Archive for the ‘woody notes’ Category

Patchouli

Friday, January 10th, 2014

patchouli essential oil Facts about Patchouli

In America, when most people hear the word patchouli, they immediately think of hippies, universal love for one another, and tie dyed peace signs. But patchouli is so much more than that and has quite an interesting history.

Deriving its name from the Tamil language (the official dialect of Singapore and Sri Lanka), patchouli means “green leaf”.  A robust and extremely fragrant plant; especially when rubbed, patchouli’s scent has been used for centuries in perfumes.

Belonging to the genus Pogostemon, patchouli is a green, leafy herb that is in the mint family.  Growing best in hot, tropical climates; patchouli thrives when it is not in direct sunlight and has the potential of reaching a height of 2-3 ft.  Contrary to common belief, patchouli is more than just leaves; the plant also has flowers that bloom in late fall.  These flowers produce seeds that can be harvested to produce even more patchouli plants.

There are two ways to grow patchouli.  The first is to attain cuttings from the mother plant.  These cuttings are then rooted in water and will cultivate additional patchouli plants.  The second way to grow patchouli is to plant the seeds of the flowers.  The only hesitance with this way is that patchouli seeds are very small and have to be handled with great care.  These seeds are extremely fragile and can be easily crushed, deeming them useless.

When it comes to harvesting patchouli, the leaves of the plant can be collected several times in one year.  However, the strongest scent/oil comes from the top 3-4 pairs of leaves in the patchouli plant.  In order to attain the extraction of patchouli essential oil from these leaves, the leaves must go through a steam distillation process.  This is typically achieved with dried patchouli leaves.  However, there are some claims that to achieve the highest quality of patchouli essential oil, fresh leaves should be distilled.  Ideally, close to where the leaves are harvested, ensuring true freshness.

There are other ways to obtain patchouli essential oil.  One is through a fermentation process.  This process involves bundling the dry patchouli leaves and allowing them to ferment for a long period of time.

The essential oil of patchouli is a rich, earthy aroma with a woody yet minty undertone.  One of the most notable characteristics of this essential oil is that it actually improves over time.  The two most sought out components of patchouli essential oil are patchoulol and norpatchoulenol.

Although, it is true that patchouli essential oil is vital to the perfume industry, patchouli also had another massive worth in history.  Patchouli is believed to be an insect repellent.  It was common place for silk traders of the oriental to pack the valuable silk that they were trading with dried patchouli leaves.  Not only did the leaves prevent the mating of moths on the traders’ silk, but also hindered the moth from laying eggs on the precious silk as well.

This practice, which had started as a means of protection for the silk, ended with patchouli being considered an affluent scent.  Historians now hypothesize that due to the fragrant nature of patchouli; much of the traded silk acquired the aroma during the long travel.  Before long the distinguished scent of patchouli marked authenticity in traded fabric goods although the vast majority did not know what it was called.

One of the possible explanations as to why patchouli was considered an upscale scent to Europeans of that time is due to a notable historical conqueror.  The infamous Napoleon Bonaparte attained some of these patchouli scented cashmeres, through his vast travels to Egypt.  He then brought them back to France.  This mysterious scent of patchouli and its origin were kept secret, and it was not until the year 1837, that the smell and the source were identified to the remainder of the western world.

Kinds of Fragrance Notes

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

There are several different categories of notes used to create a fragrance oil.  These notes offer fragrance oils different elements.  Here is a list of fragrance notes and what aspects they provide to an aroma.

ANIMALIC ingredients create allure within a fragrance.  Generally base note materials, animalic nuances add subtle sensual tones.  Aromatic animalic ingredients can be used to enhance spicy, woody, and sweet base notes.  They can sometimes produce a leathery tone.  Balance is important when using the aromatic animalic ingredients to prevent unpleasant and repulsive base notes.
EXAMPLES OF ANIMALIC INGREDIENTS:  Musk, Civet

rf-aa18BALSAMIC notes are warm and/or sweet and can frequently be found in the resinous group of materials.  Balsamic notes support a fragrance from within, offering richness and providing a natural sensation.  Base notes are sometimes composed of several balsamic materials.
EXAMPLES OF BALSAMIC MATERIALS: Amber, Tolu, Fir

