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Rustica, Spice and Everything Nice...

Fall is blowing in, and so are warm wafts of baked apple pie, cinnamon, musty leaves and smoke. Experience autumn from the perfumers perspective with this months fragrance: Rustica, a deliciously warm and spicy tobacco inspired perfume.

Rustling Leaves....

Autumn is a season of colors and spice. The changing of the leaves from the bright dewy green of summer, to warm reds, yellows and browns is delightful to behold, especially in New Hampshire. The sound of the dry rustling leaves as the wind starts to blow is always so soothing, and requires that I have a hot cup of spiced something at all times. I wanted to make a perfume that captures the alluring sounds, colors and scents of autumn, without smelling like a holiday candle. Instead of thinking of the classic pumpkin spice, caramel apple and bright holiday décor, I pictured a large dried tobacco field in the golden light of the afternoon.

Tobacco in Perfumery...

As a note in perfumery, tobacco is often used to describe a sweet musty apple character, often surrounded by warm spices, nut, and leather materials. Imagine the skin of an apple peeled onto an old leaf pile, add a little sweet clove bud and some vanilla, and you've got tobacco.

The dried leaves of the tobacco plant are likely to come across as simply earthy and leafy to the average person, but flavor materials, such as ethyl vanillin, menthol, and clove bud have been added to tobacco products for years. For this reason, you might associate tobacco with some delicious dessert notes along with the characteristic leaf quality. There are several varieties of tobacco including Nicotiana Rustica, the name inspiration for this months perfume. This variety of tobacco is also known as Aztec Tobacco or Strong Tobacco due to it's origin and especially high nicotine content. With 9% nicotine content in its leaves, Noctiana Rustica can knock your socks off, like this months perfume!

Clary Sage is not Common Sage...

This months featured raw material is Clary Sage. Clary sage is not the same as Common sage, which you would taste in some delicious breakfast sausages. Where common sage is more sweet and even a bit ganja, Clary Sage has much more green tea and dry spice character.

There are many uses for clary sage in perfumery. I've found that it is lovely in a fresh aquatic, or clean laundry scent where it adds depth to the desired brine impression, or it can be sweet in a more herbal fougere context. In Rustica, this essential oil supports the leafy tobacco impression with it's golden hay-like quality, giving the perfume a more realistic earthy feel.

Clary sage has also been a useful source of sclareol, which is used in the production of one of perfumery's most popular materials: Ambroxan. Oddly, sclareol is a high constituent of clary sage, but has no odor and mostly functions a fixative (makes the perfume last longer). These days sclareol can be obtained via yeast fermentation.

Rustica Notes

Notes: Musty Apple, Tobacco, Chia Spice, Musk, Vanilla

Rustica opens with a waft of musty apple and sweet spice. The whole fragrance is underlined by an earthy tobacco note. The warm plummy hay notes of tobacco push the perfume in an elegant unisex direction and bring out the golden shades of the perfume. The dry down of Rustica is a gentle smooth vanilla and musk with hints a golden fruit.

Compare the (+) and (-)

When comparing the two perfumes, you might notice a slight difference in the leafy quality. In the (+) perfume, clary sage should lend a realistic golden filter to the tobacco leaf accord. This essential oil adds an opacity to the perfume and underlines the fussy texture of ambroxan and ambers in the formula. The (-) minus perfume might seem more sweet, spicy and cartoon like in the apple accord.

So now that you have trained your nose to identify clary sage and its effect(s) in perfumery, what do you think? Do you perceive it as leafy hay? Do you prefer the (+) or (-) perfume?

Feel free to share any questions or comments you have! I would love to hear your thoughts! As always, thank you for subscribing. I work very hard to make this subscription as fun, engaging, and educational as possible, but I am always seeking suggestions for improvement.

If you like what this perfume has to offer, I do suggest sniffing the perfumes listed below:

  • Hermessence Ambre Narguile Hermès

  • Tobacco Vanille Tom Ford

  • Musc Ravageur Frederic Malle

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