There is something about the scent Jasmine that pulls you in. It has a deep, heady fragrance that in my experience is more powerful and sensual from the living plant than any extract – natural or otherwise. That feeling you get from unexpectedly catching the scent in warm night time air in a warm climate is unsurpassed. As we can’t all surround ourselves with living Jasmine the absolute or a reconstruction of the scent with synthetic materials is the only option.
For many years aromatherapists have used Jasmine for relaxation, calming anxiety, stress and depression as well as for its purported aphrodisiac qualities. In more recent years science has caught up, with research being done into the effects of Jasmine on sleep – you can read about it HERE
For perfumery and aromatherapy Jasmine will usually be in the form of an absolute (solvent extraction) as Jasmine petals are too delicate to be steam distilled. Jasmine is also extracted using C02 which is way more expensive and the traditional technique of enfleurage is very limited now and although you can still buy Jasmine produced with this method it is very costly. Jasmine Absolute is from Jasmine Officianale var. Grandiflorum or a variety from China and South East Asia called Jasmine Sambac. They both have different odours and so both are used in perfumery to create different effects.
It takes 1000kg (approx 8 million blossoms) to produce 1kg Jasmine absolute and costs around £2,700 per kilo (not £34,000 as some fragrance “experts” would have you believe) so very little of even the absolute is used in modern commercial perfumery.
Like Rose Absolute, one of the main issues with using natural jasmine in a commercial fragrance apart from the cost is that it has been severely restricted in commercial fragrances due to sensitization and currently in the E.U it is only allowed at a maximum of 0.7% in a finished fragrance for on skin usage for the absolute and 4% for Jasmine Sambac. Instead perfumers will use synthetic bases created from materials such as Benzyl acetate, linalool, indole, cis Jasmone and Hedione. Hedione is used in a wide variety of fragrance types to impart radiance and diffusion. It is also used in fragrances such as Eau Sauvage to extend the citrus note. Even adding a small amount of Hedione to a natural blend will change it beyond recognition.
A simple base to try
Benzyl acetate, (10 parts)
Linalool, (5 parts)
Indole (1 part)
cis Jasmone (6 parts)
Hedione (400 parts)
from Scent and Chemistry
Jasmine is of course a key component of classic fragrances such as Joy and Chanel No 5. (with 4% being used in the original formula) and you can still go to Grasse to the Fete du Jasmin to celebrate the harvest (31st July to 2nd August 2015) where the sole producer of Chanel’s Jasmine is based.
Other Jasmine Fragrances to try
Thomas from The Candy Perfume Boy has a great Guide to Jasmine if you want to delve into more Jasmine fragrances