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Today, fennel is primarily utilized in the culinary world. However, its potent aniseed scent has also captivated select perfumers seeking original and natural raw materials to create unique olfactory experiences. Consequently, fennel notes in perfumery are rare, but they contribute to original and inventive fragrances.
Fennel: A Unique Vegetable with Rich Legends
Belonging to the same family as carrots, the Umbelliferae, fennel is native to Mediterranean climates where it is still cultivated today. Its distinctive flavor and aroma make fennel a versatile vegetable, valued for its taste, fragrance, and numerous benefits.
In Asia and Egypt, fennel was employed for treating ophthalmic issues, while in Greece, it was popular among athletes. For the Druids, fennel held a sacred status and was used in purification rituals. Furthermore, it has been attributed with aphrodisiac properties for centuries.
With the advent of distillation for producing essential oils, fennel seeds were utilized to make an essence with detoxifying and diuretic properties. This fennel essence is also employed in the creation of fragrances with a delightful aniseed flavor, predominantly aimed at a male audience.
Fennel Essence in Men's Fragrances
Some olfactory notes, such as fennel, are rarely found in perfumes but create a remarkable and memorable impact, resulting in powerful and unique scents.
In 1978, Azzaro introduced fennel as a top note in Azzaro pour Homme, catering to a male audience seeking an alternative to traditional fragrances. Combining fennel and anise with basil and lavender, Azzaro delivered a surprising yet classic aromatic fern scent. The fennel note made its debut in a fragrance that remains a classic to this day!
A decade later, the fennel note reemerged in a distinctly different fragrance—a feminine woody oriental. L'Artisan Parfumeur's Patchouli Patch featured fennel as a top note, paired with patchouli and white musk. This powerful and original combination intertwined floral and fruity notes with woody and animalistic elements, resulting in a rare and modern fragrance.
Lastly, Marc Jacobs' Bang Bang, another woody oriental scent, utilized fennel notes in conjunction with spices, lemon, and mint. The perfume delivers a sweet explosion, mirroring its name, and offers both sweetness and sensuality.
Although rare and sparingly used in perfumery, fennel notes boast a unique presence in exceptional and original fragrances, providing entirely new head or heart notes with an aniseed twist.