Vanilla, a scent so sweet and reminiscent of childhood. What do we love, this vanilla! And perfumers also love it, and incorporate it into many of their formulas, to bring roundness, softness and comfort. It combines perfectly with many other scents, flowers, fruits, spices...
Today, we reveal the secrets of this iconic perfumery raw material.
Vanilla, his life, his work
Vanilla grows in pods on an orchid (the vanilla orchid), native to Mexico. This was then exported to Réunion and Madagascar, where most of the vanilla production currently comes from. It's not next door!
Useful both in perfumery, in aromas, and in gastronomy, vanilla has a great value which is explained by the complexity and the time necessary for its production. Between growing, harvesting, drying and processing the pods, almost 18 months are needed to obtain the beautiful pods that make us dream! It is for this reason that vanilla is a sought-after and expensive product.
In perfumery in particular, vanilla absolute can cost more than €100 per liter, which very quickly raises the price of a perfume formula. Unfortunately, it has an almost animal smell, warm and leathery, not at all like the vanilla you imagine! In fact, the smell of vanilla in perfumes (and ice creams, cakes, sweets...) generally comes from a compound called Vanillin.
Vanilla and its secrets
Very often, we think we find vanilla in certain perfumes when it is in fact vanillin. But what is vanillin?
Vanillin is the chemical compound responsible for the smell of vanilla, even though it only represents 2.5% of what makes up the pod. Vanillin was historically extracted from the pods but with a very low yield, until the progress of synthesis at the end of the 19th century which then made it possible to reproduce vanillin.
Vanillin is one of the most used flavorings in the world, especially in food flavoring, and it is very popular among perfumers for the base notes of their perfume. In addition, its cost is advantageous: €10 per liter for synthetic vanillin against more than a hundred euros for natural vanilla absolute.
Perfumes therefore more often contain “vanilla accords”, produced using vanillin in order to reproduce a beautiful sweet, suave and vanilla smell, rather than with extracts from the pod.
Vanilla, we can't get enough of it!
The smell of vanilla still has a queen place in perfumery, in particular it has managed to find a place in oriental or gourmet perfumes, which almost all contain this element. At Maison Matine , she is present in Hasard Bazar of course, in Bain de Midi , and also in Avant l'Orage .
We hope we were able to teach you a little more about vanilla and its secrets in perfumery!
( PS little fun fact for the end: vanillin can turn red/pink over time, which can sometimes cause your perfumes to change color! To avoid this, store your bottles away from light!)