress Roots, which have a violet-like fragrance, are used (and were formerly much used) in perfumery, especially as an addition to Lavender Water. This may be one of the materials listed in ancient Egyptian recipes for Kyphi.
2.C. articulatus. Found in the Old and New World. The fragrant rhizomes have been used dried to perfume clothing.
3.C. per tenuis. Grows in India, where it is called Nagar Motha or Koriak. The roots, dried and powdered, are used locally for powdering the hair.
4.C. maculatus. Grows in tropical Africa, where the tubers are a source of local perfume.
5.C. scarious. Grows in India, where the rhizomes are employed in Indian perfumery.
6.C. rotundus. Called Cocograss and Nut Grass. A weed throughout the tropics. The dried rhizomes are used in India to perfume the hair and clothes. This may have been the Radix Junci of the Romans.
A species of cyperus was used by the early Arab perfume makers, The dried rhizomes of cyperus are, in perfumery, often known by the French name for them, Souchet.
The company’s fragrances, marketed at cologne strength and also in soaps, bath oils, burning oils and incense sticks, include ‘Frankincense and Myrrh’ (83), ‘Mimosa’ (82), ‘Neroli’ (84), ‘Rose’ (85) and ‘Grapefruit’ (91), together with a men’s fragrance ‘No. 88’ (81).
Dill was used in ancient Egypt, mainly as a flavouring and in medicines, and Theophrastus listed it among the principal plants used in Greek perfumery in his time. It is mentioned by other classical writers, and in the Middle Ages was used by magicians in spells and charms against witchcraft.
A similar oil, Dill Oil, is distilled from the ripe fruits of East Indian Dill (Peucedanon graveolens = P. sowa), found in tropical Asia.
1.White Dittany (Dictamus albus = D. fraxonella = Fraxonella dictamnus), also called False Dittany, Candle Plant and Burning Bush, a herb growing up to 3 feet high and found widely in temperate areas of Europe and Asia. A fragrant essential oil is obtained from the leaves and flowers. In strong heat the oil in this plant can vaporize and catch fire, though without harming it.
2.True Dittany (Origanum dictamnus = Amaracus dictamnus) also called Dittany of Crete, Dictame and Hop Plant, an aromatic dwarf shrub native to Crete but cultivated elsewhere, including in Britain. The leaves, which have a thyme-like odour, are dried for use in pot pourri, sachets and incenses. The plant was used in ancient Greece for medicinal purposes.
Dry Note A term used in perfumery to describe the aromatic effect of perfume ingredients such as woods and mosses in contrast to sweet and warm fragrances.
The name Elder derives from Anglo-Saxon ‘aeld’, meaning ‘fire’, because the stems of the branches were easily hollowed out and were used to blow up fires. Hence also other names such as Pipe tree. The plant is surrounded by much tradition, partly deriving from the legend that Judas Escariot hanged himself from an Elder tree. It has been used in medicines and foods (and the berries to make a wine) since ancient times. The flowers have for long provided Elder Flower Water, which is used for cosmetic purposes and is mildly fragrant.
In the 14th century it was recognized that, although insoluble in water, essential oils could be dissolved in alcohol, the alcoholic solution being known as an ‘essence’ (in French: esprit). Essential oils are composed of numerous organic compounds which chemists can now isolate and reproduce, enabling synthetic perfumes to be produced.
herbs native to southern Europe and cultivated there. An essential oil (Everlasting Flower Oil) with a fragrance between rose and camomile is extracted from the fresh flowers and used to give perfumes a flowery sweetness. The main production area is in Yugoslavia. This plant was not used in perfumery before the 19th century.
‘Fahrenheit‘ A floral – woody – balsamic fragrance for men created for Dior by Jean-Louis Sieuzac and launched in 1988. The floral notes come mainly from hawthorn and honeysuckle, being built on to a base which includes sandalwood, cedar, storax and mastic (lentisk).
The trees called Frangipani now embrace several species of Plumiera.
Frankincense was a major perfume material in ancient times, used principally as an incense, either on its own or as an ingredient. There is record of Egyptian ships collecting it (with myrrh) in 1500 AD (see Egyptian Perfumes). Herodotus mentioned it as an import into Europe from Arabia c. 450 BC. From this time for about a thousand years substantial quantities were carried by highly organized camel caravans (which Pliny has described) from a collecting point at Shabwa, in south Arabia, along the ‘incense road’ to Petra and thence into Europe and the Levant. Under the Roman Empire this trade was supplemented by imports by sea from Qana, on the south Arabian coast, to Egyptian Red Sea ports, from where it was taken, together with spices brought from India, overland to the Nile, down the Nile by boat to Alexandria for sorting and processing, and thence by ship to Rome. The Romans burned frankincense on its own as the sacred incense for all religious and state ceremonies (see Roman Perfumes), in addition to which it was used domestically and had considerable value in medicines.
Frankincense is still burned in incenses, and the essential oil is used in fumigants and in perfumery; it is valuable as a fixative, though needing to be used in very small quantities because of the strength of its fragrance. It is one of the main ingredients in about 13% of all modern quality perfumes and 3% of all men’s fragrances (for example, ‘Jazz‘). A purified form of resin called Kiou-nouk is also obtained from frankincense and used occasionally in perfumery.
Galbanum A gum resin, also called Persian Galbanum, which is collected in small drops (‘tears’) from the stems of a giant fennel (Ferula galbaniflua – sometimes written galbaniflora) found in Iran and Afghanistan. A similar resin, of softer texture and called Levant Galbanum, is also used in commerce under the general name of Galbanum, but appears to derive from other species of Ferula. (The botanical origins of varieties of galbanum have never been exactly clarified.) A resinoid is obtained from galbanum resin by solvent extraction; the main use of this resinoid is in medicine. An essential oil steam-distilled from the resinoid is used in perfumery in a strong alcoholic extract, usually in combination with opoponax and am-moniacum. The odour has been described as spicy-green and leaf-like, and having a suggestion of musk. Galbanum Oil is valuable as a fixative but is also found in the top notes of quality perfumes (for example, in ‘Xeryus‘). The resin is also used as a fixative in sachet powders.
A resin from the stem of a herb Laretia acaulis, which grows in mountainous areas of Chile, is sometimes used as a substitute for galbanum.
Galbanum appears in the Old Testament as an ingredient of the holy incense (Exodus) and ‘a pleasant odour’ (Ecclesiasticus). It is also mentioned by Pliny as an ingredient of the Egyptian perfume called Metopian. As the odour of F. galbaniflua resin is unremarkable and, when burned, even disagreeable, it seems probable that in ancient times the name referred to the product of a different plant, either another species of Ferula or, as some believe more probably, Peucedan galbaniflora (see Peucedan Gum),
A fragrant essential oil, known as Essence d’Amali, is extracted from the roots of the Greater Galangal plant (Alpinia galanga = Languas galanga) also called Langwas, a considerably larger plant, native to tropical Asia, which is cultivated for this purpose. Essence d’Amali is also obtained from the rhizomes of another, related species, A. malaccensis, found in N. India and Malaysia.
Givaudan is now represented by subsidiary companies all over the world, the British subsidiary, Givaudan & Co Ltd, being based at Whyteleafe, in Surrey. About 10% of all the quality perfumes now sold by the major perfume houses are Givaudan creations, in addition to which it manufactures fragrances for clients for a wide range of products from hair lotions, cosmetics and soaps to detergents and aerosols. Its production of flavourings for the wholesale food market is equally substantial. It also undertakes considerable research activity (its laboratories developed, for example, Parsols to protect the skin from sunburn). Its Vernier headquarters includes a training school for perfumers.
In 1989 the Musee International de la Parfumerie was opened in Grasse to provide a permanent exhibition of the history of perfumery; the museum has a conservatory containing a display of the more important plants cultivated for perfume materials, and it possesses many rare and valuable pieces, from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman scent bottles to the travelling toilet case which belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette.
The Greeks were particularly fond of perfume made from flowers, but used a wide variety of other ingredients. As early as 450 BC, Herodotus recorded that frankincense, myrrh, and other aromatic gums, were imported from Arabia. Our most detailed knowledge ( Greek perfumes comes from the botanist Theophrastus, who wrote both on botany and on perfumes. He observed that in his time (which encompassed the conquests of Alexander the Great) spikenard, cardamom and other materials were brought to Greece from India. Theophrastus described several compound perfumes popular with the Greeks, including Mendesian (called in Greece ‘the Egyptian’), Kypros, Megalaeion, Rose Perfume and Susinon. Another favourite compound perfume was Metopian. Theophrastus also mentioned several important perfumes based on single plants, including gilliflower, bergamot, thyme, saffron, myrtle, quince, and a perfume based on marjoram which also contained costus. Balanos and sesame oil were recommended as base oils. Besides the plants mentioned above, he recorded a number of others used by the Greeks in perfume making, including: cassia, cinnamon, a balsam, storax, iris, all-heal, camel-grass, sweet flag and dill. A perfume called Oenanthe was made from vine leaves. Scented powders made from dried aromatic plants, and used by sprinkling over clothes, were sometimes fortified with Magma. Most of the Greek perfume makers were women.
‘Habanita‘ A classic oriental-type perfume brought out by Molinard in 1924. It has a sweetly floral heart, with rose and ylang-ylang predominating. The top notes are fruity, mostly bergamot and peach, and the low notes balsamic and powdery, dominated by vanilla and a leather fragrance. This perfume was relaunched in 1988 with a revised formula by Roure, using the famous Lalique flacon known as ‘Beauty’ .
Hair Powder In 17th and 18th century Europe there was a widespread demand for hair powders, used for cleaning wigs and giving them a fashionable grey-white appearance. Such powders were supplied by perfumers, often being scented with musk, rose and other fragrances.
‘Halston Z-14‘ A trend-setting chypre-type fragrance for men produced by Halston in 1976 for use in men’s toiletries. Its main ingredients are bergamot and lemon in the top note, jasmine and patchouli in the middle note and amber and leather fragrance in the lower note.
Hang Kan A woody vine (Hanghomia marseillei) native to Indonesia and Malaysia. The aromatic roots are burnt as incense in local pagodas and a liquid and a powder made from the roots are used locally in religious ceremonies.
Hawthorn Also called May Blossom. A hedge tree (Crataegus oxycantha) native to northern Europe and Asia with flowers having a spicy, almond-like fragrance. The hawthorn was regarded by the Greeks as a tree of fortune and by the Romans as a symbol of marriage. It is not used as a natural material in perfumery; the Hawthorn or May Blossom fragrances of the present day are made synthetically, being used in particular to provide freshness and ‘sparkle’. The fragrance appears in many modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Fahrenheit‘).
Hayfield Notes A term used in perfumery to describe fragrances, usually based on coumarin, which have an odour of new-mown hay.
Hazelcrottle A lichen, also called Hazelraw, Lungwort and Rage (Lobaria pulmonaria), found in sub-alpine woods of Europe. It yields an essential oil found in perfumery.
Hazel Nut Oil Also called Filbert Oil. An oil extracted from the fruits of the European Hazel tree (Corylus avellana), found in Europe and temperate Asia and cultivated widely. The oil has many uses, including its use in perfumery.
Heavy Notes In perfumery the term ‘heavy’ denotes a fragrance in which the least volatile ingredients, such as mossy or animalic ones, are dominant, giving a very strong effect. Such fragrances are mostly used in chypre and oriental-type perfumes.
Heliotrope A fragrant oil used in perfumery which is obtained from the flowers of the Heliotrope (Heliotropium peruvianum and related species), also called (because of its aroma) Cherry Pie. The plant is an annual growing up to 2 feet high which originated in Peru but was introduced into Europe in the mid-18th century and is now cultivated widely in both tropical and temperate regions. A species of the Heliotrope was used in the perfumes of ancient Egypt (see Egyptian Perfumes). Today the dried flowers are used in pot pourri, but the fragrance called Heliotrope, of which there are different varieties, is mostly produced synthetically using heliotropin, vanillin and other ingredients. Heliotrope appears in many modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Lou-Lou’ and ‘Chant d’Aromes’).
Heliotropin A chemically produced aldehyde discovered in 1885. It is made from safrole, has the fragrance of the Heliotrope flower and is used in synthetic Heliotrope fragrances in perfumes and toiletries.
Helleu, Jacques A prominent contemporary designer of perfume bottles and packaging, head of design for Parfums Chanel, who has provided designs for, among others, Bourjois, Chanel (‘Coco’) and Ungaro (‘Diva‘).
Herbaceous Note A term used in perfumery to describe the characteristic general fragrance of herbs and herbal medicines. Sage, rosemary and lavender are examples. Such fragrances are widely used in masculine perfumes.
Hermes A distinguished French fashion house particularly associated with sporting wear and accessories. The company was originally established in 1837 by Thierry Hermes as a harness-making business, a fact now reflected in the names of some of its perfumes. The perfume division (Hermes Parfums) was set up in 1950, marketing the first Hermes perfume, the classic ‘Bel Ami‘ (86). Since 1979 the company’s fragrances have been prepared from a factory complex at Le Vaudreuil, near Rouen.
Herodotus A Greek, born in Asia Minor in about 485 BC (died 425 BC), who wrote the earliest book on the history and geography of the ancient world which is still extant. Known as ‘The Histories’ and produced in about 446 BC, the work contains information about the use of perfumes at the time and in particular about the trade in cinnamon, cassia, labdanum, frankincense and myrrh from Arabia.
Hesperides A term used in perfumery to describe the fragrances obtained from citrus fruits.
Homoranthus Oil An oil used in perfumes which is distilled from an Australian (New South Wales) shrub Homoranthus virgatus (= H. flavescens).
Honesty Oil Also called Huile de Julienne and Rotrops Oil. An oil obtained from the seeds of the Damask plant (Hesperis matronalis), also called Garden Rocket, Dames’ Rocket, White Rocket, Sweet Rocket, Purple Rocket, Ruchette, Roquette, Dames’ Violet and Vesper Flower. The plant, native to central Europe but now found as far as central Asia, is a biennial growing up to 3 feet high. It emits its fragrance in the evenings, and as it has no fragrance during the daytime it is held to represent deceit. The oil is sometimes used in perfumery and the dried flowers are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Honey Honey was used as an ingredient in early Arab perfumes and appears in later European ones (see, for example, Honey Water). In modern perfumery a substance providing the sweet aromatic effect of honey and known as Honey (or Miel) is manufactured synthetically.
Honeysuckle Essential oils are extracted from the flowers of many species and hybrids of honeysuckle (Lonicera), including Lonicera periclymenon, the English wild honeysuckle, L. caprifolium (Europe) and L. fragrantissima (China). They have a warm, jasmine-like odour with a suggestion of vanilla, but the yield of essential oil is extremely low. Most fragrances called Honeysuckle used in perfumes are therefore compounded synthetically using a mixture of natural and chemical substances. Examples of Honeysuckle used in high-quality modern perfumes include ‘Cristalle‘. The dried flowers of honeysuckle are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Honey Water A toilet water popular in France and England from the 18th century as a face lotion and known to apothecaries as Aqua Mellis. The recipe varied, but at one time the ingredients included brandy, honey, coriander, cloves, benzoin, storax, rosewater, neroli, musk and ambergris. Lemon peel, nutmeg, orange flower and saffron were also sometimes employed. The preparation was also sometimes used as a medicine.
Hop Oil An essential oil obtained by steam-distillation from the flower tops of the Hop plant (Humulus lupulus). It has a bitter, herbaceous odour and is occasionally used in perfumes with a herbal fragrance.
Horsehair Lichen A lichen, Alectoria jujuba, which grows widely in temperate areas. It provides a dye and has occasionally been used in perfumery.
Houbigant Oldest of the great French perfume houses, and pre-dated among the existing perfume houses of the world only by Floris, the firm of Houbigant was established in Paris in 1775, as ‘glovers and perfumers’ by Jean-Francois Houbigant, then aged 23. By 1782 the clientele of the House of Houbigant included Queen Marie Antoinette and the royal court and nobility, to whom it supplied toilet waters (such as Eau de Mousseline, Eau de Millefleurs and Eau de Chypre), powders and scented gloves. The firm survived the difficult years of the French Revolution and soon began to prosper again. In 1807 it passed to Houbigant’s son, and then to his partner Chardin, who became personal perfumer to Napoleon. It is recorded that Napoleon ordered perfumes, toiletries and gloves from Houbigant shortly before Waterloo, and that when he lay dying ‘two of Houbigant’s perfumed pastilles were burning in his room’. Houbigant were appointed perfumers to King Louis Phillipe’s sister, Princess Adelaide, in 1829, to Queen Victoria in 1838, to Emperor Napoleon III in 1870, and to the Tsar of Russia in 1890 (when they created a special perfume called The Czarina’s Bouquet’). In 1880 the company passed into the hands of a prominent perfumer, Paul Parquet, one of the first to use synthetics and the creator of ‘Fougere Royale’ (1882). At the turn of the century it was joined by another distinguished perfumer, Robert Bienaime, the creator of ‘Quelques Fleurs‘ (1912).
Among the many other perfumes produced by Houbigant may be cited: ‘Ideal’ (1900) (sometimes described as the first true composite perfume), ‘Parfum d’Argeville’ (13), ‘Ambre’ (19), ‘Un Parfum Precieux’ (27), ‘Essence Rare’ (30, relaunched 76) and ‘Etude’ (31), all of which appeared in notable flacons made by Baccarat. In addition to ‘Fougere Royale’ and ‘Quelques Fleurs’, recent and current Houbigant perfumes include: ‘Chantilly’ (41), ‘Ciao’ (80), ‘Raffinee’ (82), ‘Les Fleurs’ (83), ‘Lutece’ (86), ‘Demi Jour’ (87) and two men’s fragrances ‘Monsieur Houbigant’ (69) and ‘Musk Monsieur’ (77).
The company still compounds its fragrances at Grasse, and since 1880 has operated its main factory at Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris. Houmiri Also called Umari. A scented oil obtained from a fungus which attacks the bark of the Bastard Bullet tree (Houmiri floribunda) of Brazil and Guyana. It is used locally for scenting the hair and body.
Hudnut, Richard One of the founders of the American perfume industry. The son of a chemist and druggist, he set up a highly successful perfumery in New York, marketing his first perfume, ‘Violet Sec’, in 1896. Other well-known Hudnut perfumes included ‘Aimee’ (1902), ‘Vanity’ (10) and Three Flowers’ (15). Hudnut sold his business in 1916, but it continued to manufacture perfumes until 1946.
Hungary Water One of the earliest toilet waters made by distilling aromatic plants with wine alcohol. It was first produced in about 1370 AD for the Queen of Hungary and became very popular throughout Europe. It was made from the flowers of rosemary, with smaller portions of marjoram and pennyroyal, to which in later years were added citron, lavender and orris. In later times some other recipes for it also came into use. A modern version, made of rosemary with mint, lemon balm and orange peel, is marketed by Crabtree & Evelyn.
Huon Pine A tall tree (Dacrydium franklinii) growing in Malaysia, Borneo, New Caledonia, Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand. Huon Pine Oil, which has a clove-like smell, is distilled from the wood for use in toilet waters and soaps.
Hyacinth The flowers of the Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis), which is of Syrian origin but is now cultivated widely and with innumerable varieties, provide by extraction an essential oil of considerable value in perfumery. The oil is usually used as an absolute or concrete, but the yield of concrete is only about 0.01-0.02%, making it extremely expensive. The odour is powerfully floral with a suggestion of storax. A less powerful, though fresher and more flowery, perfume is obtained from the wild Blue Hyacinth (H. non scriptus = Scilla nutans). However, most of the Hyacinth oils now sold are prepared artificially. Examples of modern quality perfumes containing Hyacinth are ‘Nino Cerutti’, ‘Givenchy III’ and ‘White Linen’. Scholars now believe that H. orientalis was the plant referred to in the Bible as Lily of the Valleys. Greek legend holds that the flower grew from the blood of Hyacinthus, a youth accidentally killed by Apollo; in Greece it now signifies remembrance.
Hyraceum The product of the Hyrax (the Coney of the Bible), a small rabbit-like vegetarian animal of the genus Procavia which lives in rock clefts in Arabia and the Middle East. It is a digestive excretion and is found in irregular, amorphous masses which are plastic when kneaded. The odour is somewhat musky and recalls that of castoreum, for which it is sometimes used as a substitute. It has little part in western perfumery. It is probably the substance called in Arabic Ba’r tibbi (‘fragrant dung’) used as an ingredient in one of al-Kindi’s early Arab perfume recipes.
Hyssop Hyssop Oil is obtained by steam-distillation from the leaves, stem and flowers of hyssop, a small shrubby aromatic herb (Hyssopus officinalis) native from the Mediterranean area to Iran. Hyssop is cultivated for this oil, mainly in France and Germany, the yield being about 0.5%. The oil has a fine, warm, spicy, slightly camphorous odour and is mostly used in eau de colognes and as a flavouring (notably for liqueurs). The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
The name Hyssop derives from the Greek azab, meaning a holy herb, because the Old Testament notes its use in cleansing temples. It was also used from early times in medicines, and is so recorded by Dioscorides. However, it is now believed that the Hyssop of the Old Testament was a different plant, a species of marjoram (Origanum maru) common in the Middle East. O. maru is also thought to have been the fragrant material used by the early Arab perfume makers under the name Marmakhuz.
Iceland Wintergreen A handkerchief perfume popular in the USA during the late 19th century. It was made from rose, lavender, neroli, vanilla, cassie and wintergreen.
Iguga A tree native to tropical Africa and known also as Mpopwa and Popioe (Fagara chalybea) from the seeds of which an oil used in local perfumes is obtained.
‘Imperial Leather‘ A famous fragrance now used by Cussons in their toiletries. In 1768 Count Orloff, visiting Bayleys, the court perfumers, in London, challenged them to create a perfume which reproduced the aroma of the leather worn and favoured by the Russian nobility. The result was a new perfume, ‘Eau de Cologne Imperiale Russe’, which became the favourite fragrance of the Empress Catherine the Great. After Cussons absorbed Bayleys early in this century they adopted this fragrance, under the name ‘Imperial Russian Leather’, for their new soaps, the word ‘Russian’ being dropped in 1989.
Incense A fragrant smoke produced by burning aromatic substances; also substances burned to create such smoke. Incense has been burned since earliest times in all parts of the world in religious rites, as a fumigant, and simply for the pleasure of its perfume. Fragrant plant materials such as frankincense and storax are used on their own, or incenses are compounded from a number of different resins, herbs and spices mixed together. Under the Roman Empire frankincense was the principal incense used, and enormous quantities of it were imported from South Arabia and the Horn of Africa for the purpose. The ‘holy incense’ of the Jews was compounded in the time of Exodus, and incense was burned in Christian churches from the 5th century AD. Incense tablets were used in wealthy homes in Europe to sweeten the air in the 18th century. In modern times Indian joss sticks, formed by binding a mixture of powdered resins and other aromatic materials into a paste with a gum and rolling it on to sticks, have continued to be used in Europe, while most of the great religions, except Islam, continue to use incense in their ceremonies, and it is still burned for domestic purposes in many parts of the world. In modern western perfumery the term ‘incense’ is sometimes used to signify frankincense as a perfume ingredient.
Incenso Macho The local name for a resin obtained in Peru, probably from a tree Styrax ovatum, which is used as an incense and also in perfumery. Its fragrance recalls Siam benzoin or vanilla.
Indole A chemical which occurs naturally in many essential oils, including jasmine, neroli, orange blossom, robinia, wallflower and some species of citrus, and is also manufactured synthetically. It is a crystalline substance with an odour which is unpleasant until greatly diluted, when it becomes agreeably fragrant with a distinct floral note of an orange blossom and jasmine type. It is used in preparing artificial jasmine and neroli perfumes.
‘Infini‘ An intensely aldehydic floral perfume created by IFF perfumers for Caron, who launched it in 1970. The name was first chosen for a perfume issued in 1912 and was re-used to celebrate the advent of space flight. Green aldehydic top notes introduce a floral heart containing jasmine, jonquil, rose, lily of the valley and tuberose, on a base which is principally sandalwood. The fragrance is said to have
taken 15 years to develop. The bottle was designed by Serge Mansau.
Infusion A term used in perfumery to describe the process for producing attars by extraction with a solvent solution under heat. It is also used to denote the substance so derived.
International Flavours and Fragrances Generally abbreviated to IFF. An American company which is the largest wholesale manufacturer of flavourings and fragrances in the world (see Perfume Manufacture). Formed in the USA in the 1930s by Hank van Amerigen and a colleague, Haebler, the company was originally called Van Amerigen-Haebler and developed rapidly. In 1958 it amalgamated with Van Amerigen’s former employers, the Dutch fragrance firm Polak & Schwarz, founded at the end of the 19th century, and became IFF, with its headquarters in New York. The company sells its fragrances to makers of perfumes and cosmetics, hair and other personal care products, soaps and detergents, household and other cleaning products and area fresheners. Fragrances account for 62% (and flavours for 38%) of its sales. It has created about 16% of all the quality perfumes now on the market.
IFF operates some 57 sales offices in 38 countries throughout the world, with 30 factories and about the same number of creative laboratories. It has major installations in New York, New Jersey and Hilversum, Holland and its main complex in Britain is at Haverhill, Suffolk. It has a substantial investment in research and development, maintaining a computerized ‘library’ which records over 30 000 different fragrance and flavour molecules; recent developments include living flower technology.
‘Intimate‘ A classic chypre perfume brought out in 1955 by Revlon, for whom it was created by IFF perfumers. The heart is floral, chiefly jasmine and rose, with woody undertones from sandalwood and cedarwood, among others. The top notes are aldehydic, with bergamot and rose among the underlying fragrances. Amber and castoreum provide the main base notes, with hints of oak moss, civet and musk.
Ionone An important synthetic perfume ingredient with the scent of violets discovered by Tiemann and Kruger in 1893. It is made chemically from citral, a substance found in the oils of citrus fruits and some other plants, and by other chemical processes.
Iris, Yellow The Yellow Iris (Iris pseudoacorus), also called Yellow Flag,Dragon Flower, Myrtle Flower, Flower de Luce (Fleur de Lys) and Myrtle Grass, grows in watery areas such as on river banks throughout Europe and N. Africa and as far as Siberia. The powdered roots were once used to perfume linen and clothes.
Isoeugenol A substance with the fragrance of carnations which is found naturally in the essential oils of nutmeg and ylang-ylang and is obtained from eugenol. It provides perfume makers with a good fixative.
Iva An intensely musky essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowers of the Musk Yarrow plant (Achillea moschata), which grows in Italy and Switzerland. It is principally used to manufacture liqueurs (e.g. Esprit d’lva) but is occasionally used in perfumery.
‘Ivoire‘ A quality floral perfume created for Balmain in 1979 by the perfumers of Florasynth. The top notes are green with a touch of spice, containing marigold, bergamot, galbanum, wormwood and camomile. The heart is intensely floral and includes jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, orris, jonquil and neroli. Warm, woody lower notes are based on frankincense, vetivert, sandalwood and amber. The square-shaped flacon, sealed inside an ivory covering, was designed by Pierre Dinand.
Jacques Fath A celebrated Paris fashion house set up in 1937 by the couturier Jacques Fath (1912-1954) and closed three years after his death from leukaemia. His fragrance business still survives. Jacques Fath perfumes include ‘Ellipse’ and ‘Expression’ (1977), both coming in bottles designed by Serge Mansau, and a men’s fragrance ‘Green Water‘ (53).
Japan Flowers A name given to certain types of floral bouquet perfumes which were popular early in this century.
Japanese Star Anise A tree (Illicium anisatum = I. religiosum) native to China (where it is called Mang-tsao, meaning ‘the mad herb’) and Japan (where it is called Shikimi and Dai-ui-Kio). In Japan the aromatic branches are used to scent tombs, while the bark is burned in Japanese homes and in Buddhist temples as an incense. An essential oil obtained from the leaves provides a fragrance resembling lemon oil and nutmeg.
‘Jardins de Bagatelle‘ A floral perfume created by Jean-Paul Guerlain and launched by Guerlain in 1984. It is sold in a flacon designed by Robert Granai. A top note of violet, with a fruity tone from bergamot, lemon and calycanthus, leads into an intensely floral heart which includes rose, jasmine, narcissus, ylang-ylang, orris, orchid and lily of the valley, with a touch of cassis. The base contains vetivert, cedarwood, patchouli, benzoin, musk and civet. The perfume is named after the chateau and gardens built in 1777 for Queen Marie Antoinette.
Jasmine Also called Jasmin and Jessamine. The name derives from the Arabic/Persian Yasmin. The essential oils yielded by certain species of jasmine (plants of the genus Jasminum) are among the most important of all fragrances used in perfumery. Species used in perfumery are as follows.
1.Jasminum officinale, the Common White Jasmine, a native of N. India and Iran, which was introduced into Europe in the 16th century.
2.J. grandiflorum, called Spanish or Catalonian Jasmine or Royal Jasmine. Native to southern Europe. This is the principal plant used in the perfumery trade, being first so used in Spain during the 16th century, and is cultivated in enormous quantity around Grasse and in Morocco, Spain, Algeria, Egypt and India.
3.J. sambac, called Zambac (Arabic Zanbaq) or Arabian Jasmine, sometimes also Tuscan Jasmine. Native to tropical Asia and introduced into Britain in the 17th century. In India this jasmine is known as Chameli and the oil as Motia, the oil being used in many Indian perfumes and also in hair oils, for which it is extracted by enfleurage using sesame seeds which are then pressed to extract the perfume.
4.J. odoratissimum, called Yellow or True Yellow Jasmine, a native of Madeira and the Canary Islands. The flowers remain fragrant when dried and have an odour of blended jasmine, jonquil and orange blossom.
5.J. auriculatum, sometimes called Julii, found in tropical Asia, especially Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Thailand.
6.J. niloticum of tropical Africa, the oil from which is used as a perfume in Sudan.
Arabian Jasmine was recorded in China, where it was called Mo Li, as early as the 3rd century AD, being cultivated then for the unopened buds, which were used by women to decorate their hair and were also used to give fragrance to tea. Oils of both Common Jasmine and Arabian Jasmine were being used by Arab perfume makers at least by the 9th century AD, the leaves being sometimes employed as well as the flowers.
An acre of land will yield about 500 lb of jasmine blossom (from J. grandiflorum), which is extracted by enfleurage, usually with olive oil. The yield of concrete is very small and of absolute considerably less, making the latter one of the most expensive perfume materials available. Since much of the production cost is a matter of labour charges, perfume makers now increasingly obtain their jasmine absolute from countries such as Egypt, where labour is cheaper. In the enfleurage process 3 lb of flowers are used to perfume about 1 lb of oil, an extract then being obtained by maceration in 1 pint of rectified spirit. Extraction is also undertaken by volatile solvents.
Jasmine has been the principal ingredient in a very large number of perfumes, including such classics as ‘Arpege’, ‘Joy’, and ‘Chanel No. 5’ and a whole range of high class modern perfumes from ‘Amouage’ through to ‘Ysatis’. It appears among the principal ingredients in 83% of all quality perfumes and 33% of all men’s fragrances. Its odour is unique and cannot be effectively imitated by synthetics.
‘Jazz‘ A spicy-floral men’s fragrance launched by Yves St Laurent in 1988. In the top notes, artemisia, coriander and juniper are given a spicy touch by nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom, leading to a floral heart of jasmine, lily of the valley and geranium, with base notes containing sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss, sage, labdanum, frankincense and opoponax.
‘Je Reviens‘ A classic, trend-setting perfume created by Maurice Blanchet for Worth in 1932. One of the earliest of the floral-aldehyde perfumes, it included spicy elements. Aldehydic top notes, mainly orange blossom, give way to a spicy floral heart founded on carnation, with hyacinth, jasmine, rose, tuberose and ylang-ylang. Vetiver, tonka and musk provide the principal base notes. The principal flacon, in the shape of a star-spangled blue orb, is by Lalique.
‘Jicky‘ A famous 19th century perfume created by Aime Guerlain, introduced by Guerlain in 1889 and now regarded as one of the greatest
of all perfume classics. It is sometimes described as the first modern perfume. Classified as a semi-oriental fougere-type fragrance, it contains citrus top notes, mostly lemon, but with hints of mandarin, bergamot and rosewood. In the middle notes, which are floral and woody, jasmine and patchouli predominate, with rose, orris and vetivert. The base notes are led by vanilla, with balsamic undertones. The perfume is marketed in a flacon by Baccarat.
Jil Sander A German perfume house forming part of the Benckiser group of fragrance companies. In 1980 it launched ‘Jil Sander’, a green-fresh perfume which includes galbanum, coriander and bergamot in the head, rose, jasmine, carnation and ylang-ylang in the heart and oak moss and vetivert among the base notes. Other Sander fragrances include ‘Woman Two’ (83), ‘Woman III’ (87) and ‘Jil Sander No. 4’ (91), together with four men’s fragrances ‘Man Pure’ (81), ‘Men Two’ (83), ‘Man III’ (88) and ‘Man IV’ (91).
Jockey Club A name given to many perfumes in the early part of the 20th century. The original perfume of this name is said to have attempted to imitate the fragrance wafted towards Epsom race course from nearby woods during the late spring meeting.
‘Joie de Vivre‘ A ‘green’ perfume (see Perfume Families) launched by Lentheric in 1985. Created by Roure perfumers, its top notes include jasmine and rose, on a heart dominated by iris, with woody notes underlined by a base mainly of amber and sandalwood.
Jojoba Oil An oil obtained from the seeds of a small bushy tree called the Pignut, or Goatnut, tree (Simmondsia californica = S. chinensis = S. pabulosa), native to Mexico and California. The oil, which is clear, waxy and scentless, is mostly used in aromatherapy and in cosmetic preparations, but provides a good base to which fragrant essential oils can be added when simple perfumes are being made at home
‘Jolie Madame‘ A classic chypre perfume introduced by Balmain in 1953. Created by Germaine Sellier of Roure, it has an unusual top note obtained from gardenia and artemisia with a touch of neroli, bergamot and coriander. The heart is floral, mainly jasmine, with underlying touches which include jonquil, tuberose, orris and rose. The base notes are mossy and leathery, dominated by patchouli and castoreum.
Jonquil Also known as Rush Daffodil, Jonquille and Wild Jonquil, this plant (Narcissus jonquilla), native to S.W. Europe and N. Africa, is a species of Narcissus which has been cultivated in the south of France for its essential oil since the 18th century. The oil is the most strongly scented of the Narcissus oils (see Narcissus) and the most popular one used in perfumery, but the plant is difficult to cultivate successfully. High-quality perfumes using it include ‘Parure’ and ‘Fleurs de Rocaille’. The dried flowers are used in pot pourri.
A closely related species, the Campernella Jonquil, or Campernella (N. odorus), produces a similar though less powerful oil. Although known since the 16th century, this plant appears to be a hybrid cultivated from early times and has not been found in the wild. It is grown widely and is cultivated in the south of France for its oil.
The fragrance of jonquil is often imitated synthetically.
