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Elf

Elf's Compendium of Notes 7- Two Cedars

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Himalayan Cedar- A Worthy Substitute for Atlas Cedar?

Lately, more attention is being paid to those trees and plants that are succumbing to over-harvesting, climate change, and land use change. Aloeswood and white sandalwood are pre-eminent on this list of endangered trees, but a number of the frankincense-bearing trees (Boswellia) are now on the list, and Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica) may soon join them. Atlas Cedar, a staple of fine perfumery and made so famous by Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake, grows mainly in the Atlas Mountains. In the last thirty years, 40% of Moroccoís forests have disappeared because of desertification, overuse, and land degradation. C. atlantica is being investigated for inclusion on the Red List of endangered species.

Himalayan cedar, Cedrus deodara, has been touted recently as a useful substitute for atlas cedar absolute or eo. The deodar tree is the national tree of Pakistan and is considered a divine tree by Hindus. The tree is huge, the wood is sturdy and fragrant, and as it has religious significance, it is typically used for construction in temples and palaces. It is also used for mundane things like railway sleepers. Itís also grown as an ornamental in the UK, having been introduced there during the 1800s.

In terms of odor, the two are very close indeed, though the deodara has a sharper, less rounded smell. Itís a little greener and tangier, and has less of the sweet honeyed aspect of the atlas. When used in small quantities in a perfume, Himalayan and Atlas cedars are basically interchangeable, though if atlas cedar is the centrepiece of a perfume, their differences would become more obvious if you substituted the Himalayan.
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Comments

  1. perfumista's Avatar
    Thanks for posting that
  2. ECaruthers's Avatar
    Hi, Elf,

    Where did you order your cedars? I'd like to compare them to the Texas Cedarwood (Juniperus mexicana) EO I have from Aura Cacia. I know common and botanical naming conventions get jumbled. Maybe they're not at all alike.

    Thanks.
  3. Elf's Avatar
    Hi, E!
    Texas and Virginia cedars are actually junipers, they aren't related to Cedrus cedars. The delightful "pencil shavings" note actually comes from these junipers. I got the Cedrus eos from Eden Botanicals, and Liberty Natural also carries them, as does White Lotus Aromatics. Weirdly, when I put together some Texas Cedar and Atlas Cedar, I get the smell of peanuts. Of course, maybe it's just me....I tend to use either one or the other in a perfume, but not both. :-)

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