Raw Materials Christmas Scents: Part II, Cinnamon

Christmas Scents: Part II, Cinnamon

11/27/15 16:07:08 (28 comments)

by: Juliett Ptoyan

 

We're continuing the discussion about scents of Christmas and New Year! The first article from this series was about spruce (how about other conifers? Let's talk about them in the near future...), and today I'd like to examine maybe the most wintery of all ingredients.

Read Juliett's previous article about spruce HERE.

 
What do you think about when hearing the word "cinnamon"? I suppose, the first assotiations are heavenly-scented, brown, woody sticks; or devilish buns from Cinnabon (oh, 1,200 kcal per bun? What a pity!); or homemade mulled wine and Xmas cookies? Cinnabar by Estee Lauder? Theorema by Fendi? Alambar by Laboratorio Olfattivo?
 
Preparing cinnamon for sale is a very long process: after 2 years from planting, farmers have to cut off the stalk (which gives birth to new stems). A year after that, (and then regularly) young branches are cut, peeled of their leaves, and producers clean them from the top layer of the cortex. The inner layer is usually divided into strips and left to dry - after this, cinnamon sticks can be bought at any market in just about any country.
 
Left: cassia sticks (Cinnamómum aromáticum), growing in China and Indonesia.
Right: Ceylon cinnamon sticks (Cinnamomum verum) from the island of Sri Lanka.
 
By the way, it is easy to be deceived in the stores and to buy cassia sticks, which is also called Chinese (or Indonesian) cinnamon. It has a similarly pleasant scent (slightly more pungent and less intense), looks great, but may not be twisted at the sides - but there's almost nothing in common between cassia and cinnamon. The easiest way to identify a product is by appearance: true (Ceylon) cinnamon has a light color, fine (up to 1 mm) bark and may not look as good as cassia (but we aren't going to photograph it, are we?). On the market you can also meet Malabar cinnamon (less fragrant and with thick bark, about 3 mm). At home, you can easily grind only the Ceylon sort; the rest are too hard.
 
The essential oil of cinnamon is usually distilled with steam or by CO2 extraction, and the process is not so simple: after contact with the air, cinnamal (cinnamon's principal odorant, in 50 up to 75%) may oxidize and convert into cinnamic acid. Quality oil smells soft, spicy, sweet and not too loud; 1 kg of cinnamon bark turns out 5-10 ml of oil.
 
 
The smell of cinnamon is noticeable in many modern and vintage fragrances, and its scent varies depending on the arrangements; this spice is rarely served as a "main course."
 
Thus, in Eau Lente by Diptyque it's burning, peppered and very rapid - sillage melts instantly and leaves the smell close to the skin; in Dolce Vita - soft, almost transparent and warm, as the air in the last days of summer; in Opium and Youth Dew it seems mature, surprisingly juicy, as if soaked in a liqueur. A hint of cinnamon - a beautiful, confectionery, caramel cinnamon - we can find in Lann-Ael by Lostmarch and Morphine by X-Ray (here it merges with honey).
 
This note is highly appreciated in home scents and body care products: check it in festive collections from Yankee Candles, L'Occitane (warm Cannelle Epices could be found in the boutiques of the brand), Bath & Body Works, Ikea; wonderful gourmand fragrances you may find at Lampe Berger's counters.
 
 
However, cinnamon is not as simple as it seems: cinnamal came under restrictions of IFRA and perfumers cannot use it more than 0.05% on compound; this is due to this ability to increase the skin's sensitivity to light. The use of cinnamon oil at home is also the quest: it must be diluted in a large (really large) amount of the base oil, otherwise you may get burned - nothing terrible, of course, but nothing pleasant too.
 
 
What do you think about the smell of cinnamon? What do you associate it with? DO you have favourite fragrances with this note?
 
Wishing you a fragrant weekend!
 
 
 

Juliett Ptoyan is a perfume journalist who collaborates with several glossy magazines, organizes perfume workshops and regularly writes for her own blog, bouquetjuliett.ru.