‘Joy‘ A perfume classic of great distinction, introduced by Jean Patou in 1935 as an unusually luxurious scent which became the most costly perfume on the market. It was created for Patou by Henri Almeras. Its heart is in the main a blending of rose and jasmine. The top note includes rose, tuberose and ylang-ylang. The lower note is a restrained combination of sandalwood, musk and civet. The original ‘Joy’ flacon was designed by Louis Sue; it is also now sold in a crystal flacon by Baccarat and in flacons by Brosse.
Juniper Also called Common Juniper, Genevrier, Ginepro and Enebro. A small, shrub-like tree (Juniperus communis) growing to about 6 feet high and found in Europe, N. America, N. Africa and northern parts of Asia. There are other species. The berries, which take three years to ripen, each contain three seeds. From the ripe berries a colourless or pale yellow-green oil, called Juniper Oil or Juniper Berry Oil, is steam-distilled; this oil which has a fresh terebinth or turpentine-like odour is mostly used in medicines, but it also appears in perfumery, usually as a concrete or absolute (it is to be found, for example, in ‘Mystere’ and in the modern quality men’s fragrances ‘Tsar‘). The honey and pine-like aromatic scent of the plant once made it popular as a strewing herb to sweeten stale air. The leaves are still used in sachets and pot pourri.
An oil scented with juniper berries was used by the ancient Egyptians to anoint corpses during the mummification ceremony, and juniper also appears as an ingredient of the famous Kyphi incense. From early times juniper has been regarded as a magic plant, so featuring in ancient legends about evil spirits, probably because of its considerable medicinal and antiseptic properties. Juniper oil is still one of the most important oils used in aromatherapy.
Kabushi Oil An essential oil distilled in Japan from a small species of Magnolia tree (Magnolia kobus) native to Japan.
Kachi Grass Oil A spicy, slightly lemon-scented essential oil obtained from the leaves and roots of Kachi Grass (Cymbopogon caesius), native to India, where it grows mostly in Mysore and Bangalore and is also known as Inchi Grass. Kachi Grass Oil is used in soaps, cosmetics and perfumes.
Kalapa Tijoong A tree also known as Kannarahan (Horsfieldia irya = Myristica irya) which is found from Sri Lanka to Indonesia. It has sweet-smelling flowers which are used locally in perfumery.
Kamynye Oil A vanilla-like oil, used in perfumery as a fixative, which is extracted from a tropical African herb (Hoslundia opposita).
Kapur Kachri A fragrant perfume material obtained from the dried root of a species of Ginger-wort (Hedychium spicatum), which grows in northern India and Nepal and is used in Indian and other eastern perfumes. The roots are also burned in India as an incense. The word Hedychium comes from Greek meaning ‘sweet snow’ because of the pure white, sweetly scented flowers. The dried root has a violet-like scent. The roots are dried or powdered in India to place among clothes.
Karo-Karundi A flowering shrub (Leptactinia densiflora, L. senegambica and L. manii) growing to about 6 feet high and found in tropical W. Africa. In Guinea an essential oil is distilled from the flowers and used in perfumery. The fragrance resembles jasmine with orange flower and acacia.
Karaya Gum Also called Kateera Gum. A gum obtained by puncturing the bark of a tree Sterculia urens indigenous to tropical Asia. The gum appears in small irregular white or yellowish, semi-transparent tears. It provides a bonding agent useful in making incense pastes.
Kazanluk A town and area in the centre of the important rose-growing region of Bulgaria known as the Valley of the Roses. The region produces attar, mainly from the Damask rose, by distillation and on a large scale for the perfume industry, exporting much of it to France. Over a thousand varieties of Damask rose are now cultivated for this purpose.
Kerleo, Jean A distinguished French perfumer (‘nose’). Commenced his career with Helena Rubinstein in 1955, becoming their head perfumer. Joined Jean Patou in 1967 and has created all the Patou fragrances since that date. Also created ‘Lacoste’. President of the Societe Technique des Parfumeurs de France 1976- 79 and author of a book, Le Parfum.
Khaluq An unguent of the early Arabs made for women and forbidden to men. The ingredients varied. One recipe, which gives a good idea of the complexity of some of the Arab perfumes, was recorded by al-Kindi. It required dried safflower, which was mixed with rose-hips, cubeb oil and pounded cardamom and then kneaded with sesame oil. Peeled mahaleb fruit, ground rose flowers and honey were added. This preparation was fumigated ‘twenty times a day for three days’ with an incense made of Indian costus, sweet hoof, sandalwood and camphor. Next it was aromatized several more times with a perfume called Muthallathah, made chiefly of rosewater and dragon’s blood. It was then mixed with saffron and camphor and kneaded with jasmine oil. Finally extra saffron was added. Exact measures for all these ingredients were prescribed by al-Kindi, who added: ‘It is quite wonderful’.
al-Kindi, Yaqub An Arab savant who lived mostly in Baghdad c. 800-870 AD and is known as ‘the philosopher of the Arabs’. Wrote some 250 works on subjects as diverse as philosophy, mathematics, music and astronomy. His Book of Perfume Chemistry and Distillations contained some 107 perfume recipes and instructions, using 106 different ingredients derived from plants, 11 from animals and 9 from minerals; it is the principal source of our knowledge about early Arab perfumes (see Arab Perfumes).
Kiou-Nouk A clear, semi-liquid resin obtained by a special process from frankincense to provide a more aromatic, less sickly odour than that of frankincense itself. It is an excellent fixative and blends well with almost any of the essential oils.
Knot Grass Oil An oil obtained from the common weed Knot Grass (Polyganum aviculare), which grows all over the world and is also known as Red Robin, Hogweed and by very many other local names. It appears mixed with other oils in sone of the early Arab perfume recipes.
‘Knowing‘ A quality floral-chypre perfume launched by Estee Lauder in 1989. Created by the perfumers of Firmenich, it features an unusual floral ingredient, pittosporum, in an elaborate top note also containing rose, mimosa, tuberose, davana and fruity notes from plum and melon. The heart is mainly jasmine, lily of the valley, patchouli and orris, with a spicy touch from bay. The base notes come from oak moss, amber, sandalwood, vetivert and musk. It is sold in a lead crystal flacon, with a gold cord, which was designed by Ira Levy.
Kuro-moji Oil A Japanese perfume oil with a balsamic fragrance similar to myrtle which is distilled from the seeds, leaves and twigs of two related mountain shrubs, Lindera umbellata and L. fericia, native to Japan.
Kuchoora A perfume material derived from a species of Curcuma (Curcuma zerumbet) which grows in India; it is used in Indian perfumery. The roots are dried and powdered, when they provide a camphor-like fragrance.
Kyphi An oil and fat-free incense paste made by the ancient Egyptians. It was based on wine and raisins, with a number of aromatic herbs and resins added, including juniper berries, frankincense, myrrh and honey. Different recipes exist for Kyphi, including recipes inscribed on the walls of the temples at Edfu and Philae and one recorded by Dioscorides. Plutarch described it as a mixture of sixteen herbs and resins, including myrrh, henna, cardamom, juniper, saffron, honey and raisins, all steeped in wine. Democritus added spikenard among the ingredients and noted that the mixture was beaten into a paste and then allowed to solidify. Kyphi was a sacred perfume of great importance to the Egyptians, who burned it in their temples at sunset and in their homes during the night.
Kypros An ancient Greek perfume mentioned by Theophrastus. It contained cardamom and a sweet-scented material called Aspalathus which had first been steeped in sweet wine. It was used by men and was believed to counter lassitude.
Labdanum Also called Ladanon, Ledanon, Black Balsam, Storbon and Gum Cistus. A brownish, sweet-scented oleo-resin obtained from shrubs of the genus Cistus, known as the Rock Rose, found in the Mediterranean area, N. Africa and the Middle East. The resin exudes in sticky droplets on hairs on the underside of the leaves and on the stems. It is usually extracted by volatile solvents, or sometimes just by boiling the branches, and is then purified by maceration with an alcohol, yielding 1-2% of volatile oil. Labdanum is of great importance in modern perfumery: its fragrance closely resembles ambergris; it is economic in use and mixes well with other perfumes; it is a valuable fixative in many bouquet perfumes; and it provides the main material (Ambrein) used for manufacturing synthetic ambers. It is used not only in many quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Jazz‘), but also in soaps, cosmetics, deodorants and even insecticides. Perfumers often call it Amber, and ‘Amber’ or ‘Labdanum’ appears among the main constituents of some 33% of all modern quality perfumes and 20% of all quality fragrances for men.
Of some seven species of Cistus used in perfumery, the two principal ones are as follows.
1. Cistus ladanifer (= C. polymorphus), a shrub growing up to 12 feet high, with white flowers, which is sometimes called Gum Cistus. It grows wild in southern France, Spain and N. Africa and is cultivated in those countries and also in Greece and Corsica. This is the main labdanum-producing species of the present time. The resin, also called Guma Labdanum and Droga de Jara, has a fragrance described as ambered, warm and leather-like.
2. C. incanus (= C. incanus ssp. creticus = C. villosus ssp. creticus = C. creticus). Growing up to 3 feet high, with pink flowers, this is the plant which for the most part provided the labdanum of ancient times; it is found in eastern Mediterranean areas, particularly Crete and Cyprus, and in the Middle East, including Arabia. (The botanical names of species of Cistus have been changed in recent years following taxonomic research.)
Labdanum does not appear to have been known to the Egyptians of earliest times, but was listed by Herodotus in the 5th century BC as an ingredient in many kinds of perfumes and one of the principal aromatics brought from Arabia. It was possibly the ‘myrrh’ of the oldest parts of the Old Testament (see Balm of Gilead). Herodotus observed that the Arabs combed it off the beards of goats which had browsed among the bushes; it seems probable that at this time only the Arabs had learned how to collect this gum; Dioscorides later described its gathering by drawing leather thongs over the leaves, a system still employed in Crete. Labdanum was one of the main ingredients of the original chypre perfume and a constituent of the Royal Unguent of Parthia. The early Arab perfume makers used it in their recipes, and during the Middle Ages it was an important ingredient of pomanders.
‘Lace‘ A wide-selling floral-chypre perfume created for Yardley in 1964 by the perfumers of Roure. The top note, mostly provided by tangerine and ylang-ylang, gives way to a floral heart containing jasmine and rose, with musky, ambery and woody base notes.
Lacinaria Also called Liatris, Deer’s Tongue, Hound’s Tongue and Vanilla Trilisia. A herb (Trilisia odoratissima = Liatris odoratissima) found in the eastern USA. The dried leaves, which have an odour of coumarin and vanilla, have been used for perfuming tobacco and were for a long time a major source of coumarin for use in perfumery.
Lagerfeld A perfume house established in 1975 by the Swedish-German fashion designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld (b. 1939), who in his career has designed for Balmain, Patou, House of Chloe and Chanel as well as producing collections in his own name. In 1975 he produced ‘Chloe’, to be followed by ‘K.L.’ (82) and two men’s fragrances, ‘Lagerfeld‘ (78) and ‘Photo’ (90). The company now belongs to Unilever.
‘L’Aimant‘ A famous classic floral perfume introduced by Coty in 1927. Francois Coty, who was assisted by the perfumer Vincent Roubert, is said to have taken five years to perfect it. The top note contains bergamot and citrus notes, and the heart is a bouquet of jasmine, rose and geranium. The base note includes vanilla, vetivert, musk and civet.
‘L’Air du Temps‘ A celebrated classic floral perfume brought out by Nina Ricci in 1948. Created for Ricci by Francis Fabron of Roure, it was designed to be a perfume which would leave a memory as the wearer passed by. Under a top note of gardenia and bergamot, the heart is a spicy floral fragrance based on carnation, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang and orris. The base note is mainly sandalwood and musk. The perfume comes in a well-known crystal flacon, featuring doves on the stopper, which is made by Lalique, and also in flacons by Brosse.
Lalique Founded in 1905 by Rene Lalique (1860-1945), already at that time a leading jeweller, the firm of Lalique is now one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of high-quality glass crystal ware, being particularly noted for its Art Deco designs of the 1920s and for its own distinctive decorative style of post-war years. Approached by Francois Coty in 1905 to design perfume bottles, Rene Lalique subsequently created flacons for a number of other famous perfume houses, such as Houbigant, Worth and Roger et Gallet. The firm has continued to make such flacons until the present day. The original flacon for ‘Je Reviens’ (Worth) was produced by Lalique, and Lalique currently provides the flacons for Nina Ricci’s ‘L’Air du Temps’ and ‘Nina’ among others.
Lancome A company founded in Paris in 1935 by Armand Petitjean, a perfumer (d. 1981), to produce fragrances and beauty products; it entered the UK market in 1946 and is now particularly noted for its skincare products. Lancome’s first perfume, ‘Conquete’, was launched in 1935. Subsequent fragrances have included ‘Magie’ (1950, with a flacon by Lalique), ‘Balafre’ (67), ‘Climat’ (68), ‘Sikkim’ (71), ‘Tresor‘ (52 and 91). The company’s headquarters and main factory are at Chevilly Larue, near Paris, and since 1964 it has been owned by L’Oreal.
‘La Nuit‘ A chypre perfume introduced in 1985 by Paco Rabanne, for whom it was created by the perfumers of Roure. It has fruity top notes of tangerine and lemon mixed with, among other ingredients, myrtle, artemisia and cardamom. The heart includes peach, rose, jasmine and a spicy effect from pepper, while the base contains oak moss, patchouli and cedar. The bottle was designed by A. Ricard.
Lanvin Parfums Lanvin was founded by the Paris couturier and costume designer Mme Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946), who launched her first perfume ‘My Sin’ in 1925, following it in 1927 with the highly successful ‘Arpege’. Subsequent Lanvin perfumes include ‘Scandale’ (31), ‘Arpege‘ were created by Andre Praysse. It was once said that the volume of flowers needed each year to make Lanvin perfumes equalled in bulk the size of the Arc de Triomphe. The company is now controlled by the Vuitton family.
‘Lauren‘ A ‘fruity-fresh’ floral perfume devised by Parfums Ralph Lauren (now owned by L’Oreal) in 1978 with the creative perfumers of IFF. Fruity green fragrances in the top notes give way to a cool floral heart of ylang-ylang, mimosa, orange blossom and marigold, with base notes of cedar, sandalwood and oak moss. The flacon, in the form of a crystal cube, was designed by Bernard Kotyuk.
Lavender There are several species of lavender, producing different types of lavender oil through steam-distillation of the freshly cut flowers and stalks, and they are grown on a considerable scale to meet the huge demands of the perfume industry. The main species are:
1.Old English Lavender (also called English Lavender) (Lavandula vera =L. officinalis = L. augustifolia), which has the finest aroma. A bush some 3-5 feet high, it grows best in Britain, where it was once cultivated intensively in Surrey (providing Mitcham Lavender Oil) and is still produced in large quantity elsewhere, including Norfolk, where Yardley still have large lavender estates. Other principal areas of cultivation are Tasmania and the south of France. Examples of quality fragrances which contain Old English Lavender are ‘Blue Grass’, ‘Paco Rabanne’ and ‘Silvestre’.
2.Two sub-species of L. vera, named botanically L. delphinensis (Lavender of Dauphine) and L. fragrans, are cultivated in the south of France, providing what is called French Lavender.
3.Spike Lavender (L. spica = L. latifolia) a coarser variety native to mountainous areas in the Mediterranean region. Also called Lesser Lavender, Broad-leaved Lavender or Nardus Italica, this is grown in France, Spain and Yugoslavia and provides Oil of Spike (Essence
d’Aspice), sometimes called Spike Lavender Oil. The quality of this oil, which has a camphorous odour, is inferior but the yield from the plant is three times that of L. vera; it is used in men’s fragrances, low-grade lavender perfumes and soaps. This lavender was mentioned by Theophrastus and some authorities believe that it was the Spikenard of the Old Testament;
4.French Lavender (L. stoechas = Stoechas officinarum), also called Stoechas, Arabian Stoechas, Stichados, Stickadore, Cassidony and Candy Rosemary. A small, attractive-looking plant plentiful in France, Spain and Portugal, it provides Stoechas Oil, distilled in Spain, which has a camphorous odour more like rosemary than lavender and is used medicinally as well as in perfumes and soaps;
5.Bastard Lavender, a hybrid lavender crossed between L. spica and L. fragrans. This is grown in France for an oil with a slightly camphorous fragrance known as Lavandin, mainly used in soaps but found also in some modern perfumes (e.g. ‘You’re the Fire’).
The dried stems of flowers and leaves from all these lavenders are used in sachets and pot pourri and have for long been placed among linen and clothes to scent them.
Lavender has been a favourite perfume material since the time of the Greeks and Romans. The Romans made much use of it (particularly of Stoechas) in their bath water, and the name ‘Lavender’ may derive from the Latin lavare – to wash. From medieval times it was used not only in pot pourri and sachets and for scenting linen and clothes but also to strew on the floors of churches and houses. In Tudor times it was also used in Britain to stuff quilted jackets and caps.
Until 1906 lavender oil was extracted by water-distillation, but in that year a more efficient technique of dry steam-distillation was introduced. An acre of ground will grow about 3500 plants of English Lavender, yielding around 151b of oil. Total world production is enormous, with the south of France alone at one time processing nearly 5000 tons of lavender flowers every year. The oil has for long also been valued medicinally because of its antiseptic and antibiotic properties, and it is highly valued in aromatherapy.
Lavender Cotton Oil Also called Cotton Lavender and sometimes French Lavender, the leaves of the Lavender Cotton plant (Santolina chamaecyparissus), a shrub native to the western Mediterranean area, provide an essential oil with a camphor-like fragrance. The plant is not a true lavender. The oil is occasionally used in perfumery, and the dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Lavender Water A toilet water popular in England since the 17th century, when it was prepared by distilling freshly picked lavender which had been immersed for a few days in alcohol. There are now many different recipes in use, one of the simplest being made by mixing 1 oz of Lavender Oil into 1.5 pints of spirits of wine, with an added drop of musk.
Lawang Oil An essential oil with a clove-like fragrance distilled from a species of cinnamon tree (possibly Cinnamomum culilawan) found in Indonesia.
Leather Notes A term applied in perfumery to certain fragrances which are suggestive of leather. They are popular in the composition of many masculine perfumes and some feminine ones, especially chypre-type perfumes.
‘Le Dix‘ A classic aldehyde perfume by Balenciaga, for whom it was created by Roure perfumers. It was introduced in 1947. The aldehydic top notes contain suggestions of bergamot, lemon, peach and coriander and give way to a heart based principally on rose, jasmine and orris. The lower notes are woody and balsamic, with vetivert, patchouli, sandalwood, rosewood, musk and civet.
‘L’Egoiste‘ Sold outside the UK as ‘Egoiste’, this woody-spicy men’s fragrance was created by Jacques Polge for Chanel, being a revised version of a fragrance they had previously marketed in Europe as ‘Bois Noir’. It was launched in 1990 with notably lavish TV advertising. On a strong base built mainly on sandalwood and ambrette, it obtains spicy notes from cinnamon and coriander, with added touches which include rosewood, mandarin, tangerine and rose.
‘Le Jardin d’Amour‘ A wide-selling aldehydic floral-oriental scent launched by Max Factor in 1986. Composed of 192 ingredients, it contains rose, with orris, coriander and black pepper, in the top notes, leading into a heart which is primarily composed of neroli, tuberose, geranium and ylang-ylang, and base notes of sandalwood, vanilla, amber and musk. The flacons are made by Bermioli Luigi of Italy.
‘Le Jardin de Max Factor‘ A wide-selling light floral perfume introduced by Max Factor in 1982. It was created by the perfumers of Dragoco. The top note is fruity-floral, with neroli, honeysuckle, peach and bergamot. In the floral middle note jasmine, rose, lily of the valley and magnolia predominate, while the base contains amber, cedar, myrrh and a hint of musk.
‘L’Elisir d’Amore‘ A quality toilet water launched by Crabtree & Evelyn in 1989 as a fragrance in toiletries sold in conjunction with the Royal Opera House in London. It is based on a popular handkerchief perfume of the 19th century and contains a floral medley on a woody base.
Lelong, Lucien A leading Parisian couturier who established the Lucien Lelong perfume house with the launching of his first perfume, Tout le Long’, in 1925. There followed ‘A’ and both in 1927 and both in Lalique bottles, and a series of other fragrances which included ‘Indiscret’ (35), ‘Cachet’ (48) and ‘Editions Limitee’ (50) (his last). Lelong bottles were noted for their startling modernity.
Lemon Grass Oil Also called Camel Grass Oil. An essential oil obtained by steam-distillation from Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus = C. schoenanthus = Andropogon schoenanthus = A. citratus), native to the Middle East and India. The plant is also known as Camel Grass, Rush, Scented Rush and Camel Rush. In western perfumery it is principally used in soaps, but in India it is found in both perfumes and medicines. It is cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, the Far East, central Africa, central America and the W. Indies as a major source of citral, one of the chief constituents of the oil. In dried form the plant is also used in pot pourri and sachets. The oil is sometimes called Oil of Verbena because of its similarity with Verbena Oil. The early Arab perfume makers used it in perfumes based on sesame and cotton seed oil, recognizing, as did Dioscorides, that the best quality came from N. Arabia (until recently it was used in Arabia for scenting a bath). It is believed to be the Calamus of the Greeks and Romans.
Lemon Grass de Cochin Also called Oil of Inchy and Lemon Grass des Indes Orientales. An essential oil distilled from a grass, East Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus = Andropogon flexuosus), native to south India but cultivated elsewhere, including Vietnam, central America, the W. Indies and Madagascar. It has the scent of violets and lemons and is used in the perfume and soap industries. The oil from the wild plant, growing in India, is similar to Palma Rosa Oil.
Lemon Oil Also called Cedro Oil. An essential oil extracted by expression from the fruit peel of the Lemon tree (Citrus medica var. limonum = C. limon). The tree is believed to have originated in subtropical Asia, probably in northern India; it was introduced into Europe by the Arabs from about the 8th century AD, probably through Sicily and Spain, and is now found all round the Mediterranean, especially in Sicily and southern Italy, and in many other areas, notably California, where it was first grown in 1887. About 1000 lemons will yield 1 lb of oil. The oil is used in flavourings, liqueurs and medicines as well as in perfumery, soaps and cosmetics. Dried lemon peel is sometimes used in sachets and pot pourri. Lemon oil with an unusually delicate fragrance is obtained from the Yuzu Lemon tree of Japan. Lemon oil appears in a very large number of modern quality perfumes, giving top notes a fresh sparkle, and is particularly popular in men’s fragrances. Some examples of perfumes containing it are ‘Calandre‘.
Lentheric Founded in 1875 in Paris by a hairdresser, Gillaume Lentheric, who became a fashionable perfumer, the House of Lentheric is now one of the leading perfume and cosmetics companies in the world. In 1990 it was sold by the Beecham Group to its management. Its fragrances, designed for the middle market, include ‘Tweed’ (1933), ‘Just Musk’ (73), ‘Tramp’ (75), ‘Panache’ (77), ‘Mystique’ (81), ‘Joie de Vivre’ (85), ‘Style’ (87), ‘Fashion’ (89), ‘Panache Evening Edition’ (89) and ‘Fleur’ (91), together with a fragrance for men ‘Hallmark’ (86).
Leonard A French fashion house which formed its own perfume company, Parfums Leonard, in 1969. It produced ‘Fashion’ in 1970, followed by ‘Eau Fraiche’ (74), Tamango’ (77), ‘Leonard pour Homme’ (80) and ‘Balahe’ (83).
‘L’Heure Bleue‘ An innovative classic floral-oriental perfume by Guerlain dating from 1912 which was created by Jacques Guerlain. The effect is sweet and spicy. Bergamot, with hints of lemon, neroli, tarragon, coriander and sage, sets a fresh top note, giving way to a heart of carnation supported by jasmine, rose, orris, ylang-ylang and other fragrances on a base note principally comprising sandalwood and musk, but supported by, amongst others, St John’s wort. It is sold in a flacon by Baccarat.
Light Notes The term light is used in perfumery to denote fragrances which have a fresh floral, citrus, fruity or green content without any sweet or balsamic elements.
Lilac A fragrant oil, also in perfumery called Syringa, which is obtained from the flowers of the Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) and related
species, a shrub which originated in Iran and eastern Europe and is now grown widely in temperate regions. The oil is used in quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Chamade‘, ‘Soir de Paris’, ‘Florissa’ and ‘Tweed’).
The plant was introduced into Europe through Spain by the Arabs in about the 16th century and originally the flowers were used in pomanders. The extraction of this fragrance by volatile solvents was not possible until the discovery of carbon dioxide as a solvent (see Volatile Solvents). However, many lilac perfumes are now made synthetically from chemical substances. The dried flowers are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Lillie, Charles Sometimes regarded as the first professional British perfumer. He owned a shop in the Strand, London, in the early part of the 18th century and was the author of a book The British Perfumer.
Lily An essential oil used in perfumery is obtained from the flowers of two species of Lily: the Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum) (in the early days of Christianity it was dedicated to the Madonna as a symbol of purity), also called the Annunciation Lily and Bourbon Lily, a plant native to the Mediterranean area and S.W. Asia; and the Easter Lily (L. longiflorum), also of Mediterranean origin. Both these plants are cultivated widely, but the fragrance of lily in perfumery is nowadays mostly created synthetically, with the exception of some high-quality perfumes such as ‘Zinnia’.
The lily has been used in perfumery since ancient times. It was popular in Egypt, where a perfumed ointment was based on ‘the flowers of 2000 lilies’ (probably here the blue water lily), and the ancient Greeks used Madonna lilies to make a perfume called Susinon.
Lily of the Valley Also called Muguet, a perfume obtained from the highly scented flowers of Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), a small plant native to Europe but now grown all over N. America and northern areas of Asia. The plant is also called May Lily, Convallaria, Our Lady’s Tears, Jacob’s Ladder and Male Lily. Country lore held that the fragrance of these flowers drew the nightingale towards his mate. There is no evidence of its use in perfumery in ancient times; the ‘Lily of the Valleys’ quoted in the Bible is thought to have been Hyacinth.
In early days Lily of the Valley fragrance could only be obtained by infusing the flowers into olive oil or sweet almond oil. In modern perfumery the perfume is extracted by volatile solvents as a concrete or absolute and no essential oil is distilled. It is usually sold with a synthetic (Hydroxy citronellal), which almost duplicates the fragrance, added up to 50%, and it is the resulting product which is properly known as Muguet. Muguet provides the most exquisite lily fragance available and is very highly regarded by perfumers. Some 14% of all modern quality perfumes contain it, for example ‘Opium’, ‘Roma‘ and ‘Florissa’, and it appears in some 10% of men’s fragrances.
Lime Oil An oil obtained both by expression and by distillation from the rind of the fruits of the Lime tree (Citrus medica var. acida), which is grown for this purpose principally in the W. Indies. The tree is indigenous to India. The oil, which is among those now modified for safety or environmental reasons (see Perfume Creation), is mostly used in flavouring, but it is also found in high-class perfumes (e.g. ‘Amouage’) and eau de colognes, especially those containing coriander. It is also a source of citral.
Linaloe Oil Also called Rosewood Oil (q.v.), Bois de Rose Oil and Essence de Bois Rose. An essential oil with a balsamic, floral, slightly rose-like odour; it is steam-distilled from wood chips from a tree called Rose Femelle (Aniba rosaeodora = Aydendron rosaeodora), native to the lower Amazon area. It is used extensively in lily and lilac-type perfumes and in colognes.
A similar oil with the same name is distilled in Mexico and the USA from the bark and fruits of the Linaloe Wood tree (Bursera delpichiana), also called the Mexican Linaloe Wood tree, native to Mexico. It is used in perfumes, soaps and cosmetics. The older trees of this species are preferred as they produce more oil.
Another form of Bois de Rose oil, also called Cayenne Linaloe Oil and Azelia Oil, is obtained from the Cayenne Linaloe tree (Aniba panurense) of Brazil.
Linaloe Oil is an important source of linalol.
Linalol An alcohol used in perfumery which is contained in Linaloe and some other essential oils, including linaloe wood, petitgrain, coriander and lavender. It has an attractive spicy-floral odour and is used in perfumes with honeysuckle, lilac or lily fragrances.
Linear Fragrance A term which has recently come into use in perfumery to describe a new style of perfume which started to become popular in the late 1980s. Instead of the classical perfume structure of top, middle and lower notes (see Perfume Notes), linear fragrances are designed to produce a strong and instant effect which remains constant. This is mostly achieved with a floral bouquet (e.g. ‘Giorgio, Beverly Hills’, ‘Fendi’, ‘Carolina Herrera‘ and ‘C’est la Vie’), but in some cases with other effects (e.g. a spicy-fruity effect in ‘Poison’), in all cases supported by traditional woody, mossy or amber base notes.
Linseed Oil Derived from the seed of Flax (Linum usitatissimum), a plant indigenous to temperate areas of Europe and Asia. In early times the oil was used as a lamp oil and in cooking. In ancient Egypt it provided a base oil for perfumes (see Egyptian Perfumes).
‘L’lnterdit‘ Givenchy’s first perfume, launched in 1957 in tribute to Audrey Hepburn. A floral-aldehydic fragrance created by Roure perfumers. Top notes are pepper, clove and a touch of galbanum, amplified by aldehydes. The heart, containing mostly rose, jasmine and violet, is supported by base notes which include sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, iris, amber and frankincense.
Lippia Oil obtained from the leaves of several species of Lippia is used in perfumery. From Lippia citriodora comes Verbena Oil (q.v.). Of the other species the principal is Lippia dulcis, a shrub which grows up to 18 feet high in tropical America and Mexico.
Litsea Cubeba Oil An essential oil with a coriander-like odour obtained by steam-distillation from the ripe fruit of a species of Litsea tree (Litsea cubeba = L. citrata = Tetranthera polyantha), native to S.E. Asia and China, where it is known as May-chang. The oil has an importance in perfumery as a raw material from which citral is obtained.
Living Flower Technology A technique recently developed by IFF which is designed to capture the exact fragrance of flowers. A single living flower is encapsulated in a vacuum for 6 to 12 hours and the fragrance emitted by it is then analysed on a gas liquid chromatograph, said to provide an exact chemical description of the aroma which can then be imitated synthetically. The technique has been used for some of the ingredients of quality perfumes (e.g. osmanthus, carnation and jasmine in ‘Red’ and others in ‘Eternity‘). It is now being extended to include herbs, spices and fruits.
Llorente, Jacques A leading designer of perfume bottles. He has produced designs for, among others, Hermes, Louis Feraud, Van Cleef & Arpels and Worth.
Longosa Oil An oil extracted from the fragrant flowers of a species of Hedychium (Hedychium flavum), native to N. India and cultivated for this oil on the island of Nosse Be, north of Madagascar. It has a peppery fragrance, with a background reminiscent of ylang-ylang, jasmine, orange blossom and tuberose.
L’Oreal Based in Paris, L’Oreal is now the largest of all the conglomerates in the international toiletries, cosmetics and fragrances business. Its subsidiaries include Cacharel, Courreges, Giorgio Armani, Guy Laroche, Lancome, Ralph Lauren, Phas, Helena Rubinstein and Vichy.
‘L’Origan’ A classic perfume introduced by Coty in 1905 which set a trend for floral perfumes of a sweet, spicy nature. The top note was chiefly bergamot, with underlying hints of mandarin, coriander, pepper and peach. The middle note containgd a blend of clove and carnation, with ylang-ylang, orchid, rose, jasmine and orris. In the woody lower notes sandalwood was supported by, among others, cedarwood, labdanum and musk.
Loris Azzaro An Italian designer of fashion, fashion accessories and theatre costumes who established his business in Paris in 1965. In 1970 he marketed the perfume ‘Azzaro’, followed by ‘Azzaro 9’ (84) and a men’s fragrance ‘Azzaro pour Homme’ (78). All three are contained in bottles designed by Pierre Dinand.
‘Lou-Lou’ An unusually strong oriental-floral perfume created by Jean Guichard of Roure for Cacharel, who launched it in 1987. Top notes of jasmine, orange blossom, cassie and ylang-ylang lead into a heart of heliotrope and musk, with base notes provided by tonka, vanilla, frankincense and sandalwood. The flacon, which is blue opaline, was designed by Annegret Beier.
Lotus A name given to perfumes with a heavy oriental-type fragrance made by compounding natural perfume materials such as patchouli, benzoin or storax with various modifying artificial ones. No perfume oil is extracted from the Lotus plant.
Lovage Also called Bladder Lovage, Cornish Lovage, Garden Lovage, Italian Lovage, Old English Lovage, Lovage Angelica and Sea Parsley. A perennial plant (Levisticum officinale = Angelica levisticum) growing up to 5 feet high, native to the Mediterranean area but now found widely and cultivated in England, France and elsewhere. An essential oil, known as Oil of Lovage, is distilled from the whole plant and has a limited use in perfumery as well as being used in flavouring. Its scent is spicy and persistent, reminiscent of a mixture of angelica or celery with oak moss. The dried roots and leaves, which have good fixative properties, are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Lovage was well known to the Greeks and Romans for its medicinal and flavouring properties and for its value in overcoming unpleasant odours.
Low Note Also called Lower Note, Base Note, Back Note and Dry-off. A term used in perfumery to describe the third and last phase in the process of a perfume’s evaporation on the skin, when the most lasting ingredients, such as woody or animalic scents, become most discernible. The term also covers the ingredients which provide that effect.
‘Lumiere‘ A fresh-floral quality perfume created by Nicolas Mamounas and perfumers of IFF for Rochas, who launched it in 1984. Green top notes, which include hawthorn, honeysuckle, coriander and orange flower, herald a middle note dominated by gardenia, jasmine and magnolia, with a base note built on sandalwood and ambergris. The bottle was designed by Carre Noir.
‘Lutece‘ A quality floral perfume launched by Houbigant in 1986 and named after the early Roman name for Paris. The aldehydic floral top note includes rose, jasmine and lily of the valley, developing into a powdery, floral heart of rose and peony with a touch of mandarin. Amber heads the base notes.
‘Macassar‘ The name of a trend-setting, spicy, leather-type fragrance for men introduced as an eau de toilette by Rochas in 1980. It was created by Nicolas Mamounas. Its main ingredients are bergamot and artemisia in the top note, jasmine, carnation, patchouli and vetivert in the middle note, and oak moss and leather-fragrance in the base.
Macassar Oil An oil derived principally from the seeds of the Ceylon Oak (Schleichera trijuga), also called the Kussum tree and Malay Lacktree, of Malaysia and Indonesia, but in earlier times possibly from the seeds of safflower. It also contained ylang-ylang among its ingredients. It was widely used in Victorian times as a hair preparation, giving rise to the ‘anti-macassar’ used on chair backs, designed to protect upholstery against oily stains.
Mace (and Nutmeg) Mace, also called Macis and Arillus Myristicae, and Nutmeg both come from the fruit of the Nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans =M. officinalis = M. aromatica). In French, muscadier (a name also used in English) is the nutmeg tree, muscade meaning nutmeg and also musk-like; our word nutmeg derives from an earlier word notemuge 一 early English ‘note’ = nut and early French mugue = musky. The tree, which grows to about 35 feet high, is native to the Molucca islands and is now cultivated in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Grenada, mainly for nutmeg used as a spice.
