Basil is the first scent that comes to mind. But I have zero experience with Thailand outside of restaurants. Lol.
Thread: What smells say Thailand to you?
I'm making a perfume soon for a friends Thai wedding. I've only been there once, so before I go ahead, it might be fun to put it to the brainstorming panel before I begin.
The perfumes will be little gifts for the guests, so a male and a female version, or one unisex perfume.
The bride is a fairly petite and gentle natured cutie and her colours are pink and silver in muted form.
I was thinking along the lines of a fairly light and fresh cologne, a slightly unusual citrus, spicy, maybe a hot nuance, a pink suggestion in the centre but not fruity or too girly, with a gentle creamy, woodsy drydown.
Initial thoughts have been along the lines of lemongrass, Thai lime leaf, soft rice notes, spicy notes like coriander, cumin and hot pepper. Not sure yet what woods might signify Thai nor the flowers. Thai natural flowers are fulsome sorts like orchids, gardenias and fat aromatic florals, so there will be a pink in there. Maybe hibiscus says pink. Woody might be more like palms.
What smell would suggest Thailand to you? This is just a light hearted brainstorm so anything goes.....
Basil is the first scent that comes to mind. But I have zero experience with Thailand outside of restaurants. Lol.
Never been there personally, so at the risk of becoming stereotypical, anything tropical. Coconut-smelling, beach lotion, perhaps a bit of sandy and marine notes, as well as plenty of exotic spice. Indeed, just a very random, uncoordinated but still heartfelt and upfront brainstorming, but these are indeed the few notes I can immediately think of.
Definitely coconut, lemongrass and perhaps mango.
Use some Paradisamide. Not sure why, but I want you to use that in your formula.
Coconut milk, lemongrass, lime, cilantro & green curry.
But for a wedding you are right on the money with your thoughts on white tropical flowers. I think something like Bronze Goddess could work.
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All fabulous suggestions and ideas. All going in the think box thank you.
GSG - Paradisamide = bitter tropical grapefruit rhubarb guava - Substantivity : 240 hour(s) at 100.00 %
Sounds interesting. Don't have it though…
The peace of a Wat as well I suppose… possibly incense notes, but that's kind of veering off a bit into busy Bankok rather than peaceful wedding.
Last edited by mumsy; 11th July 2014 at 03:27 PM.
From Wiki, the flower of the Ratchaphruek or golden shower tree (Cassia fistula) as the national flower of Thailand.
Also perhaps Lotus.
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That is a wonderful tree.
I've never been to Thailand, but I'm picturing a light-floral (non-rose) oud fragrance with some light spice, fruity undertones and loads of creamy sandalwood in the dry-down. Let us know what you come up with!
Last edited by rynegne; 11th July 2014 at 06:42 PM.
I have lived there for two years and in SE Asia for 10 and we went there regularly. Definitely lemon grass and don't forget frangipani. Also for lime I would use kaffir lime. And galangal instead of ginger. And don't forget black pepper which actually comes originally from Thailand (or at least the Thais think so... they call it "prik Thai") a base with sandalwood to evoke the wats as you say, would not be bad... but you'll need to choose a direction, so many smells in Thailand (my civet paste that you have smelled a sample of also comes from there)!
The Kaffir Lime I have is from the leaves. I cooked with some galangal recently and noticed its wonderful smell. There is a particular green smell in Thai food and it might be the kaffir lime. I might have to go and eat some more and see. Thai food has a sharp but creamy quality to it in the sauces. Also my lovely bride will have a good idea of what she likes when we begin. I just love this part of the creation process. It is the mental conception of a new baby. It is going to be my wedding gift to her.
I think we will assemble all these wonderful ideas as single mono-smelling vials and smell them one by one together. I'm really grateful for the input. Having many minds is far better than one.
This could possibly have two directions, one for the ladies and one for the men. We'll see what transpires.
Last edited by mumsy; 11th July 2014 at 07:57 PM.
For a gentle natured Thai addition, try pandan leaf (although I haven't experienced the EO)
I certainly Think of Curry, Rice paddies, Incense, Frangipani, Orchid. water...
Mumsy, where did you get the Kaffir Lime (EO I assume)? I need it, I need it real bad!
Congrats to your friends.
I am a Thai so I would give your my two cents.