 

 



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polka
polka

I prefer dry, refined cinnamon scents over the sweet ones. Cinnabar is hell of a cinnamon perfume.

Dec
22
2015
maryjett
maryjett

Since Givenchy Organza Indecence is hard to find and expensive I am now pleased with Annayake Tsukimi and Pierre Balmain Ambre Gris. Ambre Gris is a bit too sweet and Tsukimi not enough! Any way, I am planning to try CD Dolce Vita and SL Feminite du Bois soon.

Dec
14
2015
Yasir Shahbaz
Yasir Shahbaz

I like entebaa. Sweet Cinnamon.

Dec
11
2015
reinevp
reinevp

One of my all-time favorite perfume loves, Guerlain Gourmand Coquin, has a lot of cozy cinnamon to my nose. I always wear it on Christmas day.

Dec
11
2015
Charliexxx
Charliexxx

Nice article! Cinnamon reminds me of cosiness winter evenings. My favorite cinnamon fragrance is L de Lolita Lempicka.

Dec
04
2015
Desertmirage93
Desertmirage93

Great article! Joop! Pour Homme... a beautiful and spicy Cinnamon accord from open to close.

Dec
03
2015
angelfishie
angelfishie

I was on a cinnamon kick not long ago and ordered samples of Demeter's Cinnamon Bun, Demeter's Apple Cider, and Dior's Dolce Vita. Cinnamon Bun was surprisingly savory; Apple Cider smelled intensely of a craft store, and Dolce Vita was beautiful warm dry cinnamon but fleeting. The Demeters were enjoyable but not scents I would realistically choose often while DV is the stuff of signature scent, lovely bottle and all - IF it lasts on your skin. I ended up buying myself a big fat bottle of Philosophy Cinnamon Buns shower gel to satisfy my cinnacraving.

Dec
03
2015
Hollie
Hollie

Mmmm....love this series of posts about Christmas scents! A few of my favorite ( and affordable) cinnamon heavy perfumes are as follows, L de Lolita, Molinard Orange Cannelle and Bill Blass HOT. For me, Cinnamon is so cozy and adds something really special to a perfume. I'm excited to see what your next Christmas smell will be!

Dec
02
2015
Vegas Pauli
Vegas Pauli

My favorite cinnamony scent of all time is Romeo Gigili Uomo from the 90s! Amazing!

Dec
02
2015
PerfumeEmpress
PerfumeEmpress

Cinnamon is my absolutely favorite spice (with clove and nutmeg two very close seconds). Fortunately, there are many choices for cinnamony scents. One of the very best is Dame Perfumery's Dark Horse. So cozy. So yummy. So good. Not candy-sweet, or too bakery-style, or Yankee candle-like, either. And at $65 a bottle it's a steal. Perfect. People always ask me what I'm wearing, and I get tons of compliments.

Dec
01
2015
ComfyCat
ComfyCat

Another great read, thank you Juliett! I love cinnamon, especially in homemeade mulled wine, with fried apples, in christmas cookies spice-cake, where it is used with clove, nutmeg, cardamom and anise, yum! My favourite cinnamon fragrance is Balmain Ambre Gris.

Nov
30
2015
cleo cupcake
cleo cupcake

Love cinnamon and my favourite fragrance is Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exalting. It's warm and sensual and can make the coldest, most miserable of days into a thing of joy. Discontinued of course but I haunt ebay for it and ration my precious bottle. Cinnabar is my second favourite and I can wear that all winter like a cashmere wrap.

Nov
30
2015
sweaterfreak
sweaterfreak

I always love to hear the details about the IFRA, and what they now allow. Very nice article, indeed! Hands down, my favorite cinnamon perfume is Comptoir Sud Pacific Vanille Cannelle, but getting so difficult to find. Thanks again for a great holiday article.

Nov
29
2015
Readysniffer1
Readysniffer1

I was ordering samples, so I added Dolce Vita in! I've always thought I'd like it. I love cinnamon, thank you for the holiday series!