Nutmeg is the kernal of the fruit (or nut). Oil of Nutmeg is usually obtained from kernals unsuitable through damage etc. to be sold as a spice. The oil, expressed, steam-distilled or extracted, is used to give perfumes, colognes and lavender waters a spicy or masculine note, and it is found in many quality fragrances (e.g. ‘Blue Grass’, ‘Panthere’, ‘Sybaris’ and ‘You’re the Fire’). However, most distilled oil is used as a flavouring. The distilled oil is sometimes called Nutmeg Butter and, misleadingly, Oil of Mace. Mace is the wrapping (‘arillus’) round the kernal and provides a very similar, though less pungent, oil by distillation which is used occasionally in sandalwood-type soaps. Mace is also used dried in sachets and pot pouni. Nutmeg was known as early as Roman times, and the early Arab perfumers used both types of oil. Mace should not be confused with English Mace, a name sometimes given to costmary.
Maceration Also called digestion. An ancient method of obtaining aromatic substances from flowers and other plant parts by boiling them or heating them to a high temperature in water or oil, which absorbed their aroma. It has the disadvantage that with many materials the heat will damage the fragrance. But the technique is still sometimes practiced in modern perfumery with certain materials, using oils or fats heated to about 60°-70°C, into which the materials are immersed up to 15 times for periods of an hour or two at a time, the fat then being cleansed of residue and purified. The principal materials still sometimes so treated are cassie, hyacinth, jonquil, mimosa, orange flower, rose, narcissus and violet.
‘Madame Rochas‘ A classic aldehydic-floral perfume created by Guy Robert for Rochas, who first marketed it in 1960 and re-launched it in 1989. It has some 200 ingredients. The principal top notes are orange blossom, broom, honeysuckle and neroli, covering a floral heart dominated by ylang-ylang, tuberose, jasmine, orris and rose, with a woody base, chiefly sandalwood and cedar, backed by hints of musk and amber. The container is a replica of an 18th century scent bottle in crystal by Baccarat.
Magalep Also called Mahaleb, Macalep, St Lucia Cherry, Hurtleberry, Austrian Cherry and Perfumed Cherry. A deciduous tree (Prunus mahaleb) growing up to 40 feet high in Europe and W. Asia and cultivated in Britain since the 17th century. The fragrant wood (called St Lucia Wood) is used for walking sticks, tobacco pipes, etc. and an essential oil is occasionally distilled from it for use in perfumery. The seeds (cherry stones) are used in sachets and pot pourri. In early times the flesh of the seeds was used in their recipes by Arab and Persian perfume makers, who knew it as mahlab. During the 17th century the seeds were threaded on cords as aromatic beads. The flesh in the seeds was at one time expressed for its juice, or ground into a pulp called Milk of Magalep, which was strained, mixed with other fragrant substances such as rosewater, and used in washballs.
Magma From Greek, a thick unguent. The word was also applied to the dried dregs from old unguent bottles, which the Greeks and Romans collected and added to scented powders in order to improve their fragrance. (See Greek Perfumes.)
Magnolia This name is used for many synthetic perfumes, usually containing jasmine, neroli and rose.
‘Ma Griffe‘ A classic, trend-setting chypre perfume first produced by Carven in 1944. Created by Roure perfumers, the initial impact is green, with gardenia in the top notes modified by citrus, galbanum and clary sage. The floral middle notes, mostly jasmine and rose, are supplemented by, among others, sandalwood and vetivert. In the base notes, storax and oak moss predominate, with hints of cinnamon, benzoin, labdanum and musk. The cube-shaped bottle was designed by Jacques Bocquet.
Malabathrum A perfume material used in unguents by the Romans (see Roman Perfumes) which was imported from N. India in considerable quantity and is referred to several times by Pliny. It is thought to have been a dried aromatic leaf from a species of cinnamon found in N. India and known as the Indian Cassia tree (Cinnamomum tamala). In Sanskrit it is called Tamala pattra, from which the word Malabathrum derives. The bark of this tree is still used as a substitute for cinnamon.
‘Ma Liberte’ An unusual spicy-floral perfume created by Jean Kerleo and launched by Jean Patou in 1987. It has top notes which include lavender, clove, pepper and vanilla, leading to a heart of jasmine with cedar, vetivert and patchouli, on a powdery base note containing sandalwood, vanilla and musk.
Mamounas, Nicolas Chief perfumer for Rochas. His creations include ‘Mystere’, ‘Macassar’, ‘Globe‘. Founder of the School of Perfumery in Versailles.
Mandarin Oil An oil expressed from the fruit peel of two species of the Mandarin Orange tree (Citrus reticulata = C. nobilis and C. madurensis), which are cultivated in Italy, Sicily, Spain, Florida, Argentina and Brazil for this purpose. The oil, which has a fragrance similar to Sweet Orange Oil, is used in colognes and in some floral perfumes, including quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Mitsouko‘). The dried peel is used in sachets and pot pourri. The tree is native to Cochin-China, being brought to Europe and America in the 18th century. The leaves and twigs provide a kind of Petitgrain Oil.
Mansau, Serge A sculptor and prominent designer of contemporary scent bottles. He has designed, among others, for Cardin, Caron, Dior, Fath, Laroche, Leonard Molyneux, Oscar de la Renta, Patou, Revillon and Rochas.
Marigold The orange-flowered Common Marigold (Calendula officinalis), native to S. Europe and the Middle East but now cultivated widely, provides from the flowers a small amount of essential oil, also called Calendula, which is produced as a concrete or absolute for use in perfumery. The dried flowers also have medicinal uses.
Certain marigolds of the Tagetes genus also provide an essential oil, by steam-distillation from their seeds, called Taget or Tagetes Oil, which is used in perfumery. They include the French Marigold (Tagetes patula = T. minuta), also known as Indian Carnation, native to tropical America but now cultivated widely. Taget (or Tagette) Oil has an intense, cloying, fruity fragrance resembling apple, and is used in cosmetics and in many floral perfumes (e.g. ‘Lauren’, ‘Samba‘).
Marjoram Also called Sweet Marjoram and Knotted Marjoram. A bushy annual herb (Origanum majorana = Majorana hortensis) growing to about 1 foot high, probably native to Portugal but now found throughout Europe, N. Africa and the Middle East and cultivated widely. Oil of Marjoram is steam-distilled from the leaves and used for flavouring and in perfumery. Its scent resembles a cross between mint and thyme with a trace of nutmeg. Some 150-200lb of the herb yield about lib of oil. The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri. Oil of Marjoram is also distilled from the Wild Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), a perennial herb growing in Asia, Europe and N. Africa with a strong, fragrant balsamic odour. In France this oil, which too is occasionally used in perfumery, is known as ‘Marjolaine sauvage’, the oil from O. majorana being known as ‘Marjolaine douce’.
The name marjoram derives from Greek meaning ‘joy of the mountains’. The ancient Greeks, who believed that if it grew on a grave it augured happiness for the departed, used it extensively in medicines, flavouring and perfumery. It was the sampsuchum of the ancient Egyptians, who gave its name to a long-lasting unguent and a scented oil popular in classical times. Both the seeds and the leaves of marjoram were used by the early Arab perfume makers.
An oil called Oil of Marjoram is also obtained from the leaves of a small species of thyme called Mastic Thyme (Thymus mastichiana).
Marsh Rosemary Oil An oil obtained from the leaves of the Marsh Rosemary (Ledum palustre), also known as Crystal Tea Ledum, one of the few plants which grows in Arctic as well as sub-Arctic regions. The leaves are also used by Eskimos as a tea. The oil has a bitter, coriander-like fragrance.
The name Marsh Rosemary is also sometimes used for American Sea Lavender (Statice caroliana), also called Ink Root, a sea-plant found on both sides of the Atlantic, from the roots of which a volatile oil is obtained for use in medicines.
Mary Chess A small high-quality perfume company founded in 1932 by Mrs Grace Mary Chess Robinson, an American living in London who was also known for her sculptured flowers. She created all her perfumes herself, using only natural ingredients. Her first perfume was ‘White Lilac’ (1933), followed by Tapestry’ (34), ‘Strategy’ (35), ‘Tuberose’ (37) and ‘Yram’ (38). In 1978 the company also launched ‘Chess d’Or’. The company produces a variety of other toiletries and holds royal warrants to supply the Queen Mother and other royalty. It is closely associated with the long-established fragrance firm Taylor of London, both being acquired in 1991 by The Fine Fragrances and Cosmetics Group (see also Caron).
Mastic Also called Gum Mastic, Sweet Assa and Resina Lentisci. A gum obtained from the bark of the Lentisk tree (Pistacia lentiscus), a small shrub-like tree growing up to 12 feet high in the Mediterranean area and parts of Asia. It was introduced into Britain in the 17th century. The main sources of commercial supply of this gum are the islands of Cyprus, Scio and, for many centuries, Chios. The fragrance is very balsamic, with a penetrating, leafy odour recalling savin and turpentine. In early times the gum was used in pomanders and the oil was used to absorb other plant fragrances in the process of enfleurage. In modern perfumery the extracted oil is used as a fixative in various perfume compounds; it appears, for example, in ‘Fahrenheit’.
Mate An absolute used in perfumery which is developed from oil extracted from the leaves of the Yerba Mate tree (Ilex paraguensis), also called the Paraguay Tea tree, found in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It has a rich, tea-like fragrance. The plant has been used in S. America since ancient times as a source of tea.
Matico A climbing shrub (Piper augustifolium), also called Matico Pepper and Soldier’s Herb, native to central America, Mexico and the W. Indies. The leaves provide an essential oil with an odour reminiscent of pepper, cubebs and mint. It is very powerful and hence used only in minute amounts, usually in carnation compounds. Matico was the name of a Spanish soldier who accidentally discovered the medical properties of the leaves when wounded in Peru.
Mattipaul A resin used for incense in Hindu temples. It is extracted from the trunk of the But tree (Ailanthus malabarica), also called the Thanh-that tree, found in India and Vietnam.
Maudlin A perennial, sweet-scented yarrow (Achillea ageratum), also called Maudeline, Sweet Milfoil, Sweet Nancy, Camphor Plant, Balsamita Foemina and Sweet Yarrow. It grows up to 5 inches high and is native to Italy and Spain, being introduced into Britain from Italy in 1570 as a medicinal herb; during the 16th century it was a popular aromatic. The dried flowers and leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri to provide a balsamic note. It was at one time used with costmary to make washballs.
Mawah Oil The name given to a variety of rose-geranium oil obtained from Pelargonium graveolens, which is produced in Kenya.
Max Factor Max Factor, a theatre wig-master and make-up artist in Tsarist Russia, emigrated to the USA in 1904, forming his company, Max Factor & Co, in 1909 to provide make-up for the Hollywood film industry. By 1930 the company was selling ‘Max Factor – the Make-up of the Stars’ in 81 countries. It was purchased by Norman Simon Inc. in 1972, became part of the International Playtex Group in 1983, merged with the Revlon Group in 1987 and was bought by Proctor & Gamble in 1991. The UK branch of the company was opened in 1935 and has its main factory in Bournemouth. In 1980 it acquired the fashion house of Mary Quant.
The principal Max Factor perfumes currently marketed are ‘Le Jardin de Max Factor’ (82) and ‘Le Jardin d’Amour’ (86). Other fragrances, sold at Eau de Toilette strength, include ‘Geminesse’ (74), ‘Blase’ (75) and ‘Epris’ (81), together with three fragrances, ‘Intuition’, ‘Charade’ and ‘Desire’, linked under the name ‘Liaisons’ and introduced in 1988.
Meadowsweet Oil An oil used in perfumery which is distilled from the flower buds of the Meadowsweet plant (Filipendula ulmaria = Spiraea ulmaria), also called Queen of the Meadows, Dolloff, Bridewort and Ulmaria. It is native to temperate Europe and Asia and is also now found in N. America. The flowers have an almond-like scent. Queen Elizabeth I was particularly fond of it as a strewing herb. Gerard, writing in about 1600, observed that the smell of the leaves ‘makes the heart merry and delighteth the senses’. The dried leaves and flowers are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Medici, Catherine de 1519-1589 The daughter of the Italian Duke of Urbino who in 1533 married the future King Henry II of France. She was the mother of three future kings and a powerful influence in the French court. She had a considerable interest in perfumery and brought an Italian with her who established a successful perfume-making business in Paris. She was instrumental in setting up a laboratory in Grasse for the study of perfume-making in order to rival the fashionable Arab perfumes of the time, for which she is regarded by some as the founder of the French perfume industry.
Megaleion Perfume Also called Megalium. An ancient Greek perfume described by Theophrastus. It contained ‘burnt resin’ and oil of balanos (which was first boiled ‘for ten days and nights’), into which were mixed cinnamon, cassia and myrrh. A colourant was added. Theophrastus noted that this perfume and Mendesian perfume were the most troublesome to make, since they contained many costly ingredients. It was believed to be good for wounds. Being fairly heady it was, Theophrastus observed, best suited for women, especially as it was very long-lasting.
The Romans also used Megalium, which in Pliny’s time was composed of balanos oil, balsam, calamus, sweet-rush, xylobalsam, cassia and resin.
Melia A species of Melia known as the Bead tree (Melia azedarach), native from N. India to Malaysia and W. China and now cultivated widely. The name derives from its pea-sized, musk-scented seeds, which are used to make rosary beads.
Melilot Also called Sweet Clover. A sweetly scented, clover-like plant, growing up to 4 feet high, of the genus Melilotis, found widely in Europe and Asia, which is sometimes used in perfumery. The Common Yellow Melilot (Melilotis officinalis), also called Sweet Lucerne, Kings Clover, Wild Laburnum and Hart’s Tree, is found in Europe, temperate Asia and N. Africa and was once cultivated extensively in Britain for fodder. The White Melilot (M. alba) and Corn Melilot (M. aroensis) still grow wild in Britain but are less abundant. All three species have a sweet hay-like fragrance, remarkably attractive to bees (the name derives from ‘Mel’, meaning ‘honey’, and Lotus, hence signifying ‘honey-lotus’), due to a high content of coumarin. The dried flowers and leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri and sometimes to scent tobacco (also for flavouring cheese). A fourth species (M. bungiana = M. suavolens = M. graveolens) is found in S.E. Asia and the dried flowers are used as a source of coumarin.
Melilot was known to the Romans (it is listed by Dioscorides) for its medicinal properties and was used by medieval Arab perfume makers.
Melinum A perfume oil made from quince flowers which, according to Pliny, was used in unguents in conjunction with omphacium, cyprinum, sesame oil, balsam, sweet rush, cassia and southernwood.
Melon A melon-like fragrance is occasionally used in modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Knowing‘). It is normally created with synthetics.
Memecyclon The leaves of the tree Memecyclon tinctorium (= M. edule), found in regions bordering the Indian Ocean including Yemen and Ethiopia, provide a yellow dye which was held in such high esteem as a colouring agent by the early Arab perfume makers that al-Kindi even provided a recipe for imitating it.
Mendesian Perfume A perfume of the ancient Egyptians (see Egyptian Perfumes) originally made in the city of Mendes. It was popular also in Greece and Rome, the Greeks calling it ‘the Egyptian’. Theophrastus recorded that it contained a number of expensive ingredients, including cinnamon and myrrh, was colourless, and was one of the most long-lasting of all perfumes. He also observed that it could cause headaches, to counter which it was sometimes mixed with fragrant wine to make it sweeter. Pliny noted that it was made of ‘behen-oil, resin and myrrh’.
‘Men’s Club‘ An eau de cologne introduced by Helena Rubinstein in 1966 for use by men. The fragrance is floral, with spicy aldehydes in the top note, rose and jasmine in the heart and musk and cedarwood in the base.
‘Metal’ A fresh-floral perfume launched by Paco Rabanne in 1979. It was created by Firmenich perfumers. Citrus fruits in the top note introduce a floral bouquet in the heart which includes jasmine, ylang-ylang, narcissus and an unusual rose ingredient. Sandalwood provides the main base note. The perfume comes in a bottle designed by Pierre Bellereaud.
Metallic Note A term used in perfumery to denote a fragrance reminiscent of metal, providing a clean, cool effect. Metallic notes are used in perfumes to assist in promoting an effect, not as main fragrances.
‘Metamorphose’ A floral perfume created in 1979 by Jean Laporte, whose fragrances, which include a wide variety of quality toilet waters, soaps, burning oils, etc., are sold through his company L’Artisan Parfumeur in Paris and London. ‘Metamorphose’, a blend of 52 essences, contains top notes which include blackcurrant buds and tangerine, a heart mainly of rose, jasmine, iris and carnation, and a base dominated by sandalwood. It is sold in a flacon with an opalescent crystal stopper in the form of a butterfly.
Methyl Salicylate The principal odorous constituent of Oil of Gaultheria(Wintergreen) and found in many other volatile oils. It provides a pungent, minty odour. It is now manufactured synthetically from coal tar and is much used in modern perfumery.
Metopian Unguent A perfumed unguent of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It was based on oil of bitter almond and contained honey, wine, myrrh and calamus or, according to another source (Dioscorides), oil of bitter almond and unripe olives perfumed with cardamom, sweet rush, sweet flag, honey, wine, myrrh, seed of balsamum, galbanum and turpentine resin. Pliny recorded that the Roman version was pressed out of bitter almonds, with the addition of omphacium, cardamom, rush, flag, honey, wine, myrrh, seed of balsam, galbanum and terebinth-resin.
Mexican Mock Orange A shrub (Philadelphus mexicanus), also called Mock Orange Blossom, from the flowers and branches of which a scented water has been distilled since early times as a perfume. The fragrance resembles that of true orange blossom.
Micro-fragrance Also called micro-encapsulation and ‘scratch-and-sniff’. A technique devised by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. (3M) in 1970 by which large numbers of microscopic capsules containing a fragrance are coated on to paper, so that their odour is released when they are broken, e.g. by scratching with a fingernail. The system was first used to advertize a perfume by Coty. It has also been developed for use in a powdered form.
Middle Note Also called the Heart or Body. In perfumery this relates to the main fragrance of a perfume, which becomes dominant after the top notes have faded away on the skin. It usually consists of floral, spicy or woody components.
Mignonette Also called Reseda Oil. One of the principal essential oils of perfumery obtained from flowers. The plant (Reseda odorata), native of N. Africa, is an annual growing to about 2 feet high and now cultivated widely; it is grown commercially in the south of France for its oil. The oil, obtained from the flowers mainly by extraction with volatile solvents but sometimes by maceration or enfleurage, has a violet-like fragrance. While some 1200 kilos of flowers are needed to provide 1 kilo of concrete, the scent is so powerful that it can be used only in minute quantity and then at a strength of about 1 part to 500 parts of alcohol.
The name Reseda may derive from Latin resedo, meaning to heal; in Roman times the plant was regarded as a charm against various ailments. The name ‘mignonette’ signifies ‘little darling’. The plant was introduced into Britain in about 1750.
This plant should not be confused with the so-called Jamaica Mignonette, which is a variety of Henna.
Milfoil Also called Yarrow, Common Yarrow, Soldier’s Wound Wort, Blood Wort, Sanguinary, Devil’s Nettle and by a number of other local names. A perennial herb (Achillea millefolium) found in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Milfoil Oil, distilled from the leaves, is used medicinally as well as in perfumes; it has a pungent, spicy, rather medicinal fragrance. The dried flowers are used in sachets and pot pourri. In ancient times Milfoil was regarded as a plant of the Devil and used for divination in spells.
‘Mille’ (‘1000’) A quality floral-woody perfume created for Jean Patou in 1972 by John Kerleo. The brand name is in the numeral form ‘1000’. Top notes of osmanthus and damask rose cover a floral heart containing jasmine, violet and rose (Centifolia), with a base of patchouli and sandalwood. The perfume is sold both in a flacon by Brosse and also in a jade green flaconette after the style of a Chinese snuff box.
Mimosa Oil The scent of the fragrant yellow flowers of the Mimosa tree (Acacia dealbata and A. floribunda), native to Australia but now cultivated widely, also called the Silver Wattle tree, is highly esteemed in perfumery. In the south of France, where the trees have been cultivated since about 1839, the perfume is extracted as a floral absolute by means of volatile solvents. Some 200 tons weight of mimosa flower heads were at one time being used in Grasse every year. Examples of modern quality perfumes containing mimosa are ‘Lauren’, ‘Nina’ and ‘Vanderbilt’.
Mint A perennial plant of many species of the genus Mentha, which grows widely. Mentha was a nymph in Greek mythology who was metamorphosed into the plant, and the name Mentha was originally used as a generic name by Theophrastus. Mints are frequently mentioned in Greek and Roman works for their value as strewing herbs and in medicines, flavourings and perfumes.
One of the most important species of mint for commercial uses at the present time is Spearmint (Mentha spicata = M. viridis), cultivated in China, Japan, Brazil and the USA for the essential oil (Spearmint Oil), obtained by steam-distillation from the flowering tops. Used mainly as a flavouring, this also helps to provide a ‘green’ note in perfumery (e.g. Turbulences’)
Other mints used in perfumery are bergamot mint, pennyroyal and peppermint. The mint of the Bible was probably Horsemint (M. longifolia =M. sylvestris), found in Europe and N. Africa.
Minty Note A term used in perfumery to describe a fragrance reminiscent of mint, e.g. peppermint or spearmint. Such fragances are usually used to provide a special, fresh effect in a Top Note.
Mirbane Essence Also called Oil of Mirbane. The first chemical perfume to be produced commercially, made from nitric acid and benzene (nitrobenzene). Devised in the 19th century, it had a fragrance crudely resembling sweet almonds, and was used for scenting soaps.
‘Miss Dior’ A trend-setting chypre perfume brought out by Dior in 1947. The perfume was created for Dior by Paul Vacher. The top note is green and aldehydic, with suggestions of galbanum and bergamot. The heart is floral, with jasmine, rose and gardenia predominating. The base provides warm, woody and mossy touches, with patchouli, oak moss and ambergris the main constituents. The bottle was designed by Guericolas.
‘Mitsouko’ The earliest of the chypre family of modern perfumes (see Perfume Families) after Coty’s original perfume named ‘Chypre’. ‘Mitsouko’ (the name means ‘mystery’) was created by Jacques Guerlain and brought out by Guerlain in 1919. It has fresh, fruity top notes derived from bergamot, with touches of lemon, mandarin, neroli and peach (the first use of a synthetic peach fragrance in a perfume). The heart is floral, based on jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang, but with a spicy touch derived from clove. The base notes include oak moss and benzoin, with hints of sandalwood, labdanum, myrrh, cinnamon and musk. The flacons are by Baccarat and Brosse.
Mock Orange Blossom Also called Mock Orange, German Jasmine, Seringa and occasionally Syringa. A shrub (Philadelphus coronarius) growing up to about 8 feet high and native to Italy and central Europe, but now grown widely (together with other related species of Philadelphus). The flowers have a strong fragrance reminiscent of the blossom of orange trees. An essential oil used in perfumery is obtained from the flowers and is used in modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘C’est la Vie’). The flowers are also dried for inclusion in pot pourri. But the fragrance is more usually made by synthesis. This plant should not be confused with the Orange Blossom plant. The stems of both Mock Orange and Lilac are easily hollowed out by removing the pith, and they were once used for making flute-like musical instruments (Greek syrinx = a flute), giving rise to the name Syringa for both plants.
Molinard A perfume house which commenced in 1849 as a small shop in Grasse selling ‘perfumed waters’; it set up its own distillery in 1894. Molinard’s prestigious clientele included Queen Victoria. In 1920 the company moved its headquarters to Paris and began to expand, but its factory remains in Grasse, where it also maintains a Museum of Perfume. Its perfume ‘Habanita’, launched in 1924, was an immediate success. Perfumes which followed included ‘Xmas Bells’ (26), ‘Calendar (29), ‘Le Baiser de Faune’ (30), ‘Les Iscles d’Or’ (30). ‘1811’ (30) and ‘Madrigal’ (35). Latterly it has produced ‘Nirmala’ (55), ‘Rafale’ (75), ‘Molinard de Molinard’ (80) and a men’s fragrance ‘Teck’ (90). Most of these were sold in flacons by Baccarat or Lalique.
‘Molinard de Molinard’ A fruity green floral perfume introduced by Molinard in 1980. The top notes are dominated by galbanum and blackcurrant buds. The heart contains jasmine, rose, narcissus, ylang-ylang and lily of the valley, and the base note includes labdanum, frankincense, amber, vetivert and musk. It was presented in a flacon much sought after by collectors, known as ‘Beauty’, which features a relief decoration of water nymphs and was made by Lalique; this flacon was first used for the Molinard perfume ‘Les Iscles d’Or’ and has subsequently also been used for ‘Habanita’.
Molyneux A couture house founded in Paris in 1919 by a British fashion designer Edward Molyneux (1891-1974), who won the MC during the Great War. He reopened his House in Paris after the Second World War, retiring in 1967, when his nephew assumed control of the company. It is now a part of the Sanofi group. The company launched its first perfume, ‘Vivre’, in the 1930s and this was relaunched in 1971, to be followed by ‘Quartz’ (77), ‘Gauloise’ (81), ‘Initiation’ (90), and a fragrance for men, ‘Captain’ (75).
‘Mon Parfum’ A chypre perfume launched under the house name Paloma Picasso, in association with L’Oreal, in 1984. It was created by Creations Aromatiques perfumers. Top notes of ylang-ylang, lemon, bergamot, angelica and hyacinth lead into a heart mostly composed of jasmine and rose, with a woody base note obtained from oak moss, iris,sandalwood and patchouli supported by amber and musk. The flacon, an unusual design by Paloma Picasso and Bernard Kotyuk, consists of a bottle in a glass ring and is made by Brosse.
‘Montana’ A quality perfume launched in 1987 by Montana Parfums, perfume house of Claude Montana, the prominent Paris fashion designer. Created by Roure perfumers and described as ‘avant garde chypre’, it contains a green, fresh, fruity and spicy mixture of top notes, including marigold, ginger, pepper, blackcurrant buds and orange flower, which herald a floral and woody heart of jasmine, rose, narcissus, patchouli, sandalwood and oak moss. Base notes include ambrein, musk, frankincense and leather-fragrance. The flacon, a design in spiral layers of frosted glass, won a French Glass Industry prize in 1988. In 1990 the company launched a spicy-woody men’s fragrance ‘Montana pour Homme’, containing tangerine, pepper and nutmeg in the top notes, geranium, nasturtium, patchouli and sandalwood in the middle notes and amber, frankincense and musk in the
base, and also ‘Parfum d’Elle’. Montana is now marketed in association with Charles of the Ritz, a part of the Revlon group.
Montpellier A town in the S. of France near Marseilles which, in the 16th century, was prominent as a perfume-making centre and well known for its botanical gardens, where perfume plants were cultivated. Its importance faded as that of Grasse increased.
Mossy Note A term used in perfumery to describe the general odour of oils obtained from mosses and lichens (see Moss above). Such oils are used in all types of perfumes.
Mousseline An Indian perfume based on vetivert. The name derives from ‘muslin’, as it was once used to give Indian muslin a distinctive scent before being exported to European markets.
Muscone A chemical obtained from musk and also made synthetically which has a significant value in perfumery because of its powerful properties as a fixative.
Musk Probably the most powerful of all perfume fragrances, and certainly one of the most expensive. Musk comes from a preputial follicle which is removed from the abdomen of the male musk deer (Moschus moschiferus and three other species of Moschus), found in the Himalayas from Afghanistan to China. The follicle, usually known as a musk pod (or cod), is a sac about the size of a walnut and can be removed without harming the animal. The material extracted from the pod is in the form of solidified seeds (or grains). These contain the perfume in such concentrated form as to be most obnoxious unless diluted. Each pod holds less than loz of grains. The odoriferous principal in the seeds is a substance called Muscone, which forms about 2% of the whole seed. The perfume is prepared in the form of a tincture by treatment with alcohol. The best-quality musk, known as Tonquin musk, comes from China and Tibet. Other varieties bear the names Cabardine, Yunnan and Assam (or Nepal) musk. The pods are called either Blue Skin or Grain Musk, according to their appearance.
Musk was unknown in classical times and reference to its use in perfumes does not appear until the 6th century, when Cosmas mentioned it as a product obtained from India. Soon afterwards both Arab and Byzantine perfume makers were employing it. There is a single and rather obscure reference to it in the Quran. Under the Abbasid Empire of the Arabs it was highly regarded, and the Caliphs of Baghdad (the ’emperors’) used it lavishly; al-Kindi (early 9th century) included it in a large number of his perfume recipes and it became one of the more important luxury items (with silk, camphor and spices) brought back by Arab ships from China. It had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. Musk has been a key constituent in very many perfumes ever since its discovery, being held to give a perfume ‘life’, and musk or synthetic musk is now found among the principal ingredients of about 35% of all quality perfumes and quality fragrances for men.
So potent is musk that it can only be used in extremely diluted form. It is also exceptionally long-lasting and very important as a fixative. It is said that when musk is placed on a stored handkerchief the scent will last for 40 years. The early Arabs mixed musk in the mortar of some of their mosques and palaces, as they also did with rosewater, so that the buildings themselves would exude the fragrance.
There are many synthetic musks, early favourites such as Musk Ambrette, Musk Baur and Musk Ketone now being replaced by safer products, and with the increasing rarity and costliness of the original material they are being used more and more in modern perfumery.
Musk Ambrette A synthetic musk perfume devised by Albert Baur in the 19th century. Its fragrance recalls ambrette as much as natural musk. It is one of the most powerful odorants known, but for safety reasons it is no longer used in quality perfumery.
Musk Baur A synthetic musk perfume, also called Tonquinol, patented by the German chemist Albert Baur in 1888. It was replaced by the chemical known as musk xylene, which for safety reasons is itself no longer used.
Musk Geranium Also called Musk Storksbill, Musked Cranesbill, Ground Needle, Pick Needle, Muscovy and Geranium Moschatum. A seaside herb (Erodium moschatum) growing in Britain. The whole plant is aromatic when dried, having a fine musky odour. It was formerly used to scent washballs and is still used in sachets and pot pourri.
Musk Ketone A synthetic musk perfume devised by Albert Baur in the 19th century and said to be the sweetest of the artificial musks. It is a good fixative. Until recently it was regarded as one of the most acceptable of synthetic musk perfumes, but for safety reasons it is no longer used.
Musk Rat The fact that this animal, a rodent (Ondatra zibethicus) native to the USA, secreted a scent similar to musk has been observed since the 17th century. A chemical means of extracting it was discovered in the 1940s but has not proved commercially worth while.
‘Must’ A quality oriental perfume launched in 1981 by Cartier, for whom it was created by Givaudan perfumers. Mandarin, orange flower, rose and jasmine top notes introduce woody and musky middle and base notes, mostly of vetivert, sandalwood, musk and ambergris. The flask, made by Cartier, is decorated with gold.
Myrrh A gum-resin obtained from myrrh trees, of which the principal species is Commiphora myrrha (= Balsamodendron myrrha), also known as
True Myrrh or Herrabol Myrrh, native to Arabia, Somalia and Ethiopia; it is a very thorny, scraggy-looking tree which grows up to 15 feet high. Other species include: C. habbessinica (= C. abyssinica var. simplicifolia), also known as Qafal, which is native to the same region; C. foliacia, found in Dhofar (S. Arabia); and C. kataf, also known as Qataf, found in S.W. Arabia (see under Opoponax). Other species of Commiphora produce bdelliums, which are very similar to myrrh and often confused with it. Opoponax, for example, has also been called ‘Sweet Myrrh’. Some authorities refer to True Myrrh as ‘Male Myrrh’ and Opoponax as ‘Female Myrrh’. The Arabian Balsam tree, called Balsam of Makkah, is also a species of Commiphora and has been termed Makkah Myrrh, adding to the difficulties. The word ‘myrrh’ derives from Semitic (Arabic) meaning Twitter’, as it has a very bitter taste.
Myrrh obtained from C. myrrha, and possibly that from other species noted above, exudes in small ‘tears’ which darken in colour and often conglomerate as they harden. The odour is distinctive and pleasantly aromatic, though not pronounced. The resin is used in modern perfumery as a steam-distilled essential oil (the yield is 5% or more), its main function being to provide a balsamic tone and fixative. It is found among the principal ingredients of about 7% of all modern perfumes, especially oriental-type ones. It also has a particular use in making broom and honeysuckle compounds. Examples of modern quality perfumes using myrrh oil are ‘Amouage’, ‘Opium’, ‘Roma’ and ‘Salvador Dali’. Myrrh is also used in pomander pastes and in some types of pot pourri.
Historically, myrrh is one of the most important of all perfume materials. Although the ‘myrrh’ collected by the ancient Egyptians during the 2nd millennium BC from the ‘Land of Punt’ was probably opoponax, as also may have been ‘myrrh’ referred to in some of the earliest parts of the Old Testament (see Bible Perfumes, Labdanum and Balm of Gilead), there is no doubt that True Myrrh from S. Arabia was a valuable item of commerce by the 5th century BC, when it was mentioned by Herodotus. By that time it was already an important material in Egypt for embalming. Both Theophrastus and Pliny noted its prime value as a perfume fixative, observing that it would last for 10 years, even improving with time. Greek and Roman perfume makers extracted myrrh-oil, generally referred to as stacte (q.v.), from the resin; this had the longest life of any perfume oils then known, and in consequence myrrh appears in a large number of their compound perfumes. Its use in perfumes and incenses continued into Byzantine times, but the early Arab perfume makers appear to have dropped it in favour of animal perfumes, such as ambergris and musk, which they had brought from the Far East and which were even better fixatives.
Myrtle A tall, aromatic, evergreen, shrub-like tree (Myrtus communis) growing to about 20 feet high, found in southern Europe, the Middle East and India. Myrtle Oil, sometimes called Eau d’Anges, which has a spicy, nutmeg-like fragrance, is steam-distilled from the flowers, leaves and twigs. It is used in many modern fragrances (e.g. ‘La Nuit’, ‘Antaeus’ and ‘Sybaris’) and also in soaps. The dried flowers and leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri. An oil distilled from the fruits is used in the Levant and the Orient as an aromatic tonic.
In classical times, myrtle was sacred to Venus and a bride would wear it on her wedding day. It was also worn by winners at the Olympic Games. In Greece it is still a symbol of love and immortality. The ancient Egyptians used it medicinally and for fumigation and made a hair ointment from it. Both Theophrastus and Pliny observed that the myrtle grown in Egypt had the most powerful scent, Theophrastus quoting it as an example of a perfume made from leaves. The early Arab perfume makers used both berries and young leaves, and also the dried leaves, in their recipes.
Myrurgia A privately owned Spanish perfume house established early in this century. Its perfumes include ‘Maderas de Oriente’ (1981), ‘Flor de Blason’ (26), ‘Embrujo de Sevilla’ (33), ‘Joya’ (50), ‘Nueva Maja’ (60), ‘Orgia’ (73), ‘Oasis’ (80) and ‘Only’ (for Julio Inglesias) (89), together with men’s fragrances including ‘Hidalgo’ (71), ‘Vorago’ (89), ‘Massimi Dutti’ (90), ‘Aca Joe’ (91) and ‘Adolfo Dominguez’ (91).