Scents that reminds me of my country are
- Banana Leaf
- Coconut Milk
- Kaffir Lime
- Pandanus Leaf
- Lotus Blossom
- Jasmine Rice
I have posted a blog on ancient Thai Perfume with all the ingredient we use to make such fragrance long time ago.
By the way, there is an indie perfume house here inspired by Thailand. You might looks at their collection for ideas.
Their mango sticky rice scent smells almost exactly like the real dessert.
Last edited by Wit_Siamese; 13th July 2014 at 05:21 AM.
***My favourite from my collection***
-------- Amouage Tribute Attar
------ Serge Lutens: Ambre Sultan
-------- Les Exclusifs de Chanel: Sycamore
------ Amouage: Fate Man
-------- Amouage: Epic Man
------ Tom Ford Private Blend: Noir de Noir
-------- Terre D'Hermès Pure Parfum
------ EDP FM: Carnal Flower
-------- Neela Vermire Creations: Trayee
------ Dior: Leather Oud
------- Hermèssence: Ambre Narguilé
A mix of Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass, Coriander Leaf, and Coconut; with touches of Basil, Ginger, Galangal (if you can find it) and maybe a little Galbanum. That should make a good, typical Thai Green note. Frangipani or Osmanthus, will make it Floral.
I think Dave does cover all the major bases at one shot. I know Lemongrass, Galangal, Ginger, Basil, Coriander, and Coconut are probably standard menu ingredients for most any Thai curry dish. Frangipani planted all over the developed portions of the country.
You will find eight suppliers, just on the first page of results
I'm in the process of looking them all up and it's a good job I checked the Massoia oil (coconutty) because it is completely prohibited by IFRA and seeing as I'm giving these to unsuspecting wedding guests. I thought I might toe the line for a nice change.... (I only said might)
Just a few so far as I haven't finished looking yet.
Lemongrass - citral <82%, eugenol <0.3, citronellol <1%, geraniol <8%
Coriander - geraniol <3%
Basil - Methyl eugenol <6%, geraniol <0.2%, estragol <87%, Eugenol <4%
This toeing the line business will be more like a maths quiz... lol
Hmm.. seems like you're going with the typical food scents..
Haven't been to Thailand, but been to Taiwan, and I think the weather is similar there..
For me the strongest memory is the incense they use there, which is similar to Eden's
Oud.. There were a lot of orchids around, though I don't remember their smell..
Are you familiar with Taro root?
I looked it up. Seems like it would indicate a nutty creamy aroma like a sweet potato. Please correct me if that isn't so.
In Thai cuisine, taro Thai: เผือก (pheuak) is used in a variety of ways depending on the region. Boiled taro is readily available in the market packaged in small cellophane bags, already peeled and diced, and eaten as a snack. Pieces of boiled taro with coconut milk are a traditional Thai dessert. Raw taro is also often sliced and deep fried and sold in bags as chips (เผือกทอด).
Mumsy's description of the use of Taro in Thailand sounds similar to its usage in the islands of the state of Hawaii, where it is a popular food staple amongst the ethnic Hawaiian folks born and raised in the islands, and normally regarded by everyone else as disgusting (in the prepared by boiling version).
Taro is grown in various locations in Hawaii. There are two basic varieties, a dry land taro which grows only in locations that have some decent amount of water drainage, and a wet land taro, which is grown at the lower elevations in swampy, frequently wet locations. On the Big Island, the wet land taro is grown on a huge tract of land at the bottom of Waipio valley, which is located on the north side of the island.
They are members of the Aroid family (as are Philodendron, Pothos, Caladiums, Monstera deliciosa, and others, all having leaves that are large, kind of heart shaped, many used as tropical house plants). The common name for Taro is Elephant Ear's, a good description most agree after seeing the shape of the huge leaves. I don't recall the botanical name for the plant...and am too tired at this particular moment to look it up.
It is the root, actually technically a tuber, that is prepared for consumption. It is virtually all starch, and definitely involves an acquired taste to develop the level of appreciation that the locals have for it. The locals born and raised on the prepared (ie. boiled) taro roots there tend to love the stuff. Transplants to the islands tend to be disgusted by it thoroughly on their first taste of the smallest amount that they allow to be placed into their mouth such that there is only rarely the occurrence of a second occasion for a taste to be acquired for it in the locally popular boiled version.