Nov
29
2015
persefoni
persefoni

Cinnamon is one of my very favourite scents in everything, from perfume to coffee and sticks and candles!
Rousse by Lutens is of course state of the art. I also love Guerlain's Allegoria Winter Delice and Youth Dew by Lauder.
However, despite the fact that i adore lavender too, i don't like the 2 together, they smell much too masculine. I prefer the combination of cinnamon with grapefruit, for instance, i find the combination invigorating!!

Nov
29
2015
becuille
becuille

I love cinnamon and would happily wear it from November-January non-stop. I think my personal favourite use of it in a perfume is Farah by Brecourt. It's so warm and sexy.

I've never had a chance to try Rousse by SL. I had it in my head that it had been discontinued but reading the comments here made me do a quick search and it's available. I could have sworn I read it was no longer for sale. Oh well, time to try it!

Not perfume, and also only occasionally available, but Lush sometimes release a bubble bar at Christmas time called Gingerbread House. It's got a full stick of cinnamon in the top (it makes the 'chimney' of the house). Sadly, they only occasionally do a re-release and I haven't been able to find one for a while.

Nov
28
2015
NebraskaLovesScent
NebraskaLovesScent

+1 for Serge Lutens Rousse. A beautiful cinnamon candy scent, though I've come to prefer cinnamon in a supporting role rather than as the star of the show.

Fun series, Juliett, and I'm so curious about what the next Christmas scent in the series will be. :-)

Nov
28
2015
Lyndale
Lyndale

Paloma Picasso's Tentations uses cinnamon so beautifully, mixed with carnations and a bunch of other spices. It doesn't just say "Christmassy", it belts it out like a group of Carol singers. It's my signature scent but sadly, because it's discontinued, getting hold of it is like panning for gold. I have a vial of the parfum, with it's amphora like shape and scrolled, golden holder. I even use a pipette technique to apply it, rather than taint it by touching it, lol.

Nov
28
2015
Steleale
Steleale

My favourite cinnamon fragrance is Laboratorio Olfattivo Alambar.
I associate cinnamon smell with the home frag of a nice hotel in the North of Italy where my family and I are used to spend our winter holidays.

Nov
28
2015
nastyamason
nastyamason

My favorites are Serge Lutens Rousse and Givenchy Organza Indecence.

Nov
28
2015
happy888cat
happy888cat

Love that Youth Dew is mentioned here. One of my absolute FAVOURITES (Top 3, easy)! It makes me a little sad sometimes to see the decline in attention it's getting. Hopefully powerhouses like it will become a trend again!

Nov
28
2015
heymoe9
heymoe9

The truest scent with cinnamon to me is Un Jour a St-Jean-de Luz by Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque, long name, wonderful perfume. All the homey scents that blend with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, it's comforting and mouth watering at the same time.

Nov
27
2015
the big totoro
the big totoro

I just love cinnamon in perfume, it is in many of my favorite fragrances. The very best is DSH Cardamom and Khyphi. Then Mogadess and Eau Lente. The scent of cinnamon, for me, always brings back Christmas memories. So wonderful and comforting.

Nov
27
2015
matty64
matty64

I had some mince pie for Thanksgiving, boy, you wanna talk about cinnamon. Wow, cinnamonmonmony! Edit: My favorite cinnamon-like smelling perfume is MFK's Lumiere Noire Pour Homme. Love it so much.

Nov
27
2015
Onria
Onria

I love cinnamon! With oud or leather, its pure bliss

Nov
27
2015
I.D.Adam
I.D.Adam

Cinnamon is my favorite scent and I only have pleasant associations with it, most of all Christmas. One of the reasons I got into DIY perfuming was so that I could overdose cinnamon all I wanted without concern for IFRA restriction.

Nov
27
2015
perfumecritic
perfumecritic

A few of my favorite cinnamon fragrances include Witness by Bogart, Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein, Halston Z 14, Oscar pour Lui by de la Renta, and Rousse by Lutens!

Nov
27
2015
Jenavira
Jenavira

I think my favorite use of cinnamon in perfume has to be Herme's Ambre Narguile.

Nov
27
2015

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