‘Mystere’ A quality woody-chypre perfume brought out by Rochas in 1978. It was created by Nicolas Mamounas and contains nearly 200 ingredients. In the top note citrus and honeysuckle lead into a heart in which the main components are magnolia, gardenia, frangipani and jasmine. The base notes are dominated by cedar and juniper. The bottles were designed by Robert Granai and Serge Mansau.
Naddah Also called Nadd. A very costly Arab incense which became popular among rich Arabs in medieval times. Its principal constituent was aloewood, to which was added ambergris, musk, frankincense and sometimes benzoin.
Nag Kesar An Indian tree (Mammea longifolia), also called Surgi or Surunggi. The flowers yield an essential oil used in Indian perfumery.
‘Nahema’ A quality floral perfume with fruity, woody and amber notes. Created by Jean-Paul Guerlain, it was brought out by Guerlain in 1979 and is named after a princess in the Arabian Nights Tales. Peach, bergamot, calycanthus and passion fruit in the top notes lead to a heart dominated by rose, with traces of hyacinth, ylang-ylang, jasmine, lily of the valley and lilac. The base note includes balsams of Peru and Tolu, benzoin, vanilla, storax, vetivert and sandalwood. The perfume is sold in a bottle by Robert Granai.
Nair Oil Also called Ner Oil. An essential oil distilled from the leaves of a shrub called Nair or Ner (Skimmia laurifolia) found in the Himalaya region. The oil is used for scenting soaps. The leaves of this shrub are also used locally as an incense.
‘Narcisse Noir’ One of the earliest ‘oriental’ perfumes, created by Ernest Daltroff for Caron in 1911. Its top note is bergamot, with underlying fragrances which include mandarin, petitgrain and lemon. They yield to a dry floral effect in the middle notes, preponderantly from jasmine and narcissus, with low notes based on civet, musk and sandalwood.
Narcissus Narcissus Oil, one of the most popular fragrances used in perfumery, is obtained from several species of Narcissus, most notably Narcissus poeticus, N. tazetta, N. jonquilla and N. odorus (see Jonquil). It is usually used in modern perfumery in the form of a floral concrete or absolute, and appears as one of the principal ingredients in about 11% of all modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Fatale’ and ‘Samsara’).
Narcissus poeticus, called Poet’s Narcissus or Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus, is indigenous to Europe and cultivated for the essential oil in Holland and the south of France. The oil is extracted by enfleurage and volatile solvents and its scent resembles a blending of jasmine with hyacinth. Poet’s Narcissus is generally believed to be the Narcissus of ancient times, although N. tazetta and N. jonquilla have also both been proposed.
In Greek legend, Narcissus was a youth who killed himself after falling in love with his reflection in a pool, his body then disappearing, to be replaced by the flower. Pliny states, however, that the plant was named from the Greek narce (= to be numb) on account of its narcotic properties, and not from ‘the fabulous boy’. Theophrastus described the cultivation of narcissus in 300 BC. The Romans used the flower to make a perfume they called Narcissinum. Narcissus Oil was used in early Arab perfumes. The scent of the flowers at strength in a closed room is deleterious and the oil has to be used cautiously.
Narcissus tazetta, the Bunch-flowered Narcissus, or Polyanthus Narcissus, is a native of southern Europe and is now grown widely, including in the Levant, western Asia, N. Africa, N. India, China and Japan. The main area of cultivation for the essential oil is in the south of France. A species in which it is crossed with N. poeticus, known as Poetaz Narcissus, is also used in perfumery.
Narcotic A term used in perfumery to describe exceptionally strong and heavy fragrances obtained from some flowers (e.g. jasmine and tuberose) and animalic ingredients, which need to be used with careful discretion in a perfume.
Nauli Gum A gum yielding anethole collected from the Java Almond tree (Canarium commune), found in the Solomon Islands.
Nerol A chemical substance obtained from natural sources such as oil of Petitgrain or Helichrysum and manufactured synthetically from pinene since 1902. It is used in many perfumes, especially orange blossom, magnolia and rose compounds.
Neroli The perfume oil known as Neroli is steam-distilled from the flowers of the Bitter Orange tree (Citrus aurantium var. amara = C. bigaradia), also called the Bigarade tree or Sour Orange tree. Native to S.E. Asia, this tree is believed to have been brought into Europe in the 12th century by the Arabs (who initiated the custom of wearing orange blossom at weddings as a sign of fecundity). The perfume probably obtained its name from a Prince of Neroli, an Italian, whose wife scented her bath and her gloves with it in the 16th century. Neroli Oil is produced today principally in the south of France, but also in Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Sicily, Syria and the USA. It has a distinctive odour which combines spiciness with sweet and flowery notes. Only the steam-distilled oil is called Neroli Oil. It is used as a principal ingredient in about 12% of all modern quality perfumes and colognes and also in flavouring. The liquid remaining after distillation of the essential oil is subjected to extraction by an alcohol, producing Orange Flower Water, also called Oil of Neroli Water, which is used both in perfumes and in flavourings. At one time Orange Flower Water was more popular in perfumery than the essential oil itself.
Essential oil is also obtained from the flowers of the same tree by extraction either with volatile solvents or with warm fats. This is called Orange Flower Oil and from it a concrete and absolute are prepared which are much used in high-grade floral perfumes and colognes (e.g. ‘Beautiful’ ‘Ivoire’ and ‘Montana’). About 12% of all modern quality perfumes contain Orange Flower among their main ingredients.
The same tree also produces an oil used in perfumery called Oil of Bigarade, Oil of Oranges or Bitter Orange Oil (q.v.), which is obtained from the fruit peel by expression.
Additionally, an essential oil used in perfumery is obtained from the leaves of the same tree. This is Oil of Petitgrain.
An inferior variety of Neroli Oil is produced from the Sweet Orange tree.
Nicotiana Also called the Tobacco Plant. An annual from several species of Nicotiana, including Nicotianum alatum, N. tabacum, N. affinis and N. persica, all native to America but now cultivated widely. The flowers, which have a very fragrant scent, provide a concrete and absolute by extraction which are used in making perfumes, particularly masculine ones. They are also dried for use in sachets and pot pourri. However, most perfumes of this fragrance are made synthetically.
Nigella Oil An essential oil distilled from the seeds of Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena), a hardy annual growing to about 2 feet high and native to southern Europe. It has a fragrance suggesting ambrette seeds.
Night-scented Stock The flowers of this plant (Matthiola bicornis), native to Greece and growing up to 15 inches high, open up and give out a strong scent at night time. An essential oil containing this fragrance is obtained from the flowers for use in perfumery, but the fragrance is mostly manufactured synthetically.
Nikkei Oil An essential oil distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Saigon Cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum laureirii), indigenous to Japan and also cultivated in China and Indonesia, mainly for its bark which is used as a spice. The oil has a fragrance reminiscent of lemon and cinnamon.
‘Nina’ A quality floral perfume with woody undertones created for Nina Ricci in 1987 by Argeville perfumers. The top notes, which include orange blossom, bergamot and mimosa, lead to a floral heart containing rose, iris, jasmine, violet and ylang-ylang. The base comes from sandalwood and vetiver, with basil, marigold and cassis. It is sold in a distinctive flacon by Lalique.
Nina Ricci A French fashion house founded in Paris by Nina Ricci (1883-1970) in 1932 with the support of her husband, a jeweller. After the war the house resumed its business under their son Robert, who introduced its first fragrance, ‘Coeur-Joie’, in 1946. This was followed by ‘L’Air du Temps’, one of the great classics of perfume, in 1948. Subsequent fragrances have included ‘Capricci’ (1960), ‘Mademoiselle Ricci’ (67), ‘Farouche’ (73), ‘Fleurs de Fleurs’ (82) and ‘Nina’ (87), together with three men’s fragrances, ‘Signoricci’ (65 and 75), ‘Phileas’ (84) and ‘Ricci Club’ (89). The company is now established all over the world, and its factory at Ury, near Paris, opened in 1973, produces over 100000 bottles of fragrances daily. Flacons for its principal perfumes are made by Lalique and are much sought after by collectors.
Nino Cerutti Heir to a company founded in Italy in 1881 by three Cerutti brothers to produce woollen materials, Nino Cerutti (born 1930) is now head of a world-wide fashion house based in Paris. After producing a men’s fragrance (‘Nino Cerutti pour Homme’) in 1979, the floral perfume ‘Nino Cerutti pour Femme’ was launched in 1987. Created by Jean-Claude Delville, it contains top notes of mandarin, galbanum, cardamom, peach and osmanthus, with a floral heart of tuberose, ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, orange blossom and hyacinth. The base notes include oak moss, sandalwood, patchouli, amber and vanilla. The bottle, designed by Serge Mansau, incorporates a tigella.
‘Nocturnes’ An aldehydic floral perfume launched by Caron in 1981. It was created by Firmenich perfumers. The aldehyde top notes are fruity and green, with bergamot and mandarin. Stephanotis and other floral fragrances including lily of the valley, rose, jasmine and cyclamen, provide the heart, and the base is dominated by vanilla and sandalwood. The flask, black with a stylized flower, was designed by Pierre Dinand.
Norway Spruce Oil An essential oil used in perfumery which is distilled from the needles of the Norway Spruce tree (Picea abies = P. excelsa). The tree is grown in Europe, N. Asia and the Balkans, primarily for lumber.
Nuanua Oil An essential oil steam-distilled from the leaves of a species of Nelitris growing in Samoa. It has a fragrance reminiscent of ambergris.
Nyctanthes A small tree (Nyctanthes sambac) found in Indonesia. The fragrant flowers, which have a scent similar to orange flowers, are used by Indonesian women as a hair decoration and in pot pourri. Another species, N. arbor-tristis, grows throughout India, where the fragrant flowers are used in pot pourri.
Oak Moss In European perfumery the term Oak Moss (French Mousse de Chene) relates to a lichen Evernia prunastri (= Parmelia prunastri = Lobaria prunastri), which is found growing on oak, spruce and fruit trees in mountainous districts throughout Europe and in N. Africa. In the USA the term also includes other lichens known in Europe as Tree Moss. The lichen is collected, mostly in France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Morocco, and the fragrance, which is earthy and woody with a hint of musk and is sometimes classified as amber, develops over a period of storage; a resinoid and absolute are then extracted by volatile solvents. Oak moss is now a very important material for perfumers, making an excellent fixative. It is much used in chypre and fougere perfumes, or to provide a woody note, as well as in toilet waters, soaps and cosmetics, and appears as a principal ingredient in some 30% of all modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Diva’, Tarure’ and ‘Red’) and 37% of all men’s quality fragrances (e.g. ‘Ricci Club’ and ‘Polo’). The raw material is also used in sachets and pot pourri.
Oak moss was imported by the ancient Egyptians from the Greek islands to leaven and flavour bread, and is still so used in some Arab areas. In the Middle Ages, when Cyprus was the main source of supply, its fixative qualities were discovered and it began to be used in aromatic powders
‘Obsession’ An unusually strong and spicy floriental perfume created by the perfumers of Roure for Calvin Klein in 1985. Mandarin, bergamot and vanilla in the top notes lead into a heart of jasmine, orange blossom, sandalwood, vetivert and other spicy notes, with a base which includes amber, oak moss, frankincense and musk. It is sold in a flacon by Brosse and bottles designed by Pierre Dinand.
Oenanthe A perfume of ancient Greece made from vine leaves. It was mostly manufactured in Cyprus. Pliny listed it among the ingredients of the royal unguent of the Kings of Parthia.
‘Old Spice’ Sometimes regarded as the progenitor of the modern style of men’s fragrances, ‘Old Spice’ was introduced by Shulton in 1937 and has been a top-selling mass-market men’s fragrance ever since. A fresh, citrusy top note heads a spicy heart in which carnation and cinnamon predominate, underlined by a powdery base with traces of musk, vanilla and cedarwood.
Olive The Olive or Common Olive tree (Olea europaea), also called Olivier, is native to the Mediterranean, Asia Minor and Syria, and is known to have been grown in Crete since at least 3500 BC. It is now also cultivated in Chile, Peru, S. Australia and elsewhere for its oil. Olive Gum, also called Lucca Gum, derived from this tree, is used in Italy in the manufacture of perfumes. Olive oil was produced by the ancient Egyptians mainly as a lamp oil, but they also prepared a perfumed oil by steeping fragrant flowers in it (see Balanos Oil). Theophrastus noted that oil freshly pressed from ‘coarse olives’ was the best for use as a perfume base. The early Arab perfume makers used it as a base in many of their compound perfumes, sometimes in conjunction with pitch.
Olla-podrida A pot pourri made by perfume manufacturers out of their waste materials, such as spent plant and animal materials, to which are added inexpensive herbs such as thyme and rosemary, together with lavender and rose petals.
‘Ombre Rose’ A floral perfume produced in 1982 by the fashion designer and milliner Jean-Charles Brosseau in association with Jean Patou. It was created by Roure perfumers. Iris and vanilla in the top notes herald middle notes of ylang-ylang, lily of the valley and peach, with woody base notes. The perfume is sold in an unusual hexagonal flacon of black or frosted crystal with a floral pattern in bas relief, modelled after an antique flask.
‘Only’ A perfume launched in 1990 by Myrurgia in association with the singer Julio Iglesias. Top notes in a blend of ylang-ylang, marigold, bergamot and pineapple lead to a floral bouquet in the heart, chiefly rose, mimosa, jasmine, tuberose and violet, with woody and balsamic base notes containing vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, musk and labdanum.
Onycha A word with the same derivation as ‘onyx’ (meaning in Greek a finger nail or claw) which is used as an alternative name for Sweet Hoof. In the Bible it appears as a perfume material, Exodus 30:34 quoting it as an ingredient in the holy incense of the Jews, and Ecclesiasticus 24:15 as ‘a pleasant odour’, but some authorities have suggested that in these contexts it may have been a plant material, possibly labdanum.
Omphacium An oil or juice used in Roman perfumes which was squeezed out of unripe olives or dates. Pliny noted its use in Metopium unguent, ‘oil of roses’ and other compound perfumes.
‘Opium’ An oriental-type perfume created for Yves St Laurent by Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac of Roure-Bertrand (now Roure) and first marketed in 1977. The top notes are a mixture of fruit and spices, with mandarin, plum, clove, pepper and coriander. In the floral middle notes lily of the valley, rose and jasmine predominate, underlined by a base note containing labdanum, benzoin, myrrh, opoponax, castoreum, cedarwood and sandalwood. The bottle was designed by Pierre Dinand and it also appears in flacons by Brosse.
Opoponax Also known as Bissabol, Perfumed Bdellium, Female Frankincense and Coarse Myrrh of Aden. A gum-resin obtained from a bdellium tree, Commiphora erythraea var. glabrescens, found in Somalia and Ethiopia. The tree is closely related to myrrh. The gum has been known in the past variously as Sweet Bdellium, Sweet Myrrh and False Myrrh. Bissabol is the Indian name for it. It occurs in small yellowish-brown lumps flecked with white, and has a mild but persistent odour described by some as like crushed ivy leaves, by others as a blend of frankincense, celery, lovage and angelica. The oil is separated by distillation. Opoponax is being used increasingly in western perfumery, appearing in many high-class perfumes (e.g. ‘Opium’, ‘Panthere’ and ‘Shalimar’). In India and China it is used in incenses. It is a good fixative, especially for pot pourri. It would appear that until the present century the substance known as Opoponax may have been an inferior gum derived from a closely related tree, Commiphora kataf, sometimes called the Opoponax Myrrh tree, which grows in S. Arabia and nearby regions of Africa. See also Cassie Ancienne.
Opoponax is also likely to have been the substance generally translated as myrrh which was imported into the Land of Punt by the ancient Egyptians (see Egyptian Perfumes), who regarded it very highly. It was probably also the substance known to the Romans as ‘scented myrrh’.
A gum called Opoponax which is used in perfumery is also obtained from the lower stems of a perennial plant Opoponax chironium, found from the Mediterranean to Iran. Its fragrance has been described as like fenugreek with a background of lovage and costus.
Orange Blossom Also called Mexican Orange. A flowering shrub (Choysia ternata) growing up to 6 feet high, which is native to Mexico but now grown widely. The flowers, with a sweet scent reminiscent of the flowers of orange trees, provide an essential oil used among the main ingredients in about 11% of all modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Lou-Lou’, ‘C’est la Vie’ and ‘Madame Rochas’). See also under Mock Orange Blossom, Neroli and Sweet Orange.
Orange Flower Oil An essential oil obtained from the flowers of the Bitter Orange tree by extraction (oil obtained from the same source by steam-distillation is called Neroli). See further details under Neroli.
Orange Flower Water Also called Oil of Neroli Water. The distilled water left after distilling Neroli. It is a product of some commercial importance in itself and waters of several strengths are recognized.
Orchid Oil A fragrant essential oil extracted by volatile solvents from an orchid, Orchis militaris and related species. But the fragrance is also made synthetically. Examples of quality perfumes containing orchid are ‘L’Origan’, ‘Rumba’ and ‘Red Door’.
Organ Also called Fragrance Organ and Perfumer’s Organ. In perfumery, the work table and surrounding shelves with their bottles of perfume ingredients, at which the perfume creators sit to produce their perfumes. See also Mouillette.
Oriental Perfumes Perfumes containing principal ingredients which are reminiscent of the East, giving them a strongly exotic, spicy or balsamic character.
Origanum Oil An essential oil with a thyme-like scent which is steam-distilled from the leaves and tops of Origanum (Origanum heracleoticum =O. vulgare prisonaticum), also called Rigani and Winter Marjoram, and related species. The plant is a perennial herb growing to about 2 feet high and native to the Mediterranean region. The oil varies considerably according to the species, which are mostly restricted to specific areas, including Crete, Cyprus and Algeria. It is similar to, though harsher than, Oil of Marjoram, which comes from other species of the same genus. Spanish Origanum Oil is distilled from Couched Thyme (Thymus capitatus), native to the Mediterranean region, and used in flavouring. See Marjoram and Thyme. Origanum Oil appears in many modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Fatale’).
Orris Also called Orrice, Arrace, Florentine Orris, Iris, Ireos of Florence, Illyrium Orrice and Illirick Orris. One of the most important of all perfume materials, orris derives from the dried rhizomes of certain species of Iris. Because Orris Oil, which is steam-distilled from the powdered rhizomes after some two years of storage, has an oily, yellow appearance, it is also called Orris Butter. It has a violet-like fragrance and is extensively used blended with ionone as a base for violet compositions and in other floral compounds. It has the property of strengthening other fragrances and is a good fixative. Orris (or Iris) appears as a principal ingredient in about 32% of all modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Byzance’, ‘Fleur de Fleurs’, ‘Gucci No. 3’ and ‘Madame Rochas’). The dried roots are also used in sachets and pot pourri.
The best-quality orris is obtained from Iris pallida, native to the E. Mediterranean area and now mainly cultivated around Florence. The Florentine Orris (I. florentina) of southern Europe, also known as the White Flower de Luce (Fleur de Lys), is cultivated in Italy, France, Germany, Morocco and India. The German Iris, also called Flag Iris and Blue Flower de Luce (I. germanica), native to southern Europe, is less highly regarded as a perfume source.
The Iris, regarded from antiquity as a symbol of power and majesty, was named after the goddess of the rainbow because of the beauty and variety of its flowers. The ancient Egyptians held it as sacred and placed it on the sceptre of their kings. It was used in Greek and Roman perfumes from an early date. Theophrastus noted that the fragrance was at its best three years after the roots were gathered, and Pliny observed that the best came from Illyricum Macedonia, Elis and Corinth were famous for their irris unguents. Although it had no part in Arab perfumes, it maintained its popularity in Europe. Orris powder once formed the basis of most sachets, tooth powders and hair powders, and pieces of orris root were made into beads for pomander bracelets and rosaries. A perfume was being made in the 15th century comprising orris root mixed with anise, and early in the 18th century orris was in wide demand, with orris powder being sold in silk or satin sachets for wearing on the body.
Oscar de la Renta A perfume company formed by the prominent Spanish-born American – Dominican fashion designer Oscar de la Renta (b. 1932) with the launch of ‘Oscar de la Renta’ perfume in 1977; the company has subsequently issued two men’s fragrances – ‘Pour Lui’ (81) and ‘Ruffles’ (87). It was acquired by Avon in 1988 but purchased from them by Sanofi in 1990.
‘Oscar de la Renta’ is a quality floral-oriental fragrance, created by Roure perfumers, favoured, among others, by Mrs Nancy Reagan, and winner of a Fragrance Foundation award. The top notes of orange flower, basil, coriander and cascarilla lead to a heart which includes ylang-ylang, broom, jasmine, rose and tuberose, and to base notes containing patchouli, sandalwood, vetivert, vanilla, myrrh and castoreum. It is contained in a crystal bottle with a stylized flower stopper designed by Serge Mansau.
Osmanthus A floral concrete and absolute are obtained by extraction from the flowers of Osmanthus fragrans (= Olea fragrans), an evergreen tree growing to about 20 feet high in China and Japan. In China the flowers, known as Kwei Hwa or Mo Hsi, are used to scent tea and other foodstuffs. The fragrance is jasmine-like, with a suggestion of plums and raisins, and is found in high-class perfumes (e.g. ‘Mille’ (‘1000’), ‘Ciao’, ‘Nino Cerutti’ and ‘Red’).
Oyster Oil An essential oil with a typical pine fragrance distilled from the leaves of the Bay Pine tree (Callitris rhomboides) of Australia.
Paco Rabanne The French company Parfums Paco Rabanne was formed by Antonio Puig, in conjunction with the Spanish-born avant-garde costume and fashion designer Paco Rabanne in Paris in 1969, when it launched ‘Calandre’. Its subsequent fragrances have been ‘Paco Rabanne pour Homme’ (74), Metal (79), ‘Soin pour Homme’ (84), ‘La Nuit’ (85), Tenere’ (88) and ‘Sport de Paco Rabanne’ (90). The company has a factory in Chartres, opened in 1976.
‘Paco Rabanne pour Homme’ A trend-setting fougere fragrance for men brought out by Paco Rabanne in 1973. Created by Givaudan perfumers, its main constituents are bergamot and lavender in the top notes, clary sage, carnation, rosemary and lavender in the middle notes, and tree moss and musk in the base. The bottle was designed by Pierre Dinand.
Palma Rosa Oil Also called East Indian Geranium Oil. An essential oil with a rose – geranium-like scent steam-distilled from the leaves of a variety of Rosha (Rusa) Grass (Cymbopogon martinii) called Motia, which grows in drier areas of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia. It is used in quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Vanderbilt’ and ‘Vol de Nuit’) and soaps and as a source of geraniol, its principal constituent. Distillation of this oil, formerly known as Turkish Geranium Oil’, commenced in the 18th century.
‘Panache’ A floral aldehyde perfume launched by Lentheric in 1977. Green aldehydic top notes, with peach, thyme and pineneedle, lead into a floral green heart which includes jasmine, ylang-ylang, carnation and orris. Base notes are oak moss, cedar, musk, amber and myrrh. ‘Panache Evening Edition’, brought out in 1989, has chypre and amber notes.
Pandanus Oil A honey-like essential oil extracted from the fresh male flowers of a water-loving tree resembling a date-palm, mostly found on or near beaches, called the Pandanus Tree or Thatch Screw Pine (Pandanus odoratissimus = P. tectorus = Keura odorifera). The tree is cultivated in India, the Seychelles, the Andaman Islands, Malaysia, Australia and certain Pacific islands, and also found in Arabia and Iran. The Indian name for the tree is Pandang and for the flowers and the perfume Keora (or Kewra). The odour is suggestive of lilac, honeysuckle and ylang-ylang blended with a prominent top note of hyacinth and tuberose. The oil was known to the early Arab perfume makers from at least the 8th century AD and was at one time an important export from Yemen.
‘Panthere’ A floral-woody quality perfume introduced by Cartier in 1987. Created by Firmenich perfumers, it has top notes of tuberose, orange flower, rose and jasmine, with a touch of mandarin and labdanum; these blend with woody middle notes which contain iris, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, nutmeg and oak moss. The base includes civet, musk, ambergris, vanilla and opoponax. The flacon, made to a Carrier design, features stylized panthers.
‘Paradoxe’ A leather-chypre perfume brought out by Cardin in 1983. It was created by Roure perfumers. Aldehydic top notes, with mandarin, lemon and bergamot, introduce a heart containing jasmine, hyacinth, ylang-ylang, iris and tuberose, with base notes which include pepper, frankincense, amber, musk and leather. The wheel-shaped bottle was designed by Serge Mansau.
‘Parfum d’Hermes’ A quality ‘floriental’ perfume created for Hermes in 1984 by Roure perfumers. Floral top notes, such as rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang, introduce a heart which contains iris, carnation and geranium, supported by a rich base of wide-ranging fragrances including myrrh, frankincense, labdanum, cedarwood, sandalwood, vetivert, vanilla and civet. The ring-shaped flacon, bound with silver metal and representing a stirrup link, was designed by Jacques Llorente.
‘Paris’ An intensely floral perfume created by Sophia Grojsman of IFF for Yves St Laurent in 1983 and based principally on the rose. Floral top notes of mimosa, geranium, hawthorn and cassie lead to a heart of rose, backed by violet and orris, with woody and ambery base notes which include sandalwood, amber and musk. The flacon, faceted to give an impression of rose petals, was designed by Alain de Mourgues and is made by Brosse.
Parquet, Paul Chief perfumer for Houbigant in the late 19th century and one of the earliest perfumers to use synthetics in his creations, notably with ‘Le Parfum Ideal’, created in 1896. Parquet also created ‘Fougere Royale’, the first fougere fragrance.
Parsley An oil steam-distilled from the seeds (Parsley Seed Oil) or leaves (Parsley Herb Oil) of the Parsley plant (Petroselinum sativum = P. crispum), native to Asia Minor but now found all over the world. It has a spicy, herbal fragrance and is used in herbal-type perfumes as well as in flavouring.
Parsnip Oil An oil steam-distilled from the fruit, flowers and roots of the Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa = Peucedanum sativum), a vegetable plant cultivated in Europe since Roman times and introduced into America in the 17th century. It is now grown in temperate regions all over the world. The oil is aromatic, with a suggestion of vetiver, and is occasionally used in spicy, herbal-type perfumes.
‘Parure’ An innovative chypre perfume, with a mossy, leathery, balsamic base note, created by Jean Paul Guerlain and introduced by Guerlain in 1975. The name means ‘adornment’. Aldehydic top notes containing citrus, thyme, galbanum and clary sage introduce a floral bouquet of jasmine, rose, lilac, lily of the valley, narcissus, jonquil and orris, constructed on a base which includes balsam of Peru, ambergris, styrax and vetiver, together with moss and leather. The flacon has a distinctive petal-shaped stopper and was designed by Robert Granai.
Pastille Burners Also called Perfume Burners (but see also under Burning Oil), these came into use in Britain in the 18th century as a means of burning an incense to clear the smell of food from a dining-room after a meal. They were made of silver, having a small urn with a pierced lid to hold a perfumed paste which was aromatized by a spirit burner underneath. Subsequently more simple pastille burners of china or earthenware were used widely to scent rooms, often in the style of a cottage with a smoking chimney in which the pastille was left to smoulder. The paste usually contained sandalwood, benzoin, cassia, cloves and balsam of Tolu. In France, more elaborate pastille burners of porcelain were used, sometimes in the shape of tree trunks.
Patchouli An essential oil steam-distilled from the dried and fermented leaves of a mint-like plant called Patchouli, Java Patchouli and Pucha-pat (Pogostemon heyneansus = P. patchouli = P. cablin) which grows up to 3 feet tall in Malaysia and Indonesia. It is also now cultivated in India, China, Madagascar, the Seychelles, the West Indies, Brazil and Uruguay. The oil, which has a unique, cedar-like odour with spicy undertones which improves with age, is the most powerful of all the plant scents and one of the finest fixatives known. It is used particularly in ‘heavy’ and oriental-type perfumes, but only in very minute quantity because of its strength. It is usually diluted with attar of roses and dissolved in rectified spirit. One cwt of the leaves produces about 28 oz of essential oil. It appears among the main base note ingredients of some 33% of all modern quality perfumes and 50% of all men’s quality fragrances. It is also used in soaps and the dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Patchouli first became known in Europe early in the 19th century, when shawls scented with it were sent to Europe from India and became very fashionable. It is still used in the East to scent clothes and linen.
An inferior form of the oil called Khasia Patchouli Oil and Oil of Assam is distilled from the leaves of a woody plant (Microtonea cymosa), native to India and Assam. This oil is used in China and Vietnam as a perfume, particularly to scent soaps and fabrics.
Patou, Jean A leading Paris fashion and perfume house formed in 1919 by Jean Patou (d. 1936) and still controlled by his family. Jean Patou commenced his perfumery business in 1925 with three famous perfumes, ‘Amour-Amour’, ‘Que Sais-Je’ and ‘Adieu Sagesse’. In subsequent years the company issued ‘Chaldee’ (1927), ‘Le Sien’ and ‘Moment Supreme’ (29), ‘Cocktail Dry’, ‘Cocktail Sweet’ and ‘Cocktail Bitter Sweet’ (30) and, in the same year, their most famous perfume ‘Joy’; then ‘Divine Folie’ (33), ‘Normandie’ (35), ‘Vacances’ (36), ‘Colony’ (38), ‘L’Heure Attendue’ (46), ‘Monsieur Net’ (56) and ‘Caline’ (64); most of these, including ‘Joy’, were created by the company’s perfumer Henri Almeras; several of them were relaunched in 1984 in flacons modelled after the originals by Louis Sue. ‘L’Eau de Sport’ followed in 1969, then ‘1000’ (Mille) (72), ‘Eau de Patou’ (76), ‘Patou pour Homme’ (80) and ‘Ma Liberte’ (87). Patou’s principal perfumer has, since 1967, been Jean Kerleo.
Peach The peach tree (Amygdalus persica = Prunus persica) was probably introduced into Europe through Persia from China in Graeco-Roman times. Theophrastus knew of it as a Persian fruit. An oil obtained from the leaves, flowers and kernals has uses in herbal medicines. The early Arab perfumers used the flesh of the kernals. The fragrance of peach can be obtained by distillation of the fruit juice but is mostly produced synthetically. It is used to provide a fruity note in many modern perfumes (e.g. ‘Habanita’, ‘Amouage’, ‘Femme’, ‘Climat’ and ‘Mitsouko’).
Peau d’Espagne A very expensive perfumed leather popular in Europe in the 16th century for making jerkins and other items of clothing for the wealthy. It was imported into Britain from Spain up to the time of the Armada. A preparation made of neroli, rose, sandalwood, lavender, civet, verbena, musk, clove and cinnamon was used to saturate the leather.
Penhaligon’s Established as perfumers in 1870 by a Cornish barber, William Penhaligon, who had set up shop in London. The company fell apart after his death, until 1975, when it was revived and expanded by Sheila Pickles. In 1987 it became part of the Laura Ashley Group. Its customers have included Churchill and Rothschild, and it holds royal warrants to supply the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.
Penhaligon’s make fragrances at Eau de Toilette and Cologne strength and sell a variety of high-quality toiletry articles, including antique silver-decorated scent bottles. Fragrances sold include ‘Hammam Bouquet’ (first introduced in 1872), ‘Lords’ (1911), ‘Blenheim Bouquet’ (1902) and ‘English Fern’ (1911), all for men; fragrances for women include ‘Victorian Posy’ (created for the Victorian and Albert Museum in 1979), ‘Jubilee Bouquet’ (77), ‘Elizabethan Rose’ (84), ‘Bluebell’ (78) and ‘Cornubia’ (91).
Pennyroyal Also called European Pennyroyal, Pulegium, Pudding Grass and by a large number of local names. A species of Mint (Mentha pulegium) found in Europe, the Mediterranean area and the Middle East and cultivated in Japan, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia. Oil of Pennyroyal, also called Oil of Pulegium, is steam-distilled from the lightly dried herb, providing a minty, spicy and slightly bitter fragrance; it is used occasionally in perfumery in the reproduction of other fragrances and for scenting soaps, also in medicines and in the manufacture of menthol. The dried leaves are used (in moderation, as their odour is a strong one) in sachets and pot pourris.
Pennyroyal was a popular herb in classical times. The name Pulegium means ‘flea plant’, deriving from its use in rooms as a strewing plant to deter fleas. The Greeks associated it with Demeter, the goddess of Nature, and wore it behind their ears as a protection against sunstroke.
Peony Also spelled Paeony. The Peony plant Paeonia foemina (= P. officinalis), also called the Apothecary’s Peony (but there are several other species of peony) was believed in ancient times to shine during the night, so protecting shepherds and driving away evil spirits. The flowers, which are mildly fragrant, are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Pepper Oil An oil obtained by steam-distillation from the unripe berries of the pepper vine (Piper nigrum), native to India and Malaysia but cultivated throughout the Far East for pepper. This oil has the distinctive odour of pepper. It is mainly used in fragrances for men, but appears in some modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Le Jardin d’Amour’ and ‘L’Interdit’). Pepper was an important condiment in Roman times, but does not appear to have been used in early perfumery.
Peppermint An essential oil steam-distilled from the fresh or partially dried flowering tops of several varieties of the Peppermint plant (Mentha piperata), a species of Mint cultivated widely in Europe, Japan and N. America. It is used in toilet waters and soaps, but mainly as a flavouring agent, especially in medicines and toothpastes. The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
A form of Peppermint Oil known as Arvensis Peppermint Oil is distilled from varieties of Field Mint (Mentha arvensis) native to China and Japan and cultivated there and in Korea, Taiwan, Brazil and Paraguay. It has occasional uses in perfumery, but is mostly employed in pharmaceuticals and toothpastes.
Perfume The word ‘perfume’ derives from Latin per fume, meaning ‘through smoke’, indicative of the importance of incense in the early use of fragrant materials. In its modern meaning, perfume is a concentrated essence of fragrant materials diluted in the minimum possible amount of a high-grade alcohol. The fragrancy content of a perfume sold over the counter (also known in this sense as an ‘extrait’) is about 15-30%, with the alcohol it is diluted in being 90-95% pure. Any mixture containing a lower proportion of fragrancy is an eau (water). The different types of eau (eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, for each of which see separate entries) contain progressively smaller amounts of the fragrancy essence and weaker solutions of alcohol. The word ‘perfume’ is also more loosely used in a sense synonymous with fragrance or aroma. Until a few years ago the British used the word ‘scent’ to describe the bottled liquid which in France and the USA has always been known as ‘perfume’, but this distinction is no longer made.
