You have put a tremendous about of work into this thread and clearly done your homework.

I want to say ...

Thank you
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Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA
(12-04-2016, 09:33 PM)grim Wrote: You have put a tremendous about of work into this thread and clearly done your homework.

I want to say ...

Thank you

You're welcome. I enjoy it.

Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA

Galbanum is a gum resin, collected from several species of flowering Ferula plants, whose oil has a pungent, bitter, green, woody-resinous odor reminiscent of sliced green peppers and cut grass. It provides a "green" and somewhat earthy note to fragrance products. Galbanum frequently is mentioned as a top note, but its tenacity actually lingers in the heart and base. As it evolves on the skin, the initial acrid, peculiar scent is followed by a complex green, spicy tone, and then a woody-balsmic tone, after which it finally becomes more musky. It frequently is used in the creation of tobacco aromas. When employed as a base note, it usually is combined with musk, oakmoss, or pine. Traditionally it mainly has been used to give a natural green effect to floral accords, usually featuring hyacinth, gardenia, narcissus, iris, and violet, with which it pairs very well. Modern (post-1920s) "green" fragrances evoke the outdoors and nature much more than the sophisticated intimacy and animal density of more traditional chypres. Nevertheless, galbanum is also clearly present in many oriental blends, chypres, and fougeres as well. Galbanum resin also is prized for its fixative qualities; like other heavy molecules with low volatility, it anchors more ephemeral elements.

The Ferula plants from which galbanum is obtained originally grew in Mesopotamia and subsequently were exported to India, China, Israel, and Egypt. Today Iran and Turkey are the primary sources for galbanum. Galbanum also is produced in South Africa, Lebanon, southern Russia, and Afghanistan.

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The oil, the form most widely used in perfumery, is steam-distilled from the resinoid - a thick, crumbling, yellowish to greenish-brown paste - which is exuded from wounds cut in the trunks and roots of the plants.

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Initially the resin is earthy and peaty, but with dilution in alcohol the fruity-floral "bouquet" opens up, and one is reminded of crushed pine needles or pea pods with lemony overtones, fresh, vegetal, and sharp. The chemical constituents of galbanum are monoterpenes (a and ß pinene), sabinene, limonene, undecatriene and pyrazines. The pure oil, however, often is adulterated with pine oil, which may be why some batches of imports smell more of green, snapped pine needles than others. Perfume houses sometimes use additional steps beyond distillation to remove acrid sulfuric and terpenic notes when they are present.

The use of galbanum in perfumes is typified by Chanel No 19, Balmain Vent Vert, Guerlain Chamade, and Estée Lauder Aliage. It is also prominent in Robert Piguet Bandit, and it appears in Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli, and Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2.

Galbanum also has been used as a medicinal ingredient, primarily as an anti-inflammatory agent, expectorant, and antiseptic, and as an antispasmodic for women during childbirth. In ancient Eypt it was burned in incense in religious ceremonies and was used in embalming processes.

Fragrances for men or both genders that feature galbanum include:

Penhaligon's Quercus
Creed Silver Mountain Water, Royal Oud, Cedre Blanc, Iris Tuberose
Czech & Speake Vétiver Vert
Hugo Boss Red
Ineke Hothouse Flower
L'Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier
Olfactive Studio Panorama, Still Life
Police Naked pour Homme
Versace Blue Jeans for Men
Hareer Anfasic Dokhoon
Pioneer Boadicea the Victorious
Lush Flower Market
Etienne Aigner Private Number
Pino Silvestre Green Generation
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Dragon's Eye
Tom Ford Vert de Fleur, Vert Bohème, Ombre de Hyacinth
Chanel Egoiste Platinum
Wax Poetic Ember
Jeanne Arthes Cobra pour Homme
Emper Bandit, Presidente Sports
Serge Lutens Bas de Soie, Borneo 1834
Maison Martin Margiela (untitled)
Comme des Garcons
Cartier Must pour Homme
Miller Harris Patchouli
Testa Maura Carticasi
Anglia Perfumery Park Royal
Vilhelm Parfumerie Morning Chess
Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Vetiver
Jequiti Aire
Aramis Devin
Phaedon Coton Egyptien
Ava Luxe Figuer
Fueguia 1833 Gálbano
O Boticario Uomini
Gap Established 1969
Esprit de Versailles for Him
Officina delle Essenze Caldo Encens
Swiss Arabian Shadha
Zoologist Macaque
Monsillage Eau de Céleri
Novaya Zarya Driver
Acqua di Stresa Dianthus
Prada No 8 Opopanax, Infusion d'Homme
Ralph Lauren Safari
Guepard for Man
Dina Cosmetics Imperial Silver Black
DSH Perfumes Adoration (Milan), Viridian
Renato Balestra Via Sistina 67 Homme
D.S. & Durga Sir
Laura Biagiotti Roma per Uomo
Azzaro Aqua Verde
Art Deco Perfumes Aventure
Anatole Lebreton l'Eau de Merzhin
Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles
Frederic Malle French Lover
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Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA

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An emerging trend is perfumery is the use of salty effects.  Salt in perfumery is a savory ozonic note that adds a marine and/or woody tone to compositions, reminiscent of briny/salty materials or environments.  For most people they suggest a breezy ocean beach or, even more strongly, a tide pool.

