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Basil: A Rich History and Versatile Aroma
The Egyptians, who were passionate about botany and fond of aromatic plants, imported basil from India for its medicinal, culinary, and olfactory properties. By the 2nd century, the Romans had discovered numerous uses for basil. However, during the Middle Ages, basil was associated with witchcraft. In some regions of Africa, the herb is still believed to ward off bad luck. In India, it is revered with a mystical cult, as pots of basil placed at the windows of Vishnuite belief centers are believed to bring good luck. In France, basil is more commonly appreciated for its culinary applications in Mediterranean recipes rather than its mystical powers. Its unique, fresh, and anise-flavored scent has made basil essential oil highly sought after by perfumers searching for potent fragrances.
Basil: An Essential Ingredient for Masculine Aromatic Notes
Aromatic notes have been favored in men's fragrances for decades. These scents offer men familiar fragrances while being enhanced with various other aromas. Basil, long a staple of gardens, is incorporated into numerous masculine accords, lending its aniseed fragrance to fern, woody, citrus, and aquatic notes.
Since the 1960s, starting with the iconic Eau Sauvage by Dior, basil has provided an alternative to the classic lavender, opening fragrances with energetic tones that evolve towards chypre-woody and daring yet comforting citrus notes. In 1964, the Brut Original aftershave showcased basil combined with powerful fern accords, setting a new standard for men's fragrances.
With the rise of natural raw materials in perfumery in the 1990s, basil and other aromatic plants became increasingly popular in masculine scents, resulting in both classic and daring accords. Some perfumers, like Jo Malone, have even combined basil with fruity and gourmet notes to create unique and surprising fragrances for men.
While basil has traditionally been a masculine olfactory ingredient, it would be a mistake to overlook its potential in feminine fragrances. Ô de Lancôme, released three years after Eau Sauvage, offers a powerful green juice made from basil while remaining fresh and floral. This successful perfume appeals to both floral and daring women. Years later, Acqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic by Guerlain revisited citrus-aromatic accords, presenting a fragrance with a fresh and powerful duality. Basil's fragrant powers will undoubtedly continue to captivate and enchant both men and women for years to come.