The liquid perfumes (including Waters) used in modern quality perfumery may be of three types. First, there are preparations based on what is generally termed the classical structure, introduced at the end of the 19th century, of top, middle and lower notes (see Perfume Notes); these are usually highly elaborate concoctions, containing anything from a few dozen ingredients to several hundred (e.g. 692 in ‘Red’), both natural and synthetic, and are classified under a number of broad categories (see Perfume Families). Secondly, there are ‘Single Note’ (or ‘Single Fragrance’) perfumes, which are made to provide the scent of a specific plant or flower or a simple posy of flowers or other fragrances, with few low notes; in some cases these will be composed of the essential oil of the flower in question, fortified with other ingredients to intensify the fragrance and to promote stability, smoothness and lasting power; in other cases (e.g. freesia) they may be made entirely of synthetic components, because the natural fragrance of the flower cannot be extracted, or can be reproduced more effectively and economically by such synthesis; in either case a ‘single note’ perfume will use a surprisingly large number of ingredients. Many ‘single note’ perfumes now marketed are fragrances first devised in the 19th century, or even earlier (e.g. ‘Rose Geranium’ and ‘Lily of the Valley’ by Floris) which are still sold by the perfume houses who originated them. Thirdly, there is a type of perfume which entered the market in the 1980s and to which the names linear fragrance, or sometimes horizontal fragrance, are applied; such perfumes are very strong and are designed to provide a powerful instant impression which does not change with time as do the classical three-note perfumes; in effect they may be seen as two-note perfumes, lacking top notes but with an unusually strong heart.
Perfume, Care of Pliny wrote nearly 2000 years ago that unguents kept best in alabaster boxes (which were very cool), and that sunshine was detrimental to scents, which should be stored in the shade. This is broadly valid today. The enemies of delicate perfumes, as Guy Robert has written, are air, heat and light. A bottle of perfume should always be kept closed when not in use, preferably in a cool, dark place. Once the bottle is opened, some deterioration is inevitable because of the air let in, and this will become more apparent as the amount of liquid in the bottle reduces, because the bottle will then contain increasingly more air. The top notes, with their high evaporation rate, will suffer first, so that the character of the perfume will change. A quality perfume properly stored in an unopened bottle or in a bottle which is more or less full should last ten to twenty years, but in due course any air in the bottle will lead to oxidization, making the liquid dark and acidic, so it is unwise to try to retain a perfume for longer. Once the bottle has been opened and some of the perfume in it used, the best advice is to use all of it within a year or two, before the fragrance changes and starts to become unpleasantly oily and strong.
Perfume, Choice of Different types of perfume suit different personalities and different occasions (see Perfume Families). The selection of what is the most suitable perfume for a particular person is very much a matter of personal preference and taste, depending on her life style and the circumstances in which she will be wearing it, but the trained consultants who serve behind most perfume counters will be able to give helpful assistance in making a choice. It should be remembered that perfumes can change with the body chemistry of an individual, so what is entirely satisfactory for one woman may not last so long on another and may even smell rather different.
It is advisable to try out a perfume by choosing one of the lighter concentrations, such as the eau de cologne, applying it to the pulse points on the wrist. It should not be rubbed into the skin, as that can impair the fragrance. It should be worn for at least an hour and preferably longer, so that the top, middle and lower notes in it will have time to unfold (see Perfume Notes). If it is still found to be pleasing after that time then it is suitable.
Body temperature affects the chemical balance of the skin and can change the character of a perfume, so a scent should not be chosen immediately after hard exercise or when a woman is feeling out of sorts and is possibly running a temperature.
If more than one perfume is being tested then the lighter one should be tried first and samples should be sprayed as far apart on the skin as possible (on the other wrist, and then, perhaps, on the top of the arm).
Perfume, Classification of Fragrances The first comprehensive method of classifying the fragrances of perfume ingredients was proposed by Rimmel at the end of the 19th century. In his Book of Perfumes he set out a table identifying 18 different representative types of fragrance, grouping each into a class with other materials having a similar fragrance. His classification, slightly modified to accord with later terminology, was as follows.
Class Type Other fragrances
Almondy Bitter almond Laurels, peach kernals, mirbane
Amber Ambergris Oak moss
Anise Aniseed Badiane, caraway, dill, fennel,
Balsamic Vanilla Balsam of Tolu, balsam of Peru,
benzoin, styrax, tonka
Camphoraceous Camphor Rosemary, patchouli
CaryophyllaceousClove Carnation, clove-pink
Citrine Lemon Bergamot, orange, cedrat, limes
Fruity Pear Apple, pineapple, quince
Jasmin Jasmine Lily of the Valley
Lavender Lavender Spike, thyme, serpolet, marjoram
Minty Peppermint Spearmint, balm, rue, sage
Musky Musk Civet, ambrette seed, musk plant
Orange flower Neroli Acacia, syringa, orange leaves
Rosaceous Rose Geranium, sweet briar, rhodium
Sandal Sandalwood Vetivert, cedarwood
Spicy Cinnamon Cassia, nutmeg, mace, pimento
Tuberose Tuberose Lily, jonquil, narcissus, hyacinth
Violet Violet Cassie, orris-root, mignonette
Rimmel’s system has remained a useful method of fragrance classification ever since, though increasingly limited in value as new fragrances, especially synthetic ones, have come into use. Piesse attempted to introduce an entirely different concept under which the odours were arranged on a basis of musical notes; by this he held that a perfumer could achieve an effective bouquet of fragrance by choosing odours which corresponded to a harmonious chord in music. The system no longer pertains, but the notion of fragrances as musical notes has remained (see Perfume Notes).
Various other attempts at more satisfactory methods of classification have been made since, ending with a table produced by W.A. Poucher setting out perfume materials against a scale of 100 according to measurements of their evaporation rates. This has the merit of being divisible into three sections, indicating fragrances suitable for the top, middle and lower notes of a perfume. Thus niaouli (1), the fastest evaporating of all perfume materials, appears with mandarin (2), coriander (3), lavender (4), bergamot (6), spike lavender (9), galbanum oil, kuromoji, lovage and nutmeg (11), and lemongrass, mimosa absolute and palma rosa (14) in the part of the scale listing fragrances suitable for ‘top notes’. The ‘middle note’ fragrances are rated from 15 to 69, Poucher’s list including rose otto, dill and storax oil (15), calamus, marjoram, orris absolute and violet leaves absolute (18), clove (22), geranium, jonquil absolute and ylang-ylang (24), orange flower absolute (31) and rose, tuberose and jasmine absolutes (43). ‘Base note’ fragrances rate from 70 to 100, with galbanum and opoponax resins at 90, angelica at 94 and, at 100, many of the important ingredients used as fixatives, such as ambergris, balsam of Peru, benzoin, costus, coumarin, labdanum, oak moss, olibanum (frankincense), patchouli, pimento, sandalwood, storax resin, tonka and vetiver. Space does not permit Poucher’s table to be reproduced in full.
Perfume Containers The earliest perfume containers were made of terracotta, but the Ancient Egyptians began to develop the art of glass making from the 4th millennium BC and by about 1500 BC skilfully decorated glass perfume bottles were in use. Bottles, vases and pots of alabaster, onyx and porphyry were also used from early times, having the advantage of preserving the oils and unguents in them by keeping them cool. In Egyptian court circles perfume containers of silver were known. Some perfume materials and cosmetics were also kept in decorated boxes made of wood or ivory.
Greek perfume containers were made in a similar variety of substances, sometimes exquisitely carved. Greek ointment vials of pottery, called Lekythen, with a narrow neck, a single handle and decoration in black, are frequently found in tombs. The Greek Aryballos, a small unguent flask, was carried suspended from the owner’s wrist by a leather cord. Some Greek scent bottles were made in the shape of human or animal heads.
In Roman times glass, onyx and alabaster remained the most normal materials for perfume containers (‘Balsamaria’ – and see also Alabastrum). They were produced in a wide variety of shapes and designs, often of the highest craftsmanship. Common perfumes for the less wealthy were sometimes sold in shell-shaped containers made of earthenware. Cosmetic creams were sold in glazed earthenware pots. Rich Romans sometimes used elaborate cases or boxes (Narthecia), often of precious metal, to hold their perfume and toilet requirements when they travelled or attended the public baths. Frankincense, burned as an incense on an altar or a turibulum both in temples and in the home, was kept in small boxes called Acerra.
As perfumery began to flourish in Europe, so skilfully wrought perfume containers of glass and metal were created by European craftsmen to hold their fragrant materials, though with little change in styles. Glass scent bottles were being made in France, England, Silesia, Bohemia and Italy from the 16th century. The pomander, carried in the hand or hanging round the waist, required a new type of container, which was originally ball-shaped and usually made of precious metal or ivory. The pouncet box held perfumed powders. Developing from the pomander came, in the 18th century, the vinaigrette, a tiny silver box holding a perfumed sponge. Novelty containers of this period included ‘Oiselets de chypre’ (see under Chypre), but most French 17th and early 18th century perfume was sold in white glazed earthenware pots.
The discovery of the Chinese porcelain-making secrets early in the 18th century made an important new material available for scent bottles, notably those produced at Meissen, Sevres and Chelsea. From the end of the 18th century the manufacture of small scent bottles of porcelain, glass, enamel and precious metal became a considerable art; enamelware scent bottles made at Battersea and Bilston at this period, for example, are now valuable collectors’ pieces. A feature of the time was the decorated case containing two, three or four tiny bottles, so that the owner could vary the kind of perfume worn at different times of day. Perfume was usually sold in plain containers and transferred at home into these more decorative bottles.
By the middle of the 19th century, perfume and perfume containers were being manufactured on an industrial scale both in Europe and in the USA, the bottles being mostly made of glass. Popular glass styles included opaline (notably between 1825 and 1870), vaseline (between 1835 and 1900), cameo (from the 1870s), satin (notably in the 1880s), milk glass and cut glass (both from about 1890). Bottles, usually in coloured glass, decorated with overlaid patterns cut out of silver became fashionable from the 1870s. Double scent bottles were popular from the 1850s, Chatelaine Bottles and Tulip Bottles from c. 1880s. Atomizers were introduced early in this century. The principal glass makers of the period included the Cristalleries of Baccarat, Nancy, Saint-Louis, Andre Jolivet, and the Verreries of Argentueil and Viard et Viollet le Due in France, Thomas Webb and Stevens & Williams in England, Val St Lambert in Belgium and Moser in Bohemia. In the 1890s the American firms of Tiffany and Carder brought out quality bottles of Art Nouveau style to compete with European products, while, from its foundation in 1903, the Steuben Glass Works of New York also produced scent bottles which are now highly valued by collectors. The Art Deco style was adopted by many perfume bottle makers from the 1920s. In the same period it became fashionable for women to carry their perfume with them, leading to a vogue for very small bottles which they could keep in their handbags. Bottles with fan stoppers were popular from the 1930s. From the end of the 19th century, growing competition had brought increasing demands from the perfumers for more appealing packaging not only in the shapes of the bottles but also in the designs of ribbons, labels and boxes, leading to an important new industry for supplying them.
Early in the 20th century the requirements of, in particular, Francois Coty (see Coty) on Baccarat and Lalique for new containers of very high ： quality for the commercial sale of perfume revolutionized ideas about the design of perfume flacons. In the 1920s the style of flacons chosen for the line of perfumes issued by Chanel also had a strong influence on flacon design. Notable designers of flacons at this time, in addition to Rene Lalique, included Maurice Martinot and Sue et Mare (see, for example, ‘Joy’ and ‘Amour Amour’). Significant new manufacturing techniques were developed by Brosse.
Since the 1960s a large proportion of bottles used for brand-name perfumes, other than bottles prepared ‘in house’ by some perfume companies, has been designed by a comparatively small number of designers. Most prominent among these are Pierre Dinand, Serge Mansau, Jacques Helleu, Alain de Mourgues and Jacques Llorente, also the studios of Ira Levy, Annegret Beier, Joel Desgrippes, Robert Granai, Peter Schmidt and Bernard Kotyuk. Among many striking designs by these and other artists may be noted the ‘in-house’ flacons designed by Boucheron and Cartier, the prize-winning designs for ‘Chloe’, ‘Oscar de la Renta’ and ‘Montana’, Paloma Picasso and Bernard Kotyuk’s flacon for ‘Mon Parfum’, the Dali-inspired flacon for ‘Salvador Dali’, the opulent containers made by Aspreys for ‘Amouage’, the modernistic flacon for ‘V’E’ designed by Thierry Lecoule and Pierre Dinand’s flacon for ‘Vicky Tiel’. Flacons of the highest quality of design and workmanship continue to come from Baccarat and Lalique and distinguished glass and crystal flacons are also produced by Brosse.
Mention may also be made of the mass-production glassmakers who produce perfume bottles by the thousand to the drawings of the designers. Again most of this work is done by a comparatively small number of large firms, among whom the most prominent are Saint Gobain Desjonqueres, B.S.N. Verreries de Manieres, Pochet et du Courval and Luigi Bormioli. Between them these four firms manufacture about 90% of all mass-produced perfume bottles. In the USA, the Wheaton Glassworks and Carr-Lowry Co. are notable among firms making bottles for leading perfume companies.
A notable development of recent times has been the popularity of 19th and 20th century scent bottles as collectors pieces. This hobby, already established for some years on the Continent and mainly confined to French perfume bottles, is now growing in Britain. In May 1990, Bonhams of London held the first auction sale in Britain devoted entirely to scent bottles, when Baccarat and Lalique pieces fetched up to £800. At a similar sale at the end of that year some rare pieces by these two makers obtained up to £3500 each. Highly prized and exceptionally rare Lalique flacons can now sell for around £10 000, and a record price of approximately £16 000 has been reached for one such item.
Perfume Creation The decision to create and market a new perfume is necessarily a matter of hard commercial practicalities, usually based on market research. Whether the perfume is to be made for a perfume company or for a fashion house or other such concern which will sell it as a supplement to the main business, basic problems of type and cost must be settled at an early stage. A maximum price for the perfume must be determined, and a ceiling set on the cost of making and marketing it. The design of the bottle and packaging (see Perfume Containers) must reflect not only the type of fragrance and its brand name, but also the image which the company launching it wishes to convey about itself. It is within these considerations that the ‘nose’, or creative perfumer (also sometimes called a blender), will be engaged to start devising the new fragrance. In particular, it must be known from the very beginning how much money can be spent on materials. If the perfume is to sell to a mass market at a low retail price, rare and costly ingredients cannot be put into it.
The ingredients available to a perfumer come from the essential oils (and their concretes and absolutes) of about 400 different fragrant plant parts, together with a choice of some 4000 or more synthetic fragrances, which are chemicals either extracted from plant parts, and therefore intrinsically of natural origin, or manufactured from substances such as coal or crude oil. The yield of some essential oils, and especially of their concretes and absolutes, may be very low, and where this coincides with labour-intensive picking and collection the resultant perfume ingredient may be extremely expensive; tuberose absolute, for example, now costs more than its weight in gold. But the manufacturing process by which some of the synthetics are obtained can also be expensive, so that in perfumery ‘synthetic’ does not signify cheapness. Neither does ‘synthetic’ indicate something inferior to the natural product. Aldehydes, indeed, are used to sharpen and improve natural fragrances. While some of the very highest quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Amouage’ and ‘Bal a Versailles’) are created almost entirely out of costly natural oils and attars, or extracts from such oils and attars, the majority of high-quality modern perfumes use a liberal range of chemicals, together with natural materials, to obtain their effect. Without synthetics production of perfume on a mass scale to meet the demands of modern times would be impossible, because supplies of many ingredients would be insufficient and their cost prohibitive. In the case of some of the animal perfume materials, moreover, synthetics now enable perfumers to use substitutes which are not subject to criticism on ecological or ‘animal rights’ grounds. Similarly, several oils are now chemically modified, or even synthesized, to replace natural oils for safety or environmental reasons (e.g. because the original oil has been found to contain a trace of some toxic substance). The perfumer has to ensure that materials to be used meet internationally laid down standards in this respect. Oils now generally so replaced include balsam of Peru, bergamot, bitter orange, cassia, cinnamon, costus, lime, rue and styrax, together with some early chemically extracted or synthetic materials such as citral, musk ambrette, musk ketone and musk xylene.
Sitting at their organs, with shelves full of bottles of essential oils and synthetic preparations ranged around, perfumers will attempt by degrees to build up a composite fragrance which meets the specifications imposed. It requires years of experience to get to know and distinguish the hundreds of different fragrances which can be chosen from; the perfumers have had to learn what effect one fragrance may have on another when they are mixed together, how to smooth or sharpen a fragrance, how to bring odours to a common standard of strength so that one ingredient will not overwhelm another, how to achieve the effect of high, middle and low notes, and how to fix a perfume so that it will last. They must also know what ingredients will be available in the quantity required for manufacture of the perfume in bulk, for there is clearly no point in using something of which there is an inadequate supply. They must be skilled chemists.
Relying on a highly trained sense of smell, perfumers will test their compositions as they progress with fragrance blotters, small wands of blotting paper which are dipped into the mixture and allowed to dry before being sniffed. However, the olfactory nerve quickly tires, making the process a very slow one, and with nuances of aroma to decide between it may well be decided to wait for another day before going any further. As the composition develops, probably built up from the base notes, the perfumer will from time to time need to discuss it with the sponsor: an haute couture designer who has commissioned the fragrance may have very strong personal views about the nature of what is being prepared, and modifications may have to be made in the light of what such a sponsor says. Testing is also necessary over lengthy periods to ensure, for example, that the aroma will last the required amount of time when worn, that it will remain constant in different temperatures and climates, that it will remain consistent after being kept in a bottle for months. For these and other reasons a perfume may well take two or three years to develop. Francois Coty took five years to perfect ‘L’Aimant’; the creation of Guerlain’s ‘Chant d’Aromes’ lasted for seven years; Caron’s ‘Infini’ was fifteen years in the making.
Most perfumes will contain 50 to 100 different ingredients, many of them considerably more (see Perfume). They must all harmonize perfectly with each other. Having finally achieved what is required by the perfumer and the sponsor, the perfumer will list the ingredients in a formula showing the exact strengths and quantities of everything the perfume contains, sometimes expressed in portions which add up to 1000. This formula, a valuable and highly confidential document, is the basis on which the perfume will then be manufactured.
Perfume Families In today’s perfume retail trade, perfumes are generally classified under one of seven family groups, called Perfume Families, or Fragrance Families, with names indicative of the type of perfume they comprise. These ‘families’ are the following.
1. Floral: the largest family, consisting of perfumes containing a preponderence of essential oils from flowers. Perfumes in this family are sometimes subdivided into four main sections – floral, floral-sweet, floral-fresh and floral – fruity – fresh. They are generally regarded as perfumes good for general daytime wear and for summer evenings.
2. Green: a fresher, sharper type of perfume than the florals, based on a blending of herbs, ferns, mosses and citrus fruits, designed to
create a general impression of meadows, green grass and leaves. Green perfumes are sometimes subdivided into sections called Fresh and Balsamic, the latter name indicating the softer, sweeter fragrance of resins and balsams. They are generally regarded as most suitable for outdoors and a sporty mood.
3. Aldehydic: also called Modern. These are perfumes with a rich, somewhat watery, tallowy fragrance derived from certain synthetic materials (see Aldehyde). They are sometimes subdivided into two sections – Aldehydic- floral and aldehydic- floral- woody-powdery. They are regarded as very sophisticated and modern (the first such perfume made was Chanel No. 5) and wearable all year round.
4. Chypre: named after the famous perfume from Cyprus of Roman times (see separate entry under Chypre). Perfumes in this family have a floral or green fragrance with deep Low Notes such as ambergris, making them very long-lasting. They are sometimes divided into three subsections with self-descriptive names: fresh-mossy-aldehydic, floral – mossy – animalic and mossy-fruity. They are mainly, but not entirely, designed for use by women, being regarded as appropriate for both day and evening wear, especially during winter.
5. Oriental: sometimes called Amber. A family of strong, spicy and exotic fragrances with a distinctive heavy sweetness obtained from lower notes such as musk, sandalwood and vanilla. They are regarded as most suitable for wear in the evening. A subsection with a lighter, floral feel, sometimes called semi-oriental – floral or floriental, is becoming increasingly popular; it is regarded as most appropriate for summer and daytime wear.
6. Tobacco/Leather: a family of fragrances reminiscent of tobacco and/ or leather with a woody, spicy and sometimes animalic background. These fragrances are almost all designed for the growing trade in perfumed toiletries for men.
7. Fougere: fragrances in this family have a fresh, herbal, lavender character with mossy or hay-like backgrounds. Again, they are found mostly in toilet preparations for men.
In the never-ending pursuit for new types of fragrance many different effects are obtained by combining two or more of these basic Perfume Families together. Such combinations are sometimes referred to as Bouquets. A notable example is ‘Red’, categorized into a new perfume family called ‘Fleuriffe Chypres’.
In male perfumery, which is for the most part a matter of fragrances contained in toilet preparations, including eau de toilettes, colognes and aftershave lotions, a different grouping of perfume descriptions is increasingly being adopted, under which fragrances are divided into ten basic families with self-descriptive names: floral, green, chypre, leather, fougere, citrus, lavender, spicy, woody and musky. There are, again, many permutations of these on the market.
Perfume Making at Home In Elizabethan times most large households kept a part of the garden for cultivating fragrant plants to use in medical and toilet preparations, making perfumed pomanders, wash-balls, sachets, pot pourri, cassolettes and distilled waters from them in the ‘still room’ of the house. The home perfumer who wishes to revive this craft may be able to follow some of the recipes of earlier times, but many of them will prove impracticable, because many of the ingredients then used, such as ambergris and musk, are now prohibitively expensive, if not unobtainable. He, or she, does, however, have the advantage that many fragrant materials and essential oils are now readily available for purchase, and the laborious process of making them from the raw plants can be avoided.
Dry pot pourri is probably the easiest fragrant preparation to make, involving little more than the mixing of dried materials, of which a very wide range is nowadays available. The descriptions of plant materials in this book show whether they are suitable for pot pourri. Rose petals are the ingredient most commonly used. They should be collected on a dry morning free of dew and laid out to dry for about a week. Sometimes coarse salt, or salt petre, is added as a preservative. A material with fixative properties should be included. (See Appendix B, recipes nos 1-5.)
Moist pot pourri is a little more complicated. The rose petals or other flowers and herbs should be spread out to dry for about two days, so that they are not completely dried. Layers of this material, mixed up with spices and gums which have been ground into a coarse powder, are then rammed down hard into a jar or basin with alternate layers of salt; a pinch of brown sugar and a few drops of brandy can be added; the container is then sealed tight and the mixture left to cure for at least 2 months, when it will emerge as a congealed mass which can be broken up into cakes.
Pomanders are best made by mixing aromatic materials with gum arabic or tragacanth mucilage as a bonding agent. The selected ingredients of the pomander, in the proportion of about 2 parts of gums and resins to 1 part of other dry ingredients, are finely powdered and mixed with a little of the mucilage until a paste is formed. A few drops of essential oil can be added and everything should then be well mixed by kneading. The paste is then shaped as required and left to dry.
Incense is best made using powdered charcoal as a burning base in the proportion of about 14 parts to 6 parts of aromatic material. The
latter should consist of 2 parts of powdered resins, such as labdanum, storax, terebinth or frankincense, mixed with 4 parts of other fragrant plant materials (e.g. dried bay leaves, calamus root, cloves, cubebs, lavender flowers, marjoram, rosemary leaves or thyme leaves). These are all mixed into a paste with a mucilage of gum arabic or tragacanth. A drop or two of essential oil can be kneaded in. The mixture is then shaped into small cones or rolled round sticks to make joss sticks, and these are allowed to dry.
Sachets require very dry ingredients which can be ground into a coarse powder. Lavender has always been a favourite as a base, but orris, calamus, cedarwood, marjoram, sandalwood, oak moss, rose petals, verbena leaves, or patchouli leaves are good alternatives. A wide range of other materials, mostly similar to those that can be used in pot pourri, can be blended into this base. At least one ingredient with fixative properties should be included.
Liquid perfumes provide the would-be home perfume markers with rather more problems, as will be apparent from the entry above on Perfume Creation. They cannot hope to simulate the quality fragrances produced by commercial perfumeries, which may contain several hundred ingredients, including many chemicals, and they can realistically aim only at very simple constructions. They will have to be prepared to purchase all their essential oils, some of which may be quite expensive. For a start a base will be needed on which the perfume can be built. This can either be an alcohol (vodka is sometimes used) or an oil; jojoba oil is regarded as a good, neutral, stable base oil, or, following the perfume makers of ancient Egypt and Greece, sesame oil could be used. The base should be prepared by the addition of such base notes (see Perfume Notes) as may be required, including fixatives, adding them drop by drop. The main body of the fragrance is then inserted, the chosen oils once again being added drop by drop. Ten drops of essential oils added to about half a pint of alcohol will produce a weak cologne-strength fragrance; for a stronger perfume a smaller amount of alcohol or base oil should be used (or, conversely, more essential oils). The mixture should be kept in a sealed container for at least a week in order to blend properly before it can be used. Home perfumers can experiment with the introduction of top notes as well (which should be added last); the evaporation rates mentioned in Poucher’s table, referred to under Perfume, Classification of Fragrances, may assist in this, as will a study of which ingredients are used for which notes in the descriptions of perfumes contained in the body of this book. They might even experiment by using all the main ingredients shown for one of the celebrated perfumes and seeing what sort of a fragrance results. They will be a long way from producing ‘Amouage’, ‘Joy’ or ‘Bal a Versailles’, but they should get pleasing results and they will certainly find the experiment fascinating.
Perfume Manufacture There are two types of manufacturing operation in perfumery. The first is the manufacture, by distillation, expression, enfleurage, maceration, extraction, etc., of the essential oils and attars, concretes and absolutes, pomades and tinctures, together with the manufacture of all the many synthetic preparations, which provide the primary fragrances used by a ‘nose’ in creating a perfume (see Perfume Creation). Many of the factories where this work is done will be adjacent to the fields or plantations where the plant materials are grown, because such materials may need to be treated as soon as they have been collected if their full fragrances are to be preserved. It follows that these factories will be found all over the world where fragrant materials are harvested. The second operation is the comparatively simple process of assembling and blending together all the oils and essences of which a perfume is composed in accordance with the formula for that perfume devised by the ‘nose’ who has created it. These ingredients will be mixed to form a concentrate which is left for several weeks until everything in it has blended completely and matured. The concentrate is then diluted in alcohol to its required strength as an extrait, eau de parfum, eau de toilette or eau de cologne(see Perfume) and left in copper containers to blend for a further few weeks. It is then ready to be bottled.
The design and manufacture of fragrance is now a very large-scale international business. A wide range of toiletries and other household items, from cosmetics, shampoos and soaps to aerosols, deodorants, furniture polishes and lavatory cleaners, now have fragrances added to make them more acceptable and hence to improve their sales. Equally important are flavourings, often derived from the same ingredients, for today’s food manufacturers rely a great deal on artificial means to give their mass products an improved or simulated taste. The manufacture of perfume may be but a small part of the business of many of the score or so of large fragrance and flavouring manufacturers now operating, Among the bigger of such firms may be mentioned International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF), the largest company of all, and Quest International, the second largest, a British company based in Kent. The fragrance manufacturers have their own perfumers and can create a fragrance and produce it through all its processes of manufacture to the ready-for-sale product. The main companies specializing in the creation and manufacture of high-quality perfumes are IFF (see above), Roure (formerly Roure-Bertrand-Dupont) and the Swiss-based companies Givaudan and Firminich. Between them these four firms make around 60% of all the quality perfumes now marketed.
The large perfume houses have their own ‘noses’ and manufacturing facilities and may even own acres of land, perhaps around Grasse, from which to produce their own ingredients such as rose and jasmine. Some, like Chanel, have exclusive contracts with growers. But many distinguished perfume houses now obtain their perfumes under contract arrangements from a fragrance manufacturer, and when a fashion house or similar such business decides to add a perfume to its products it will almost invariably obtain it either from a fragrance manufacturer or from a perfume house with its own manufacturing facilities. Thus, Dior, Yves St Laurent, Paco Rabanne, Nina Ricci, Calvin Klein and Givenchy, among many others, have all had perfumes made for them by Roure, and companies such as Gres, Puig, Balenciaga, Revillon, Leonard, Caron and Coty have used IFF. In the world of perfumery the importance of these fragrance manufacturers, anonymous and almost unknown to the general perfume-using public, is thus considerable.
Perfume Notes Perfumery takes some of its language from music, and the composition of a perfume is seen as a combination of notes. The broad structure of most modern perfumes is based on three layers of notes, referred to respectively as top notes, middle notes and lower notes.
The top note, sometimes called the head note, head or outgoing note, is the part of the perfume which is most apparent immediately it is applied to the skin. It consists of light, volatile fragrances, designed by the perfumer to give a good, and sometimes striking, initial impression. It may last only for a few minutes.
The middle note, also called the medium note or heart, is the main section of the perfume, which becomes dominant after the top note has faded away. It usually consists of floral, spicy or woody components which determine the basic character of the perfume. It is composed of ingredients made to last longer than the top notes (it is part of the skill of the perfumer to prepare his ingredients with an appropriate lasting power) and in a quality perfume it should be apparent for 4 hours or more.
The lower note, also called low note, base note, back note, depth note, body, body note and dry away, consists of underlying, long-lasting fragrances which provide the perfume with its fixatives and give it depth. It becomes most discernible as the middle note begins to fade, and in a quality perfume it should last for a few more hours or even for a day or two. It usually consists of animalic, woody, resinous or crystalline components.
In describing a perfume, the term note is also used for individual fragrances which influence the total effect (e.g. ‘a sweet note provided by tuberose’). Many words are conventionally used in perfumery to describe individual fragrance notes. They include: amber, balsamic, camphoraceous, citrus, coniferous, dry, earthy, floral, fougere, fruity, green, hayfield (hay-like), herbaceous, heavy, leather, light, metallic, minty, mossy, narcotic, powdery, smoky, spicy, sweet, tobacco and woody. For the conventional meaning of these words see separate entries. New notes are still devised, e.g. the oceanic note in ‘Dune’, introduced in 1991.
See also under Perfume, Classification of Fragrances.
Perfumers Workshop A New York fragrance firm producing quality perfumes which include ‘Tea Rose’ (75), ‘Freesia’, ‘Gardenia’, ‘Muguet’ and ‘Samba’ (87).
Perilla Oil An essential oil obtained by steam-distillation from the leaves and flowers of Perilla (Perilla frutescens = P. ocimoides) a herb found from India to China, Japan and Korea. It has a powerful spicy, slightly cumin-like fragrance and is occasionally used in perfumery. (An oil with the same name is distilled from the seeds of this plant and used in paints and varnishes.)
Perkin, William A British 19th century chemist who found how to synthesize coumarin, the first major discovery in the making of synthetic perfumes.
Petitgrain Oil An essential oil with a sweet, flowery, Neroli-like fragrance distilled from the leaves, twigs and small unripe fruits of the Bitter Orange tree (Citrus aurantium var. amara), which also provides Neroli and Bitter Orange Oil. It is cultivated for Petitgrain Oil in Sicily, Spain, Italy, Paraguay, Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and France. The oil is an important component in many perfume creations, especially in colognes and toilet preparations. Modern quality fragrances containing it include ‘Narcisse Noir’, ‘That Man’ and ‘Special No. 127’. Eau de Brout is obtained from the distillation waters. The oil contains linalol.
A form of Petitgrain Oil known as Citronnier is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Lemon tree (Citrus limon) in Mediterranean areas (see Lemon Oil). This has a softer, more lemony fragrance.
Another form of Petitgrain Oil is distilled in Sicily from the leaves and twigs of the Mandarin tree (Citrus reticulata) and known as Mandarin Petitgrain (or Petitgrain Mandarin) Oil. This has a more thyme-like fragrance.
Peucedan Gum A resin said to resemble ammoniacum obtained from the roots of the herb Peucedan (Peucedanum officinale = P. altissima = Selinum officinale), also called Sulphurwort, Milk Parsley, Marsh Parsley, Sulphur Rod, Hog’s Fennel, Hoar Strong and, in the USA, Chucklusa. This plant, growing to about 3 feet high, is related to dill and is found in Europe, Asia and N. America. The roots have a strong odour of sulphur and the resin was once used in herbal remedies. Another species of Peucedan (P. galbaniflora) is believed to have been the source of a fragrant gum called ‘green incense’ in ancient Egyptian inscriptions, and also to have produced the gum referred to as galbanum (q.v.) both in the Old Testament and by Pliny.
Piesse, Charles A celebrated 19th century perfumer living in Nice. His book The Art of Perfumery was published in 1880. He is particularly remembered for his attempt to classify fragrances on a scale corresponding to musical notes (see Perfume, Classification of Fragrances).
Pimento Oil Also called Pimenta Oil and Oil of Allspice. An essential oil, having a scent resembling cloves with a touch of nutmeg and cubebs (hence the name Allspice), which is steam-distilled from the leaves of the Pimento tree (Pimenta officinalis = Eugenia pimenta), also known as the Allspice tree or Jamaican Pepper tree. The tree, which grows to about 30 feet high, is indigenous to the W. Indies and S. America and is also cultivated in Mexico, India and Reunion. The oil is used in quality perfumes (e.g. ‘White Linen’) and soaps to give a spicy touch, and is sometimes used to strengthen ylang-ylang and to modify the odour of carnation oils. It is an ingredient of Bay Rum. The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri. The natural oil mainly consists of eugenol; when mixed in the proportion of 3 oz to 1 gallon of rectified spirit it becomes ‘Extract of Allspice’.
An oil known as Wild Pimento Oil is also distilled in Jamaica from the leaves of Amonis jamarcensis. It has a fragrance resembling spike lavender.
Pinaud A prominent Parisian perfume house from the 18th to the early 20th century. In the late 19th century Pinaud produced a range of floral perfumes under the name ‘A la Corbeille Fleurie’ (The Flower Basket), followed by other famous perfumes including ‘Brise Embaumee’, ‘Violette’ and ‘Bouquet Marie-Louise’, all of which were sold in flacons by Baccarat.
Pineapple The aroma of the pineapple fruit, from the pineapple plant (Ananus comosus = A. sativus), first found under cultivation in the West Indies in the 16th century (it has never been found growing wild), can be obtained by distillation of the fruit juice. However, as with most fruit fragrances, perfumers usually produce it more satisfactorily with synthetics. It is found in modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Only’).
Pinene A chemical component in the essential oil of a large number of aromatic plants, including basil, bay leaves, bergamot, carrot seed, clary, coriander, cubebs, eucalyptus, frankincense, myrrh, myrtle, parsley, petitgrain, rosemary, sassafras, star anise and turpentine. It is mostly obtained by distillation from turpentine oil. It has a harsh, spicy, fir-like odour and is used in the manufacture of synthetic camphor, citronellal, geraniol and nerol.
Pine Needle Oil An oil steam-distilled from the needles, young shoots and cones of many different coniferous trees of the genus Pinus, found in Europe, the USSR (CIS) and N. America. It is valued for its refreshing pine odour, and is used in pharmacy and toilet preparations as well as in soaps and perfumes. In the latter it is mainly employed in masculine and green or conifer-type perfumes (e.g. ‘Alliage’ and ‘Panache’).