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Refined table salt is about 97% sodium chloride, and it is virtually scentless, but sea salts from different regions, such as Korean bamboo salt or Javanese lava salt, have impurities that give them a distinctive scent and can be evocative when used in a fragrance preparation.  Salt is one of the basic taste sensations (sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, umami).  Partially the translation of a taste experience such as salty into the odor realm of perfume is due to the interactions of olfactory and taste receptors.  “The inherently close nature of our sense of taste and smell determines that food trends influence fragrance trends in some small measure,” says Erica Moore, fragrance evaluator at Fragrances of the World.  “A salty note in a fragrance can do two things.  It will impart saltiness but will also act as a modifier, subtly modifying the other notes to smooth off sweetness and reduce sharpness.  In fragrance it works in a similar way to how it works in food."   While food and fragrance trends do tend to synchronise, Erica notes that the salted scent category can also thank technological advances.   “The emerging trend of salt’s use in fragrance is really the result of developments in raw materials and creating the perceived effect of salt through aroma chemicals,” she says.

We’ve had aquatic perfumes since the 1990s (due mainly to Issey Miyake).   “But brands and perfumers have only started to isolate and shine the light on the salty aspect recently,” says Erica, who notes that salt can give a fragrance a “solar quality.”

Salty perfumes essentially began in 2005 with Eau des Merveilles ("water of wonders"), an Hermès fragrance that was reputed to have used the last available batches of real ambergris and made them into a limpid, salty, woody alloy. This was followed in the spring of 2006 by Sel de Vetiver from The different Company, the olfactory rendition of dirty vetiver roots into a glass of marine water.   Many said that it smells like an unwashed sailor.   Composed by Celine Ellena, it includes notes of grapefruit, cardamom, Bourbon geranium, lovage, Haitian vetiver, patchouli, iris and ylang ylang.   Apparently its inspiration was the "scent of salt drying on the skin after bathing in the sea."   Then in the summer of 2006 came L de Lolita Lempicka, a fragrance that combined a salty aspect with the opulence of vanilla, tonka, and musks for an effect that is like "skin heated in the sun on a hot secluded beach on a mediterranean isle."

More recently a popular subtrend has been the combination of saltiness with sweetness.   This is typified by the of the most popular compositions, Elixir des Merveilles, an homage to the original that incorporates a salty element into an oriental blend that includes notes of orange peel, caramel, biscuit accord (vanilla, tonka bean, and milk), sandalwood, incense, resins (balsams of Peru and Siam, oak, patchouli, cedar), and synthetic ambergris.

Amber perfume compositions usually have a salty undertone.  Vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanoides) tolerates highly saline soils and absorbs some salt into its roots, and vetiver oil present in many perfumes has an unmistakable salty nuance.   A research study sponsored by Givaudan uncovered various types of ionones, molecules with a violet-like odor, in the aroma of some salts.  And violet, somewhat of a chamelion in perfumery, can add a salty note when paired with certain other floral or fruity elements, such as in Annick Goutal Duel and Lez Nes The Unicorn Spell.   Guérande’s Fleur de Sel sea salt, which has a distinctive violet component, is hand harvested in salt marshes of South Brittany, and it is said to have inspired a number of perfumes.  

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Also available to perfumers is seaweed absolute in alcohol.   Salty effects in perfumes need not be deliberate, and various mineral, marine and earthy notes can also produce a briny illusion, such as that in Parfum d’Empire Azemour les Orangers.   Aroma chemicals able to do this include calone, floralozone, helional, melonal, ambroxan, phenylacetaldehyde, and diethyl acetals.

In addition to natural elements, perfumers also can employ methods such as ‘headspace’ technology, using a process called molecular extraction (discussed in a previous thread entry) by which they can "read" the molecular make-up of almost anything that has an aroma (from fruits to fabrics to various environments).   This allowed for one of the first synthetic salt-infused fragrances of recent times, 2010’s Womanity by Thierry Mugler. Womanity was concocted this way, capturing the notes of fig and caviar.

