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  1. #1

    Default Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    I became curious about Thujone because it was listed by H&R as a note in the original Sikkim. In reading the Wikipedia entry on Thujone, it mentions artemisia, armoise, and wormwood. Is Thujone the aromatic chemical in all of these, or is it just a component of a more complex scent?

    What is the relationship between them? I'm hoping some of our chemists and perfumers can help me out with this.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    This is a good question, I hope some informed people will answer. All I know is that I like scents which list artemesia as a note, and I don't like those which list armoise. I don't know if this is a true pattern or just the particular scents I've tried.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  3. #3

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    I'm off to a doctor's appointment shortly so I can't write a full and proper reply but there are definitely differences between all of the above listed chemicals/notes.

    Thujone is merely an isolated chemical, like say linalool (which is present in many many essential oils). Thujone is present in at least all of the following oils:

    Cornmint (japanese peppermint) Oil
    Parsley Seed Oil
    Dalmation Sage Oil
    Artemisia Absinthium (grand wormwood) Oil
    Mugwort Oil
    Cedar Leaf Oil
    Blue Yarrow Oil

    and I believe it is present in
    Artemisia Scoparia

    I've never smelled isolated thujone but looking at the similarities between the above oils, which I've smelled, I'd say it contributes an intensely aromatic green note. Aromatic and biting in a way like pure mint/menthol, but green.

    Artemisia absinthium is a very cool, refreshing, green note. It's absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite isolated notes. It is aromatic and refreshing, green, minty, and deep. It does not have the sagey notes that are present in sage (of course ), mugwort, and to a lesser extent cedar leaf. The opening of Yatagan is a pretty good representation, although the isolated oil does not have as much depth as the opening of Yatagan. It's also a bit more aromatic than the opening of Yatagan, but when mixed with other oils, and in the minute quantities that it is typically used in (1% or less of the composition), any edge it has is pleasantly dulled.

    Cedar leaf is simultaneously sweet green and bitter, with a biting aromatic edge. Parsley seed is similar but has more depth with an almost rose like note present. Mugwort is kind of sage like, and for some reason calls to mind the smell that you'd arrive at if you mixed marijuana, mint, and sage.

    Gotta run, will post more later.
    Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 23rd February 2009 at 01:08 PM.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Thanks - this is great information, and I'm looking forward to anything else you can add.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    I've smelled Penhaligon's Artemesia and L'Artisan Fou d'Absinthe (which my husband owns) and while I love the latter, I do not care at all for the former. Yet they are both based on the same wormwood/absinthe/artemesia note.

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    As I recall, isn't Thujone derived from wormwood and the primary drug that enhances absynthe liquor other than a high alcohol content?
    Last edited by N_Tesla; 28th February 2009 at 03:22 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    ...Artemisia absinthium is a very cool, refreshing, green note. It's absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite isolated notes. It is aromatic and refreshing, green, minty, and deep. It does not have the sagey notes that are present in sage (of course ), mugwort, and to a lesser extent cedar leaf. The opening of Yatagan is a pretty good representation...
    I wore Yatagan yesterday and it was a wonderful experience, it's been a while since I've worn it. Definitely a marvelous aromatic, deep green and slightly minty note. And Yatty has great longetivity!!
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  8. #8

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Two of my very favorite fragrances - the original Sikkim by Lancome, and Inoui by Shiseido - have an identifiable thujone note. It's part of what gives them a deep green, rather austere character - almost incense-y but more coniferous. I always think of powdery snow on a pine branch when I smell Sikkim - which is of course in line with its name, that of a Himalayan kingdom. The re-issued Sikkim doesn't have this note, or it's buried under the warmer, more floral ingredients of its newer formula.
    Last edited by Jardanel; 3rd March 2009 at 10:15 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Quote Originally Posted by odysseusm View Post
    I wore Yatagan yesterday and it was a wonderful experience, it's been a while since I've worn it. Definitely a marvelous aromatic, deep green and slightly minty note. And Yatty has great longetivity!!
    I remember when I first tried Yatagan, I was sitting.. bracing myself for some kind of horrendous slap in the face with giant celery stalks or some other equally horrible fate. I sprayed and sniffed and a huge grin spread from ear to ear, I was instantly smitten. Having already had experience with the oil of artemisia absinthium I could fairly easily place the opening note but the way it is worked in Yatagan is just masterful.

    What formulation of Yatagan do you have? I've got the newest and find that it's relatively minimal sillage and only average longevity is actually perfect for a scent like this - it would just be too much if it had the strength and longevity of say, M7. I am wondering if the older formulations are different in strength and sillage? I have tested the original formulation from a dabber vial and found it slightly smoother than the new formulation, but couldn't get an accurate feel of sillage/longevity from that application method.

    I really should look for more artemisia based scents, but I fear that none can compare to Yatagan.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Quote Originally Posted by N_Tesla View Post
    As I recall, isn't Thujone derived from wormwood and the primary drug that enhances absynthe liquor other than a high alcohol content?
    This is true although more and more investigation into early 20th century pre-ban absinthes is revealing that they had far less thujone than originally thought. 5-30mg/L or so. The current limit in the US is 10mg/L, or 10ppm, which is considered effectively none as this takes into account the potential margin for error in the thujone testing process (or so they say).