The principal Pine Needle Oil used in perfumery comes from the Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) of north and central Europe. From the Dwarf Pine (P. pumilio) of central Europe is obtained Dwarf Pine Oil, also called Dwarf Pine Needle Oil. From the Mountain Pine (P. mughus =P. mungo = P. montana), another dwarf species found in Alpine regions of Europe, comes Mugo Pine Oil, which is also sometimes called Dwarf Pine Oil. The dried needles and cones of pines are also sometimes used in sachets and pot pourri.
Pine Needle Oil was known to the early Arab perfume makers, who obtained it from P. orientalis, P. pinaea and other species; one of al-Kindi’s perfume recipes used it mixed with frankincense.
Pine Oil An oil obtained by steam-distillation of wood chips from the heartwood and roots of various species of Pine tree (Pinus palustris, P. ponderosa and others). It is mainly produced in the USA, Finland, France, Portugal and the USSR (CIS). It has a harsh pine-like odour and is used in some low-cost perfumes and soaps.
P’Ing-She Fei-Tsao A perfumed toilet soap made in central China by mixing the crushed pods of the Fei-Tsao tree (Gymnocladus chinensis) with camphor, musk, cloves, sandalwood and putchuk.
‘Pink Lace’ A floral-chypre perfume by Yardley which was launched in 1988. Top notes, designed to give a sparkling, fruity effect, include lemon, coriander and camomile. The heart contains jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang together with a spicy touch from carnation. Base notes include sandalwood, frankincense, patchouli and vetivert.
Pissasphalt Perhaps the most extraordinary of all ancient perfume materials. A resin was used by the ancient Egyptians (see Egyptian perfumes) in their embalming processes, in conjunction with various aromatics, particularly cassia and myrrh. The Greeks and early Arabs recovered this substance from mummies in Egyptian tombs, by which time it had absorbed all the aromatics used with it and become a form of fragrant bitumen. This was re-used in perfumes.
Pittosporum The fragrance of the flowers of a small tree, Pittosporum dallii, native to New Zealand but cultivated in Europe, is used as a special feature in the floral bouquet of Estee Lauder’s ‘Knowing’.
Pliny Pliny the Elder (23- 79 AD) was a lawyer and admiral who died in the Vesuvius eruption. His greatest work, Natural History, a vast
compendium covering many subjects, contains much information about the perfumes and perfume materials of his time. See Roman perfumes.
Plum The fragrance of the plum (also called Mirabelle) found in modern perfumes is invariably created synthetically. It is often used to provide a fruity effect, appearing, for example, in such quality perfumes as ‘Femme’, ‘Chant d’Aromes’ and ‘Xia-Xiang’.
Poiret, Paul (1879-1928) The first French couturier to market perfumes designed to harmonize with his clothes. His perfume company, Parfums Rosine, was set up in 1910, using well-known artists, including Erte and Raoul Duffy, in the design of bottles and packaging.
‘Poison’ An innovative linear fragrance type of perfume created by Roure perfumers for Dior, who launched it in 1985. Designed to be audacious, it provides a spicy, fruity fragrance from wild berries in a combination of blackcurrant, red currant, raspberry and blackberry, given a spicy backing by coriander, pepper and cinnamon and a sweet note from orange blossom. The base contains ambergris, labdanum and opoponax.
Polge, Jacques (b. 1943) The principal perfumer (‘nose’) of Chanel. His creations include ‘Bois Noir’, ‘Coco’ ‘Antaeus’ and ‘L’Egoiste’ for Chanel, ‘Senso’ and ‘Diva’ for Ungaro and ‘Stephanie’ for Bourjois.
‘Polo’ A trend-setting chypre-type men’s fragrance first produced in 1978 by Warner Cosm. and now marketed by Ralph Lauren in association with L’Oreal. Its main ingredients are juniper and artemisia in the top note, pine with spicy elements in the middle note, and patchouli, moss and leather-fragrance in the lower note. It comes in a flask designed by Bernard Kotyuk.
Pomade Also called Pomatum. A perfumed ointment used on the hair and on the skin of the head. The word is also used by perfumers to describe fat saturated with the scent from flowers during a stage of the enfleurage process of preparing essential oils for perfumes.
Pomander A solid ball of scented materials carried on the person. In ancient Greece women wore a necklace of small scented pastilles or beads, usually based on crushed-up rose petals, with other fragrant materials and a gum to bind them. From these derived the prayer beads, or rosary, first used by Byzantine Christians. In Renaissance times a large scented ball (Oldano) was attached to the end of a rosary, and after a time this came to be worn without beads, either on a chain round the neck or at the waist. These were carried both for pleasure and to ward off contagion, more particularly the plague. The Arabs then introduced into Europe the more practical alternative to ward off contagion of an orange stuck with cloves or stuffed with medicinal herbs, the latter sometimes soaked in vinegar. During the 16th century this aromatic orange was replaced in court circles by a very small (walnut-sized), oldano-like, ball-shaped receptacle made of filigreed gold, silver or ivory held by a chain to wear round the neck or from the wrist, and containing either solid perfume or aromatic vinegar soaked in a sponge (the predecessor of the vinaigrette). The solid perfume usually contained ambergris, giving rise to the name ‘pomme ambre’ (amber apple), from which the word ‘pomander’ derives. Some pomanders had segments for different perfumes. Pomanders went out of fashion in the 17th century, but have had some revival in home perfumery in recent years.
Pot Pourri A mixture of fragrant materials placed in a bowl or jar and used for perfuming the rooms of a house. Pot pourri has been used since medieval times. The term ‘pot pourri’ is French, derived from Spanish for a stock-pot or mixed stew. Originally many pot pourri mixes sold by perfumers were simply the residues of their working material (now known as Olla-podrida (q.v.)). Early pot pourri was usually made of fresh, moist ingredients, with rose petals and orange flowers predominating, which were left to infuse for a month or two with salt added as a preservative, after which other powdered perfumes or essential oils were added before the composition was brought into use. Dry pot pourri, which is the type manufactured commercially at the present time, also traditionally has a preponderance of rose petals, but lavender and many other dried flowers are used in it as well. Salt is sometimes still added as a preservative, as also are small amounts of essential oils. Despite the name, most ‘dry’ pot pourri are not normally sufficiently dry to be used in sachets. Unscented flowers which keep their colour after drying are sometimes added to both moist and dry pot pourri to improve their appearance. Modern commercial pot-pourri production in the UK relies almost completely on imported materials, such as rose petals from Morocco and Turkey and jasmine from Italy. Blends of perfume oils (called ‘revivers’) are now made to freshen up pot pourri when their scent begins to fade.
Poucher, W.A. Author of Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps, a three-volume work which is regarded as a standard guide among perfumers. First published in 1923, it has since been reissued in several revised editions, the last in 1991.
Pouncet Box A box originally used to contain pumice stone, needed in preparing parchment for writing, and later, when it was usually made of scented wood, to hold perfumed powder for use as a snuff or inhalant. Subsequently, in the Elizabethan period, the name came to be used for any type of box which held perfumed powders for placing between linen or blowing about a room or over the hair with bellows.
‘Pour l’Homme’ An innovative, trend-setting leather-type fragrance brought out by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1978 for men’s toiletries. Its principal constituents are bergamot and thyme in the top note, carnation, artemisia and patchouli, giving a spicy, woody feel, in the middle note, and moss and leather-fragrance in the lower note.
‘Prestige Dry Herb’ The first of the masculine scents with a fresh green fragrance. Issued by Wolff and Sohn as an eau de cologne in 1960. Principal ingredients are mandarin and galbanum in the top note, clove-pink in the middle note, and tree moss in the lower note.
‘Private Collection’ A ‘green’ perfume brought out by Estee Lauder in 1972. Green top notes containing citrus and hyacinth lead to a floral heart, with jasmine, narcissus and rose, over a mossy base of oak moss, cedar and musk. The flacon, of frosted glass with a gold cord, was designed by Ira Levy.
Proctor &c Gamble A major manufacturer of toiletries and household goods, based in Ohio. It owns the Old Spice, Shulton and Santa Fe mens’s toiletry companies, and in 1991 it acquired Max Factor and the German company Elena Betrix from Revlon.
Profumego An ornamental ball of copper or bronze containing incense paste which was used in Italy, and subsequently elsewhere in Europe, at the time of the Renaissance to perfume a room. It was either hung up by a chain or, sometimes, rolled along the floor.
Propolis Sometimes called Virgin Wax or Bee-glue. A sweet-smelling, sticky brown substance gathered from trees by bees for use as a cement in their hives. The aroma resembles storax. Propolis was used by Persian and Arab perfume makers from as early as the 9th century AD, and in later times was used in preparing pomander beads. It is still used occasionally in pot pourri.
Pterocarpus A species of Pterocarpus (Pterocarpus santalinus), a small tree native to islands of the Indian Archipelago, provides a highly scented wood which is used in India and China for burning as incense and, when powdered, for scenting clothes.
Puig Pronounced ‘Pooch’. The leading Spanish perfume and cosmetics company, formed in Barcelona in 1914 by Don Antonio Puig, initially to import French perfumes into Spain. It is still run by his sons. In 1969 Antonio Puig also founded the French firm Paco Rabanne, which is part of the Puig organization. He began to market his own perfume brands in 1925, and the success of ‘Aqua Lavanda’ in 1940 enabled the company to expand. Its headquarters and factory are in Barcelona. Puig fragrances have included ‘Agua Brava’ (68), ‘Estivalia’ (75) and ‘Vetiver de Puig’ (78). In the UK it currently markets two fragrances for men: ‘Quorum’ (82) and ‘Sybaris’ (88), both created by Sebastian Gomez, together with ‘Carolina Herrera’.
‘Pure Silk’ A floral-chypre perfume created by Roure perfumers for Yardley, who launched it in 1982. Ylang-ylang and orange blossom blend with aldehydes in the top note, leading to a floral heart of rose, jasmine and woody tones, with vetivert, patchouli and oak moss the main components of the base note.
‘Quadrille’ A classic chypre perfume brought out by Balenciaga in 1955 and relaunched in 1989 to a revised formula created by IFF perfumers. Peach, plum, lemon and bergamot in the top notes introduce a middle note based on jasmine, with spicy touches from clove and cardamom, over a lower note which includes amber and musk. It is sold in an oval glass flacon with dome-shaped cap similar to the flacon of ‘Le Dix’.
‘Quelques Fleurs’ One of the great classics of perfumery, created by Robert Bienaime for Houbigant and first marketed in 1912. ‘Quelques Fleurs’ started a fashion for light floral perfumes and is regarded as the first true multifloral bouquet, for prior to it flower fragrances had mostly been single notes or mixed with many other ingredients. With fresh, leafy top notes, lilac, rose, jasmine, violet and orchid are among its main ingredients and the floral nuance penetrates into the base, but the details of its composition are safeguarded by the company’s perfumers to preserve its mystique. The flacon now used, engraved with stylized flower petals, was designed in 1985 by Alain de Mourgues.
Quest International The largest fragrance and flavouring manufacturers in the world after IFF (see Perfume Manufacture). Quest was formed in 1986 by an amalgamation of the Dutch company Naarden with a number of other companies and is a subsidiary of Unilever. Quest’s headquarters for its fragrance division are at Ashford, in Kent, and it has operational centres in 27 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The scale of its activities can be measured by the fact that in 1986 it handled 22,000 metric tons of fragrance compounds and ingredients. Its factory at Grasse produces high-quality essential oils, notably rose de mai, jasmine, orris, neroli and orange flower absolute. The company undertakes research and development work in the field of perfumery, including the creation of new fragrant materials (‘ethyl safronate’ and ‘dewberry’ being recent successful examples). At its ‘fine fragrance centres’ at Ashford and Neuilly, in Paris, and also in Brazil, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA, it has teams of creative perfumers to devise and test fragrances, which it then manufactures to the requirements of its customers. These may come not only from perfume firms but also from the much wider general field of companies making household products such as air fresheners, deodorants, fabric conditioners, shampoos and soaps, where the company’s main fragrance business lies.
Quince The fruit of the Quince tree (Cydonia oblonga = Pyrus cydonia), native to Persia and the Caucasus but cultivated widely. Quince was used in perfumes by the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Romans calling the perfume they made from its flowers Melinum. Theophrastus, c. 300 BC, referred to the manufacture of ‘quince-perfume’, in which quince flowers were steeped in oil. It also appears in the recipes of al-Kindi (c. 850 AD) as an ingredient used in early Arab perfumes.
Quino-Quino A balsam resembling balsam of Peru and balsam of Tolu which is obtained from a tree Myroxylon balsamum var. punctatum, growing in Florida, Bolivia and Peru. It is used in incenses.
‘Quorum’ A men’s fragrance created for Puig by Sebastian Gomez and launched in 1982. Top notes, including thyme, artemisia, rosemary, marjoram, bergamot and tangerine, head a spicy-floral heart with geranium, nutmeg, coriander, jasmine and clove among its contents. The base combines leather and tobacco notes with hints of sandalwood and oak moss. The flask was designed by Andre Ricard.
‘Raffinee’ An award-winning high-quality floral – oriental perfume launched in 1982 by Houbigant. With over 200 ingredients, its top notes include jasmine, rose and carnation, with a touch of citrus, leading into a heart which contains hyacinth, mimosa, orris and tonka. Frankincense, cypress and sandalwood are included in the base. The flacon was designed by Alain de Mourgues.
Ramik One of the most widely used of early Arab compound perfumes; it was also employed in medical preparations. Prepared on a base of mashed-up green gallnuts, its other ingredients varied – in one recipe recorded by al-Kindi it also contained date syrup and jasmine oil. The preparation was dried into small cakes which were hung up on a string. They appear to have been a form of pomander beads whicW would give off their aroma when warmed by being handled.
Ramin Oil An oil used in perfumery which is obtained from the wood of the Ramin tree (Gonystylus bancanus = G. miquelianus = Acjuila bancana) of Malaysia. The wood of this tree is also burned as incense.
Raukawa A New Zealand herb (Panax edgerleyi = Nothopanax edgerleyi), from the leaves of which the Maoris extract a fragrant oil.
‘Red’ An innovative, wide-selling perfume launched in 1989 by Giorgio Beverly Hills under its Avon ownership. It is one of the first major perfumes to make use of living flower technology (q.v.) in the manufacture of some of its ingredients. A combination of floral, fruity, oriental and chypre notes, it has been classified as the first of a new perfume family called Fleuriffe Chypre and is claimed to contain a total of 692 ingredients. The top note, formed around osmanthus, includes orange flower, ylang-ylang, bergamot, peach and spicy notes. In the heart jasmine and carnation lead a bouquet which also includes rose and marigold. The base notes are led by amber, tonka, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, oak moss and vetiver.
‘Red Door’ A floral perfume introduced by Elizabeth Arden in 1989. Strong, flowery top notes contain rose and ylang-ylang, and lead to flowery middle notes headed by jasmine, lily of the valley and orchid, with orange flower, lily, freesia and violet. In the woody base vetiver predominates.
‘Red Rose’ One of the best known in the range of floral perfumes brought out by Floris, ‘Red Rose’ was first marketed in 1868 and has been sold by them ever since. A favourite fragrance of the Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia, it became extremely popular in high society and was much praised by King Edward VII. Clary sage and rosewood in the top notes herald a heart which is predominantly rose, but with a touch of geranium, the whole being underlined by a lower note mostly of musk.
Resinoid A term used in perfumery to denote a resin which has been washed with benzene or alcohol to remove sticky soluble materials. See Infusion and Tincture.
Reuniol A mixture of geraniol and citronellol which is used as a base in
making rose fragrances.
Reunion Island Situated in the Indian Ocean north of Madagascar, the French island of Reunion has been developed as one of the most important areas in the world for growing plants for the perfume industry. In particular, it produces geranium, ylang-ylang and vetivert.
Revillon A company established in 1839 by Louis-Victor Revillon, the son of a Count turned commoner, when he purchased a furrier’s shop
in Paris, developing it into a high-class business making coats and jackets of fur. In 1937 the company launched its first perfume, the very successful ‘Carnet du Bal’, following this up with ‘Cantilene’ (48), ‘Detchema’ (53), ‘Revillon 4’ (73) and ‘Turbulences’ (81), together with three men’s fragrances – ‘Partner’ (60), ‘Revillon pour Homme’ (77) and ‘French Line’ (84).
Revlon Founded in 1932 (to market a nail enamel) by Charles and Joseph Revson and a chemist Charles Lachmann (the L in Revlon), the Revlon Group, based in New York, is now the largest retail cosmetics house in the world. Its associated perfume companies have included Max Factor (sold to Proctor & Gamble in 1991 together with Elena Betrix), Halston, Almay, Boss and Charles of the Ritz. Principal perfumes still marketed under the Revlon label are ‘Charlie’ (1972), ‘Xia-Xiang’ (88) and ‘Roma’ (90). Other Revlon fragrances include ‘Intimate’ (55), ‘That Man’ (61), ‘Braggi’ (66), ‘Ultima 2’ (67), ‘Norell’ (69), ‘Moon Drops’ (70), ‘Cerissa’ (74), ‘Chaz’ (75), ‘Scoundrel’ (§0) and ‘Norell 2’ (80), together with ‘Unforgettable’, launched in the US in 1990.
Rhodium Oil Also called Rosewood Oil and Guadel Oil. An oil distilled from underground parts of the wood of two shrub-like species of Convolvulus (Convolvulus floridus and C. scoparius), known as Rhodium, Rosewood and Aspalathus and native to the Canary Islands. One cwt of wood yields about 3oz of essential oil. The oil is clear and has a persistent fragrance reminiscent of a blend of rose, cedarwood and sandalwood. It was once much used for scenting soap balls and pomanders, but is not employed much in modern perfumery as it is easily imitated synthetically. The dried wood is still used in sachets and pot pourri. C. scoparius is also found in S. America, where the wood is used locally to make scented beads.
Although sometimes called Aspalathus (q.v.), rhodium has no connection with the Aspalathus of ancient times. Some species of the genus Aspalathus, which provide a fragrant wood, are sometimes called Rhodium; they are native to S. Africa and are not connected with the Rhodium of perfumery.
‘Ricci Club’ A quality woody-citrus fragrance for men’s toiletries brought out by Nina Ricci in 1989. Described as a ‘sweet and sour’ fragrance, it contains around 180 components. Fresh top notes containing citrus fruit oils, mostly grapefruit, together with spicy notes, cover a woody heart of guaiac wood, vetivert, rosewood and sandalwood, with ‘sea-chypre’ base notes which include oak moss, patchouli, myrrh, tonka and seaweed extracts.
Rimmel, Eugene (d. 1887). A 19th century London perfume maker of French origin whose perfumery, the House of Rimmel, with a factory in Nice, was founded in 1834. In 1865 Rimmel published The Book of Perfumes, the foremost popular work on the subject written during that century. His company has now become Rimmel International, owned by Unilever, and mostly produces cosmetics.
‘Rive Gauche’ A classic aldehyde perfume launched by Yves St Laurent in 1971. It was created by the perfumers of Roure. An aldehyde accord in the top note introduces a floral heart containing gardenia, honeysuckle, jasmine, ylang-ylang, orris, geranium and magnolia, with woody notes, mainly sandalwood and vetivert, preponderating in the base. The bottle designer was Pierre Dinand.
Robert, Guy A prominent French perfume creator (‘nose’) from Grasse, where his family has owned a fragrance firm for over a century. His creations include ‘Madame Rochas’, ‘Caleche’, ‘Equipage’, ‘Gucci No. V, ‘Havoc’ and ‘Amouage’. His uncle Henri Robert created ‘Chanel No. 19’, and ‘Cristalle’ and his son Francois Robert created ‘Apogee’.
Robert Piguet A fashion firm formed in Paris in 1928 by Robert Piguet (1901-53), a Swiss-born dress designer. He employed, among others, Dior, de Givenchy and Balmain before they set up their own businesses. Before he closed his House in 1951 he had marketed four successful perfumes: ‘Bandit’ (1944) (one of the first modern perfumes to use a leathery base note), ‘Fracas’ (48), ‘Visa’ (45) and ‘Baghari’ (50).
Rochas The Rochas company was formed in Paris in 1925 by the couturier Marcel Rochas (1902-55), who designed clothes and accessories, including costumes for many films. In 1944 his perfume division, Parfums Rochas, launched ‘Femme’. Subsequent Rochas fragrances include ‘Moustache’ (49), ‘Madame Rochas’ (60) ‘Monsieur Rochas’ (69) and then, created by the company’s chief perfumer, Nicholas Mamounas, ‘Mystere’ (78), ‘Macassar’ (80), ‘Lumiere’ (84), ‘Byzance’ (87) and ‘Globe’ (90). The company is now owned by the German hair products group Wella.
Roger & Gallet A firm tracing its past back to 1806, when Jean-Marie Farina, a perfumer, set up shop in Paris to market eau de cologne (q.v.). In 1840 he sold his business to Leonce Collas, who transferred it in 1862 to his two cousins Messrs Roger and Gallet. The company is now a very large business specializing in high-class toiletries and soaps, with a factory at Bernay, in Normandy, and forms a part of the Sanofi
group. The original ‘Jean-Marie Farina’ eau de cologne is still sold, and its other fragrances have included ‘Shendy’ (1970), ‘Vetyver’ (74) and ‘L’Homme’, all for men, together with ‘Open’ (87).
‘Roma’ An ‘oriental- sweet- fruity’ perfume launched by Revlon in 1990 in association with the designer Laura Biagiotti. It was created by perfumers of IFF. Fresh top notes obtained from cassis, bergamot and a touch of mint blend into a floral heart of jasmine, rose, lily of the valley and carnation. The balsamic base notes contain myrrh, ambergris, vanilla, patchouli and oak moss. The flacon was designed by Laura Biagiotti in association with Peter Schmidt.
Roman Perfumes The earliest use of perfumes in Italy was among the Etruscans (in Tuscany) in the 8th to 3rd centuries BC, who used unguents and perfumes on the body and fashioned elegant incense burners, and among Greeks who settled in S. Italy and Sicily from early in the 1st millennium BC. Among the early Romans there was at first little interest in perfumes; an edict of 188 BC even forbade their sale. But by the 1st century BC Roman men and women were beginning to use perfume materials lavishly. The perfumes of the Greeks, together with the perfumes from Egypt used by the Greeks, were popular, and, as the Empire grew and trade expanded, previously rare or unknown materials began to be imported in quantity. Of local materials, the Romans were particularly fond of the rose (used considerably in the form of fresh rose petals), orris, violet and lily. Balsam of Judaea from Palestine was, as Pliny noted, foremost of all the scents. Saffron, mostly obtained from Asia Minor, was used widely. But it was the oriental perfume materials brought from Arabia and India which were most widely favoured. Pliny, who has provided a detailed account of the trade in aromatics and spices (see, for example, Frankincense), commented on the huge drain on the Empire’s financial resources occasioned by it. Most important were frankincense, required for burning in the temples and on public occasions as well as in the home, and myrrh, a key ingredient in many perfume preparations, together with the materials then known as cassia and cinnamon and various other gums from Arabia and India. From Syria came storax and galbanum. Perfume materials brought from India included cardamom, j clove, costus, malabathrum and spikenard, together with the flavouring spices such as ginger and, most important of all for use in food preparation, pepper. Many of these materials were sorted and processed in Alexandria, the Empire’s industrial capital, before being shipped to Rome.
In addition to incenses, the Roman perfume makers produced three principal types of perfume: solid unguents (‘hedysmata’), usually a
single scent based on a fat such as hog’s lard; liquid unguents (‘stymmata’), usually a mixture of spices and flowers fixed with a resin, on a base oil such as balanos, sesame or olive, and perhaps with an added colourant such as cinnabar or alkanet; and scented powders (‘diapasmata’), made from dried materials like orris, marjoram, costus, storax, labdanum and spikenard, which were used for sprinkling in garments. Scented oils were obtained from several plants in addition to those mentioned above, including calamus, balsam, melilot and narcissus. Pliny noted the ingredients of a number of compound perfumes used by the Romans, including mendesian (imported from Egypt), melinum, susinum and the imposing royal unguent, originally prepared for the kings of Parthia. Other unguents described by Pliny were based on fenugreek, iris, marjoram and cinnamon (‘which fetches enormous prices’). Chypre was brought in from Cyprus. The town of Capua, south of Rome and noted for its roses, became the perfume centre of the Romans; here perfume makers (‘unguentarii’) produced floral unguents from several factories, particularly ‘oil of roses’, which, according to Pliny, was made with rose and crocus flowers, omphacium, cinnabar, calamus, camel grass, honey, salt or alkanet, and wine. Imported aromatics needed by the perfume makers of Capua could be obtained from the huge spice market set up by Vespasian in about 75 AD in Rome, where apothecaries bought many of the same ingredients for their medicines.
In the first two centuries AD the lavish Roman consumption of perfumes reached a peak. The perfume shops of Rome became social meeting places. Perfumes were used not only for the body (where they were even applied by some to the soles of the feet) and for clothing, but also for spraying on the walls and sprinkling on the floors. Horses and dogs were sometimes rubbed with scent. Fountains played perfumed water. At one imperial reception, Nero had the entire surface of a lake in the palace grounds covered with rose petals. At triumphs, the returning armies, bearing perfumed flags and standards, were showered with perfumed materials, while frankincense was burned along the processional route – all very different from earlier days, when Julius Caesar had liked his soldiers to smell of garlic!
The perfume bottles (‘unguentaria’) used by the Romans were made of alabaster, onyx or glass, or, for the cheaper unguents, of clay. The glass bottles were in a wide variety of shapes, many of them identical to the scent bottles of the present day (see Perfume Containers).
Rondeletia A synthetic perfume made by combining various flower fragrances to represent the fragrance of the flowers of the Rondeletia shrub of Mexico and Cuba.
Ropion, Dominique Formerly a leading ‘nose’ with Roure and now with Florasynth-Lautier. His creations include ‘Ysatis’, ‘Amarige’, ‘Maxim’s de Paris’ and ‘Safari’.
Rose Oil Also called Rose water, Attar of Roses and Otto of Roses. The rose is perhaps the most important of all the plants used in perfumery and has been so since the dawn of history. Rose oil is mentioned in a number of the medical inscriptions of the ancient Egyptians. Homer referred to the rose in about 600 BC and Theophrastus described how it was cultivated in 300 BC. The Greek poetess Sappho called it ‘the Queen of the Flowers’. Both Horace and Pliny gave accounts of its cultivation in Roman times. The rose oil of these early days was probably obtained by a simple form of enfleurage, steeping the petals in another oil (Theophrastus noted that salt was added), but the Romans made lavish use of the fragrance by strewing fresh petals, stuffing cushions with them and wearing rose garlands. The early Arabs used roses in many of their perfumes and, by the 9th, century, had discovered how to distil the petals with water to produce rosewater on a commercial scale. Large areas in Iraq, Syria and Iran were then devoted to rose-growing and distilling factories were established. The Caliphs of Baghdad received 30000 bottles of rosewater as an annual tribute from Persia and Arab rosewater was traded as far as China. The popularity of this scent among the Arabs is demonstrated in the statement of one of the Caliphs: ‘I am king of sultans and the rose is king of sweet-scented flowers; each of us is therefore worthy of the other’. (See also Arab Perfumes.)
The essential oil (attar or otto) of roses is obtained by redistilling rosewater. The oil sometimes occurs in the leaves as well as in the flowers. Production of attar of roses was developed on a substantial scale in Persia in the 16th century and introduced from there into Europe by the Turks. About 10000lbs of roses are needed to distil 1 lb of oil. The major rose-growing areas are now in Bulgaria (see Kazanluk) and the south of France (see Grasse), with further large-scale production in Turkey, Morocco, Tunis and India.
The species of rose known to the classical world was the red Rosa gallica (Turkish Rose), which originated in Iran and was cultivated in Asia Minor, the Balkans and Europe. The Damask Rose, or Rose of Damascus (R. damascena) is now the principal species cultivated for rose attar not only in Bulgaria but also in Iran and India. This was the rose most used by the early Arab perfume makers, who introduced it to Europe. In the south of France the principal species cultivated around Grasse was for centuries the Cabbage Rose (R. centifolia), also called the Painter’s Rose because it features in many works of the Old Masters; this is also cultivated in Turkey and N. Africa. In France it is known as Rose de Mai, because it blooms during May. In recent years, however, a range of related new varieties has been developed at Grasse for the perfume industry. The fragrance of different species and varieties of rose varies; one expert has enumerated 17 different rose scents, some with a similarity to musk, myrrh, violet or clove. Rose oil appears as a main ingredient in 75% of all modern quality perfumes and in some 10% of all men’s fragrances.
Dried rose petals continue to be an important ingredient of many sachets and pot pourri.
Rose de Grasse A name used by perfumers to denote rose absolute and a high-class rose oil collected from rosewater.
Rose de Mai See Rose Oil. A name used by perfumers in the south of France not only for the Cabbage Rose, which is the rose most cultivated there, but also for rose absolute obtained from this species of rose.
Rosemary Also called Compass Plant, Compass Weed, Polar Plant and Incensier. An evergreen shrub (Rosmarinus officinalis) growing to about 6 feet high, native to southern Europe and Asia Minor, but now found widely. The name signifies Dew of the Sea, because it thrives in the salt spray of Mediterranean coastal areas. It was introduced into Britain by the Romans. Rosemary is now cultivated in France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Tunisia and Britian for its essential oil, distilled from the leaves and flowering tops. Known as Oil of Rosemary, it has a pungently sweet, camphoraceous, lavender-like fragrance and is used in perfumes, colognes and soaps, and also medicinally and in making Vermouth. It appears, for example, in ‘Tsar’. The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Rosemary has a considerable history. As it remained fresh and fragrant for longer than any other herb, it became, from ancient times, an emblem of friendship and fidelity and was included in the bride’s wreath at weddings. Applied to the outside of the head, it was held to strengthen the memory, and thus became a symbol of remembrance, so that it was placed on corpses. In legend it was supposed to grow only in the garden of the righteous. The ancient Greeks burned rosemary as an incense and it has since been so used in religious ceremonies and exorcisms and as a fumigant. Although not known to the early Arab perfumers, there is record of it as a distilled oil in the 15th century. It was once much used as a hair wash and for scenting washballs. It was a major ingredient in Hungary Water.
Rose Perfume The ancient Greeks, according to Theophrastus, used a perfume of this name which, in addition to rose petals, contained ginger grass and calamus steeped in sweet wine, with a portion of salt and alkanet added to give it a red colour. Theophrastus observed that it was held to be a cure for ear troubles, was ‘good against lassitude’, and that, being light, it was best suited to men. A similar ‘oil of rose’ was made by the Romans.
Rose Root Also called Snowdon Rose and Priest’s Pintle. A small herb (Sedum roseum = Rhodiola integrifolia) found in Europe and N. America (where the leaves are eaten by Alaskan eskimos). Rose Root was once much cultivated in English cottage gardens for its rose-scented roots,； and is occasionally still used for scenting infused oils or broken into small pieces to add to pot pourri.
Rosetto, Giovanni An Italian, the author of Secreti Nobilissimi dell’Arte Profumatoria, published in 1678, one of the first books devoted exclusively to perfumery.
Rosewood Oil Also known as Brazilian Rosewood Oil and Tulip Wood Oil. An oil used in perfumery which is distilled from the wood of the Brazilian Rosewood tree (also called the Tulip Wood or Maschado tree) (Physicalymna scaberrimum = P. floribundum = P. floridum), found in tropical S. America. Another Rosewood Oil occasionally used in perfumery is extracted from the wood of the Pao Rosa tree (Aniba terminalis), native to the lower Amazon area of Brazil. Modern quality perfumes containing Rosewood include ‘Jicky’, ‘Le Dix’ and ‘Vol de Nuit’.
Roudnitska, Edmond Born 1905 and now the ‘doyen’ of French ‘noses’. The creator of several of the Dior fragrances, including ‘Diorissimo’, ‘Diorella’ and ‘Eau Sauvage’. His other creations include ‘Eau d’Hermes’ for Hermes and ‘Femme’ for Rochas. He has published a book Une Vie au Service de Parfum.
Roure The oldest of the great fragrance manufacturing companies (see Perfume Manufacture), the firm of Roure was founded in Grasse in 1820 by Claude Roure, whose descendant Jean Amic still runs it as President. It was for long called Roure-Bertrand, after the Bertrand family became part owners through marriage, and in the 1920s became Roure – Bertrand – Dupont after joining up with an aromatic chemist named Dupont. In 1963 it was acquired by Hoffmann-LaRoche (as was Givaudan). Roure headquarters are at Argenteuil, near Paris, in a complex which also includes laboratories and plant for producing synthetic raw materials and compounds. In Grasse it maintains a factory for extracting and distilling natural products, together with a research centre (the hydrocarbon extraction process was a Roure development) and a perfumery school. The company established factories in New Jersey, USA, in 1930 and has since set up affiliates in ten other countries in all parts of the world. Its UK company is based at Harefield, in Middlesex.
Roure, one of the pioneers of modern aromatic chemistry, were the first fragrance producer to offer the couture houses facilities for creating and manufacturing perfumes on their behalf, Schiaparelli being one of their first such clients. While 30% of the company’s business now lies in marketing fragrances for toiletries, cosmetics and various household products, its main output is still predominantly in the field of perfumes, of which it is the world’s leading producer; one in five of all present-day quality fragrances, including many of the best-known top-selling perfumes, are created by Roure perfumers.
‘Royal Copenhagen’ An unusual, trend-setting chypre fragrance produced by Swank in 1970 as an eau de cologne for men. Created by perfumers of IFF, the main ingredients are bergamot and lemon in the top note, rose, jasmine and patchouli in the middle note, and tonka, with other elements including honey, to provide a sweet lower note.
Royal Unguent A perfume used in Roman times which was devised for the kings of Parthia and was described by Pliny as ‘the very climax of luxury’. Pliny noted the contents as: balanos oil, costus, amomum, Syrian cinnamon, cardamom, spikenard, cat-thyme, myrrh, cassia, storax, labdanum, opobalsamum, Syrian calamus and sweetrush, cinnamon leaf (malobathrum), serichatum, Cyprus (see cyprinum), camel’s thorn, all-heal, saffron, gladiolus, marjoram, lotus, honey and wine.
Rue Oil An oil distilled from the leaves and young shoots of Common Rue (Ruta graveolens = R. officinale), also called Garden Rue, Herby-grass and Herb-of-Grace, a herb growing to about 3 feet high, native to the Mediterranean area but now cultivated widely. Introduced into Britain by the Romans for its medicinal uses, it has for long been used in flavouring as well as in perfumes, having a special value in compounds with a sweet-pea fragrance, but is now among those oils synthesized or modified for safety reasons (see Perfume Creation). A similar oil, sometimes called Algerian Oil, is also produced from two other species of rue (R. montana and R. bracteosa) found in Algeria. In the Middle Ages rue was regarded as a powerful defence against witches.