The following are well known "salty" perfume products:

Acqua di Parma Marina Quercia, Blu Mediterraneo Quercia Marine
Creed Millesime Imperial, Erolfa, Green Irish Tweed (?)
Alan Cumming for Men
Hermès Eau de Merveilles, Voyage, l'Ambre des Merveilles, Hermessence Vanille Galante, Hermessence Epice Marine, Un Jardin Apres la Mousson
James Heeley Sel Marin, Cuir Pleine Fleur, Cedre Blanc
The Different Company Sel de Vetiver
Annick Goutal Vétiver for Men, Eau de Sud
Christian Dior Eau Sauvage
Rochas Reflets d'Eau Homme
L'Artisan Parfumeur Navegar (?), Batucada, Cote d'Amour
Il Profvmo Pioggia Salata
Nicolai Odalisque
Serge Lutens Arabie, Ambre Sultan, Vetiver Oriental, Bas de Soie, L'Eau Froide
Mona di Orio Eau Absolue
Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee
Marc Jacobs Bang for Men
Le Labo Poivre 23 London
Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt
C.O. Bigelow Sea Salt Mimosa
Demeter Fragrance Salt Air, Kahala Hawaiian Surf, Saltwater Taffy
Les Liquides Imaginaires Saltus
Old Navy Sea Salt & Fig
Shay & Blue London Salt Caramel
Davidoff Cool Water Ocean
The Body Shop Oceanus
Calvin Klein Eternity for Men, Escape for Men, Summer for Men 2010
Issey L'Eau d'Issey for Men
Armani Acqua di Gio
Galimard Cosaque
Kenzo pour Homme
Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu
Claudia Scattolini Marine
Guy Laroche Horizon
Chanel Allure Homme Sport
Nautica Voyage Sport, Oceans
Bvlgari Aqva pour Homme
Hugo Boss Elements Aqua
Burberry The Beat for Men, Brit for Men
Dsquared Ocean Wet Wood
Paco Rabanne Eau
Estée Lauder Beyond Paradise for Men
Bond No 9 Coney Island
Parfumerie Generale PG11 Harmatan Noir, Bois Naufrage, PG27 Limanakia
Carolina Herrera 212 Men
Lanvin l'Homme
Tom Ford Grey Vetiver
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Swimming in Lipari
Profumi del Forte Tirrenico
Guerlain Bois d'Armenie
Penhaligon's Blasted Heath
Franck Boclet Ozone
Acqua di Portofino Notte
Molinard Homme III
Laboratorio Olfattivo Salina
Creative Universe Beth Terry Mare
Outremer 1954 Special Edition - Oceane
L'Erbolario Nostos
Profumum Roma Acqua di Sale
Tommy Bahama St. Kitts for Men, Set Sail St. Barts for Men
Oriflame Flamboyant Prive, Ultimate
Art de Parfum Sea Foam
Hollister Wave for Him
Orlov Paris Sea of Light
Tiziana Terenzi Arethusa
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Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA
(This post was last modified: 12-11-2017, 10:10 PM by churchilllafemme.)
Bay Rum

Bay rum is a distillate that is thought to have been made originally in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and subsequently on other West Indian islands, from rum and the leaves and berries of the West Indian bay tree, Pimenta racemosa.  Other ingredients of the cologne and aftershave products may include citrus and spice oils, most commonly lime oil and clove oil, along with alcohol and water.  According to traditional recipes, the aromatic oils were steeped in alcohol, and then "good rum" (usually Jamaican) and spices were added.  Bay rum has a distinctive woody, sweet, and spicy fragrance.  It can be used year round but is most popular in the summer.

A common misconception is that the scent is based upon rum.  In reality, it is primarily the West Indian bay leaf which gives it the unique scent, along with spices such as clove, cardamom, and cinnamon, with the rum playing a minor role.  Modern bay rum usually does not even contain actual rum due to cosmetic standard regulation, and blended spices and other scents such as vanilla or honey are used to replace the original rum.

According to legend, sailors in the 16th century, who became quite odorous while being stuck on a ship for months at a time without bathing, discovered that the West Indian bay leaf could be rubbed on their skin to apply a patchouli-like scent that could partially mask their body odor.  At about the same time, plantation slaves on the islands had found that molasses, a by-product of their sugar crop, could be fermented secretly into a sweet alcoholic beverage.  When the plantation owners/molasses brewers found out about this, they then developed methods for distilling the beverage, removing impurities and making it many times stronger, thus creating rum.  Other histories suggest that rum was first created on the island of Barbados or even earlier in Brazil.  

Traditionally, islanders had used oil from bay leaves medicinally as a cooling treatment for aching joints and muscles and hot skin.  One story is that they started to mix this oil with distilled rum to make a lotion.  However, alternatively, it is said that sailors came up with the idea of steeping their bay leaves in what had quickly become their favorite drink, rum, to extract the essential oils and make a cologne that was easier to use and more effective for scenting their smelly skin.  Whichever is true, subsequently the islanders built upon this basic recipe, adding their own flourishes with cloves, citrus rinds, and cinnamon.  

