aromatic profile: geranium, bourbon

geranium bourbon essential oil

Common name: Rose Geranium

Genus name: Pelargonium graveolens, P. roseum (Geraniaceae)

Supplier: John Steele via Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: mid-base

Main chemical compounds: Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellyl formate, Isomenthone.  The Bourbon type is characterised by high levels of 6,9-guaiadiene.

Some interesting bits: Geranium, bourbon is an evergreen perennial and most come from countries in N. Africa: Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. It is a drought and heat tolerant plant and is not frost-hardy. Oddly enough, Geranium Bourbon has nothing to do with the Geranium genus species! The majority of the EO comes from the leaves and the stalks not the flower and it is produced by steam distillation. The main difference between the Madagascar, Chinese and Egyptian oil is their high Sequiterpene levels. Geranium Bourbon is one of the most used EOs in perfumery.  And to the untrained nose it is often mistaken for Rose essential oil. What I found most unusual in my research is that Geranium can smell like so many different things: rose, citrus, mint, coconut, nutmeg as well as various fruit.

Their nose: The Bourbon oil is the most valuable. It has a very powerful, green, leafy-rosy odour with a pronounced fruity-minty undertone and a rich, long-lasting, sweet-rosy dryout. (…..

…displaying a suave, complex,  fresh, sweet, green herbaceous  bouquet with a delicate and balanced, fruity, minty, roseaceous undertone. The herbaceous rosy note lasts deep into the dryout. In my estimation the fruity note intermingled with the above mentioned olfactory qualities is what distinguishes it from Rose Geranium from South Africa (White Lotus Aromatics)

My nose: my first impression was that it smells like Lychee fruit!  Fresh, floral, rain, sharp yet inviting, but definitely fruity…and pink!

1 hour later and it’s much, much drier.  I can smell the floral aspect at this point and it’s quite sweet but light and soft, it seems to enter right into my heart area giving me a sense of joy and peace. I can smell similarities with lavender that I didn’t smell the first time, which is the Linalool that they have in common.

3 hours into the drydown and it still has a powerful presence but I can now smell the citrus note more clearly.  I say it’s a mid to base note, but still fresh and light.

1 day after and it’s nice. dry. soapy. floral and still very present.