    It's actual effect at typical absinthe levels has been largely overplayed, I believe. Having consumed absinthe that falls within pre-ban levels of thujone, I can say that the buzz was qualitatively different than with other alcohols, and there was a certain degree of lucidity present, but no green fairies or other mythical creatures visited me, sadly.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    I remember when I first tried Yatagan, I was sitting.. bracing myself for some kind of horrendous slap in the face with giant celery stalks or some other equally horrible fate. I sprayed and sniffed and a huge grin spread from ear to ear, I was instantly smitten. Having already had experience with the oil of artemisia absinthium I could fairly easily place the opening note but the way it is worked in Yatagan is just masterful.

    What formulation of Yatagan do you have? I've got the newest and find that it's relatively minimal sillage and only average longevity is actually perfect for a scent like this - it would just be too much if it had the strength and longevity of say, M7. I am wondering if the older formulations are different in strength and sillage? I have tested the original formulation from a dabber vial and found it slightly smoother than the new formulation, but couldn't get an accurate feel of sillage/longevity from that application method.

    I really should look for more artemisia based scents, but I fear that none can compare to Yatagan.
    I agree, Yatagan was an instant winner for me! I wondered what all the dire warnings were about... I was expecting some sort of ordeal, and instead I had a happy herbal-pine day.
    I don't think I have the newest formulation, mine is of a few years ago. It suits me fine. It is in the white box with red stripes.
    I would be interested in your take on Etat Libre D'Orange's Eloge du Traitre. Most of their scents are quite odd (to say the least) but that one is excellent. To my mind, it is a lot like Yatagan, a bit greener and fresher. Most of the BN reviews come to the same conclusion.
    Cheers,
    Last edited by odysseusm; 5th March 2009 at 06:02 PM.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  12. #12

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jardanel View Post
    Two of my very favorite fragrances - the original Sikkim by Lancome, and Inoui by Shiseido - have an identifiable thujone note. It's part of what gives them a deep green, rather austere character - almost incense-y but more coniferous. I always think of powdery snow on a pine branch when I smell Sikkim - which is of course in line with its name, that of a Himalayan kingdom. The re-issued Sikkim doesn't have this note, or it's buried under the warmer, more floral ingredients of its newer formula.
    I started this thread because I acquired a bottle of Sikkim (relaunched) and was wondering what thujone was. I think the relaunched version has it, but perhaps not at the same level as the original. As you say, its somewhat burried, although not completely.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Thujone may be the dominant fragrant molecule in artemisia but it isn't the only one. I found this abstract on ACS Pubs. Access to the full article requires a subscription.


    Title: Essential oils composition of Iranian Artemisia absinthium L. and Artemisia scoparia Waldst. et Kit.
    Author: Morteza-Semnani,-K.; Akbarzadeh,-M.
    Citation: Journal of essential oil research JEOR. 2005 May-June, v. 17, no. 3 p. 321-322.
    Abstract: The essential oils of Artemisia absinthium L. and Artemisia scoparia Waldst. et Kit. (Compositae) collected from the suburb of Behshar, northern Iran, in June 2002, were isolated by hydrodistillation and analyzed by means of GC and GC/MS. The major components of A. absinthium oil were beta-thujone (35.1%), p-cymene (16.5%), beta-pinene (7.3%) and 7-ethyl-5,6-dihydro-1,4-dimethylazulene (5.5%). The major components of A. scoparia oil were camphor (37.9%), 1,8-cineole (27.8%) and borneol (21.1%).

    Other sites describe the odor of thujone as minty, menthol, and refreshing, which may not be surprising since the molecule is closely related to menthol in structure. I've never smelled isolated thujone myself, so I can only imagine what it might smell like.
    Last edited by Snafoo; 8th March 2009 at 10:26 AM.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Daniel Moynihan

  14. #14

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    So it seems A. Scoparia is a safe oil to use? Can anyone confirm this? I seem to find conflicting information on the web whether a-thujone or b-thujone are present in artemisia scoparia.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Just discovered this elderly thread and thought I’d revive it: I’ve put an article on my blog about the various Artemisia species - there are a huge number - they are all different and several are familiar either as perfumery notes or cooking herbs.

    Modern research (but which I mean stemming from the 1960s onwards) suggests contrary to early 20th Century belief Thujone, despite some similarities in structure, does not act on the body in the same way as THC (the active component in cannabis) and is not hallucinogenic. The amount of thujone in drinks is nevertheless regulated in many countries, though the maximum permitted results in Absinthe containing far more thujone than was present in the heyday of the drink.

    I’m a huge fan of Artemisia absinthium myself and have built one of my own fragrances around it - hence I did all the research to enable me to write the article.

    Just to make sure I’ve covered the original questions:

    Armoise usually refers to the essential oil of Artemisia alba
    Artemisia alone usually refers to the essential oil of Artemisia annua
    Wormwood generally means Artemisia absinthium - Thujone is a dominant (but by no means the only) aromatic in this oil.
    Davana - also often used in perfumery - is Artemisia pallens
    Estragon - another common perfumery ingredient - is Artemisia dracunculus sativa
    Last edited by Chris Bartlett; 7th July 2012 at 07:22 PM. Reason: minor corrections
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Very informative article. I have grow (and am growing this year) some artemisia annua; and in the past I grew some absinth as well. Artemisia annua has a wonderful aroma, much sweeter than I expected; just shaking the leaves gives out a great smell.

    cacio

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Thujone, artemisia, armoise, and wormwood: same note?

    Yes - very nice! This Artemisia absinthium sounds like a greeniac's delight!
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