Cooked in oil and resulting in fried chips as Mumsy mentions to be popular in Thailand, they are sort of simliar to starchy plantain chips, though I think they may be a bit more flavorful than plantain chips, and in that particular version, they are quite accessible to the palatte of people who have not grown up in the Islands. When it is prepared by way of boiling, it has a consistency that has it look like a bag full of a mushy gunk that has a consistency of glue, or goo, but look more like mud. As fried chips, they have an interesting look that that is the result of bright purple colored streaks that run through the chips.
Your description sounds kind of partial.. I'm only familiar with purple Taro, and anything
made from it is *heaven* - at least for me. I strongly recommend getting some (purple) Taro
pudding, just for the experience. It's creamy, also kind of fruity and maybe a bit musty
(I can't recall it right now, been a while.. maybe I'll order some powder). Would be nice
to find an accord for it. (Which reminds me it would have been nice to find an accord for
overcooked rice as well.. it's also kind of musty).
The insatiable desire for first hand knowledge will induce many to smell some of this and probably taste some after these descriptions. I know I will.
Nizan, I would guess that it is possible that you are familiar with some variety of Taro that is different than the varieties that are grown and consumed in Hawaii, and they are the only ones that I am familiar with. I can assure you, I left no stone unturned in my description of the plant as I knew it in Hawaii. I lived there 17 years, travelled out of the state only two times during that period (such long term periods of being on the island often lead to the condition known in HI. as "rock fever"). During the entire time that I lived there, I saw the bags of Poi (the local name for the boiled version of Taro) on the counter next to the cash register any night that I stopped in at the convenience food store near my residence. In the 17 years that I resided in that location, I never once saw a non-local person buy a single bag of the boiled stuff, ever. Also, never saw it look purple in the boiled version. Only purple present was in the stripes of the fried chips. I had friends of many different Asian ethnicities, Japanese friends, Philipino, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, and I never heard or knew of a single one of them either that ever ate it. The appreciation for it was held only by the local ethnic Hawaiian folks.
Yea, the stuff is definitely creamy in texture, but that description of it having a fruity aspect to its flavor does have me wonder if what you have had taste experience with was in fact some alternate variety that was better suited to growing wherever you obtained it outside of HI.
As regards an accord based on the odor profile of the stuff, I think it is safe to assume that you would never locate such a formulation in Hawaii. And on the mainland of North America, it would probably be reasonably accurate to assume that no less than 999 people out of every 1000 have never heard of the stuff. So creating an accord would probably be up to your own efforts.
Not to sound cocky or anyway like that, but if you were to bring up the idea to the people in HI. who do eat the stuff that you were thinking of making a perfume based on the fragrance of Poi (to any of them, as long as they were old enough so as to have a familiarity with Poi), well I can visualize very well all these years later how the outcome of that explanation of your intent would appear. First they would stare at you with a bewildered look on their faces. Then they would break into some very hard and loud laughing when they came to realize that you were in fact serious.
I am really wondering if the Taro that grows in Thailand is a variety that is different from the varieties in HI., considering that you describe it rather a bit differently than what I know of the taro varieties that are grown in Hawaii, and it might be more at home in the hotter and more humid conditions in thailand as compared to the cooler climatic conditions in HI.
We have taro available in New Zealand. Never tried it, it's popular with the Pacific Islanders though.
I would not know what to do with it.
Sounds a bit different from what I know.. Probably a different sub-specie, or something like that..
Here's some Taro bread
Taro cakes, buns, bread, etc. Its usage is very similar to that of sweet potatoes.
Taro is rather well known in Asian communities or at least to the people I know of.
Mumsy's description of taro seems right to me. If taro is used in perfume, it's probably quite subtle.
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When I was last there (my wife's family is from the deep south) the air was always filled with the fragrance of ch-om (vegetable from the acacia family), "sator" beans (สะตอ), longkong and salaa rakam fruits and champaca flowers.
And of course durian; the smaller Malay varieties were the most fragrant and sweetest I've ever had.
It does seem like a different thing from what is common as a source of starch in Hawaii by the select grouping of individuals who consume it. I have never seen or heard of it in HI. being used in any of the forms shown in the pictures. It was never never considered as something suited to use in pastry and such, or as a smoothie, though maybe things have changed as it was a good while ago that I lived there. A lot changed since that time. Heck, not only are there today these machines that give all sorts of information and even can produce on demand moving pictures like on TV, and music, just like having a record juke box in your house. But in HI. today you can access that internet thingamajig there and not have to pay $8.00 for each and every hour of access to it as was the case when I was still living there (though back then, there were no movies on it, actually not any type of pictures on it, nor the jukebox, but the text of everything which consisted of white letters against the black screen looked pretty high tech. Probably why people had to pay $8.00 an hour to have their computer connected to it.
