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While the note of cascarille is rare, it makes a fascinating appearance in several unique perfumes, often serving as the signature of oriental or chypre fragrances. One such example is the mesmerizing Black Magic by Lancôme.
Cascarille or Croton Eluteria: A Tropical Shrub with Enchanting Scents
Cascarilla, a small shrub native to the West Indies and Bahamas, is adorned with brownish-red bark. Though not well-known, it is widespread in South American countries like Mexico, Colombia, and Panama. The shrub's distinctive orange bark is used to produce its essence or essential oil, which is prized for its gastric, expectorant, and respiratory properties in herbal medicine.
Fun Fact: Cascarilla has been used in traditional Caribbean and Latin American cultures for various purposes, including protection against evil spirits, and as an ingredient in Afro-Caribbean spiritual practices like Santería and Palo Mayombe.
However, cascarilla's essence should be used with caution, as it can cause discomfort or dizziness. Lancôme's perfumers were undeterred by these risks when they incorporated it into their captivating and original perfume, Black Magic.
The Enchanting Note of Cascarille in Perfumes
Here are a few perfumes that prominently feature cascarille in their composition:
- Diptyque Eau Lente: This fragrance features a woody and spicy cascarille note, which is blended with other warm and earthy notes like cinnamon, cumin, and black pepper. The result is a complex and sophisticated scent that is perfect for cooler weather.
- D.S. & Durga Burning Barbershop: This fragrance features a smoky and woody cascarille note, which is complemented by notes of lavender, vanilla, and leather. The result is a unique and intriguing scent that is perfect for those who like to stand out from the crowd.
- Le Labo Baie 19: This perfume features a bitter and woody cascarille note, which is blended with other green and earthy notes like juniper, fig, and oakmoss. The result is a fresh and invigorating scent that is perfect for summer.
- Arquiste Anima Dulcis: This fragrance features a bitter and spicy cascarille note, which is blended with other warm and sweet notes like chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon. The result is a rich and indulgent scent that is perfect for special occasions.
- Comme des Garçons Blue Encens: This fragrance features a woody and smoky cascarille note, which is blended with other resinous and incense-like notes like black pepper, juniper, and cardamom. The result is a deep and mysterious scent that is perfect for cooler weather.
Cascarille's peppery and woody scents bring an enchanting touch to numerous fragrances. However, it's difficult to classify cascarille within a specific olfactory family, as it often appears in unclassifiable and surprising compositions.
Lancôme's Black Magic, released in 1978, is a prime example of a scent that defies categorization while showcasing cascarille as a base note. This oriental and floral, fruity concoction blends notes of blackcurrant and spicy bergamot with tender jasmine flowers and animalistic notes combined with cascarille.