You recognise something in a smell, but you can't place it. In case you think you are the only one... Don't worry, most people suffer from this. To get you started, we take you through our blogs into discovering ingredients that are commonly used in perfumes. In this first blog, we're going to talk about Vanilla!
Nowadays, everyone knows the smell and taste of vanilla and it is a popular ingredient in perfumes. In many cases, a synthetic vanilla is used. Natural vanilla is an expensive spice, and its production is hardly profitable. Fortunately, there are perfumes in which natural vanilla is used. These can be recognised by their less sharp, but still full fragrance.
Vanilla comes from the vanilla orchid, a climbing plant - Vanilla plantifolia. This plant grows well in tropical climates, including Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian Ocean (think Madagascar). The vanilla from Mexico is considered one of the best, due to the fact that this is the country of origin. Unfortunately, the production there is not so big anymore. Another country that does produce a lot of vanilla is Madagascar, also known as Vanilla Bourbon. Every year Madagascar produces about 1,000 tons of pods.
Vanilla Bourbon is rich in aroma and flavour. During the drying of the pods, crystals are formed - the natural vanillin, the raw material for perfume. The production of natural vanillin is a long and costly process; the vanilla pods are formed by pollinating the flowers, which is done manually on the plantations. The green pods that are formed remain on the branches for 8 to 9 months, after which they dry for another six months. During drying, they produce white crystals - the vanillin.
Then there is Tahitian Vanilla from the French Polynesian island group (Tahiti). This is considered a rarer and more expensive variety. Although the flavour is considered milder, the aroma is stronger. This vanilla contains less vanillin, but more of the substance heliotropin, which gives it a fruity nuance.
Research has shown that vanilla has a calming effect and that it also stimulates creativity. In perfumes, vanilla is often found in oriental fragrances. The vanilla provides the sweetness, but also the balsamic and spicy notes. Some well-known vanilla fragrances are Addict by Dior and Shalimar by Geurlain. We also have several other fragrances in our range that have (natural) vanilla as a base.