This is such wonderful help. Thank you everyone. I love all these suggestions.
Having read so often about the odor of the Durian and the odor always described as basically, very unpleasant, I find Manuel's comment about the Malay varieties of Durian being "the most fragrant", which seems to imply, I think, that these have an odor that is appreciated?? Can Manuel, or anyone else that knows, expand on this seeming pleasant aspect of Durian odor, and how it would be described? Thanks.
Mumsy, what would you do with a tincture of Durian? Would it be used for modification of other ingredients in perfume blend, or used for culinary flavor use, or other?
Tuberose in its concrete form is actually fairly unpleasant an odour but so delightful when diluted. I wonder if Durian would oblige in the same way. I remember a whole thread on the subject long ago. I have only smelled it once and it was incredibly pungent, fruity, very overripe, meaty, sockish but curiously perfumed, all at once.
If I made a tincture, then it would be to use in a blend but only if it obliged and smelled nice and/or useful in dilution, but I could also see it being used as a culinary thing. There might be one already for all I know.
... there is...
Last edited by mumsy; 13th July 2014 at 11:25 PM.
Feeling my way around the green note just to start the ball rolling. (All @10% unless otherwise stated)
0.465 kaffir lime,
0.505 coriander seed (don't have the leaf...yet)
0.160 galbanum @1%
0.135 gingergrass (can't find my ginger and it's late)
Initially a bit cluddy because of the seed rather than the leaf but gets quite clean dry grassy. Need to mess with loads of levels and get some other oils but definitely on the right lines. Thank you David.
Last edited by mumsy; 14th July 2014 at 12:34 AM.
Reading your comment about how Tuberose is so different in concentrated vs. diluted form has motivated me to dig out my samples of Tuberose and dilute one of them to see how much an improvement is achieved. Not that I haven't read this same instruction to be a necessity prior to analysis of the fragrance provided by the floral absolutes any less than a few hundred times or so by this time I would guess...I noticed Arctander's comment about the importance of the same thing years before I ever placed my first post here in BN. But feeling like my available living space result is decreasing in size, mainly due to the increase of area taken up by the always expanding amount of space devoted to the aromatic materials, I have always held off on doing much in the way of dilution, as every bottle that I fill with something to retain of course increases the space devoted to materials storage. But your post motivated me, so, I just to need to ask before proceeding...so as to avoid making two bottles and keep this to a single diluted sample, would you recommend alcohol over FCO to use as solvent? While I await a reply from you, I will have to figure which to dilute. Of three versions, two are liquid, one is solid, all smell both nice and rough at the same time.
Your mention of how the Durian smelled both disagreeable and perfumed at the same time...reminds me kind of the situation with Papaya, which I assume can in no way compete with the Durian for odd fruit odor, but it is like your comment regarding Durian, having both a pleasant aspect, as well as a kind of dirty sock sort of smell, at the same time. Sort of like the duality I have created in many a formulation trial where I find I like the outcome about halfway, and at the same time find it revulsive to a similar extent.
Just after reading your post, and before I found the added edit link, I was thinking of how I have never come across a Durian in Hawaii, and wondered if they might be there, and wondered if it was a matter of my being in the wrong place at the wrong time that always kept it hidden from me. Thinking how I should go about to have that answered,I then noticed the "...there is..." link with the product label indicating it to have been made in HI. Checking a link on the Amazon page for a similar product, the picture at the linked location looks like a fruit that I had seen every year in a particular residential property in town, and which I was never able to identify. But I think I have finally identified that fruit, after wondering about it for so many years. Actually, that it is now over 15 years since moving out of HI, I can't suggest that the tree has been on my mind an awful lot, but its' nice to have the mystery finally solved. Sort of the 25+ year version of Paul's identify this tree endeavor.
Last edited by islearom; 14th July 2014 at 12:38 AM.
The only time I find the odor of durian disagreeable is when it's over-ripe and/or has been refigerated; it becomes sulfuric like old garlic which many of us westerners, unfortunately, first experience it in this state. Otherwise, it's fragrance is intensely of caramel custard with a fruity-floral overload -like a benzyl alcohol and benzyl acetate combo.