CAMPHORACEOUS/ AGRESTIC notes create a cooling sensation, and can be described as fresh.  Natural essential oils in the herbaceous family often exhibit camphoraceous tones, with naturally occurring camphor oil producing this effect.  On some occasions camphoraceous tones can produce a medicinal effect.
EXAMPLES OF CAMPHORACEOUS MATERIALS: Rosemary oil, Eucalyptus oil, Camphor powder

rf-2019CITRUS/ HESPERIDIC tones are easily identified due to the association with food and beverages.  Citrus essential oils are produced from the citrus fruit peel, and a fresh, slightly acidic note is displayed.  Citrus tones are usually top notes where they produce a fresh, juicy, effervescent effect.
EXAMPLES OF CITRUS MATERIALS: Lemon oil, Grapefruit oil, Bergamot oil

FLORAL is the largest generic fragrance category.  Within the floral category there are many sub categories such as aldehydic floral or green floral.  Flowery notes such as rose, gardenia, or jasmine can be used alone or in combination with one another to produce a “floral bouquet.”  Since some flowers have little or no scent, creative floral accords are often produced to fulfill the need for scents such as daisy or orchid.  Floral tones will generally be found at the heart of the fragrance.
EXAMPLES OF FLORAL NOTES: Lily, Tuberose, Floral bouquet

fresh fruit slicesLike the citrus accords, FRUIT notes can be easily identified due their similarity to real fruit aromas.  Sweet/sour tones found in apple, peach, strawberry, and banana are replicated for use in perfumery.  These fruit compounds are generally produced from synthetic materials, although touches of natural materials such as critrus may be added for a juicy effect.  Fruit notes will be found in the top note or middle note of a scent, but exceptions exist in fruit scents such a peach which have creamy and sweet undertones.
EXAMPLES OF FRUIT NOTES: Apple, melon, raspberry

The GREEN category is very significant in today’s market.  Market positioning of products based on “natural themes” has created a demand for fragrances that smell like plants, leaves, and grasses.  Green notes provide bright, strong, natural smelling accents for all types of fragrances.  Green notes can be top notes, middle notes, and they traditionally exhibit food stability in a wide variety of products.
EXAMPLES OF GREEN NOTES: Herbs, Vegetables, Leaves

rf-98MARINE notes add fresh, bright, watery, and/or algae like accents to fragrance blends.  They are rarely used alone due to their elusive quality, yet combined with florals, woods, or fruit types they create sparkle and add a natural sensation.  Marine notes are often found accenting the top note of a scent and are reminiscent of the smell of sea breezes.
EXAMPLES OF MARINE NOTES: Sea spray, Dewy, Ocean breeze

The MINT family is characterized by its pierce cooling effect.  Mint provides an invigoration effect and fresh lift for all fragrance types.  It has become more important as a single note in today’s products that feature natural positioning.  Mint accents the top note of a fragrance.
EXAMPLES OF MINT INGREDIENTS: Peppermint, Spearmint, Menthol

rf-112SPICE notes are familiar due to their use in cooking and baking.  They create warm or pungent sensations, and are used in almost all fragrance types.  Most spice notes are derived from nature, and they can be found accenting the middle notes of a fragrance or used alone.
EXAMPLES OF SPICE INGREDIENTS: Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper

SWEET notes are important base notes for most fragrance blends.  Recalling familiar sensations found in vanilla, sugar, honey and syrup, sweet notes are long lasting and comforting.  Gourmand type scents have created a new demand for sweet notes in perfumery, where they provide edible sensations that captivate the senses.
EXAMPLES OF SWEET NOTES: Vanilla, Caramel, honey

rf-117WOODS are important building blocks for fragrance.  Woody notes enhance and enrich the base notes of most fragrance.  They provide warmth, naturalness and long lasting richness.   Most woody notes are derived from nature, where essential oils are distilled from fresh cut wood, tree bark or roots of a tree.  In today’s market we find wood blends being used frequently in candles, particularly at the prestige level of distribution.
EXAMPLES OF WOOD INGREDIENTS: Sandalwood, Cedar wood, Vetiver