With notes of sparkling citrus, jasmine, cinnamon, clove and coconut, to name a few, spicy fragrances provide a unique fragrant fiery impression. Our team provides a master perfumers guide to this cherished niche and provides 6 of our most recently-designed spicy compositions.
The dictionary defines a spice as “a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring, or preserving food.”
Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or a garnish.
Many spices have varied antioxidant, anti-inflammatory bacterial, and antiviral properties and are integral to the creation of unforgettable perfume formulations.
Spices have a rich and colorful past, dating back to the ancient trade routes when they were valuable commodities bought and sold in many of the world’s ports of call.
They were a major impetus for the Age of Discovery when explorers sought new and quicker routes to satisfy the high demand for spices throughout Europe during the Middle Ages.
Spices wended their fragrant way as vital ingredients into many diverse cuisines, and in perfumes served as theme enhancers.
They added an unexpected tinge of the exotic to warm, amber-based fragrances, once referred to as Oriental fragrances, and a dash of freshness to florals.
Spice and Perfume In The Ancient World
The first recorded use of spices in food, medicine and cosmetics dates back to around 9000 BC in the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia in a region that extended from Judea to the Nile Valley In Egypt.
Initially used in combination with herbs as food preservatives, spices were also found to heal wounds and cure common ailments.
Down through time, usage expanded from cuisine and medicine to perfume that centuries later would be developed by master perfumers the world over.
The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt used spices in their incense, and records indicate that they bathed in a Royal Perfume, which contained facets of warm, inviting cinnamon, soft, intimate and earthy saffron, hot piquant clove and slightly sugary, spicy nutmeg.
Wealthy Romans bathed in perfume as well, most of which was developed from local fruits and spices that included; woodsy sharp, rosemary, warm inviting cinnamon and comforting, aromatic myrrh.
Both men and women in ancient Greece used perfume made from spices like dense, warm and pungent cumin and earthy, nutty sage, which were integral to their traditional rituals and ceremonies.
The Use Of Spicy Fragrances In Modern Perfumes
Users of perfume in the ancient world were unaware that the choice and use of a scent is a highly subjective affair.
There were few to choose from and their formulation was specific with little if any variation.
While everything in life may be considered subjective to a certain degree, how a person smells is intangible and totally dependent on individual body chemistry, preferences and specific olfactory memories.
Today, spicy fragrances include: head notes that contain facets of sparkling citrus, intense jasmine and sweet, fruity and creamy butter. Heart notes often feature warm, inviting cinnamon, hot, piquant clove and fiery, floral carnation.
Dry downs are usually marked by aspects of lush, elegant vanilla and exotic, milky coconut.
Today’s Definition of The Smell of Spicy
Spices tickle our nostrils with their far away, just out of reach elusive character that can be soft, warm, erotic, mysterious, exotic or tropical.
Part of the nature of the spicy fragrance profile is its complexity and purity, which greatly enhances floral and other facets.
Our master perfumers at Alpha Aromatics refer to two distinct type of spices: namely, warm and cold.
The warm varieties include: smooth, comforting cinnamon, bittersweet, intimate saffron and sharp chili pepper.
The cold ones refer to rich, bright ginger, fresh coriander and sugary, resinous cardamom.
In addition, there are also five spicy types within those broader categories. They are: bold, transparent, fresh, handsome and soft. More on each follows below.
This sector is dominated mostly by cardamom, which is smoky, sensual, and floral.
It is a unique perfume facet because unlike all others, it is the only one that can be and is often used in Eau de Colognes that fall within all the families indicated on the famous Fragrance Wheel.
Cardamom is a mainstay for the master perfumers because it fuses so deftly with other facets such as: succulent orange; clean, fresh lemon; invigorating grapefruit; spicy, complex, pleasingly bitter and tart bergamot; ambrosial, mysterious and formal pettigrain and light, floral and bitter neroli.
It also blends well with floral elements such as:dreamy, romantic rose; clean, dry cedar, minty, honeyed eucalyptus; sharp, aromatic rosemary, enticing, warm cinnamon, sweet, hot, and spicy clove and erotic, jasmine-nuanced ylang ylang.
While perfumes are often dense, they can also be imbued with delightful elements that are light and transparent.
While the true definition of transparent when referring to spices may be subjective and elusive, at the very least they they should be airy in character and sometimes barely discernible.
Bright, sweet and spicy with woody, peppery nuances, coriander fits nicely in this category.