‘Rumba’ A wide-selling fruity-floral perfume launched by Balenciaga (following their acquisition by Bogart) in 1988. Fruity top notes come from peach, plum and bergamot, spiced with basil, and the floral heart includes jasmine, rose, carnation, orchid, magnolia and gardenia. The base contains patchouli, labdanum, cypress, oak moss and vanilla. The bottle is modelled after a Roman vase.
Sachets Small bags containing fragrant materials either carried on the person or laid among clothes and linen to perfume them. In ancient times women in the East wore sachets containing powdered perfume materials hung round their necks and concealed under their clothes (see Bible Perfumes). This custom found its way into Europe in the Middle Ages at the same time that sachets began to be used to perfume linen and clothes and drive away moths and other insects. Body sachets of satin or silk filled with powdered orris were very popular early in the 18th century. More generally sachets contained a mixture of dried or powdered herbs, roots or fragrant wood, such as calamus, lavender, marjoram, orris, rose petals and rhodium; sometimes drops of essential oil were added, especially to provide a fixative. Sachets are still made on the same basis, a large variety of dried materials being suitable for them, and, like pot pourri, they can be produced at home.
Safflower Also called Carthamus and Dyer’s Saffron. Species of safflower, notably Carthamus tinctorius (native to India, Iran and Asia Minor) and C. lanatus, or Bastard Saffron (native to Arabia and India) have been cultivated widely, notably in India and China, since ancient times for the yellow or red dye from their flowers and the oil from their seeds (used in cooking). The ancient Egyptians used the oil as a base and colourant for their perfumes (see Balanos). Early Arab perfume makers used it to colour their perfumes and to thicken saffron.
Safranol The principal odorous constituent of Saffron; it is now made synthetically, the synthetic version being widely available.
Saffron One of the most expensive of all perfume materials, and also one of the most ancient, saffron is derived from the dried stigmas and styles tops of the Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus = C. officinalis), originating in Asia Minor and the Mediterranean area. The finest saffron now comes from S.E. Spain, and it is also cultivated in Iran and India. It is grown for its use in foodstuffs as much as for perfumery. Some 60 to 70 thousand flowers are required to produce 1 lb of saffron powder. Saffron Oil is obtained by extraction with volatile solvents and is used in minute quantity in perfumes, particularly oriental-type perfumes, providing a very rich, distinctive and slightly earthy note. The main odorous constituent is Safranol.
Saffron was cultivated in Crete in Minoan times and was popular in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, appearing as an ingredient in many famous perfumes of the day; the Romans also strewed it over the floors of public places to scent the air on special occasions (see Roman Perfumes). In classical times it was mostly cultivated in Cilicia, in Asia Minor. The Arabs, to whom it was one of the most important of all perfume materials, introduced its cultivation into Europe in the 7th century after the conquest of Spain. By the 16th century English saffron was considered the finest in the world, being grown in large quantity around Saffron Walden.
Safrole A form of Sassafras Oil, also called Brazilian Sassafras Oil, which is distilled from the wood of a tropical tree (Ocotea sassafras = Mespilodaphne sassafras) found in Brazil. It is used in perfumery, soaps, deodorants and for flavouring. A similar oil comes from two related species of this tree – Ocotea cymbarum (= O. amara) and O. caudata, also found in tropical S. America, the oil from the former also being called Aceite de Sassafras. Safrole also occurs naturally in the oils of sassafras, star anise, nutmeg, ylang-ylang, cinnamon leaf and camphor and is obtained commercially from camphor oil. It is used as a starting point in the synthesis of heliotropin.
Sagapenum An aromatic oil obtained from a gum taken from the stem of a herb, Ferula persica, native to Iran and the Caucasus. It was known to the early Arab perfume makers and was used in early medicines. A 16th century German treatise on essential oils listed it as one of the ‘precious oils’.
Sage Oil An essential oil steam-distilled from the dried leaves of the Sage plant (Salvia officinalis), also called Garden Sage and Common Sage, a shrub growing to about 12 inches high, native to the Mediterranean area and Asia Minor and now cultivated widely. The oil is mainly manufactured in Spain and Yugoslavia. A similar oil, called Spanish Sage Oil, is distilled in Spain from the wild Sage (S. lavendulaefolia = S. triloba). Sage Oil provides a eucalyptus-like, spicy and herbaceous fragrance for perfumery, the Spanish Sage Oil fragrance being slightly more like that of Spike Lavender. Sage Oil appears in modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Gem’) and is used in soap fragrances.
‘Salvador Dali’ A ‘floriental’ perfume, introduced by COFCI of Paris in 1983, comprising jasmine, rose and orange flower in the top notes and cypress and sandalwood in the heart, with a base of frankincense and myrrh. It was launched in a limited edition of large crystal flacons designed by Dali and based on the lips of Aphrodite in a famous Greek statue by Praxitales. The range now includes a men’s fragrance ‘Dali pour Homme’.
‘Samba’ A floral-chypre perfume launched by the American perfume company Perfumers Workshop in 1987. Head notes of peach, cassis, tagetes, citrus and galbanum lead to a heart which includes rose, jasmine, hyacinth, magnolia, violet, lily of the valley and clove, on a base of myrrh, oak moss, sandalwood and patchouli, with hints of violet and musk.
Sampsuchinon Also called Sampsuchum. An ancient Egyptian unguent and scented oil mentioned by several classical authors. Recipes were recorded by Dioscorides. Sampsuchum was the Egyptian word for Marjoram. The unguent (sampsuchum) was made of fat mixed with marjoram and was said to be very long-lasting. The scented oil (sampsuchinon) contained marjoram, thyme, southernwood, myrtle leaves and other ingredients, on a base of olive oil.
‘Samsara’ A high-quality ‘amber’ perfume created by Jean-Paul Guerlain and brought out by Guerlain in 1989. In 1990 it won an Italian Academy of Perfume award. The name, from Sanskrit, means ‘eternal return’ and symbolizes serenity. The top notes contain sandalwood and jasmine, leading into a floral heart, mainly rose, narcissus, violet and orris. The base, dominated by amber, also includes vanilla and tonka, sweetened with a touch of ylang-ylang. The flacon is by Robert Granai.
Sandal Oil An aromatic oil used in perfumery which is extracted from the roots of a tree (Aptandra spruceana) found in Brazil. This perfume is also known as Castanha de Cotia and Sando de Maranhao Oil.
Another form of Sandal Oil (also called Sandalo Inglez) is extracted from the bark of another Brazilian tree, Calophyllum brasiliense.
Sandalwood The most renowned sandalwood oil, and the sandalwood oil of history, is distilled from the Sandalwood tree of India and Indonesia (Santalum album = Sirium myrtifolium), the best coming from Mysore. This tree, also called White Sandalwood, is a parasitic plant, attaching suckers to the roots of other trees, and grows up to 30 feet high. The oil is also called Sanders, White Sanders, Yellow Sanders, Citron Sanders and Santal. The oil is contained in the heartwood and is obtained only from very mature trees after they have been felled. The harvesting of sandalwood is now tightly controlled by the Indian Government. White Sandalwood is sometimes confused with Red Sandalwood (Adenanthera pavonina), which provides a useful red hardwood but is not aromatic.
Sandalwood oil, which is clear, viscid and strongly aromatic, is steam-distilled from the wood chippings, 1 cwt of wood providing about 30 oz of oil. It is often called Sandal. It retains its odour for a long time and is an excellent fixative. It has for long been one of the principal materials of Indian perfumery, being used both as a fragrance and, when dissolved in spirit, as a base for other fragrances. It is much used in incenses. As it assimilates very well with rose, it is sometimes used in India mixed with Attar of Roses. In western perfumery it is one of the most valuable (and expensive) of raw materials available, being found in the base notes of many types of perfume and used to give classic notes to chypre, fougere and oriental-type perfumes. It appears as a principal ingredient in over 50% of all women’s quality perfumes, and some 30% of men’s fragrances.
Although some sandalwood seems to have reached the ancient Egyptians, there is no indication of its use in classical Greece and Rome until about the 2nd century AD. The early Arab perfume makers used sandalwood mainly in pulverized or sawdust form as a base for solid perfumes and incenses.
Other forms of Sandalwood Oil, with a slightly different and usually milder fragrance, are obtained from a number of other Sandalwood trees, including:
1. the Australian Santal tree, also called the Lanceleaf Sandalwood tree (Santalum lanceolatum = S. cygnorum), which yields Australian ] Sandalwood Oil;
2. the Quandong, or South Australian Sandalwood tree (Eucarya acuminata = Santalum acuminatum = S. preissianum), from which is obtained South Australian Sandalwood Oil;
3. the West Australian Sandalwood tree (Eucarya spicata = Santalum spicatum = Fusanus spicatus), yielding West Australian Sandalwood Oil;
4. the Fiji Sandalwood tree (Santalum yasi) of Fiji, from which Fiji Sandalwood Oil is made (but few of these trees now remain);
5. the East African Sandalwood tree (Osyris tenuifolia), which yields East African Sandalwood Oil;
6. the Polynesian Sandalwood tree (Santalum marchionense) of Polynesia, yielding Scented Sandalwood Oil, used locally as a body oil and for embalming;
7. the West Indian Sandalwood tree (also called Candlewood and Rosewood) (Amyris balsamifera), native to central America and the southern USA, which provides West Indian Sandalwood Oil, also called Cayenne Linaloe Oil (see Linaloe). It has a sweet, cedar-lik odour and is used in low-cost perfumes.
‘Sandalwood’ The brand name of a trend-setting woody fragrance for men brought out as an eau de cologne by Arden for Men (see Elizabeth Arden) in 1957. Its main ingredients are lavender in the top note sandalwood and geranium in the middle note and tree moss and amber in the lower note.
Sandarac Also called Pounce. A resin obtained from the Sandarac tree (Tetraclinis articulata = Callitris quadrivalvis), also called the Arar tree, of S. Spain and N. Africa. In these regions it is burnt as an incense, as it formerly was by the Greeks and Romans. The essential oil is used in perfumery as a fixative. The Romans called the wood of this tree Citronwood, because of its lemon scent, and valued it highly for making furniture.
Sanofi A French, state-owned group of companies, associated with Elf Aquitaine Oil, which has major interests in the cosmetics, toiletries and fragrance industries. It owns Nina Ricci, Yves Rocher (whose fragrances include ‘Diamella’, ‘Samarcande’, ‘Trimaran’ and ‘Vie Privee’) and Sanofi Beaute. The latter company comprises Van Cleef & Arpels, Roger & Gallet, Oscar de la Renta, Molyneux, Krizia (fragrances include ‘K de Krizia’, ‘Moods’ and ‘Krizia Uomo’), Geoffrey Beene (‘Grey Flannel’ and ‘Bowling Green’), Fendi, Perry Ellis, Stendhal and the US company Parfums Stern (acquired from Avon in 1990).
Santalol An alcohol extracted from Sandalwood Oil and used in perfumery.
Sassafras Also called Ague tree, Sassafrax, Cinnamon Wood and Panaume. A tall tree (Sassafras officinale = S. alibidinum = S. variifolium) growing up to 40 feet high in N. America from Canada to Florida. A fragrant oil called Sassafras Oil, with a spicy antiseptic odour midway between cinnamon and fennel, is distilled from the rootbark and wood; it is used in mainly lower-grade perfumes and soaps as well as medicinally and in flavourings. The oil contains a high proportion of safrole. Bark chips and powdered bark are used in pomanders, sachets and pot pourri.
A form of Sassafras Oil is also distilled from the bark and leaves of an Australian tree Doryphora sassafras and is used in perfumery. An oil called Oil of Sassafras is distilled from the root bark of two species of Swamp Laurel tree (Magnolia grandiflora and M. glauca) native to southern USA. An oil called Australian Sassafras Oil is distilled from the bark of the Southern Sassafras tree (Atherosperma moschatum) of S. Australia and Tasmania. An oil similar in colour and odour to Sassafras Oil is also obtained from the leaves of a shrub Amyris punctata, which grows to about 12 feet tall and is native to the Middle East and N. India.
Savin Oil of Savin, used medicinally as well as in perfumery, comes from the twigs of the Savin (also called Savan and Savine) tree (Juniperus sabina = Sabina cacumina), a species of Juniper which grows from S. Europe to the Caucasus, in central and N. Asia and in N. America.
Savory Oil An essential oil which is steam-distilled from the twigs and leaves of Summer Savory (Satureia hortensis), an annual herb growing up to 12 inches high, native to the Mediterranean region but now grown widely and cultivated for use in perfumes in France, Yugoslavia and the USA. It imparts a medicinal odour reminiscent of thyme and origanum, and is used extensively in herb-type perfumes. The dried leaves and flowers are used in sachets and pot pourri. A similar oil, valued more in flavouring than in perfumery, is distilled from Winter Savory (S. montana), a perennial shrub with sweet-scented flowers native to southern Europe.
Savory has been used in food flavouring since Roman times, and Winter Savory has been grown in Britain since the 16th century. Virgil described both Savorys as among the most fragrant of herbs (noting that on this account they were grown near beehives).
Scented Maiden Hair A fern (Adiantum amabile) found in Brazil. The young fronds have a scent which is imitated by chemical synthesis in commercial perfumery for Fougere-type perfumes.
Schiaparelli A company formed in Paris in the 1920s by Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) to make fashionable knitware, for which purpose she employed, by 1930, a staff of some 2000. With a very avant-garde approach, Schiaparelli, a close friend of Dali, was soon designing a wide range of clothes and accessories. In 1937 she presented her startling ‘shocking pink’ collection and produced the perfume ‘Shocking’ to go with it. After her death the perfume house bearing her name also produced ‘Shocking You’ (76) and a men’s fragrance ‘Snuff’ (77).
Sea Holly Oil An essential oil distilled from the roots of a species of Erynga (Eryngium campestre), also called Sea Hulver and Sea Holme, a thistle-like plant growing up to 12 inches high on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Europe. It has a musk-like fragrance. In ancient times this plant was credited with many medicinal properties, and Plutarch related that goats became spell-bound when taking it in their mouths.
Sellier, Germaine One of Roure’s leading ‘noses’, whose creations include ‘Jolie Madame’ and ‘Vent Vert’ for Balmain and ‘Fracas’ for Piguet.
Serichatum A perfume material mentioned by Pliny which was grown in Arabia in Roman times and was sometimes used in Roman unguents. It has not been identified botanically.
Sesame Oil Also called Bene Oil, Teel Oil and Gingle Oil. An oil obtained by expression from the seeds of the Sesame plant (Sesamum indicum = S. orientale), also called Oriental Sesame, Bene and Simsim. The oil was used in ancient Egypt as a lamp oil and in unguents and foodstuffs and it is still so used there to this day. It was also a base oil for perfumes of the ancient Egyptians (see Balanos and Egyptian Perfumes), the ancient Greeks and the early Arabs (see Arab Perfumes); the latter recognized two sorts of the oil from two different varieties of the plant. Theophrastus observed that sesame oil absorbed the scent of roses better than any other oil.
‘Shalimar’ A famous classic oriental-type perfume created by Jacques Guerlain and brought out by Guerlain in 1925. It is named after the garden of Shalimar (Sanskrit 一 ‘the abode of love’) built in Lahore by the emperor Shah Jehan for his favourite wife Mumtaz. The top notes provide a citrus effect from lemon, supported by bergamot, mandarin and rosewood. The heart is floral, with rose, jasmine and orris, but given a woody effect by patchouli and vetiver. The base notes, which include traces of vanilla, benzoin and balsam of Peru, are dominated by opoponax. It is marketed in a flacon designed by Raymond Guerlain and made by Baccarat, and in flacons by Brosse.
‘Sheherazade’ A quality chypre perfume launched by Desprez in 1983. Named after the famous story teller of the Arabian Nights Tales, it was created for Desprez by IFF perfumers. Aldehydic top notes, which include bergamot and rosewood, head middle notes based on rose and carnation, with other constituents which include jasmine, ylang-ylang, orris and cassia. The base, which is sweet, ambery and powdery, includes vanilla, sandalwood, benzoin and opoponax. The perfume is sold in an elegant glass crystal flacon in oriental style designed by Pierre Dinand.
Shiseido A major Japanese cosmetics and perfume firm, founded as a pharmacy in 1872 in Tokyo by Yushin Fukuhara, which has marketed perfume in Japan and the USA since the early 1960s. It now sells ‘Tactics’ (1979), ‘Murasaki’ (80) and ‘Nombre Noir’ (82) in France but has not yet launched its perfumes in Britain.
‘Shocking’ A classic, trend-setting oriental-type perfume introduced in 1937 by Schiaparelli, for whom it was created by Jean Carles. Aldehydes with touches of bergamot and estragon provide the top notes, leading to a honey-like floral bouquet in the heart, and animalic base notes dominated by civet. The flacon, originally made in Czechoslovakia, represents a tailor’s dummy and is draped with velvet in the signature ‘shocking pink’ colour.
Shulton A major American toiletries company marketing some wide-selling fragrances for men, which include ‘Old Spice’, ‘Blue Stratos’, ‘Insignia’ and ‘Mandate’. In 1990 it was acquired by Proctor & Gamble.
Siberian Pine Oil Also called Oil of Siberian Fir. An oil distilled from the fresh leaves of the Siberian Fir (Abies siberica = A. pichta) growing in northern USSR and central Asia. It has a typical pine fragrance.
Silver Pine Needle Oil Also called Silver Fir Needle Oil. An oil steam-distilled from the leaves of the Silver Fir (also called Silver Spruce and White Spruce) (Abies pectinata = A. alba), native to Europe and Asia Minor, the tree most popularly used as a Christmas Tree. The oil is used in perfumery and toilet preparations either on its own or blended with other fragrances.
‘Silvestre’ A trend-setting eau de cologne in the lavender family of fragrances for men, first issued by Victor in 1946. Its principal constituents are lavender and bergamot in the top note, pine and Douglas fir oil (oregano) in the middle note and cedarwood, vetiver and musk in the base.
‘Sir Irisch Moos’ A chypre-type fragrance for men devised by 4711 Mulhens in 1969. Its main ingredients are bergamot, lemon and galbanum, providing a fresh, green and herbaceous top note, with jasmine, patchouli and vetiver in the middle note and tonka and vanilla in the base.
Skatole A crystalline substance which is one of the chemical compounds of civet and is occasionally used in diluted form instead of civet as a fixative. It is also contained in some woods and is made synthetically from coal-tar.
Smoky Note A term used in perfumery to denote the slight smell of smoke created in a perfume by certain oils such as Birch Tar Oil. It is used in men’s fragrances to provide a leathery effect.
‘Soir de Paris’ A fragrance which set a trend in the development of sweet floral perfumes. Created by Ernest Beaux and introduced by Bourjois in 1929, ‘Soir de Paris’ has a predominantly violet top note, with a heart of tilleul supported by suggestions of clover, lilac, rose, jasmine and other flower fragrances. The base note is chiefly composed of vetiver and styrax. The perfume is contained in a distinctive midnight blue flacon designed by Jean Helleu.
Sophistication A term used in perfumery to describe the adulteration of an essential oil by slightly increasing the amount of one of its non-odorous chemical components in order to add to its bulk.
Southernwood Also called Old Man and Boy’s Love. A small shrub (Artemisia abrotanum) growing up to 4 feet high, native to southern Europe. It is closely related to Wormwood. The flowering tops provide an essential oil with a lemon-like fragrance which is occasionally used in perfumery to add subtle tones, but they are more usually dried for use in sachets and pot pourri. The scent is disagreeable to bees and moths, making the dried plants useful for laying in clothes. Dioscorides believed it would drive off snakes. Southernwood was one of the ingredients in a Roman perfume called melinum.
‘Special No. 127’ A fragrance originally created by Floris in 1890 for the personal use of the Russian Grand Duke Orloff, to whom it was supplied in plain, unlabelled bottles, ‘No. 127′ being the page number in Floris’ book for special formulas for individual customers. Subsequently it became a favourite perfume of Eva Peron. It provides fresh notes based on petitgrain, neroli and orange oil in the head, rose and jasmine in the heart, and patchouli in the base.
Spicewood Also called Wild Allspice. An oil distilled from the wood of the Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin = Benzoin aestivalis = Laurus benzoin), which is cultivated in the USA. Its leaves are used as a tea substitute and its berries as a substitute for allspice. The oil has a fragrance similar to pimento and is used in bouquets containing lavender where a spicy note is desired.
Spicy Note A phrase employed in perfumery to describe in general the distinctive fragrance of essential oils which have been obtained from spices.
Spikenard An important perfume material since ancient times, spikenard derives from a perennial herb (Nardostachys jatamansi) native to high mountain areas (11000-17000 feet) in the Himalayas. It is also called Nard, True Spikenard, Spikenard of the Ancients, Indian Nard, Spike, Indian Spike, Sumbul and Jatamansi (which is its usual name in India). Spikenard Oil is steam-distilled from the roots and has a strong odour reminiscent of patchouli and valerian with a faint background of musk. It is used in modern perfumes, especially in oriental-type ones, and is an excellent fixative, but is becoming increasingly rare and therefore extremely expensive. It is much prized in India as a perfume for the hair.
Nard from India was known to Theophrastus and became an important import from the earliest days of the Roman Empire, when sea trade with India developed. To the Romans it was a highly prized ingredient of oils and unguents (see Roman Perfumes). The early Arab perfume makers also made considerable use of it, and its later popularity in Europe is testified by its appearance in an early work on distillation.
A closely related plant called Celtic Spikenard (Valeriana celtica), which grows in Alpine regions, has been widely used to provide a substitute for Spikenard. The fragrance of the essential oil, distilled from the roots, resembles camomile and patchouli.
Stacte The Greek term for Oil of Myrrh, which was an important ingredient in the perfumes of classical times. The word means ‘in drops’, because, according to Theophrastus, ‘it comes in drops slowly’ when myrrh is bruised, but he also described another method of manufacture by which stacte was squeezed out of a mucilage made from myrrh and balanos oil dissolved in hot water.
Star Anise Also called Aniseed Stars, Chinese Anise, Badiane and Damar. An evergreen, magnolia-like tree (Illicium verum) growing up to 45 feet high, native to Indonesia, China and Japan and now cultivated widely in China, Vietnam, Jamaica and elsewhere. An essential oil, called Oil of Anise or Star Aniseed Oil (and, in French, Badiane) is distilled from the seed capsules and used in perfumes (e.g. ‘Brut’) and to flavour liqueurs. The dried seeds are also used, but sparingly because of their powerful aroma, in sachets and pot pourri. In Japan the pounded bark is burned as an incense.
Stearoptene An odourless, waxy substance (the word derives from the Greek stear meaning ‘suet’) contained in essential oils. In the process of refining the oil by extraction, stearoptene remains in the concrete and is removed to produce the absolute.
Stephanotis Also called Madagascar Jasmine and Creeping Tuberose. A twining shrub (Stephanotis floribunda) growing to about 10 feet high and native to Madagascar. It is cultivated for its highly fragrant flowers. The fragrance is included in some quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Nocturnes’).
St Johns Wort Also called Sweet Amber and Common Tutsam. A perennial herb (Hypericum androsaemum) which grows wild to about 3 feet high throughout Europe and Asia. The botanical name Hypericum derives from Greek meaning ‘over an apparition’, from the belief that its aroma drove away ghosts. It has a strong medicinal scent and has had a variety of medicinal uses. An oil with a balsamic, terebinth-like odour is obtained from the seeds and is used occasionally in high-class perfumes (e.g. ‘L’Heure Bleue’).
Stock A plant with fragrant flowers (Matthiola incana) native to S. European coastal regions but now cultivated widely. It is sometimes also called Gilliflower (q.v.). It was probably the flower referred to by Theophrastus (under the name Gilliflower in translated texts) from which one of the main perfumes of the ancient Greeks was made. It also appeared in early Arab perfumes. The flowers are used in pot pourri.
Storax Storax, also called Styrax, of modern perfumery is obtained by expression from the inner bark of the Liquidambar tree (Liquidambar orientalis), being mostly produced by a crude local process in Turkey. The tree grows up to 40 feet high and is native to S.W. Asia Minor and the island of Rhodes; it first came to the notice of western perfumers in about 1650. Storax is a balsamic oleo-resin, also called Liquid Storax, Levant Storax, Oriental Storax, Flussiger Amber, Rosemalloes and Oriental Sweet Gum; it has a strong cinnamon-like odour and makes an excellent fixative. Most storax is supplied to India and China. It is used in soaps, incenses and several types of perfume, sometimes to complement, or as an alternative to, vanilla, ambergris or benzoin (e.g. ‘Soir de Paris’). It is among materials now synthesized for safety or environmental reasons (see Perfume Creation).
A similar product is obtained from the bark of the American Sweet Gum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua), also called Red Gum or Bilsted, which is native to the USA and central America; this is known as Oil of Storax, White Peru Balsam and Honduras Balsam, and is used in perfumery, particularly in jasmine compounds, and in soaps; it was at one time exported to Spain from Mexico for this purpose. It is used in some modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Tweed’).
The storax of ancient times was a sweet oleo-resin, also known as Red Storax and Jewish Frankincense, obtained from the bark of a small tree, Styrax officinalis, growing up to 15 feet high and native to the eastern Mediterranean region. It is little used at the present time, although it is sometimes employed in incenses. In the Middle Ages it was used in Britain both in incenses and in pomanders. This was the ‘sweet storax’ of the Bible (see Bible Perfumes) and an ingredient of the royal unguent of Roman times. Herodotus stated that the Arabs burned it so that the smoke would drive away snakes when they were collecting frankincense. Pliny noted that the Arabs fumigated their houses with it. Both types of the gum were used by the early Arab perfume makers.
Strewing Herb In ancient and medieval times fragrant plants were strewn over the floors of rooms so that, when trodden on, they would perfume the air. Sometimes herbs thought to have disinfectant properties were used in this way as a protection against disease. Rosemary, rue, tansy and lavender were among plants so used from medieval times. The custom persisted until the 18th century.
Styrene A fragrant liquid used as a fixative in floral perfumes. It is a chemical constituent of several natural balsams, notably storax, and is prepared synthetically.
Sugandh Kokila A fragrant oil obtained from the scented wood of a species of Cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum cecicodaphne), also locally called Gonari, Malagiri and Rehu, which grows in N. India and the Himalayas. It is used in Indian perfumery.
Sukk A widely used perfume of the early Arabs which was based on pounded gallnuts, raisins and pomegranate seeds, with various fragrant materials added. Sometimes it was mixed with ramik. Sukk appears in nearly one fifth of all al-Kindi’s perfume recipes and was also used in Arab medical prescriptions. (See Arab Perfumes.)
Sumbul Root Also called Musk Root, Violet Root, Musk and Eurangium. A root with the odour of musk obtained from a species of Ferula (Ferula sumbul), a plant growing up to 8 feet high in mountainous areas of Turkestan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although not known to European botanists until 1869, it has been used in Iran and India as a perfume and incense since ancient times. An essential oil called Sumbul Oil is distilled from it. In India the name Sumbul is, however, also applied to some other aromatic roots, including Spikenard; consequently some of the material called Sumbul Root which is used in perfumery today, and which has an odour more reminiscent of angelica, may in fact derive from another species of Ferula, possibly F. suaveolens.
Susinon (Susinum) Perfume A perfume used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was derived from the flowers of the lily and is mentioned (by Theophrastus) from about 300 BC. The word derives from the ancient Egyptian word for a water lily (in modern Arabic the word susan covers all types of lilies). Pliny described a perfume of this name used in Rome in his day which was based on balanos oil and also contained calamus, honey, cinnamon, saffron and myrrh.
Sweet Birch Oil An oil distilled from the bark of the Sweet Birch tree (Betula lenta) found in N. America. The oil is almost identical with Gaultheria Oil and is often sold as such . It is used by perfumers in preparing Cassie Oil and perfumes with a new-mown hay fragrance.
Sweet Cicely Also called Garden Myrrh, British Myrrh, Sweet-scented Myrrh and Sweet Chervil. A herb Myrrhis odorata, growing up to 3 feet high and native to Europe and the Caucasus. The seeds have a myrrh-like scent and are used in pot pourri.
Sweet Fern Oil An essential oil with a cinnamon-like fragrance obtained from the Sweet Fern (Comptonia asplenifolia) of N. America. It is occasionally used in perfumery.
Sweet Golden Rod Oil An essential oil with an anise-like scent obtained from the leaves of the Sweet Golden Rod (Solidago odorata), also called Fragrant-leaved Golden Rod, a plant found in eastern parts of N. America. It has medicinal uses and is occasionally used in perfumery.
Sweet Grass A grass found in Europe, Asia and N. America (Hierochloe odorata = Holcus odoratus = Teresia odorata). It is used in Mexico to perfume clothes and to burn as an incense.
Sweet Hoof A fragrant material which comes from the operculum, or plate, over the entrance to the shell of certain marine snails (Strombus lentiginosus, Ungues odorati and others) found on sea coasts from India to the Red Sea. It was mentioned by Dioscorides as a medicinal drug. Early Arab perfume makers used it in the preparation of incenses. It is sometimes called Onycha (q.v.); in the Old Testament onycha was an ingredient in the holy perfume (incense) of the Jews.
Sweet Note A phrase used in perfumery to describe a sweet and rather sugar-like fragrance such as vanilla.
Sweet Orange An essential oil, also called Oil of Portugal, with a sweet and flowery perfume, extracted from the peel of the fruit of the Sweet Orange tree (Citrus sinensis), which probably originated in S.E. Asia but was being widely cultivated in Italy and the eastern Mediterranean by the beginning of the 1st millennium. It is used both as a flavouring and in perfumes and appears in modern quality perfumes (e.g. ‘White Satin’).
The flowers of this tree are also distilled, principally in Portugal, Spain and the south of France, to produce a less fragrant form of neroli oil, found in commerce under the name ‘Neroli petolae’, which is sometimes used to adulterate true Neroli.
The dried peel of the fruits of Sweet Orange are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Sweet Pea Oil An essential oil extracted by enfleurage from the flowers of the Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus), possibly native to southern Europe and now cultivated widely with many varieties. The plant was not known in early times. Its odour suggests orange blossom and hyacinth with a hint of rose, but, despite the popularity of the plant for its fragrant flowers, there has never been a great demand for this fragrance in a perfume. As the fragrance is more easily and cheaply reproduced by synthetic means, the essential oil is therefore little used in perfumery.
Sweet William A garden plant (Dianthus barbatus) growing up to 2 feet high and related to the clove-pink (carnation). It is native to eastern Europe but is now grown widely. The clove-scented flowers afe dried for use in pot pourri.
‘Sybaris’ A men’s fragrance launched by Puig in 1988. Created by Sebastian Gomez, it features herbal top notes, with bergamot, citrus leaf, tangerine, myrtle and thyme, on a spicy, floral, fruity heart containing coriander, nutmeg, and cinnamon, with patchouli, sandalwood and musk in the base notes.
Synthetic Fragrances Synthetic fragrances are laboratory-made imitations of natural perfumes, or fragrances devised in a laboratory which do not exist in nature. They began to be manufactured for commercial perfumery (starting with mirbane essence) from the middle of the 19th century, when the popular demand for perfumes necessitated production in bulk quantity with materials which were not limited in supply, or subject to wide variations of quality and price, or prohibitively costly. Chemists, notably among them Tiemann and Baur, isolated the significant chemical elements of essential oils which provided their odour and then reproduced them. Sometimes the odoriferous elements in an oil which was expensive to produce could be found in much greater abundance and more easily available in the essential oil of other plants; hence gerianol, which provides the nucleus of the basic fragrance (the ‘odorous principal’) in a rose, can be more cheaply and abundantly obtained from, for example, geranium and palma rosa and is taken from these plants for use, after chemical treatment, in making synthetic rose perfumes. Among many other substances used as synthetics in perfumery are: aldehydes, citronellol, coumarin, eugenol, farnesol, heliotropin, indole, ionene, linalool, methyl salycilate, musk ambrette, musk ketone, nerol, pinene, skatole, styrene, terpineol and vanillin. The role of all of these will be found under their respective headings. But the total range of synthetic fragrances is vast, many being made from minerals such as coal tar (e.g. benzene and methyl salycilate) and petroleum. There are very many invented fragrances in addition to the imitations of natural scents, so that perfume makers now have some four thousand different fragrant materials to choose from when selecting the ingredients for their new compositions. Most perfumes made nowadays contain a high proportion of synthetic materials.
Tabasheer A silica concretion found in the hollow stems of bamboos, principally Bambusa arundinacea. It has for long had medicinal uses. The early Arab perfume makers used it in their recipes.
‘Tabac Blond’ A unique perfume produced by Caron in 1919, being the only feminine fragrance with a tobacco-scented background. The top note, principally orange blossom, and the middle note, a classic flora bouquet centred on jasmine, were unconventional, but the tobacco fragrance dominated the lower notes, with traces of cedarwood, amber, civet, benzoin, leather and moss providing an added powdery effect.
‘Tabac Original’ A dry, floral fragrance for men issued by Maurer Wirtz as an eau de cologne in 1938. Created by Firmenich, it has fresh, citrusy top note, chiefly bergamot, lemon and neroli, with rose and orris in the middle notes and with amber, musk and tobacc fragrance included in the base notes.
Tacamahac Also called Tacka Mohacca and Elqueme. A fragrant resin principally obtained from the bark of a small tree (Bursera gummifera Elaphrium simaruba) found in central America and the W. Indies. In the W. Indies the gum is known as West Indian Elemi. It was used by the Mayas of Mexico as an incense and was brought to Europe from th 16th century for use in incenses and sachets. Nowadays its main use is as a glue and in medicinal concoctions.
An aromatic resin called Tacamahac is also obtained from the leaf buds of the N. American Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera), a large tree introduced from S. America in the 17th century and sometimes called the Balsam of Tacamahac tree. The resin is sometimes imported into Britain under the name ‘Balm of Gilead Buds’ (see Balm of Gilead).
Tangerine Oil Also called Mandarin Oil. An oil expressed from the fruit peel of the Tangerine Orange tree (Citrus reticulata var. deliciosa) which is cultivated widely. It provides a sharp orange fragrance used in colognes and some perfumes (e.g. ‘Charles of the Ritz’, ‘Lace’ and ‘Sybaris’).
Tangloo Oil An oil used in perfumery which is distilled from the flowers of the Ooka-ooka tree (Aglaja odoratissima), also called the Pantjal-kidang and Tangloo tree, native to Java.
Tansy A herb (Tanacetum vulgare), also known as Buttons, growing up to 3 feet high and common both in Europe and the USA. It has a bitter odour reminiscent of camphor. In early times it was used as a strewing herb, having the property of keeping flies away, and also as a flavouring and in medicine. The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Tarragon Also called Estragon, Mugwort and Little Dragon. A herb (Artemisia dracunculus) growing to about 2 feet high, native to the Himalayas but now cultivated widely, mainly for the leaves, which are used in cooking. The essential oil, called Tarragon Oil or Estragon Oil, which is obtained by steam-distillation of the whole plant, has a spicy, anise-like fragrance and is used not only medicinally and in flavourings but also in perfumes and colognes, particularly those of a chypre, fern or new-mown hay type. Examples of quality perfumes in which it is found are ‘L’Heure Bleue’ and ‘Cabochard’. The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
Tea Absolute An absolute, obtained by extraction with volatile solvents and then by distillation, from the leaves of the Chinese Tea tree (Camellia sinensis = Thea sinensis). It has a warm, amber-like odour reminiscent of tobacco, and is used in leather, chypre, fougere and new-mown hay-type perfumes.
