Among the 7 olfactory families in perfumery, one category distils warm, resinous, humid or even smoky notes… Did you guess? It is the woody fragrance which concerns a very large majority of compositions. Its notes bring elegance, sophistication and a lot of character to the compositions. Like a walk in the woods, let us take you to discover the secrets of woody perfume.
Woody perfume: notes with great power
Why choose a woody fragrance?
Since ancient times, wood has been a popular fragrance material. Woody notes are still very appreciated and are even considered as the “backbone” of perfumes. Indeed, wood essences are often used to structure a composition, fixing the more volatile notes and thus allowing the scent to last. The woody perfume is in a way a fragrance “enhancer” that allows to explore different prisms of the same smell. It offers the nose a wider range of nuances, and makes a formula more subtle. These notes form a sort of olfactory framework on which the other ingredients of the composition are based.
For several years now, it has become rare to come across fragrances without a woody aspect. These accords can be found in several olfactory sub-families such as spicy woody fragrances, aquatic woody, aromatic woody, floral, or chypre.
Iconic woody fragrances
The first creation to bring these bold notes to life was Vétiver by Carven in 1957. It’s a woody perfume for men, created by Madame Carven so that her husband would wear a fresh yet delicate scent. Vetiver is combined with lavender and wormwood extracts to give it a “man skin” effect. The famous Gabrielle Chanel and her perfumer Ernest Beaux would later pave the way for the first woody fragrance for women. Released in 1962, Bois des Îles is far from the standards of the time. Like Coco, this fragrance mixes feminine and masculine notes. Myosore’s sandalwood perfume is paired with opulent florals and fruitier notes of peach.
All the olfactory facets of woody perfume
From raw materials…
When it comes to woody perfume, the ingredients most used are cedar, sandalwood, patchouli or vetiver.
- Sandalwood has been used since antiquity with its mystical fragrance. It brings to a composition a creamy, velvety aspect for a sensual and warm juice.
- Cedar is drier and more explosive. Its scent evokes that of a freshly sharpened pencil and it brings to any composition hold and character.
- Vetiver oil comes from the roots of the plant and is used primarily as a fixative. The world of perfumery will then recognize its many olfactory qualities to make it one of the basic ingredients of woody juices for its earthy, planty, vibrant notes.
- Patchouli is a cult ingredient in perfumery. It transports any composition towards warm, resinous and voluptuous notes.
But there are many other raw materials with woody notes such as oak moss, birch, pine, oud, guaiac wood…
However, natural woods are not the only ones to have a place of choice in your perfumes. Today, synthetic woods, or modern woods, are also popular to bring a greater olfactory richness to these notes. We think in particular of evernyl, a synthetic molecule that reproduces the smell of moss, or ambromax: an amber wood with a leathery facet.
… To the notes of the woody perfume
The woody perfumes come from the essential oils of the moss and wood of trees. These oils can also be extracted from plants as for patchouli and vetiver. This large olfactory family is divided into several sub-categories:
- Amber woods: they include synthetic materials with a woody scent and ambergris notes such as palisandrol, cashmeran or boisambrène. These are complex but multiple scents, very powerful. They are characterized by nuances of vetiver, cedar or patchouli whose smell evokes that of tobacco. Perfumers generally use amber woods as a fixative.
- Mossy woods: lichen, or moss, is an ingredient between algae and fungus found on the trunk of trees. It is a key note in perfumery. Oak moss absolute, which can come from many types of trees, brings back memories of walks in the forest.
- Wet woods: they recall the scent of undergrowth, still full of moisture at dawn. It is the root of vetiver that produces an earthy, humid, even smoky nuance. It is also a great classic of woody notes that gives a soothing and fresh facet to a composition.
- Smoky woods: perfumers use guaiac wood a lot in woody fragrances. It is a tree found in Paraguay. Its essence is warm, smoky and close to leathery notes.
- Resins woods: the trees produce resin directly by natural exudation or by incision of the trunk. Very appreciated by perfumers, the resin is used as a link in compositions. Their woody, spicy and balsamic notes bring roundness and intensity.
- Dry woods: cedar and vetiver can have a dry, earthy, sometimes even dusty facet.
The future of woody fragrance
Long identified as a masculine olfactory family, woody fragrances are now flying into feminine compositions to bring them a touch of audacity. Thanks to the creativity and research of perfume designers, new woods are entering the world of perfumery such as teak wood, ebony, hazelnut and rosewood. Woody perfumes still have long and beautiful days ahead of them, for our greatest pleasure!
What is the best woody fragrance?
Ippi patchouli : a woody and bohemian perfume
Carrément Belle wanted to honor patchouli from the beginning with the creation of the eternal ippi patchouli. In this woody perfume, its essence from Indonesia reveals earthy and resinous notes in a formula that pays tribute to the flower power generation. Here, the woody notes are expressed alongside sweet and musky flowers in a resolutely assertive fragrance.
A spicy woody fragrance with kilim
Patchouli also brightens the kilim composition. In this spicy woody perfume for women, the raw essence of patchouli is combined with notes of flowers, fruits and spices. This powerful and warm fragrance will undoubtedly take you to the heart of the Orient…
A marine and woody eau de parfum with ïōdé
Change of olfactory program with a woody, amber and marine scent: ïōdé. This fragrance first features a fresh and aquatic start, which evaporates into more subtle tones. We find the scent of sandalwood at the heart of a base note that is both woody and amber.
Alõ, the vetiver in the spotlight
Still in the marine register, discover all the nuances of the essence of Haitian vetiver that gives our alõ fragrance green, soothing and invigorating notes. This festive, citrusy, spicy and woody cocktail will undoubtedly tickle your nostrils and finally soothe them in a soothing smoky wake.
Alfred kafé, the aromatic woody fragrance for men… and women!
Our latest woody fragrance pays homage to Provence with soothing lavender, and to an ingredient we particularly appreciate: coffee! Alfred kafé honors this green and invigorating contrast at the same time, sublimated thanks to the voluptuousness of sandalwood and the richness of moss, in a wake that becomes balsamic and enveloping over the hours.
Are woody notes part of your fragrance ritual?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in this article