Tantalising Spice

Spices in Fragrance

Warm, sensuous, mysterious, exotic sultry; these are words often used to describe spicy fragrances. There’s a mystery to spicy fragrances, they’re often alluring and expressive.

Humans have had a long history of spice use – from cooking to medicine to spiritual practice, tand of course perfumery. There is something ancestral and enchanting about spices. In the Middle Ages, spices were among the most demanded and expensive products available in Europe.

Many of the spices we use in our kitchen cabinet are the same ones we use in fragrance, like black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, clove, saffron, coriander, and cardamom. Spices are derived from plant parts including bark, roots, seeds, and fruits and are notably distinguished from herbs, which include flowers, leaves, and stems of plants. Spices are appreciated in perfumery because they bring a warm and sensual side to the perfume, while creating a depth to the profile.

Pepper is probably the most famous of spices when it comes to perfume making. The iconic Hermès Twilly was one of the first fragrances to feature black pepper, bringing a masculine touch to the fragrance. Pepper perfumes belong to the Oriental olfactory family, and is sourced from the berries of pepper trees, mainly found in South West India. Black pepper can also be found in Indonesia, Brazil, Madagascar and Malaysia. Peppers are classified according to their ripening stage that translates into four different colors: white, green, black and red.

Pepper brings a subtlety, freshness and a delicate spiciness and is found mainly as a base note, in oriental, woody or spicy compositions.