Common name: Osmanthus absolute
Genus name: Osmanthus fragrans
Blends well with: champa abs., benzoin abs., styrax eo, agarwood eo, agalia odorata abs., cassie abs., mimosa abs., ambrette seed abs., ylang ylang abs and eo, davana eo saffron eo, jasmine sambac abs, jasmine auriculatum abs., broom abs., orange blossom abs., fir balsam abs., tuberose abs., frangipani abs., bakul abs. (White Lotus Aromatics)
Chemical components: “The essence of osmanthus naturally contains cis-jasmone (a white floral note), gamma-decalactone and various delta-lactones (peachy-milky notes) as well as several ionones derivates, which accounts for its violet-like sweetness” – Perfume Shrine
“Among the carotenoids of Osmanthus are all trans-beta-Carotene, all trans-alpha-Carotene and Neo-beta-carotene B.” – Fragrantica
Linolenic acid – 17.4%, Linoleic acid – 8.7%, Hexadecanoic acid – 8.6%, b-ionone – 7.6%, dihydro b-ionone – 6.4%, Geraniol – 1.2%, Linalool – 0.8% and a-ionone 0.6% – Essential Oil University
Interesting bits: native to Asia from the Himalayas through southern China to Taiwan and southern Japan and southeast Asia as far south as Cambodia and Thailand. (Wikipedia).
According to Leffingwell: “While the flowers of osmanthus range from silver-white (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. latifolius Mak.) to gold-orange (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. thunbergii Mak.) to reddish (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. aurantiacus Mak.), the extract (alcohol absolute) is usually prepared from the gold-orange flowers.”
“Member of the Oleaceae family like olive and Lilac. Highly valued as an additive for tea and other beverages where the aromatic extract comes from the golden yellow flowers variety…the variant Osmanthus fragrans Lour. has more carotenoids in its chemical make-up which contributes both to the sunnier colouring as well as the enhanced aroma.” Perfume Shrine
This is an evergreen shrub or a small tree. I don’t know why, but in my mind I pictured this as a big ol’ tree.
Their nose: “the initial top note is somewhat fruity and sweet comparable maybe to eating yellow Mirabelle plums late in the summer. However it is the heart note that makes this utterly spectacular as I detect an infusion of sweet juicy Apricots, fresh cream and a thick helping of Greek Honey.” – Hermitage
“a complex, incredibly rich, sweet, honeyed, floral, leathery, fruity bouquet with elegant precious woods, animalic, spicy undertone.” – White Lotus Aromatics
“It has a green note, but also a dark, earthy quality – almost like old leather – and a fruity, violet floral (methyl ionone & beta ionone) note, which I suspect many people will experience as fresh raspberry-like. It’s very complex and deep, but really not much like smelling the flowers.” – Chris Bartlett of Pell Wall Perfumes, on Basenotes
“fruity-leathery smells evoking plums, apricots and prunes” – Fragrantica
My nose: this is a power floral to me! There’s nothing, faint, quaint or “nice” about Osmanthus. Those just aren’t words that come to mind when I smell this note. Osmanthus opens up waxy, orangey, BIG, BOLD, and warm, with a very heavy presence for me. After 15min the olfactive “size” is what sticks out most, it’s cloying, cluttering, demanding and there’s still a very strong element of waxiness but now that seems to be settling down, warm and sweet. 30min later and I smell it with Tobacco absolute. Dense and thick like a thick floral, fruity fog, I feel prisoner, held in its gutsy, juicy pressing folds. 45min into the evaluation and this note just seems to get bolder and bolder! Still a bit waxy but not distractingly so, definitely floral, something assertive in this note that’s why I smell it with Tobacco, a very male presence, dominating, at its core. 1 hour later and it’s still waxy, but now the fruity aspect is more front and centre, sweet, thick, bountiful, gives the impression of abundance. Very deep scent, sensual and direct. 2 hours later and this note is still loud. It can be “heard” above the other two notes I’m evaluating (Tuberose and Peach concrete). A bit waxy still but now it’s like it’s freer, more narcotic, oriental, in a word voluptuous. Its proportions are XL. 3hours into the dry down and its only now I smell the apricoty fruity nuancees. I get dappled sunlight in summer, laying in the grass after having eaten a fruit, jammy ripe, but it’s beginning to taper off to something more subdued. 7 hours later and this seems to be full blown now! Like its sort of exploded. Definitely a drier floral note, but still rich and ripe, the fruity aspect has really taken a back seat, still very heavy. 24 hours later and it’s softer, more aged in character but still bold, round, now it’s totally approachable, no longer dominating, it has settled into something much more elegant and refined. 3 days later and it is still present on the scent strip! Monstrous!
Musings on composition: there’s a lot to say about Osmanthus, as you can see. It’s a BIG scent, that’s for sure and so my instincts draw me to counter balance that by little things, supporting actors that totally make this note either shine on its own or convince it to contribute its greatness to the “good of the whole” thereby raising the entire perfume to a whole other level. Of course you’ll have to research and experience what those supporting actors could be for you. As I mentioned above I totally smell an invisible synergy with Tobacco – I’ll have to prove that in some trials eventually. In reading I found that the plant matures in the spring, about six months after flowering. When I check this seeming nothingness with my notes I see that to me it becomes full blown after 6 hours. Hmmm, just another way to look at composition ideas.
Happy Monday! Remember to love and laugh too.