Aroma Profile: Cypress essential oil

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Musings on making scents with cypress essential oil… yikes! I have two and I can identify the supplier of one but not the other. I think it’s one of the first I started to purchase about 3 years ago from a herbal shop here in town. After doing a full profile on this oil my curiosity has been roused and I’m going to order some Cypress absolute asap. My process is to do a full profile and a few days later write up the post; then as I’m writing I like to revisit it from a fresh point of “view” with the aroma of the note touching me every once in a while just to see what else my nose picks up without trying. This time around my main impression of Cypress essential oil is fresh, and I can pick out a citrus facet that I didn’t the first time!

Common name: Cypress

Botanical name: lat. Cupressus sempervirens (cupressaceae family)

Supplier: Essential Oil University

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Mossy (and I would add Green)

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: benzoin, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, most citrus oils, clary sage, ginger, lavender, ylang ylang, agarwood, ambrette seed, cypriol, cinnamon, choya nah, choya loban, choya ral, frankincense, sandalwood, poplar bud, rose, tonka, *vetiver, labdanum, juniper, bergamot, petitgrain — this, just to name a few!

Chemical components: a-pinene, camphene, sabinene, b-pinene, d-3-carene, myrcene, a-terpinene, terpinolene, linalool, bornyl acetate, cedrol and cadinene. (Esoteric Oils)

Monoterpenes: approximately 40-50 % of alpha-pinene, 15-20 % of delta-3-carene and up to 2 % of the sesquiterpenol cedrol, contributing to its aromatic profile. The Spanish oils from Catalonia have a similar odour profile to the French cypress oils as their higher cedrol content gives a woodier character to their fragrance. Oils from Murcia are lower in cedrol and therefore more terpenic or pine-like. (Scentcillo)

Interesting bits: Cypress is a name that relates to the plants of the cypress family Cupressaceae, growing in the temperate regions of the world. This is a very ancient family of trees that grew more than 200 million years ago on the supercontinent Pangaea. Today, Cypresses are found on all continents except Antarctica. (Fragrantica)

Regions of cultivation include the South of France, Catalonia and the Murcia region of Spain, Morocco and Corsica; the crop period lasting from December to February. Harvesting of the sprouts and young branches from the tree tops occurs initially approximately 5 years after planting, allowing regeneration of the plant and continuing annually during its long lifespan. Roughly 70-80 kg of foliage and branches will yield 1kg of cypress essential oil. In perfumery cypress is utilised in chypres, fougeres, amber accords and colognes. Like cedarwood Atlas, its virile character makes cypress a popular choice in men’s fragrances. (Scentcillo)

Their nose: From my reading, it seems that cypress wood has a pungent, woody, spicy aroma that can also be sometimes resinous, coniferous, or cedar-like. (Kafkaeque Blog)

The aroma of cypress can be described as fresh, lingering, pine-like, resinous, slightly smoky with a sweet, balsamic undertone. The scent is very evocative of a forest setting, bestowing a soothing and refreshing ambience. It acts as a top to middle note and equaliser in a composition, adding harmony and smoothing out rough edges in a blend. (Scentcillo)

My nose: cypress essential oil opens clean, clear, cool, crisp and light. Outdoors, piney, pungent, bracing, like plunging your hot, aching feet into a cool stream after a long mountain hike. At 15min now it’s much thinner, piercing, very green and all I get is this overwhelming impression of the great outdoors, wild and untamed. Clean. 30min and what I get is a bit more naked, bare, more razor sharp, also it’s less urgent, more settled, anchored so to speak. 45min leads me to a thin, sparse, clear, solitary note that is also awake, bright, alive and bracing! Imagine a 4 year old jumping on your bed at 06:30 shouting “mamma get up! mamma can you make me breakfast?!” as they twirl and bounce this way and that (and, no, you are not allowed to strangle them). After 1hr cypress is softer, more tangy, which is odd! It seems to be peeking through the openings like the sun would through a mighty cypress bough caught by a stray gust of wind. It’s drier now, too and somewhat “piccante” (I guess that’s why it could be a good partner with black pepper). 2hrs later and this is getting much more one dimensional, which is a bit disappointing, basic, coniferous, piney, woody, smell that is sharp, clear and up-lifting. Into the heart note now at 3hrs and it’s beginning to disperse, growing much more intangible and ephemeral by the minute. The impression is woody and slightly resinous. 8hrs on it’s much softer, bare and barely there, thin, woody, yes, but also I am stunned by how absolutely beautiful it is now! It takes that long to come into its own. After 12hrs cypress essential oil is dry, crisp, cool and beginning to smell a tad medicinal now. I get aromatherapy — nothing wrong with that only it’s a bit lack-lustre. A full 24hrs later reveals a pale dry, brittle, thin note that is still discernible as cypress. It leaves a nice trail which isn’t at all unpleasant.

12/24 comparison: the 12hr cypress is still strong, of course, you definitely know it’s cypress, and there is a distinct edge to it. Whereas the 24hr strip barely has a hint, but it’s there, clinging to the rocky cliffs of my olfactive landscape.

Wishing you a wonder-filled Wednesday!

MC


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