Teisseire, Paul (1922-1986) A prominent French scientist responsible for many technical developments used in modern perfumery. He was Director of the Roure Research Centre in Grasse from 1968 to 1982.
Terebinth Oil An essential oil, sometimes called Turpentine, obtained from the resin of the shrub-like Terebinth tree (Pistacea terebinthus), also called the Turpentine tree, native to the Mediterranean region but chiefly cultivated in Cyprus and Chios. Theophrastus noted that terebinth gum was one of the best resins for use in perfumery, because it set firmly and was very fragrant. In medieval times it was often an ingredient in pomanders. Oil of Terebinth is listed in Braunschweig’s treatise on distillation published in 1500 AD. The plant was an important source of turpentine known as Chian Turpentine, but this should not be confused with the turpentine in general usage, which is obtained from pine trees.
Terpeneless Oils Essential oils separated by water or steam-distillation from which certain remaining non-odoriferous materials, chiefly resinous substances and hydrocarbon compounds called Terpenes, have been removed by a further process. The resultant oils contain only the odoriferous ingredients and are therefore much purer products and consequently highly valued by perfumers. Terpeneless oils have more ‘body’ than ordinary essential oils, do not decompose with age so readily, and are much more soluble in dilute alcohol.
Terpineol An alcohol with a sweet floral odour reminiscent of lilac which occurs naturally in bergamot, neroli, lime and petitgrain oils. It can also be distilled from pine oil or made chemically for use in perfumery. Discovered in 1885, it is mostly used in creating synthetic fragrances of lilac, lavender, jasmine and eucalyptus, but is also valued in making many other synthetic fragrances.
‘That Man’ A trend-setting chypre-type fragrance brought out by Revlon in 1961 for use in men’s toiletries. The main ingredients are bergamot, petitgrain and lemon in the top note, geranium, clove-pink and cedarwood in the middle note, and moss, tonka and musk in the base.
Theophrastus An early Greek philosopher and botanist (372-287 BC). He wrote a major botanical work An Enquiry into Plants, produced about 295 BC, and also the first known work devoted to perfumery, a short treatise called Concerning Odours. These works are our most important sources on the perfumes of the ancient Greeks.
Thyme Several species of Thyme, a plant native to the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor, are used in perfumery. Foremost is Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), from which French perfumers manufacture most of their Oil of Thyme. The flowering tops of this are steam-distilled, 100lb producing about 0.5 to 1 lb of essential oil. In its most refined form it is called White Oil of Thyme, to distinguish it from the cruder distillate, called Red Oil of Thyme, which is sometimes sold as Oil of Origanum. White Oil of Thyme is an important component of many colognes, soaps and herb-type fragrances. Examples of modern quality fragrances which contain thyme are ‘Quorum’ and ‘Panache’. A somewhat similar oil is also produced in Spain from Thymus capitatus (see Origanum Oil) and T. zygis var. gracilis. The dried leaves are used in sachets and pot pourri.
The plant called Lemon Thyme (T. citriodorus) provides an essential oil which has a lemon-like fragrance and which is mostly used in soaps.
Wild Thyme (T. serpillum = T. serphyllum), also called Creeping Thyme and Serpolet, provides an essential oil which is occasionally used in perfumery.
A species of Thyme native to and cultivated in China (T. quinquecostatus) provides an oil called Thyme Linaloe Oil, which has a fragrance resembling a spicy form of rosewood; it is occasionally used in citrus-type perfumes.
Monarda Oil, the essential oil of Bergamot, is also sometimes called Oil of Thyme.
The name Thyme is believed to derive from a Greek word meaning ，’to fumigate’, as the Greeks used it as an incense in their temples. Pliny claimed that when burned it would put all venomous creatures to flight. The Greeks used a perfume based on ‘tufted thyme’; this was probably Wild Thyme, which the Arabs also used in their perfume recipes.
Tiemann, Ferdinand A German professor of chemistry prominent in the development of synthetic perfume materials in the late 19th century. He discovered vanillin and ionone (see Synthetic Fragrances).
Tilleul The Linden tree, or Lime tree (Tilia europaea), found wild in southern Europe and northern Asia, which has highly fragrant flowers.
The name Tilleul is used for the tree, for an infusion made from the flowers, and in perfumery for the fragrance of the flowers, which is usually imitated synthetically in modern perfumes. Modern quality perfumes containing it include, for example, ‘Soir de Paris’.
Tincture A term applied in perfumery to the product obtained by purifying a fragrant gum or resin or other dry plant material or animal material by extraction with alcohol or some other unheated solvent. Such purification may be necessary in order to separate foreign matter, such as grit and pieces of bark, which has become embedded in the gum during the process of exudation and harvesting. After the solvent has then been removed, the resultant very pure perfume substance is known as ‘clair’, or ‘resinodor’ or ‘gumodor’.
Ti-Tree Oil Also called Melaleuca Oil. A light, nutmeg-like essential oil steam-distilled from the leaves of the Ti-(or Tea) tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Black Tea tree (M. bracteata) of Australia. It is closely related to Cajuput. Having good germicidal value, it is much used as a fragrance in soaps, deodorants and disinfectants.
An oil called Lemon-scented Tea Tree Oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of Laptospermum citratum, found in eastern Australia, and is used similarly. It has a strong lemon-like odour.
Tobacco Notes A phrase used in perfumery to describe fragrances resembling cured tobaccos, which are particularly popular in masculine toiletries.
Toilet Water Also called eau de toilette. A spirit obtained by distilling fragrant materials in alcohol. Hungary Water was an early example. Toilet waters became very popular during the 19th century, in particular those known as eau de cologne, eau de portugal, florida water, honey water and lavender water. In modern perfumery, the term ‘eau de toilette’ signifies a preparation containing 4-8% perfume in an alcohol.
Tomar Seed Oil An oil used in Indian perfumery which is extracted from the seeds of the Wingleaf Prickly Ash tree (Zanthoxylum alatum Z. planispinum) of N. India and China.
Tonka Bean Also called Tonquin Bean. A bean produced by two species of a tall tree belonging to the Laburnum family:
1. the Dutch Tonka tree (Dipteryx odorata = Coumarouna odorata = Baryosma tongo), also called English Tonka tree, native to Brazil and Guyana and cultivated widely, especially in Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana and Martinique;
2. a closely related tree (Dipteryx oppositifolia) found in Brazil.
The beans of the former are also called ‘Angostura Beans’, and of the latter ‘Para Beans’. Angostura Beans are larger and more highly valued. The beans consist of an egg-sized fruit containing seeds which are dried and then cured in rum, when they become covered with small crystals of coumarin. This is used both for flavouring and in perfumes, sometimes as a vanilla substitute. The ‘new-mown hay’ fragrance strengthens with age. About 10% of all modern quality perfumes contain tonka, examples being ‘Je Reviens’, ‘Raffinee’ and ‘Red’, and it appears among the main ingredients of some 13% of quality fragrances for men. The dried seeds can be added to sachets and pot pourri and were once much used for laying in clothes and linen and also for scenting snuff.
Tragacanth Also called Gum Tragacanth, Gum Dragant, Gum Dragon, Dagaganthum and Quincy Dragagenty. A gum obtained from various species of Astragalus shrub, principally the Syrian Tragacanth (Astragalus gummifera) found in Asia Minor, Iran and Kurdistan. The gum, which exudes from the stem of the shrub, appears in commerce in tears, or flattened into thin, ribbon-like flakes, and is odourless. It is used as an emulsion stabilizer and for binding aromatic powders into pastes for pomander beads and incenses.
A similar gum sometimes substituted for true tragacanth is obtained from various species of Sterculia tree found in the tropics, especially the African Tragacanth tree (Sterculia tragacantha).
Some authorities believe that the material in the Old Testament sometimes translated from the Hebrew as ‘Spices’ may in fact have been tragacanth.
Tree Lupin A shrub (Lupinus arboreus) which grows up to 4 feet high, native to America but now grown widely. The flowers have a strong honey-like scent and are dried for use in pot pourri.
Tree Moss Also called Oak Moss. Two species of lichen (Evernia furfuracea = Parmelia furfuracea and Usnea barbata = U. dasypoga) are used in European perfumery under the name Tree Moss (French: Mousse d’Arbre) to distinguish them from Oak Moss, although in the USA the term Oak Moss covers Tree Moss as well. The Tree Moss species grow on the bark of spruce and fir trees in humid parts of central and southern Europe and N. Africa; France, Morocco and Yugoslavia are the main producers for the perfume industry. A resinoid is extracted from the lichen, and this is then further extracted to yield an absolute. The odour is powerfully tar-like. The product is used as a fixative and in many perfumes, especially of fougere and chypre type. Examples of modern quality fragrances which contain it are ‘Paco Rabanne pour Homme’ and ‘Estee Super’. Usnea barbarata is also known as Bearded Usnea or Old Man’s Beard; in the 16th century it was sometimes used in a toilet powder called Cyprus Powder.
‘Tresor’ A floral, semi-oriental perfume created by Sophia Grojsman of IFF for Lancome, who launched it in 1990 (UK 1991). The same name had been used for an earlier (1952) Lancome perfume. The top notes are principally rose, lilac and lily of the valley, introducing a heart which contains iris and heliotrope, with sandalwood, musk and amber, modified with peach and apricot, in the base. The flacon, in the form of an inverted crystal pyramid, was designed by Style Marque.
‘Tsar’ A spicy chypre fragrance for men introduced by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1989. Spicy top notes which include rosemary, thyme, lavender, caraway, cinnamon and juniper give way to a floral middle note of geranium, lily of the valley and jasmine, on a base containing vetivert, oak moss, patchouli and sandalwood.
Tuberose Flower Oil An essential oil, usually referred to simply as Tuberose, obtained by extraction from the flowers of the Tuberose plant (Polianthes tuberosa = Hyacinthus tuberosus), also called Night Hyacinth, native to either Indonesia or Mexico and central America, but now grown commercially for the perfume in France, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Comoro Islands. The flower grows from a bulb; in France a single-flower variety is cultivated for the perfume, a double-flowered one for cut flowers. The fragrance is heavy and honey-like, and has been described as like that of a well-stocked flower garden at eventide. The fragrance of the growing flowers increases after nightfall; hence in Malaysia the plant is called Mistress of the Night. Like jasmine, the flowers of tuberose are extracted by enfleurage, because they continue to produce essential oil for some 48 hours after cutting. Some 150 kilos of flowers will provide about 1 kilo of pomade, but from this the yield of absolute, extracted by volatile solvents, is so minute (about 200 g for every 1200 kilos of flowers) that it is one of the most expensive of all perfume materials, costing more than its weight in gold. Tuberose absolute is consequently now used only in very high-quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Amouage’ and ‘Jardins de Bagatelle’) where floral notes are required. But the essential oil is found as a main ingredient in some 20% of all modern quality perfumes.
Tuberose has for long been regarded as a symbol of voluptuousness and reputed to have aphrodisiac properties. It was first brought into Europe at the end of the 16th century, but for a long time was a monopoly of the Dutch, who cultivated it in hot-houses.
For Creeping Tuberose see Stephanotis.
Tulip Bottle Also called Candlestick Bottle. A style of bottle made for eau de cologne in the late 19th century. The stopper was made like a candlestick, having a hollow on top, usually tulip or flower-shaped, into which some of the contents could be poured to give a room fragrance.
‘Turbulences’ A fruity-fresh floral perfume introduced by Revillon in 1981. It was created by the perfumers of Dragoco. The green, fruity accord in the top note contains touches of spearmint, cumin and bergamot, heralding a middle note dominated by rose, with woody lower notes, principally cedar and amber. The spherical glass bottle with a grey stopper is sculpted to suggest the movement of waves and was designed by Warner Schurf.
Turibulum A portable censer of varying shape and design on which the Romans burned incense. In ancient Greece it was called a thumiaterion (see Perfume Containers).
Tussie-Mussie A nosegay, first popular in Elizabethan times, containing a variety of fragrant flowers or herbs selected to convey a sentiment or message through their symbolic meanings (e.g. rose for love, marjoram for happiness, daisy for faithlessness, rosemary for remembrance, rue for sorrow, etc.). Ophelia’s bouquet in Hamlet provides a good Elizabethan example. By Victorian times almost every known plant had some such meaning. The name is also sometimes used, especially in the USA, for the miniature posy holder, usually made of silver, in which a nosegay was placed; they were designed to keep the plant stems moist. The word probably derives from Tussie, an old word for a nosegay, and Mussie, a nonce word meaning ‘moss’ (used for retaining moisture).
‘Tweed’ A classic floral aldehyde perfume first brought out by Lentheric in 1933. Flowery and fruity top notes of bergamot, neroli, orange and violet give way to a classic floral heart which includes rose, jasmine, carnation, orris, lilac and magnolia. The base note, which is powdery, is principally musk, with nuances of vetivert, cinnamon, styra sandalwood, leather and civet.
Unguent A semi-solid perfumed ointment or grease, often made by steeping fragrant plants or plant parts into animal fat. It contrasts with perfumed oil or water, which was more liquid. It was used in the earliest days of perfumery, when a popular way of applying perfume was to rub an unguent into the body, especially after a bath. Unguents were kept in unguent boxes made of a stone such as marble or alabaster to keep them cool, this also helping them to last. But the word unguent was also used in classical times to cover liquid perfumes (kept in a bottle) as well. See Egyptian Perfumes.
Unguent Cone An ancient Egyptian form of pomade used by women. Perfume ingredients such as marjoram, sweet flag and myrrh were soaked in fat (see enfleurage), sometimes treated with wine, until the fat had absorbed their fragrance. The fat (probably ox tallow) was then shaped into cones. A cone would be placed on the head so that, as the heat of day melted the fat, it would trickle down over the head and body, enveloping the wearer with fragrance.
Unilever An international conglomerate based in London which is a major producer of detergents, household goods and toiletries and increasing its stake in the fragrance business. Among its are Elizabeth Arden, Calvin Klein, Lagerfeld, Faberge, Rimmel national, Elida Gibbs and Atkinsons.
Valerian Also called Ail-Heal, Amantilla, Setwall, Setawale, Great Wild Valerian and Capon’s Tail. A herb (Valeriana officinalis) growing to about 3 feet high, native to Europe and northern Asia and cultivated in Poland, Hungary, France, Belgium, China, Japan and the USSR. An essential oil, Valerian Oil, is obtained from the dried roots by steam-distillation and used in perfumery both in India and the Far East and, to a limited extent, in the West. A variety of the plant grown in Japan produces a variety of the oil known as Kesso Oil.
The name derives from the Latin valere – to be healthy 一 and the plant is mainly known for its medicinal properties, for which it was recommended by Hippocrates in the 4th/5th centuries BC. Theophrastus mentioned a Greek perfume made from all-heal grown in Syria and listed the plant as one of the principal ones used in perfumery at the time, but he may have been referring in this context to galbanum. The leaves of Valerian were used in the Middle Ages both as a spice and as a perfume, and the roots were laid in clothes to scent them. The scent has an extraordinary attraction to cats.
Valerian is closely related to Celtic Spikenard (see Spikenard).
A form of Valerian Oil is also obtained from V. wallichi, which grows in the Himalaya region, and is used locally as a perfume.
Van Cleef & Arpels Opening in Paris in 1906 as a jewellers, still its main business,
Van Cleef & Arpels launched its first fragrance, ‘First’, in 1976. it has subsequently produced ‘Gem'(87), together with two men’s fragrances, ‘Pour Homme'(78) and ‘Tsar'(89). The company is now part of the Sanofi group.
‘Vent Vert’ A classic Balmain perfume brought out in 1945. It was created by Germaine Sellier of Roure. Notable as the first of the ‘green’ perfumes (see Perfume Families), it remained the only perfume of its type for some 20 years. Its principal constituents are rose and lily of the valley, with galbanum in the top note and oak moss in the base. It was relaunched in 1991 with a revised, more floral, formula, the heart containing lily of the valley, hyacinth, rose and jasmine, with sage, sandalwood and musk in the base.
Verbena Oil Sometimes called Vervain. Verbena Oil used in perfumery is distilled from the leaves of Lemon Verbena (Lippia citriodora = Verbena triphylla = Aloysia citriodora), known to the French as Vervaine Citronelle, a deciduous shrub growing to about 4 feet high, native to S. America, introduced into Britain at the end of the 18th century, and now cultivated in S. America, Algeria, Tunisia and the south of France. The leaves have a lemon or melissa-like fragrance which they retain for many years, and are dried for use in sachets and pot pourri. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves; it is mostly used in soaps and cosmetics, but appears occasionally in quality fragrances (e.g. ‘Monsieur de Givenchy’ and ‘Van Gils’).
This plant should not be confused with the perennial plant known as Verbena which is found growing wild in Britain and elsewhere (Verbena officinalis), also called Vervain, Holy Wort and Herb Louis. This was held sacred by the Druids, had medical properties recorded by Hippocrates and was used as a protection against the plague, but it has no value in perfumery. Nor should Verbena Oil be confused with Spanish Verbena Oil, distilled from Thymus hyemalis for flavouring; nor with the Verbena, or Vervaine, used in Provence liqueurs, made from the dried flowers of Dracocephalum moldavici; nor with Indian Verbena, which is Lemon Grass.
‘Vetiver’ The brand name of a trend-setting, woody-scented men’s fragrance brought out by Carven as an eau de toilette in 1957. Created by Firmenich perfumers, its principal ingredients are bergamot and lemon in the top note, vetivert in the middle note, and a number of woody and powdery elements in the base. It comes in a flask designed by Jacques Bocquet.
Vetivert Also Vetiver and Vetyver. An important essential oil distilled from the rhizomes of Khus-khus Grass, also called Vetiver Grass (Vetiveria zizanoides =V. odorata = Andropogon muricatus), native to tropical Asia and now cultivated for this oil in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Reunion, Brazil, Angola and the W. Indies. The oil, which in India is known as Khas, has an earthy odour with an underlying violet and orris-like sweetness. It is very persistent and one of the finest fixatives known. It is the basis of the Indian perfume Mousseline (q.v.) and appears as a main ingredient in some 36% of all western quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Caleche’, ‘Chanel No. 5’, ‘Dioressence’ and ‘Parure’) and 20% of all men’s fragrances. The dried roots are used in sachets and pot pourri and are burned in India as an incense. An alcohol called vetiverol, extracted from the oil, is used in perfumery.
Another form of Vetivert, Vetiveria nigritana, is found in the Sudan and Sahara regions and used locally for perfuming clothes and fabrics.
‘Vicky Tiel’ A quality floral perfume introduced by the American dress designer Vicky Tiel in 1990 (UK 1991). The top notes contain bergamot and mandarin, and lead to a heart which includes narcissus, jonquil, lily of the valley and jasmine; the base, mainly sandalwood and oak moss, also has camellia and tuberose notes. An original flacon, designed by Pierre Dinand and made by Brosse, features, as part of the stopper, a classical sculptured Venus submerged in the perfume.
Vinaigrette A small box with a pierced inner lid containing a sponge soaked with aromatic vinegar. It was used like a smelling bottle to clear the head and counter bad smells in the air. The vinaigrette succeeded the pomander in fashionable circles in the 18th century and was popular throughout Europe until the latter part of the 19th century. Vinaigrettes, which originated in France, were usually made of silver, with a gilded interior to prevent corrosion. The vinegar base was mostly aromatized with camphor and attar of roses, or lavender, or sometimes with rosemary, sage, mint and other herbs. They were mostly flat, rectangular boxes, but other shapes were used, and were delicately worked in often elaborate designs. Birmingham ‘toy-maker’ silversmiths of 1800 to 1850 were particularly noted makers of vinaigrettes.
Violet Also called Sweet Violet and Sweet-scented Violet. A small, highly fragrant annual (Viola odorata) growing to around 5 inches high and originating in Europe, Asia and N. Africa. It is used in perfumery, medicines, love potions, sweets, hair-dressing, to make a liqueur and for cut flowers. For perfumery the essential oil is mostly obtained from plants cultivated in southern France and northern Italy, using two varieties of the plant, the Victoria violet and the Parma violet; although perfume from the latter is more highly rated, the former variety is the one mainly used, as it is more easily grown and is more disease resistant. The flowers are extracted by enfleurage, maceration or volatile solvents immediately after being picked, yielding a very small amount of extremely costly absolute. An essential oil is also obtained from the leaves and added as an absolute to a violet perfume to perfect it by providing a herbaceous, slightly earthy note. Most present day violet perfumes are made synthetically on a base of ionone or methyl-ionone, but the best have a portion of natural violet extract added to them. Modern quality fragrances using violet include, for example, ‘L’Interdit’, ‘Nina’, ‘Quelques Fleurs’, ‘Soir de Paris’ and ‘Xeryus’.
The violet was well known in ancient times, the Greeks regarding it as the flower of fertility. Pliny valued its fragrance immediately after roses and lilies and observed that a garland of violets worn around the head would prevent headaches and dizziness. Both Greeks and Romans drank a wine made from violets. The early Arab perfume makers learned how to distil the oil. The violet was the floral emblem of the Bonapartes; after the Empress Marie Louise was separated from Napoleon in 1817 she established the violet industry at Parma which flourishes to this day.
‘Vivre‘ A classic floral aldehyde perfume first presented by Molyneux in the 1930s and relaunched in 1971 to a new formula created by perfumers of IFF. Spicy aldehyde top notes with bergamot and coriander introduce a floral heart in which rose, jasmine and orange blossom predominate, underlaid by base notes of sandalwood, vetivert and oak moss. The flacon, a strikingly modern symbolization of the human body, was designed by Serge Mansau.
Voanalakoly An aromatic shrub (Rhinacanthus osmospermum) found in Madagascar. The leaves are used locally to scent the hair and to make perfumed sachets.
‘Vol de Nuit‘ A classic Guerlain oriental perfume first produced in 1933. Citrus top notes of orange, bergamot, lemon, mandarin and neroli head a body composed principally of rosewood, jasmine, palma rosa and ylang-ylang, with a strong ambery-balsamic base which includes vanilla, benzoin, balsam of Peru, sandalwood, musk, ambergris and leather fragrance.
Volatile Solvents Volatile solvents first came into commercial use in perfumery at the end of the 19th century, as a means of separating the fragrant parts of an essential oil from its other parts without damaging them. To do so they must leave no residue after evaporation, must have a very low boiling point, so that fragrance components are not destroyed by the heat, and must be selective enough to extract only the substances required. Petroleum ether has been used as a volatile solvent for a long time, and more recently carbon dioxide has enabled fragrances to be extracted which were not previously obtainable (e.g. lilac). Other important volatile solvents used include hexane, benzene acetone, toluene, methanol, ethanol and butane.
Wallflower Oil An essential oil extracted by steam-distillation or volatile solvents from the flowers of the Wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri), also called Giroflee, Giroflier, Gillyflower (q.v.), Handflower and Keiri, a perennial herb growing to about 12 inches high, native to S. Europe but now cultivated widely as a garden plant. The plant was introduced into Britain in the 17th century. The oil has a pleasing fragrance when diluted, but is disagreeable at full strength. The yield of oil, about 0.06%, is so low that in modern perfumery the fragrance is usually synthesized.
The word Cheiranthus derives from Greek meaning ‘handflower’, because the plant, well known to the ancient Greeks, was carried in the hand as a nosegay at festivals. Traditionally it was worn by minstrels and troubadors. Wallflower oil was used in the recipes of the early Arab perfume makers.
Walnut Oil Walnut oil, from the nuts of the tree Juglans regia (English Walnut, Persian Walnut), which probably originated in Persia, was well known in classical times and was used in early Arab perfumes.
Washball A perfumed or medicated ball of soap, sometimes containing powdered pumice or sand to provide an abrasive quality, used in Europe, particularly during the 17th and 18th centuries, for washing the face and hands and when shaving. Some were made in the home with garden herbs, others by perfumers and apothecaries. Expensive washballs were manufactured in Italy and France and sold throughout Europe. Certain essential oils were particularly suited for washballs because they remained stable when mixed with the alkaline substances of the soap, i.e. bergamot, geranium, lemon grass, palma rosa, patchouli, rosemary, sandalwood, thyme and vetivert. But early wash-ball recipes often included other expensive perfumes such as ambergris and musk.
‘White Linen‘ A quality floral perfume introduced by Estee Lauder in 1978. The floral fragrance is principally obtained from a heart of white flowers, including jasmine, rose, honeysuckle, hyacinth, lilac and lily of the valley, with an added spicy touch from pimento. Mandarin dominates the top notes and vetivert the base. The bottle was designed by Ira Levy.
‘White Satin‘ A wide-selling floral perfume launched by Yardley in 1985. An unusual green top note containing grapefruit and sweet orange also includes clove, pepper and basil to provide a spicy touch. The heart is principally jasmine, geranium and ylang-ylang, and the base note mostly comes from patchouli, cedarwood and storax.
Wine Theophrastus noted that some perfume materials made wine not only smell better but also taste better. Conversely, the Greeks used wine to sweeten the odour of some perfume materials, including myrrh and various spices. The important Greek compound perfume called Kypros included among its ingredients two which were first steeped in sweet wine. The early Arab perfume makers also made use of wine in some of their perfume recipes.
Woodruff Also called Sweet Woodruff, Sweet Grass, Hay Plant, Herb Walter and Scented Hairhoof. A small member of the madder family (Asperula odorata = Galium odorata) which grows from Europe and N. Africa to Siberia. When dried it emits a ‘new-mown hay’ fragrance, due to a high coumarin content, and it was consequently much used in Britain at one time as a strewing herb in linen and clothes. In Old French it was known as ‘Muge-de-Boys’, meaning Musk of the Woods. The dried leaves are used today to provide a flavouring in some wines, liqueurs and snuffs, and in pot pourri, where the fragrance helps as a fixative.
Woody Note A phrase used in perfumery to describe fragrances reminiscent of wood. These fragrances are provided by wood oils, such as cedar, by essential oils from other plants having a wood-like aroma, such as patchouli, and by synthetics. Woody notes appear in varying degrees in most modern perfumes.
Wormwood Oil Also called Absinthe Oil. An oil steam-distilled from the dried leaves and flowering tops of Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), also called Green Ginger, a herb growing 2 to 3 feet high, found in the Mediterranean region, Kashmir and Siberia and now also cultivated in Europe, N. Africa and the USA. A similar oil is also obtained from Roman Wormwood (A. pontica), which grows in S. Europe. The oil was once used in the preparation of the drink Absinthe, now no longer produced, and is still employed medicinally and in the preparation of Vermouth and some other wines. In perfumery its intense, pungent, herbaceous odour, reminiscent of cedarleaf oil, is used extensively in masculine notes and it appears in some quality perfumes (e.g. ‘Ivoire’).
Worth A leading Parisian fashion house formed in 1858 by Charles Worth (1826-1895), a draper born in Lincolnshire who found work in Paris. He was the first dress designer to use live models, and became court dressmaker to the Empress Eugenie of France and Empress Elizabeth of Austria. The company formed Les Parfums Worth in 1924 and produced its first perfume, ‘Dans la Nuit’ in that year; this perfume was initially provided as a gift to its distinguished clients. It was followed by ‘Vers le Jour’ in 1925, ‘Sans Adieu’ in 1929 and the highly successful ‘Je Reviens‘ in 1932. Subsequent fragrances included ‘Vers Toi’ (34), ‘Projets’ (35), ‘Imprudence’ (38), ‘Requete’ (44), ‘Monsieur Worth’ (69), ‘Miss Worth’ (77) and ‘Worth pour Homme’ (80). The ‘nose’ for early Worth perfumes was Maurice Blanchet, and the flacons were by Lalique. The company ceased to be a fashion house in 1956, but continues to market perfumes, relaunching ‘Dans la Nuit’ in 1985.
‘Xeryus‘ A semi-oriental men’s fragrance created by the fragrance firm Firmenich and brought out by Givenchy in 1986. Citrusy top notes mainly bergamot and grapefruit, yield to a floral-spicy middle note with rose, jasmine, violet, cinnamon and coriander among components. The base note includes musk, amber, moss and leath fragrance. The flask was designed by Pierre Dinand.
‘Xia-xiang‘ An oriental-type perfume brought out by Revlon in 1988. Citrusy top notes blend into a floral heart containing rose, muguet and ylang-ylang, together with vanilla, tonka, camomile and fruif fragrances (plum, raspberry and peach) in the base notes. The bottle is in the form of a Chinese snuff bottle.
Ximenia A small tree (Ximenia americana) found in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, tropical Africa and tropical America. The wood has a fragrance similar to sandalwood, for which it is sometimes used in India as a substitute. The species is closely related to the Egyptian tree which produced the Balanos Oil of ancient times. The botanical name Ximenia comes from an early Spanish monk/botanist called Ximenes, who published works on S. American flora.
Xolisma An absolute obtained by extraction with volatile solvents from the flowers of the Xolisma bush (Xolisma ferruginea), also called Sourwood and Sorrel tree, a shrub growing to about 10 feet high,which resembles Sweet Myrtle and is found in parts of the southern USA. The fragrance is reminiscent of the lily.
‘Y‘ Pronounced in the French manner – ‘Ee-grek’. A trend-setting perfume created by Jean Amic of Roure which was first marketed by Yves St Laurent in 1964. A green chypre fragrance, it achieved an original new effect with fruity aldehydic top notes on a floral heart dominated by jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang and tuberose. The woody lower notes are chiefly obtained from vetivert, sandalwood, patchouli and oak moss. The flacon was designed by Pierre Dinand.
Yardley One of the oldest perfume companies in the world, starting as a soap and perfume business founded in 1770 by the Cleaver family. This was taken over by William Yardley, a maker of fashionable swords, spurs and buckles, early in the 19th century in order to rescue his son-in-law William Cleaver from bankruptcy. The company remained under the control of the Yardley family until it became a joint stock company in 1890. After the Great War it expanded its production considerably, notably in products based on lavender, of which it was to become the world’s largest manufacturer, with extensive lavender farms in East Anglia. Its creams were sold in Wedge wood or Royal Worcester pots and its perfumes in flacons by Baccarat. Yardley’s main factory for perfumes and cosmetics was established in Basildon in 1966, at which time the company was taken over by British American Tobacco. It was subsequently acquired by the Beecham Group, and thereafter, in 1990, by the American conglomerate Wasserstein-Perella
In 1985 the firm of Jovan, which has manufactured a wide range of fragrances for the mass market, came under the Yardley umbrella.
Famous Yardley perfumes of the past have included ‘White Rose’ (1910), ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (21) and ‘Bond Street’ (27). Its current fragrances include ‘Lavender‘ (1913). ‘April Violets’ (23), ‘Flair’ (57), ‘Chique’ (76), ‘Pure Silk’ (82), ‘Lace’ (84), ‘White Satin’ (85), ‘Pink Lace’ (86), ‘Black Velvet’ (87), ‘You’re the Fire’ (89), ‘English Spring Flowers’ (90), ‘Chique Silver’ (90), ‘Nights in White Satin’ (90) and ‘Forever’ (91). Under the Jovan label it now markets ‘Pagan’ and ‘Musk Oil’ fragrances.
Ylang-ylang An essential oil much used in high-class perfumery. It is steam-distilled from the flowers of the Ylang-ylang Tree (Cananga odorata = Unona odorata = Uvaria odorata), which grows to about 60 feet high and is native to tropical S.E. Asia; also from a closely related species, locally called the Tainghe or Tho Shui Tree (Cananga latifolia = Unona latifolia) found principally in Malaysia. The former is cultivated
for the oil in the Philippines, Java, Madagascar, the Comoro Islands and Reunion, the best oil coming from the Philippines. The fragrance is sweet, jasmine-like and powerful and does not become apparent in the flowers until some 2-3 weeks after they have first opened, when they must be picked quickly and processed without delay; distillation and extraction of the concrete is therefore usually undertaken close to the site. One tree provides about 10 kilos of flowers a year and some 350 to 400 kilos of flowers are required to produce 1 kilo of essential oil. The oil obtained from Java, which is inferior in quality, is known as Cananga Oil and used in soaps and less expensive perfumes. Ylang-ylang was not brought into use in European perfumery until the end of the 19th century, when it was one of the ingredients of Macassar Oil. It now appears in about 40% of all quality perfumes. It is sometimes strengthened by the addition of pimento. One of its main constituents is isoeugenol.
‘You’re the Fire‘ A wide-selling spicy-floral perfume launched by Yardley in 1989. Bergamot and lavandin, with a touch of clove and nutmeg, in the top note lead to a floral heart containing jasmine, rose and orange blossom, with a woody- balsamic base note provided by patchouli, cedarwood and vanilla.
‘Youth Dew‘ An innovative oriental perfume brought out by Estee Lauder in 1952. It was the fourth best-selling fine fragrance in 1989. It is an unusual brown in colour and the ingredients emphasize spiciness. The top notes contain orange and various spices. The heart shows a range of floral fragrances, including rose, ylang-ylang and jasmine, modified by cassie, cinnamon and a preponderating carnation. The base notes are balsamic, principally amber and balsam of Tolu. The flacon was designed by Ira Levy.
‘Ysatis‘ A semi-oriental- floral quality perfume for wear on all occasions; it was created for Givenchy by Dominique Ropion, then with Roure, and launched in 1984. Top notes of ylang-ylang, orange blossom, mandarin and a hint of galbanum lead into a floral heart of tuberose, jasmine, rose and iris. In the base notes oak moss, patchouli, sandalwood, cloves, bay rum and frankincense are underlined by touches of castoreum, civet, ambergris and musk. The flacon was designed by Pierre Dinand.
Yves St Laurent A French fashion house started by the Parisian couturier Yves St Laurent in 1961 after he left Christian Dior. In 1964 the company launched its first perfume, ‘Kouros‘ (81) and ‘Jazz’ (88).
Zdravets An essential oil with a very persistent fragrance similar to Clary Sage which is distilled from the leaves of Bigroot Geranium (Geranium macrorhizum). This plant, which grows to about 16 inches high, is found in central and southern Europe. It is mainly cultivated in Bulgaria, where the roots and leaves are regarded as aphrodisiacal. The oil is used occasionally in perfumery.
Zedoary Oil An essential oil distilled from the rhizomes of Zedoary (Curcuma zeodoaria), which has been cultivated for centuries in India and Sri Lanka for the perfume and also as a source of starch and as a condiment. The oil has a fragrance suggesting a blend of ginger and camphor, and is occasionally used in western perfumery.
‘Zinnia‘ A quality floral perfume, launched by Floris in 1990, which has been re-created by the Floris perfumer, Douglas Cope, from a mid-18th century formula discovered in the company’s archives. Top notes which include violet, galbanum and ylang-ylang lead to a heart built on a floral bouquet of rose, lily and orris, with a hint of spice from clove.Woody base notes from sandalwood are supported by vanilla and a touch of musk.