The perfume of sage attracts fragrance creators looking for its woody, aromatic and camphorated scent. For several decades now, sage and its various varieties have been bringing amazing and almost mystical notes to compositions. Thanks to its tonic and purifying essence, this ingredient inspires more and more perfumers who very often put it forward. Discover all the facets of this aromatic and fantastic plant!
Sage, in all its forms
The origins of a mysterious plant
Sage is an aromatic plant that belongs to the Lamiaciae family (just like another well-known perfume plant: lavender). There are no less than 800 different species of sage, of which more than 200 are cultivated in France, where it is particularly popular in southern areas. It grows into a shrub which can reach more than 1m60 high and which will produce beautiful small flowers with purple and lilac tones. Known since the Prehistory, it is however the leaves of the sage which are the most interesting. And it is besides for the harvest of its leaves that the sage is still cultivated today. Very fragrant, they contain a precious essential oil that can be used for cooking, but also in cosmetics, perfumery and pharmacy.
Myths and virtues
As an aromatic and medicinal plant, sage has been used for thousands of years. It cures a lot of problems, seasons dishes, purifies houses and souls… And it can also be used in your perfumes, but we’ll see about that later! A real all-purpose plant in short. The history of this plant is as rich on the olfactory level, as medicinal and spiritual. Besides, its Latin name Salvia, simply translates as “to save”, a destiny that has already been laid out… From ancient Egypt, to the Chinese emperors and the kings of France, all have praised the virtues of sage.
Thus, the doctors used it in the vinegar of the 4 thieves, this perfumed remedy which was used to fight against the plague. Some sovereigns consumed it to ensure their longevity, while other Mexican shamans smocked it during divinatory rituals for its hallucinogens virtues. From a more down-to-earth point of view, it would also help digestion, fight against a bad cold, strengthen memory and act on stress and anxiety. To sum up, this plant contains many powers, almost magical!
The destiny of a perfume plant
The sage perfume: two varieties to seduce the nose
Despite its immense diversity of species, only two varieties of sage are used for perfumery. The first, and most commonly used in compositions, is the clary sage. This strong-smelling plant is grown mainly in France, from Montélimar to the plains of Valensole. Noses can also look at the officinalis sage. Widely used in herbal teas and decoctions, it is also fragrant and reveals an aromatic and camphorated scent. An essential oil is extracted from this variety through steam distillation of the plant’s leaves. This raw material is generally reserved for “technical perfumery” (i.e. for cosmetics, household products…). While the perfume of the officinalis sage is rather herbaceous and resinous, that of its clary cousin is more musky and amber.
The clary sage: star of the perfumes!
If clary sage has long seduced people thanks to its various benefits, it is nowadays essentially cultivated and used for its very particular smell. This variety is lucky to be particularly “hairy” (yes, you read that right). Lucky because it is in these glandular hairs that all the power of its essence is concentrated. Perfumers can thus include in their formulas different materials made from the plant. We think in particular of the essence of clary sage which is obtained by the hydrostillation of the leaves. It is also possible to create an absolute through extraction with volatile solvents.
The perfume of the clary sage is floral, while revealing amber, earthy, animal and lavender notes. It is a richly nuanced smell that is also an excellent fixative. This natural raw material is also a basic element of ambrox, a synthetic compound that replaces ambergris in compositions. As a crossing point between nature and synthesis…
The use of sage in perfumery
Sage brings a lot of dynamism to fragrances thanks to its fresh, animal and tenacious notes. Far from being a simple fixative, its essence is widely appreciated by noses that use it in masculine fragrances, particularly in fern accords, as well as in feminine compositions. Clary sage is a great ally for creating chypre fragrances and works well with wet and woody tones. It can also be found in more oriental formulas where its ambery side takes all its fullness. Thanks to its vegetal and mentholated facets, it blends perfectly with fresh and aromatic perfumes. Sensual, sage develops all its power in any composition to make it richer, deeper.
The Carrément Belle version of sage
For us too, the very particular clary sage perfume tickled our noses. And this is why we find it in some of our compositions, with very different olfactory profiles!
The meeting of amber and a chypre accord with ïōdé
The eau de parfum ïōdé reveals a marine, chypre and amber juice at the same time. Marine first by the freshness inhaled from the sea spray. Then, it is a more floral heart that softens it, counterbalanced by the subtle power of a chypre accord where oakmoss, sandalwood and patchouli come to life. Finally, its wake is warmed by an amber note, in which the essence of clary sage from France distills its mysterious scent. A real stroll by the sea that you will not soon forget…
Clary sage and alfred kafé: the perfect match
Now, change of olfactory situation with alfred kafé! In this aromatic and full-bodied fragrance, the essence of clary sage blends with fresh and aromatic ingredient such as lavender, cedar and mint. Its rich perfume then accompanies a vegetal heart. This contrasts with the subtle and invigorating power of coffee. The formula then fades into a balsamic and woody wake, where the sage sticks to your skin for hours.
Do you feel inspired by the perfume of sage?