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The Elegant Scent of the Mediterranean: Myrtle
Myrtle, a small shrub with a rich history, dates back to ancient times when it was dedicated to the goddesses of love, Aphrodite and Venus. Along with the olive tree and laurel, myrtle was used in the wreaths worn by newlyweds to bring good luck and in the crowns awarded to great champions. This wedding tradition still persists today in some Mediterranean countries.
Since the Middle Ages, myrtle has been used to produce exquisite floral water and the renowned Angel Water through the distillation of its flowers and leaves. It's no surprise that myrtle has inspired perfumers, who have incorporated it into chypre scents for men.
Fun Fact: Myrtle is a symbol of love and immortality in many cultures, and it was often planted near graves in ancient Greece as a tribute to the deceased.
Myrtle Essential Oil in Men's Chypre and Oriental Perfumes
The aromatic and fragrant myrtle holds an undisputed reign in masculine aromatic fragrances. Utilized in aromatic chypre perfumes, myrtle's unique resinous and honeyed scent can be found in top notes or heart notes.
In 1981, Chanel's Antaeus offered a chypre fragrance that built upon Coty's traditional formula, adding the strength of aromatic accords of sage and myrtle in top notes and a touch of animal notes to enhance its powerful trail. In 1985, La Nuit by Paco Rabanne also featured a chypre fragrance with aromatic top notes of myrtle, bergamot, and mugwort, exuding green and fruity notes that were quite original for men's fragrances at the time! It seems that myrtle played a significant role in the revival of chypre perfumes in the 1980s. A few years later, myrtle even became a heart note in the leather-accented chypre, Boss Spirit by Hugo Boss.
Myrtle's scent also evokes the delicate aromas of the Mediterranean coast, where it still grows today. As such, it's an ideal raw material for woody citrus fragrances that capture the essence of the southern region. Examples include Acqua d'estate essenza by Ermenegildo Zegna, Blu Mediterraneo 'Mirto' by Acqua di Parma, and Costa Azzurra by Tom Ford.
In the oriental family, myrtle is often used as a lovely top note to enhance spicy and exotic notes while providing a gentle yet assertive opening. Notable examples include Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens and Ambre Précieux by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier.
Fun Fact: Myrtle berries are used to produce Mirto, a popular traditional Sardinian liqueur, enjoyed as a digestif.
Myrtle is undoubtedly a sought-after raw material in men's perfumes, offering aromatic, fresh, and zesty notes, as well as sweeter and floral ones. While some fragrances are unisex, such as L'Eau Trois by Diptyque or Vintage Gardenia by Jo Malone, there are few myrtle-based perfumes designed exclusively for women. However, there are some noteworthy exceptions: Caron dared to incorporate myrtle as a base note in a floral fragrance called Alpona in 1939, and Maître Parfumeur et Gantier launched White Garden in 1989.
Ladies, if you're curious about the delightful scent of myrtle, why not borrow your partner's perfume and experience it for yourself? You might be surprised by how much you enjoy this Mediterranean gem in your fragrance collection.
Fun Fact: The essential oil extracted from myrtle leaves has numerous therapeutic properties, such as being antimicrobial, astringent, and anti-inflammatory, and is used in various skincare and aromatherapy products.
In conclusion, myrtle's captivating scent and rich history make it a fascinating and versatile ingredient in the world of perfumery. Its timeless appeal and evocative Mediterranean essence add a unique charm to both men's and women's fragrances. The aromatic and multifaceted nature of myrtle allows it to blend harmoniously with various olfactory families, creating memorable and distinctive scents that stand the test of time.