From the West Indies the basic bay rum cologne spread to the rest of the world, first in New York and colonial America, then Britain, and then in Europe and elsewhere via the Royal Navy.  In 1838, Danish chemist Albert Heinrich Riise became interested in the concoction and discovered that through a double distillation process and mixing of St. John Bay leaf oils and spices with fine Virgin Island rums, a unique and wonderful fragrance could be created.  His invention was awarded the Centennial International Exposition Medal in 1876 in Philadelphia, as well as other awards.  Riise then sold his bay rum commercially under the name A.H. Riise Apothecary.

The reputation of St. John bay leaf oils continued to grow, and in 1903 the first large commercial bay tree plantation was started at Cinnamon Bay, followed by others at Carolina Estate, Maho Bay, and Lameshur Bay.  By the 1920s, bay rum had become an important Virgin Island export.  In 1921, the national U.S. prohibition of alcohol stopped the legal importation of bay rum.  But by adding aspirin to it, manufacturers such as Rexall were able to skirt prohibition, and word spread that drinking their somewhat toxic bay rum, which was 58% grain alcohol, not only made one feel good but also relieved aches and pains.  Bay rum's popularity decreased somewhat during World War II, when cargo space on ships was reserved mainly for war efforts, but interest was renewed by the postwar fascination with island exotica, exemplified by the huge popularity of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "South Pacific."  Bay rum's cosmetic use has grown again in recent years with the renaissance of traditional wet shaving.

Proprietary bay rum lotions are produced by labs in several West Indian countries, as well as by American and European fragrance companies that purchase the essential oil from island sources.  These days, alcohol is still used to extract the complex bay leaf oils, but these are then distilled further under pressure into an essential oil.  The specific gravity of the oil is tested by hydrometer, but purity is also gauged on clarity and smell by experts.  A few distilleries use stainless steel vats, but most still use copper.  This imparts a sediment to the oil, which must be allowed to settle and clear before the oil can be used.  

One well-known modern example of a bay rum is Penhaligon's Bayolea, created by William Penhaligon by mixing the the basic bay rum formula, scented with lemon, lemongrass, vetiver, and spices, with glycerine, quinine tincture, and honey water.  Taylor of Old Bond Street and G.F. Trumper have offered bay rums for over a hundred years, and St. John's Bay Rum and Royal Lyme Limited Bay Rum also have long traditions, while in just the past few years artisan producers of aftershaves have created an explosion of niche bay rum choices.  However, overall commercial sales of bay rum oil have declined somewhat because of the increasing trend toward fragrance-free soaps and other cosmetic products.

The original bay rum by A.H. Riise of St. Thomas continues to be produced in the U.S. Virgin Islands by the West Indies Bay Company.  With its unique climate and exceptionally rich soil, the island of St. John has provided an ideal place for bay trees to thrive, and St. John bay leaf oils have maintained a worldwide reputation of being distinctive and superior.  The West Indian bay tree, Pimenta racemosa, is a sturdy evergreen shrub or tree of the Myrtle family.  When allowed to grow free, the tree can reach 80 feet in height, but when used for oil production it is kept at about 12 feet tall to allow easy harvesting.
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Leaves are typically a shiny blue green and are strongly scented when crushed, and the flowers, bark, and berries are also fragrant.  There are three varieties of bay leaves: common, anise scented, and citronella scented, which can be distinguished easily by smelling their crushed leaves.  All can be used to produced fragrant oils, but nearly exclusive use is made of the common bay for commercial bay rum production.  Myrtle was considered sacred by the ancient Greeks and was used in their festivals, and myrtle varieties have been used for centuries in perfumery.  The local West Indian patois name for the bay tree is "bwa den," derived from the French "bois d'Inde" (tree from India), reflecting its original Asian origin before introduction to the Western Hemisphere.  

A close relative of the bay tree is the pimento tree, whose seeds are known as "allspice."  The bay laurel, source of the "bay leaves" used commonly in cooking, is from a completely unrelated species, Laurus nobilis.  Bay laurel can be used to produce a similar fragrant lotion but is not commonly used in that way.
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John, thank you for the treatise on Bay Rum - a venerable scent if ever there was one! I find my love of the bay scent and of bay rums generally to be somewhat inexplicable. Its mysterious and, in my opinion, hands down the most masculine scent in the shaving repertoire.


Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA
(12-12-2017, 03:46 PM)Marko Wrote: John, thank you for the treatise on Bay Rum - a venerable scent if ever there was one! I find my love of the bay scent and of bay rums generally to be somewhat inexplicable. Its mysterious and, in my opinion, hands down the most masculine scent in the shaving repertoire.


Thanks for the note, Mark. I have mixed feelings about Bay Rum, which vary somewhat from use to use. Clearly it is one of the original masculine "barbershop" scents.
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