The Natural Perfume Glossary compiled by Justine Crane & NPA

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Massoia bark

Massoia bark cryptocaryo massoio – prohibited (should not be used in fragrance)

Entry link: Massoia bark

Middle Note

(same as heart note)notes which normally classify or identify the perfume family or theme of the composition; for instance, if your theme is a white floral, then you would blend some combination of jasmine, neroli, tuberose, gardenia tinctures and other ‘white’ flower oils as the main component of this note

Entry link: Middle Note


typified by oak moss, tree mosses and forest floor essences

Entry link: Mossy


LabdanumLabdanum comes from the natural exudation of the plant Cistus landaniferus which is a small shrub growing wild in countries of the Mediterranean and the middle east. It grows well near the sea. The Labdanum gum or resinous material is further extracted by solvents to form an absolute. The absolute is commonly used in as a fixative in perfumes of the amber classification. Stefan Arctander says of Labdanum Resin Absolute on P 333 of Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin: “The odor of labdanum is sweet, herbaceous-balsamic, somewhat ambra-like and slightly animalic, rich and tenacious.”
Entry link: Labdanum


LavenderThere are many different types of lavender plants and of those plants there are many types of lavender essential oil and absolute used in natural perfumery.

Lavandin Arbaralis (Lavandula hybrida) is not often used in perfumery as the smell is medicine like and sort of falls into the same set as tea tree, eucalyptus, camphor.
Both absolutes, the Spanish Lavender Seville (Lavandula luisieri) and the Bulgarian Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) share similar nuances to each another but seem nothing like any one of the essential oils. The absolutes are more woody spicy, with the Bulgarian Lavender having an interesting almond note on the dry out.
The French Lavender essential oil develops cool herbal notes which were clean and crisp and the Indian Kashmir Lavender develops a clean but sweet note on the dry out.
Arctander says about Lavender essential oil "lavender essential oil blends well with Bergamot, and other citrus oils, clove oils (for "Rondeletia" type perfumes), fluve, liatris, oakmoss, patchouli, rosemary, clary sage, pine needle oils, etc. "
He also says in relation to Lavender oil "Labdanum products are excellent fixatives..."
Arctander says of Lavender absolute: "Lavender absolute...of very rich, sweet- herbaceous, somewhat floral odor; in dilution it bears a close resmblance to the odor of the flowering lavender shrubs. It's woody-herby undertone and courmarin-like sweetness duplicate the odor of the botanical material far better than the essential oil. The absolute is sweeter but less floral the the essential oil, and the two materials can form a very pleasant combination".

Entry link: Lavender


A blend that is reminiscent of leather often including tobacco and smoky scents such as cade. Most noted leather scents include Peau d'Espagne and Cuir de Russie (see for more info.)
Entry link: Leather


JasmineThere exists some 200 species of jasmine. Jasmine oils are extracted commercially from the jasmine Zambac (Arabian Jasmine) and jasmin grandiflorum (Common Jasmine).

Jasmine oil cannot be extracted by steam distillation. The main modern comercial method of extracting Jasmine oil is via solvent extraction.

Jasmine concrete is produced by solvent extraction of the fresh flowers.

Concrete of Jasmine sambac is a deep orange translucent mass of a jam like consistency. The sambac smells heady and intoxicating. Deep exotic floral with indolic, animalic undertones.

Concrete of grandiflorum is dark orange mass of jam like consistency. Grandiflorum is heady, intoxicating and fruity an exotic floral with peachy fruity notes.

Jasmine absolute is extracted from the concrete using alcohol.

Jasmine wax is a by product of this process.

Jasmine flowers of all varieties can be tinctured for use in perfumery.

Dried jasmine flowers usually don't have much of a smell and are mainly used in tea.

Entry link: Jasmine


notes incorporating sweet, powdery and resinous essences

Entry link: Incense


Indole is an aromatic heterocyclic organic compound.

It naturally occurs in human feces and has an intense faecal odour. At very low concentrations though, it has a very flowery smell, and is a constituent of many floral scents (such as orange blossoms) and perfumes.

It tends to lend a "dirty" quality to a perfume.
Entry link: Indole


whole botanical materials immersed in a hot medium, diluent or carrier; botanical material in warmed oil is considered an infusion

Entry link: Infusion

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