Spices can be fresh and feathery, and they combine seamlessly with citrus, floral and woody facets.
This type is usually found in the head notes, and they are associated with the masculine fragrances of today.
They include: pink pepper; grapefruit-tinged Timut pepper; playful ginger and woody, sweet and crisp juniper berries.
Earthy, woody, leathery and smoky facets like:buttery sandalwood, earthy patchouli, and woody, fruity rosewood are strong scents commonly associated with masculinity.
Soft pungent leather and smoky, fruity and musky oudh, are known to create warmth and increase feeling soft well being, which in tandem can increase a woman’s desire for an intimate encounter.
This category of spicy relates to those facets found in more subtle, not in-your-face fragrances.
They include: softly intimate, bittersweet saffron; chocolatey, intensely bitter cacao, warm, earthy and spicy curcuma, green, fresh oregano, potent, leathery thyme and powdery fennel.
For Alpha Aromatics, the formerly Oriental and now Ambery family of fragrances is generally composed of exotic, coconut-like and creamy tonka bean, lush, elegant vanilla, sugary, intense and almond-like vanillin, sweet, creamy and nutty coumarin, rich, complex and leathery labdanum and sensual patchouli.
Some Favored Spicy Fragrances Created By Alpha Aromatics
Top notes burst with facets of invigorating citrus that soon gracefully meld into a piquant heart note of sugary, resinous cardamon, spicy, biting pepper and sharp, balsamic vetiver. A dry down of lush, elegant vanilla, warm, rich amber, almondy, clove-nuanced tonka bean and buttery sandalwood complete this intriguing fragrance.
Black Coconut Verbena
Head notes stream with facets of clean, fresh and sharp lemon-lime, dewy melon and aromatic acidic citron.
These aspects soon drift seamlessly into a floral /spicy heart of soft, feminine lily-of-the-valley, spicy ginger, milky, exotic coconut and green, musty cyclamen.
The scent completes with a warm, woody dry down featuring elements of rich, warm amber and sensual, woody and aromatic white musk.
Black Currant Tobacco
A flowing surge of bitter, mildly spicy and refreshing bergamot, tangy, woody-nuanced raspberry and fruity black currant form the top notes of this heady, masculine fragrance.
These elements soon fade into a floral spicy heart note bouquet marked by intense, haunting jasmine and spicy, hot clove.
Base notes marked by facets of woody, slightly mossy tobacco leaf, creamy sandalwood, dark, erotic patchouli, earthy musk and lush, noble vanilla complete this unforgettable scent.
Black Gardenia and Violet
Head notes stream with citrus facets of clean, fresh lemon and lush, succulent orange.
These opening facets soon fade into a floral heart note featuring aspect of creamy, glorious gardenia, woody, powdery violet, haunting, narcotic jasmine, dreamy, musky rose and bright, spicy and tropical lily.
A woody dry down of piquant clove and dry, warm cedar wood complete this fragrance.
A fragrance that whispers of the endless majesty of the sea, head notes of luscious orange, dewy melon, complex, spicy and pleasing bergamot and marine-inspired ocean breezes open this exhilarating formulation.
These facets soon drift seamlessly into a floral heart note bouquet featuring sensual, rich and spicy ginger, potent, rosy peony, powdery, sugary violet and fresh, ozonic sea moss.
The scent finishes with a dry down of creamy, smooth sandalwood, dark warm and honeyed amber and erotic musk.
Uplifting grapefruit, luscious orange and aquatic facets stream through the head notes of this energizing fragrance.
These elements soon fade into a spicy heart note marked by aspects of rich, spicy and warm ginger and hot, spicy clove.
Base notes of dark, warm amber, woody, bold and complex teakwood, sensual, passionate musk and leathery, somewhat sweet tobacco complete this robust scent.
Energize Your Product Line With Some Spicy Fragrances!
The smell of spicy, along with a multitude of others, is developed every day in the cutting edge laboratories of our 85,000 square-foot facility, which is situated in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Our labs are equipped with the best tools in the realm of industrial science that money can buy.
With fragrant roots stretching as far back to the 1940s, we are a family-run business that is there to help commercial enterprises develop one-of-a-kind fragrances for personal care product lines, diffusers, fragrances for home, odor neutralizers, industrial air fresheners, private label brands, household cleaning products and superior custom-made perfumes.
If you’re looking to spice up your product or product line, contact our team today!
Photo Credits: Pixabay and Alpha Aromatics