Smelled neat (we’ve tried it: really not a good idea), it whiffs intensely of birch tar and leather; only when expertly blended does it soften and seduce, blending well with rose and oud in particular, and acting as an excellent ‘fixative’ for other notes. Citral is pure ‘freshness’, and used for that effect. Davidoff Cool Water Guerlain Shalimar Amouroud Silk Route That could be heliotrope, too. Britney Spears Curious Vera Wang Princess Night, Revlon Charlie Blue It’s actually a natural aroma chemical found in roses, but also citronella, geranium, palmarosa, petitgrain, eucalyptus. This spice is used quite widely in perfumery – as well as a wide range of foods and medicines, too, produced everywhere from South America to Malaysia, the Caribbean, Japan and Africa. Nasomatto Absinth. And depending on its ripeness, it can give hints of chocolate, or ripe fruit. Donna Karan Be Delicious Tiaré flowers are related to gardenias:  luscious white florals which scent the breeze of Tahiti, worn tucked behind the ear or as garlands. (They’re deeply alluring to slugs, as gardeners know.) It has a waxy, soft floral quality, in perfumes – almost as if it lightly dusts the perfume with pollen. Not terribly romantic, but we do like the Greek myth behind the naming of the plant. Probably the most famous ‘melon’ fragrance is Calyx:  originally launched under the Prescriptives brand (now a long-lost part of Estée Lauder), and newly relaunched by Clinique – but with fruity-florals still ‘hotter’ than a beach in St. Barth’s, there are plenty of others…, Clinique Calyx It’s a key ingredient in Bay Rum aftershave/scent, and often used in men’s perfumery – but also to spice up a chypre fragrance, or in a mysterious oriental…. The note has a mystical air to it:  in the ‘language’ of plants, it’s been linked with prosperity, fidelity, virtue and positivity. Labdanum An aromatic gum from the rockrose bush. Creed Vetiver Its more romantic French name is ‘mousse de chêne, but this tight-curled plant – botanical name Evernia prunastri - is actually a lichen which grows on oaks throughout Europe and North Africa, only flourishing in unpolluted air. Most of us fall into one camp or the other, but even if you’re not a licorice-licker, you may still find its subtle aniseed-y, almost caramel-y note in perfumery intriguing and beguiling. Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme Valentino Donna Acqua If you’ve ever walked in an evergreen forest, cedar will transport you back there, too. Since then, lily of the valley has also made its way into countless bridal bouquets (including that of Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince Willliam);  in many countries, it’s linked to this day with tenderness, love, faith, happiness and purity. (It was one of the first ‘juices’, or perfumes, to be almost as clear as fresh water in colour, too.) Natural ingredients have been used since the beginning of perfumery. Frederic Malle Lys Mediteranée. The name? Hot, fresh, almost tingly to sniff: this top note perks up many masculine and some female scents, adding instant brightness. Cristobal Balenciaga Le Dix It is more the leather that you expect your gloves to exhale. Givenchy Very Irresistible L’Intense Happily for civet cats, most of the civet now used is synthetically recreated, for ethical reasons (the cats are kept in cages and stressed, in order to produce the secretion) – although we have heard that some small perfumers still secretly source the real thing, a practise we absolutely can’t condone. Ferns have actually given their name to an entire category of fragrances: fougère. Prada No9 Benjoin We all know bamboo. 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