Aromatic Profile: Rosewood


Common name: Rosewood essential oil a.k.a. Brazilian Rosewood, Bois de Rose

Genus name: Aniba rosaedona

Supplier: White Lotus Aromatics

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Floral

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Vetiver, ylang, petitgrain, cedrat, mace, leerall, b-ionone, hay absolute, guaiac wood, cubeb, ethyl linalyl acetate, ethyl linalool, etc. (TGSC)

Lemon, tangerine, sandalwood, cedarwood, geranium, orange and lavender.

Chemical components: Linalool can be present at anywhere from 73%-99%! a-pinene, camphene, gernaiol, neral, geranial, myrcene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, benzaldehyde, linalool oxides, a-terpineol.

Interesting bits: Rosewood is an endangered species. Whenever possible, purchase from suppliers that are conscious of how they source their rosewood oil. (Aromaweb)

Rosewood oil is rich in linalool, a chemical which can be transformed into a number of derivatives of value to the flavour and fragrance industries, and up until the 1960s rosewood oil was an important source of natural linalool. With the advent of synthetic linalool this use largely disappeared. For those applications where natural linalool is preferred, rosewood oil has been displaced by cheaper alternatives (Chinese Ho oils from Cinnamomum camphora). There does remain, however, a very small niche market for the preparation of linalool derivatives possessing an “ex rosewood” character… Brazil is now the only supplier to the world market… All parts of the tree are fragrant although only the trunkwood is traditionally harvested and distilled. (

Rosewood contains a lot of linalool – an important component in lilac and lily of the valley compounds. Rosewood is a light and floral top note, especially valued in floral compositions and also an important component in Fougere compositions as a supporting note to lavender. Ho wood and ho leaf are very similar to rosewood and are used in a similar manner. (Ayala Moriel)

rosewood oil has more to offer than pure linalool. Its more spicy and complex piquancy can, for example, transform a lily-of-the-valley type perfume and bring it to life, whereas synthetic linalool cannot, having a flatter and more one-dimensional effect (Bo Jensen)

Their nose: Sweet, floral, linalool, woody, fruity, warm.

My nose: The opening of Rosewood essential oil presents a strange heaviness, something reminiscent of sandalwood, there is a seriousness about the oil that I just wasn’t expecting. It’s firm and although it hints at a floral it isn’t flouncy, but a more grounded, earthy floral. After 15min there’s something lemony here, it’s a beautiful salve to my senses, calming  and reassuring. Easy and enduring are qualities that come to mind during this layer. 30min and now it shares commonalities with a note I just can’t place…damnit! The effect goes deep that massages my rough corners, and as I hold on and follow that wave, there’s a mild pepperiness and it’s more plush. The 45min mark reveals a hint of mint in the Rosewood, now there’s a freshness, like a light evening breeze, yep, this note is like a quiet, private retreat. The 1hr mark unveils a soft richness; and while yes, it is thinner, there is a certain importance to the note now. It’s satisfying because of it’s simplicity and there’s a hint of sweetness, too. After 2hrs it’s still alive on the strip and now I can smell a therapeutic, medicinal quality to it. It’s tranquil and makes me pause as it slowly creeps in to work its magic but it is fading. 3hrs and it’s holding up quite well although much weaker now, the floral quality peeks through for a moment and somehow it’s brighter and less sombre than before. Interesting…huh. As the basenotes unfurl at 7hrs I get it! It’s bergamot that this note reminds me of and petitgrain, too. The projection is almost a 2 now but it’s definitely still alive dry and clean on the strip. 12hrs and there’s a very faint, feathery impression of a floral, antique, but it’s just about expired. At 24hrs it is extinct, but somehow there’s a delicate woody, floral reflex, like a fluid, fading motion that ends a conscious action.

12/24 comparison: The heart of Rosewood is apparent at 12hrs for only a few sniffs, then it fades quickly, but there is definitely evidence that it’s still around although delicate and fragile at this point. When I compare it to the 24hr strip I realise it is more alive than my nose originally picked up because now it’s just a faint outline of what it was. Doing these direct comparisons makes me realise that there is more to be gathered from the scent strips than the initial impression but you can’t get it all at once, you can’t be greedy about it, you have to come at it in layers and find ways to get your nose to pick up on the finer details of the impressions.

I hope this profile has been useful for you and that it’s teased you and made your nose curious to find out for yourself what Rosewood could do for your accords.

Have a great weekend!



2 thoughts on “Aromatic Profile: Rosewood

  1. I would love to see your posts in a book, on the left page, is the post and the right side page is blank so we write in our own notes and observation along side yours. Thanks for your sharing your “Aromatic Profiles” I find them educational, interesting and even relaxing. If you put them in a book, I would totally buy it.


    1. Pistachio Pony, have you been looking over my shoulder? 😉 That is actually a project that I’m working on, two such books actually. Just they won’t be ready for at least a year. So it was wonderful to get this fortuitous supportive comment which made me laugh out loud! I’m really pleased to hear that you enjoy the profiles!

      Take good care and have a wonderful weekend.


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