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Kumquat: The Tiny, Refreshing Citrus Fruit from Asia
The citrus family is among the oldest olfactory groups in perfumery, prompting perfumers to continuously seek novel raw materials that can add a touch of whimsy to this well-established family. The kumquat (also known as fortunella), a small citrus fruit native to Asia, is a potential candidate for those seeking a unique twist on classic citrus scents. This miniature tangerine grows on shrubs commonly found in various regions, including France. Kumquat's skin and fruit are consumed for their sweet and fragrant qualities, while the essential oil derived from the plant is particularly aromatic.
Kumquat, or fortunella, comes in several varieties and has been hybridized with other citrus fruits, resulting in combinations like orangequat (orange and kumquat) and limonquat (lemon and kumquat). The versatile golden fruit, as its name suggests, has a multitude of olfactory aspects worth exploring.
Exploring New Raw Materials in Citrus Fragrances: Kumquat
Alongside timeless citrus fruits like orange, lemon, bergamot, and grapefruit, newcomers such as mandarin, yuzu, and kumquat are emerging in the top notes of modern fragrances. These exotic scents, with their distinct Asian influences, are captivating consumers and adding depth to the citrus family.
Citrus fragrances remain popular for both men and women, especially during the summer months. However, to keep up with changing tastes, perfumers must innovate and evolve, particularly given the volatile nature of citrus scents. Kumquat offers a fresh approach to citrus fragrances, providing soft, sweet, and unique head notes.
Today, kumquat is found in various citrus subfamilies, such as floral chypre citrus, aromatic citrus, woody citrus, and spicy citrus. A notable example is Marc Jacobs' Splash - Kumquat, created in 2012, which features citrus, aromatic, and floral tones.
Notably, kumquat is not limited to the citrus family. In 2004, the oriental-woody fragrance "Boss Intense Shimmer" introduced top notes of ozone, spices, and kumquat, showcasing the fruit's versatility. Hugo Boss's innovative blend paved the way for future kumquat-centric fragrances. A decade later, kumquat appeared in the top note of Salvatore Dali's floral-fruity Dalia alongside red fruits. This demonstrates the fruit's adaptability and its potential for creating surprising fruity and acidic accords in various perfumes.
Fun Facts About Kumquat
- Kumquats are among the hardiest citrus plants, able to withstand temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C).
- Unlike other citrus fruits, the entire kumquat fruit, including the skin, is edible, with the skin providing a sweet flavor and the pulp offering a tart contrast.
- Kumquats are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber, making them a nutritious and flavorful addition to various dishes and beverages.
- While kumquats are native to Asia, they were first introduced to Europe in the 19th century and later to the United States, where they are now grown in states like California and Florida.