Fenugreek. Fe-nu-grik. Sounds weird. Smells interesting. Really good in a curry.
So what the heck is it doing in perfume?
When I ordered my first sample of fenugreek extract, I was intrigued by its description, and was hoping to find something that smelt like burnt sugar or syrup. What I discovered upon opening the bottle of fenugreek C02 was the most intriguing aroma of curry, fresh mown hay, sweat, spices, sugar and fresh dirt. All at once I could smell soup and candy, milk and meat, and it was so interesting. Difficult to know what to do with at the time, I put my bottle of fenugreek away, knowing I’d find the perfect opportunity to experiment with it in the future.
The first time I used it was for a fragrance that I was creating for my husband, which then went on to become our Slow Fire fragrance.
We used fenugreek in this fragrance to impart an earthiness and maple-like sweetness to enhance the aroma of being soaked in the warmth and sweet woodiness of an open fire.
Good Scents describes the odor of fenugreek as having:
“celery like spicyness, a coumarinic balsamic sweetness and an intense, almost sickening and strong, lovage like or opopanax like note of extreme tenacity. ”
It warns perfumers that the diffusive power of the odour of fenugreek is often highly overestimated, and that traces can either ruin a perfume or have a beautiful, unique effect in certain compositions.
As a perfumer, there is often a fine line with extract like fenugreek, where trace amounts can create an amazing effect, but only one drop more can completely ruin a blend, and make it smell like Indian takeaway, or, in the case of cepes, for example, like a Vegemite sandwhich!
Some interesting facts about fenugreek:
Not surprisingly, there are not many natural perfumes available which make use of the most interesting extract. But for me, it is fascinating, and there is really nothing else like it in my perfume palette.
So here’s hoping you learned something new today.
So are you intrigued? I hope so!