Widely used in cooking, ginger has also been used in perfumery for several decades. With its subtle and spicy scent, this root has conquered almost every nose in search of freshness. A spice with many virtues, ginger stands out with its contrasting nuances that are as surprising as they are addictive. Let’s discover how this fresh and peppery essence has found its way into perfume compositions!
Ginger, a perfume of magic
History and botany
Native to India and Malaysia, ginger is a herbaceous plant that grows to about 1 meter in height. If this tropical plant produces large green leaves and a pretty red flower, it is its roots that arouse envy. Its fleshy and gnarled rhizomes have been harvested for over 3000 years. They are used since the dawn of time for their incomparable flavors but also for their numerous medicinal virtues. A key ingredient in Asian cuisine, ginger first appeared in Europe in the Middle Ages, brought back by caravanners from India. Very quickly, its aromatic power moves the noses of the high society. It was then invited to the table of the richest, alongside pepper, cinnamon and cloves.
Aphrodisiac… But not only!
Influenced by its therapeutic prowess and its antioxidant properties, ginger has become in the collective imagination a powerful aphrodisiac. Louis XV the first would have wanted to verify the legend by perfuming his bedroom with this tonic and lemony scent, before his expected reunion with Madame du Barry… But beyond the “boost” in the bedroom, the precious root was also used in the fight against the plague. Still today, ginger is invited in our cupboards for its “detox” benefits and its so particular taste.
Growing and harvesting
Ginger is now grown in China, Jamaica, Brazil, but also in Japan and Africa. This tropical plant likes to develop in warm and humid environments, but it is quite possible to grow it at home! Depending on the desired taste or fragrance, the rhizomes are harvested 5 to 6 months after planting. It is the time when they are still fresh and lemony. Otherwise, you have to wait about 10 months to get a root with a spicy and peppery flavor. The older the ginger gets, the more its scent will dissipate and lose its power, becoming only pungent.
Ginger and perfume: from the essence to the bottle
A promising essence
The use of ginger in perfumery goes back several hundred years, thanks to the discoveries on distillation. Indeed, after harvesting the roots, they are peeled and dried to be distilled with steam. Thanks to this process, perfumers obtain an essential oil of ginger.
If spicy perfumes were popular during the Renaissance for their power, they gradually fell into disuse in the early 1900s in favor of fresher juices like eaux de Cologne. But thanks to the creativity of some noses, spicy notes made a remarkable comeback. The release of Guerlain’s Shalimar in 1925 gave a new impetus to oriental and spicy compositions. Since then, ginger has continued to conquer creators with its complex aromas. Today, there are new ways to obtain an essence of ginger, notably by extracting fresh roots with CO2, thus revealing new fragrance shades that were previously unknown.
The perfume of ginger
But precisely, what is the perfume of ginger? If this spice is so appreciated by perfumers, it is because it reveals an uncommon olfactory richness! It is a note that is used for its fresh and lemony start, with a pinky and soapy aspect. This ingredient evokes a certain olfactory duality: it is as fresh and sparkling as it reveals itself fatty, pungent and peppery. In short, ginger allows you to blow hot and cold in a composition! However, this essence should be used sparingly to avoid dusty nuances or the soapy side taking over the fragrance.
Rising star or all-purpose spice?
The other interest of ginger in perfumery is that it is a “rising” note. This means that it can be smelled directly in the top note, thanks to its freshness and effervescence. But thanks to its excellent hold, its scent will also develop throughout the olfactory pyramid, to be felt until the base note. It is also a raw material that can be associated with many compositions. It goes perfectly with citrus fragrances to create bright and sparkling nuances. Ginger also brings dynamism to woody notes and relief to floral ingredients such as jasmine or carnation for example. Like an olfactory chameleon, ginger can be found in both feminine and masculine juices.
Our Carrément Belle interpretation of ginger
The spicy and rosy scent of ginger is brought to the fore in the eau de parfum alõ. In this refreshing composition, the essence of ginger from Madagascar and India is revealed at the top by its shivering aspect alongside bergamot, lemon and bitter orange. Its pungent nuances also combine with pink berries to lift the fragrance and give it character. The marine heart of the perfume then blossoms into a warmer and woody wake.
Do you like the perfume of ginger?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article