“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”
Henry David Thoreau
Last week I blogged about my love of fruity scents and the challenge of creating fruity notes in natural perfumery. I discussed my experiments creating fruit tinctures. Today, I'm elaborating further on botanical ingredients that lend themselves to creating fruit aromas.
In general, I find most "fruity" essential oils and absolutes accessory notes. Too much roman chamomile in a blend and you've tipped from a floral apple note to a stomachache inducing aroma. Trust me, I know from whence I speak. Accordingly, blending these botanicals can be tricky. Most are successfully fruity in minute quantities. Below is my TOP 10 list of fruity botanicals in no particular order:
Please note I did not include citrus oils in the list as I thought these oils self explanatory. However, I'd like to give an honorable mention to an Orange Essence essential oil I purchased from Eden Botanicals. According to the website it's distilled from orange juice, and indeed it's incredibly fresh, fruity and juicy smelling, and different from sweet orange essential oil.
One thing the natural perfumer may notice is a lack of base notes included on this list. Ah, the elusive fruited base! True, cognac and maybe fir are base notes, but one cannot create a base with cognac alone. Again, just trust me--enough said :)
When creating a perfume and wanting the fruit heart and top notes to sing, I tend to opt for a light yet tenacious base note as to not overpower the jammy heart. My favorite base notes in this case include: ambrette, vanilla, copaiba balsam, sandalwood, benzoin, labdanum, tonka bean, and hay absolute. My absolute favorite base note for these blends is hay absolute. The honeyed warm hay, grassy aroma is the perfect drydown after a peachy or berry heart.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to work with boronia. I've only been able to experience it's delicious aroma in perfumes, but have never gotten my hands on the raw material. When I first smelled Aftelier's Boronia I wanted to drink it, bathe in it, roll in it, rub it all over my body! It's so stunning, I was at a loss for words. If the color gold had a scent it would be boronia. This description seems overly poetic but it's all I can muster when inhaling. I couldn't get enough. I became a Boronia addict. The initial scent was so stunning and so fleeting I wanted to constantly reapply the scent so I could inhale it's aroma again and again. I recently found boronia absolute listed for sale at nearly $200.00 for 5 ml.!!! That's 1/6th of an ounce people. Apparently my comparison of boronia to gold isn't far off. At this price, I'll sadly have to keep my addiction to boronia at bay.
Another challenge I have experienced in creating "fruity" natural perfumes, is the definition of fruity. This issue has it's roots in traditional synthetic perfumery. What I might find fruity another finds grassy, or earthy or . . . not fruity enough. The public have been bashed over the head with potent chemical laden fruity scents in everything from deodorant (I kid you not, I saw a cranberry orange scented antiperspirant/deodorant at my local drugstore last week) to hairspray, never mind perfume. Recently a co-worker requested that I bring in some perfumes from my line for her to sample. I did and word spread quickly. Before I knew it I was making a presentation to a group about natural perfumes, and my fragrance line. I described one of my perfumes, Osmanthus Oolong as being a fruity floral with tea notes. From experience, this is a scent that tends to be more popular with those unfamiliar with natural perfumes. I consider it my crossover scent :)
begin scene, ACT 1
crowd gathers in giddy anticipation of smelling perfumes and escapism from monotonous office work
BLONDE FROM LEGAL DEP'T AKA "COUGAR" (sniffing perfume bottle) : "This is certainly . . . different smelling isn't it?"
group eyes each other warily
CO-WORKER IN POLYESTER PANTSUIT WITH A PENCHANT FOR BURNT MICROWAVE POP-CORN : "Hmm, this doesn't smell anything like my Bath & Body Works Juicy Raspberry body spray."
the final coupe de grace posed innocently as a question . . .
GUM POPPING GAL WHO HAS NEVER SPOKEN TO ME: "I wear Britney Spears Curious. Whaddya have that smells like that?"
ME (horrified and pink cheeked): "NOTHING! I have nothing in my line that smells like that!"
scene over, curtain closes, C'EST FIN
In conclusion, there are many methods and ingredients available for the natural perfumer to create fruit notes. Experiment, tincture, blend, inhale. Enjoy the triumphs and tribulations and the fruits of your labor!
Tune in next week when I talk to Mandy Aftel, umm over the phone. Highlights include nervous blathering, mispronunciations of botanical ingredients, and escalating credit card bills. I'll be sharing my reflections on a recent order of rare and exciting botanicals from Aftelier. Included are: aged beeswax abs., insanely expensive Rum CO2, honeysuckle abs., agarwood, mint abs., and phenyl ethyl acetate (natural isolate)