Scent Note: What does coriander smell like?

Coriander in perfumery

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Coriander Through the Ages

This small aromatic umbelliferous herb originates from the eastern Mediterranean. The Romans and Greeks utilized coriander to preserve meat. Interestingly, coriander was even found in the tomb of the famous Egyptian Tutankhamun, indicating its long-standing presence throughout history. However, not everyone appreciated its use in cooking or pharmacopoeia, as its scent reminded some of the bedbug, which, in ancient Greek, is "koris," potentially giving coriander its name. Nonetheless, coriander leaves and seeds have been used for centuries in various oriental culinary traditions. Today, 40% of coriander seed production is reportedly used in the preparation of Indian or Indonesian curries. As for the leaves, they are predominantly used in traditional Moroccan or Algerian dishes. It's only natural that the perfume industry took an interest in this versatile plant, which has become the foundation for creating numerous scents.

Coriander in Men's Fragrances

Coriander belongs to the aromatic notes family in the realm of men's perfume. Men particularly appreciate the fresh and lively notes it provides as a top note. Consequently, coriander often appears in many sporty or masculine fragrances. Woods or masculine ferns combine easily with aromatic coriander notes to provide fresh, invigorating scents, such as certain fragrances from Thierry Mugler's A * Men range. With the recent popularity of the olfactory family of aromatics among men, many perfumers have developed coriander in citrus aromatic accords or even aquatic aromatics like Chrome by Azzaro.

When discussing coriander seed, the scents lean more towards spicy, making them easily adaptable to masculine oriental fragrances. Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford is the perfect example of this new range that combines the currently popular oud wood with coriander seed to accentuate leather and animal fragrances.

It seems that men have undoubtedly embraced coriander in their preferred perfumes. However, it's worth noting that coriander's aromatic notes also have a place in feminine fragrances, though they are generally used differently. Aromatic chypres or feminine floral chypres like to use coriander to add a fresh and tangy top note, as found in L'Eau d'Hermès. On the other hand, feminine Orientals blend coriander leaves and seeds to create intoxicating and spicy scents, such as the iconic Coco by Chanel.

Fun Facts About Coriander

  1. Coriander seeds have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, dating back over 3,000 years.
  2. Coriander is one of the oldest herbs known to mankind, with records of its use dating back to 5,000 BC.
  3. It is mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible and was used by ancient Romans and Greeks for medicinal purposes.
  4. Coriander is a versatile herb, with both its leaves (cilantro) and seeds used for culinary purposes, while its essential oil is used in perfumery.
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