Mascot of woody notes, cedar has a dry and resinous scent that titillates our noses. Long confined to functional products, this fragrant wood is once again stirring perfumers who use its elegant and powerful essence in many compositions. Discover its origin, the varieties used in perfumery and the beautiful fragrances in our collection that honor this ingredient with multiple scents!
The cedar, between history and botany
Cedar is native to North Africa and the Middle East. Since the 19th century, it has been planted in various countries throughout Europe and the United States. The cedar is a majestic tree with fragrant wood that can live up to 3000 years. Although its essence has been known for thousands of years for its numerous therapeutic virtues, the first use of cedar dates back to ancient Egypt. Already at that time, its wood and its fragrant branches were burned during funeral ceremonies. It accompanied the various embalming rites. This tree then occupied an important place in many cultures and civilizations.
From Japan to China, through Greece and Tibet, cedar allows communication with the sacred and is synonymous with immortality. Throughout history, it has been used in the manufacture of incense and in the construction of various structures such as temples, ships and sarcophagi.
Which species for perfumery?
There are many species of cedar but only a few interest perfumers. The most common are the Virginia cedar (juniperus virgina) and the Texas cedar (juniperus mexicana). These species have developed in North America and resemble a juniper. They are both very close in smell to each other and belong to the cypress family.
They should not be confused with another variety, the Atlas cedar. Present in Morocco and in the Mediterranean area, it is more similar to the pine. It is this species that we find on the flag of Lebanon. Less present in the compositions, the Atlas cedar is more difficult to work. There is another species called leaf cedar (or white cedar in Canada). This one is more exploited for its curative virtues. It was used to treat Jacques Cartier’s crew, who suffered from scurvy during their expedition to Quebec in the 16th century.
From the forest to the bottle
The extraction of cedar and its evolution in perfumery
Cedar essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the roots and wood chips reduced to powder. With the advent of organic chemistry, certain odoriferous components of cedar could be isolated. Once synthesized, they were used to create new molecules. Cedryl acetate, cedrol or vertofix are now integrated into formulas to enhance other raw materials, while remaining stable.
Cedar is also regularly used to perfume “functional” products such as soaps and home fragrances. Considered a “poor wood” because of its affordability, for a long time perfumers did not mention his name on purpose in favor of more noble woods like sandalwood or vetiver. However, cedar is present in a large majority of fragrances, both feminine and masculine, thanks to its fine and elegant notes. It has returned to the forefront in recent years to meet the desire for nature and simplicity from many noses.
What does it smell like?
Without necessarily identifying it at first smell, we all know the scent of cedar… The smell of a pencil sharpened, like an olfactory return to our childhood. If it transports us to our memories, the scent of cedar also evokes the atmosphere of a sawmill, between dry smells and wood chips. In general, the perfume of this tree is green and resinous. It is one of the most iconic woody notes that also acts as a fixative in a formula. Its scent brings structure and elegance to a fragrance while delivering racy, raw nuances. Virginia and Texas cedar has refined and soft notes. Its Atlas cousin has a much more powerful scent: animalistic and leathery, with smoky and camphor notes.
Starting point for many woody accords, cedar is a perfect match for a multitude of fragrant facets! It is generally used as a base note in the olfactory pyramid for its tenacity and the dynamism it brings to a wake. Thus, it blends very well with the resinous aspect of patchouli, the velvety of sandalwood or the smokiness of vetiver. It reveals all its elegance and character. It also prolongs the freshness of other ingredients such as fruits, and particularly citrus fruits. In floral accords, it brings a touch of refinement, dynamism and depth.
Cedar and Carrément Belle: a fragrant love story!
This mythical and emblematic ingredient is an integral part of our collection through different compositions. It is combined in different ways to make you discover its many facets in a subtle but sure way.
Freshness and intensity with ïōdé
Who says you can’t combine freshness with power? That’s the challenge taken up by ïōdé, our chypre eau de parfum, with marine and floral notes. In this invigorating formula, the essence of Virginia cedar is revealed in the base note with amber. This raw material thus creates a warm, woody wake that soothes this fresh, invigorating sensation.
A nap in the shadow of a cedar
How about a well-deserved nap in the shade of a large cedar tree, lulled by its resinous, woody scent? That’s the promise of alfred kafé, a fragrance with a powerful contrast of lavender and coffee. Cedar adds depth and tenacity to these green and aromatic notes, to awaken all your senses!
Kilim, the wood from the East
This time it is at the base note of an oriental composition that we find the dry and raw perfume of cedar. In the eau de parfum kilim, this ingredient is matched with a bewitching and sweet start, which extends to more powdery and floral nuances. Finally, it blossoms into a warm and powerful wake thanks to patchouli, vanilla and amber.
Did you know the origin of cedar and its use in perfumery?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article