Title: Calamus (Acorus calamus)

  • Definition: Calamus, also known as sweet flag, is a reed-like plant from which the essential oil is extracted. The botanical name is Acorus calamus.

  • Extraction: The essential oil of calamus is typically obtained through steam distillation of the dried roots (rhizomes) of the plant.

  • Characteristics:

    • Odor Profile: The oil has a warm, spicy, and slightly woody aroma, often described as a blend of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with a hint of a leathery undertone.
    • Appearance: The oil is usually pale yellow to light brown in color.
    • Consistency: It has a medium to thick consistency.
  • Historical Context: Calamus has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, perfumery, and incense. It was highly valued in ancient cultures for its aromatic and therapeutic properties.

  • Uses in Natural Perfumery:

    • Fixative: Calamus oil is often used as a fixative in perfumery to stabilize and enhance the longevity of more volatile fragrances.
    • Blending: It blends well with other spicy, woody, and oriental notes, as well as with florals like rose and jasmine. It adds depth and warmth to perfume compositions.
    • Types of Perfumes: Calamus is commonly found in oriental, spicy, and chypre perfumes.
  • Safety Considerations: Some varieties of calamus oil contain high levels of beta-asarone, which can be toxic. Therefore, it is important to ensure the oil used is safe and free from harmful levels of this compound.

  • References:

    • Steffen Arctander: Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

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