aromatic profile: african bluegrass


Common name: African Bluegrass essential oil

Genus name: Cymbopogon validus

Supplier: White Lotus Aromatics (wild harvest, steam distilled, South Africa)

Note: Base-Heart

Main chemical components: Myrcene, Linalool, Germacrene-D-4-ol, Camphene, Geraniol, Nonanone-4 (thanks to

Interesting bits: well, folks, here’s another natural raw material that I could find next to nothing on!  Based on its chemical composition it shares commonalities with: Hop, Celery leaf, Wormwood, Cardamom, Lemongrass, Juniper berry, Rosemary, Tagetes.  The Cympobogon genus also includes Palmarosa, Gingergrass, Lemongrass and Citronella.

Their nose: “…complex, rich,  sweet, fruity, floral-herbaceous bouquet with a delightful green, roseaceous-balsamic undertone…” (White Lotus Aromatics).  “…top notes include a sharp, lemony-gingery-geranium scent, which gives way to a grassy, hay-like scent, but these are just embellishments on top of the main base notes, which are something like well-used bed sheets, unwashed hair, dog, and something indescribably dusty-musty. It serves the same function as ambrette, which I love, but I think I like African bluegrass even better when I want a cool, gray color instead of a warm, beige one.” (Ellen Covey of Olympic Orchids Perfumes).

My nose: Resplendent! Wonderful, bright uplifting top notes. For some reason to me African Bluegrass is both a cool and a warm note at the same time!  It is absolute JOY! for me.  Alive. After about 15minutes it starts to become more grounded, more confident and distinguished. But the top notes are just bursting with energy!  1hour into the drydown and it becomes sweet, exotic, a bit floral even.  This note is an elixir. Drying into a more composed version of its initial self.  It’s still quenching but now it is much softer, more sleek.  After 4 hours, the citrusy-ness comes back, drying into something less chilling, and more like a dewy morning; it’s more dry now, delicate even. 7 hours later it’s literally calming, still very noticeable on the scent strip, more of a lullaby now than a full chorus, hushed and lingering with resolve.  24hours later it is more dry, citrusy, more brittle, but wow, it’s still alive on paper!  Much more blanched, sun-baked almost as if this were the real essence of African Bluegrass.

Musings on compositions: I would like to pair this with blond woods, sacred woods and resins and I definitely want to try to adapt this to a cologne and a linear perfume!  Oh, the possibilities are endless!