Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme. Balmain Ambre Gris Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Heaven knows how or why someone had the idea of using the soft, paste-like glandular secretion from underneath the swishy striped tails of civet cats, however, which they use to mark their territory:  it’s extraordinarily powerful and even stomach-turningly obnoxious in its concentrated form. Dior Les Créations de Monsieur Dior Diorling ', Boucheron Boucheron Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte Christian Dior Sakura Memo Manoa (When you smell gin, you’re basically smelling juniper, actually.) Can anyone who’s not a trained ‘nose’ tell the difference between this and an actual peach? Marc Jacobs Oh Lola! We'll cover this too (and find out if vegans can ethically wear musk). No, not really suede – but perfumers can recreate the suede’s enveloping sensuality, in perfumery using synthetic ingredients. The roots of this plant – also known as horse-heal (and officially Inula helenium) – can be distilled to produce an essential oil, with a minty, violet-like scent. Eucalyptus honey. We love this quote about freesias that we first found on the perfume website Fragrantica, meanwhile. Dior La Collection Privée Fève Délicieuse It takes around 400 kilos of flowers to produce one kilo of essential oil, and each tree provides around 10 kilos of flowers a year. (Because of course if you simply filled a bottle with water, you’d end up with something with no more of a scent than Perrier or Evian.). Katy Perry Meow But did you know that this stone-fruit is related to the cashew family…? And it’s used as incense and burned on altars, as a way of communicating with the heavens. The word ‘licorice’ (or liquorice) comes from the Old French licoresse, and originally from the Greek meaning ‘sweet root’ (it really is, if you’ve ever chewed a licorice stick). Dior Miss Dior Chérie Michael Kors Island It brings out the flavors of ginger, onions, adds warmth to the cocktail of exotic flavors from clove, pepper, cumin, fenugreek. It’s also grown in southern France and in Côte d'Ivoire for the essential oil (and in in southern Turkey for its marmalade…), Jo Malone London Oud and Bergamot If you’ve been put off by a run-in with a Strawberry Shortcake doll, don’t write this fruit ingredient off till you’ve discovered the strawberry’s grown-up, sophisticated side in those scents listed below…, Chopard Wish They also feature in Houbigant’s Quelques Fleurs (created 1912) and Lanvin’s Arpège. The plant itself has dark green leaves and teeny flowers, followed by the star-shaped seedpods. You wouldn’t love the smell of hemlock if you got up-close-and-personal – and you’d be unwise to do that, as it’s a seriously poisonous plant:  in Ancient Greece, hemlock was the poison used to execute prisoners (including the renowned philosopher Socrates). You can’t shake a real cocktail into a scent, of course – so the drink has been conjured up synthetically as a ‘fantasy’ fragrance ingredient to give a sense of sparkling, crisp peachiness. Different basils have different fragrance qualities:  it can be lemony, or tarragon-like, or – well, just plain basil-y. But how does it smell? Yves Saint Laurent Opium. Guerlain Shalimar In my perfumery work, I use synthetics for raspberry chords, too. (Pink pepper – a.k.a. The davana herb (a member of the silver-leafed Artemisia family) is native to India, and once it’s steam-distilled has a sweet, tea-like smell, reminiscent of dried fruit. Goutal Eau du Ciel In modern fragrance, lavender is lightly used in ‘feminine’ scents, although it turns up in plenty of ‘shared’ colognes and men’s fragrances;  it works well alongside other aromatic ingredients like pine, sage and rosemary, as well as patchouli, oakmoss, bergamot, neroli and orange blossom. Guerlain Après l’Ondée A third variety, Narcissus jonquil, can also be used, and in one form or another this beautiful ingredient is said to make its way into as much as 10% of modern fragrances - despite the fact that a staggering 500 kilos of flowers are needed to produce a kilo of ‘concrete’, or just 300 g of absolue, making it very pricy. Jo Malone London Orange Blossom (Blackcurrant leaves can smell a little ‘catty’ when you rub them between your finger – though in a fragrance, that won’t be apparent.) Oscar de la Renta Oscar Lancôme Trésor (Well, camphor and eucalyptus and even mint smell a little bit like rosemary - but most of us could still make out its distinctive ‘whoosh’ if blindfolded). Prada No. This combo is unbeatable. As 'nose' Christine Nagel explains, cedar wood can be used to different effect. Botanically, dill’s known as Anethum graveolens, and originates from the Med, and southern Russia. Ancient texts and archaeological excavations show the use of perfumes in some of the earliest human civilizations. In general, it’s a ‘fantasy’ or synthetic note you smell, rather than any essence from cocoa beans themselves – but it’s there for the sheer, pleasurable links with one of man’s (and especially woman’s) most indulgent foods…, Cartier Le Baiser du Dragon Givenchy Ysatis Van Cleef & Arpels Cologne Noir. Alienor adds: 'It's smells like tea, actually.' Ah, sweet violets. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Matin Tom Ford Violet Blonde (Vanilloids are also found in cocoa, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and hot peppers – which partly explains why they’re all such ‘taste sensations’. And it’s sticky, which is how the powdered root came to be used in candy-making. In tight bud, the scent’s lightly, almost ethereally floral;  as it opens, the scent becomes pumpingly potent and intoxicating (though still with that damp greenness). Estée Lauder Pleasures Lemons grow all over the world and are a hugely popular fruit:  where would cooking be without lemon’s zest and juice…? Yves Saint Laurent Elle. Whatever:  it takes kilo upon kilo of flowers to produce the oil – around 8,000 hand-picked blooms to produce one millilitre (1 ml) of the ‘absolute’ – which is why it’s so extraordinarily expensive. But the ingredient perfumers weave, mostly into floral fragrances, is generally a synthetic replica. Of course we’ll never know someone, somewhere along the way, got the idea that it would be a good idea to try this potent ingredient out in a perfume:  in its raw state, musk oil smells – well, a bit like poo...  And yet, and yet – at the same time, strangely intriguing…  A well-known German fragrance chemist, Phliip Kraft, brilliantly captures musk’s love-it-hate-it complexity. 1 Lanvin Arpège A woody evergreen, rosemary has super-fragrant needle-like leaves, and white, purple, blue or pink flowers, depending on the variety. And where would Guerlain’s Mitsouko be without the peach-skin warmth of C14…? Burberry The Beat 9 Sag Harbour By. Van Cleef & Arpels First, Nobody grinds up metal and adds it to a perfume blend – but the genius of perfumers is that they nevertheless have a way of conjuring up hints of iron and steel in a bottle, as an evocative ‘fantasy’ note. Alternatively, let your eye travel over the scrolling, rolling collage below – and click on whatever takes your fancy:  a visual ‘lucky dip’…. L’Artisan Parfumeur Tubéreuse (And conservationists.) ', Narcissus has been exciting perfumers for millennia. For centuries, the essential oil of bergamot has had a close link to perfumery and scent, even used to scent small papier-mâché boxes for keeping small precious mementos - like locks of hair and ‘love letters. Amouage Ciel Pour Femme And today, thanks to their sheer versatility, notes from the ionone family appear in almost every fragrance creation. L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two, How did the tangerine get its name? The daisy gets its name from the old English:  ‘day’s eye’ – because the flowers open up at dawn, and close at dusk. They’re also edible, should you ever find yourself in front of the actual tree (Robinia pseudoacacia). It’s so powerful, though, that only a touch is needed – and perfumers must proceed with caution:  the scent in a closed room can be overwhelming.