fougère family


It’s bloody 25° C out here!  Highly unusual, even for Italy, and signs of Spring are everywhere.  There’s a magnificent Magnolia tree I must capture, probably will get to that tomorrow.

Since this post is about the Fougère, or Fern in English, family, here’s a picture of a fern in our yard.  This one is a bit dried out because it managed to survive the winter being close to our pond and because the winter was very mild.  It really isn’t time for the ferns to be up yet, way to early, so I’ll take what I can get, beggars not being able to be choosers and all.  But I did want an image to represent this family as I love ferns.

Fougère is a highly versatile family of notes made up principally of Geranium, Lavender, Coumarin, Vetiver and Oakmoss; it’s the bread and butter of perfumery giving structure to many a great perfume.  I needed to get better acquainted so chose three we haven’t covered yet:

Vetiver: this note is grassy, deep and thick like molasses! You can almost feel it sticking to your nose hairs.  Its presence is comforting and solid.  It’s grounding, winter-wet, damp, I sense my heart beat instantly slow down, my solar plexus seems to just ground itself, and I am calm, less anxious.  After 6 hours it dries down into an intoxicating odour for me! It’s gripping and I have to struggle to break free; still warm and dry, early fall, bottomless, an anchor.  Volatility: very low as it is still imposing.

Geranium: begins its journey smelling like Lychee fruit to me, juicy, sweet and rosy; thrilling, exciting and bountiful.  Clean, crisp, light, joyful and the sweetness of life I would call it.  There is a hint of citrus weaving in and out to add a gauzy brightness making it engaging, teasing the sides of your mouth for a smile.  It dries into a lemony, citrus coolness, strangely carnal, but somehow clean and uplifting — wait, I can smell tobacco too!  Volatility: low

Hay Absolute: green and damp, the way the earth smells early in the morning, inviting you to take a nap.  This note lurks!  It has an unpleasant opening similar to something rancid, clouded and heavy.  Hay only begins to open up, really, after a full 2o minutes!  There are definite olfactive similarities to Vetiver.  After 6 hours it’s much more sombre, serious, pensive, I feel like this could be paired easily with Tobacco or Osmanthus.  In the dry down it’s much more mellow, with amazing depth — you just don’t want to put it down! Volatility: low

Not sure what will catch my fancy to chat about tomorrow, but write I will!  Tomorrow is dedicated to perfumery, no housework, maybe a pic or two, and then Friday is the Exsence event in Milan!

Have a wonderful day!


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.