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The Origins of Buchu
Buchu (or bucco) is a small shrub belonging to the heather family, predominantly found on the rocky plains of the Cape Massif in South Africa. Sharing the same botanical family as the lemon, orange, and sour orange trees, buchu is uniquely adapted to harsh climatic conditions due to its roots, which cling tenaciously to rocks. The scents emitted by buchu are a divine blend of blackcurrant buds and minty freshness. The small pockets beneath the leaves make it an ideal candidate for essential oil production, valued for both its medicinal and olfactory properties. Women from the African Hottentot tribe, some 400 years ago, were the first to use buchu to coat their bodies with its sweet and fresh fragrance, making them feel invigorated and refreshed throughout the day.
Buchu as an Innovative Ingredient in Men's Perfumery
Recent men's fragrances have been experimenting with green and minty freshness to create original yet classic scents. Perfumers today face the challenge of offering novel masculine fragrances that maintain traditional olfactory families while incorporating new raw materials to create unique scent combinations.
For instance, one example of a fragrance that successfully utilized buchu is Lacoste's L.12.12 Blanc, which features buchu in its heart notes, combined with tuberose and ylang-ylang, offering a refreshing and invigorating scent reminiscent of a sunny day on the tennis court.
Buchu, with its essential oil extracted from shiny spots barely concealed by its leaves, produces herbaceous, minty, and sulfuric scents. This makes it relatively easy to incorporate buchu notes into popular woody or citrus olfactory families. Calvin Klein's renowned CK Free, launched in 2009, presents a bold mix of spicy top notes combined with middle notes of coffee, tobacco, and animal notes. Buchu and jackfruit contribute a delicately fruity note to the base, which is predominantly woody. This perfume aims to provide men with a relaxed and chic allure, offering an aromatic, woody, and fruity blend that liberates the senses and the spirit.
With its fresh and minty properties, buchu seems destined to become a key component in invigorating and refreshing men's fragrances that are currently popular among major brands. However, the striking similarity between buchu and blackcurrant bud notes could open the doors for this African raw material to be incorporated into feminine perfumery, which often craves fruity and sweet scents. Although progress is gradual, Tom Ford's aromatic citrus-infused Azure Lime introduces a more glamorous and luxurious facet of buchu in perfumery. This innovative fragrance has garnered attention and praise from industry insiders and customers alike, signifying a promising future for buchu in the world of perfumery.