This can however become overpowering in small spaces as I've found with alot of these, as my wafe calls them, "jungle fruits". Salaa fruits smell almost of pure ethyl butyrate. Longkong smell very faintly of ethyl butyrate with tiny traces of paridisamide, petrol and a huge dose of lyral.
Last edited by Manuel; 14th July 2014 at 08:10 AM.
Fabulous help with specifics there. Indeed in a lower concentration I can see that it could indeed be a very useful perfumery note. It is inevitable that some will be purchased. Maybe we should be on the splits board for some durian tincture. Lol
Update. The green note has gone too far towards lemon peel with the poportions I used so will be ingredient shopping for some new ginger and/or galangal plus coriander leaf..... Plus a few more I expect.
Last edited by mumsy; 14th July 2014 at 08:34 AM.
It took me several years to know that Coriander and Cilantro were the same plant. :-)
In addition to Cilantro, you might also consider Perilla EO. There are a couple of varieties, one also called Shiso.
They can be really strong, so start with it diluted to 10% and add slowly. And if all your other oils are already diluted to 10%, dilute this one to 1%.
Perilla smells sort of Green and spicy (cuminic sort of), The Shiso I have from Enfleurage is softer.
But it looks like they are not presently stocking the Shiso there.
The Perilla I have from Liberty Naturals is the one that is green and spicy/ sort of cuminic
Perilla is really it's own beast, since the Perillaldehyde, Perillene, and Perillaketone only occur in Perilla.
I should've also mentioned jasmine sambac. That's the quintessential jasmine fragrance that resonates with Thai folks. They make wreaths out of it, they use it in the temples, flavor desserts with it etc.
I've currently been working on a Thai/Southeast Asian themed formula that is mostly centered around jasmine sambac
Funnily enough I had just dug the Jasmines out because I was delving into our honeymoon pics. We went to Bangkok then Koh Samui. All those lovely pink and yellow flower necklaces hung on the spirit houses. I don't know what flowers they were. I had forgotten so much. I thought the pics may trigger some smell memories. I might post some in a while.
I have some older massage oils that are made in Thailand. Musk, sandalwood, jasmine, frangipani, rose and bergamot. I can't use them as is but their smell is still good for reference. Especially the frangipani. The musk actually smells pretty authentic. It could easily be.
Any number of exotic flowers.
Also opium is a possible note. But much of what I'm doing is furthering a stereotype, and I don't really like to do that
Although Thai food is much appreciated but when it comes to fragrance what stands for my country the most, IMO, is flowers and then jasmine rice.
I'd recommend jasmine, rice milk and some more other flowers to add depth to it. And the hands and legs to the heart of your perfume could be some spices.
By the way, glad you like Thailand. ^^
Current Top 5
1. Creed Aventus
2. A*Men Pure Malt
3. L'instant Extreme
4. Nasomatto Duro
5. CDG - Kyoto
Manuel, would the formulation based on J.sambac that you are working on be intended as a women's fragrance, or would it be something that males, in the western world, would also be able to wear (in public)? Asking as I would like to understand better how I may incorporate the florals generally regarded as having use only in women's fragrances, into blends that would not be considered to be odd if worn by males (again, in western society).
In the older traditions of perfumery, the gentlemen were very floral indeed. Violets in particular amongst others. I think it is only the temporary phase of uber cleanliness style fragrances that make big flowers for men a bit out of fashion as a forefront ingredient. They sit very happily in so very many perfumes but perhaps not sticking out of the vase so much as they used to, and no doubt will again when the tide turns.
I really like florals on men. The male skin turns them differently musky compared to on a womans skin IMO. Don't be shy chaps... put those flowers on.
Jasmine rice.. Keep encountering that. Does anyone have any suggestions for an accord? I wouldn't even know where to start..
From the PK Perfumes Accord Archive:
I love the scent of rice, particularly Basmati. It would be wonderful to base a
fragrance around it.
The aromatics in rice are various pyrrolines, particularly 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline,
which give a buttery, nutty, popcorn smell. As well as hexanol, which smells
sweet, green, herbaceous, giving the tea note. And also bezaldehyde,
particularly in the fragrant Jasmine and Basmati varieties, this has a floral,
So try a blend of buttery nutty smelling ingredients, with tea and jasmine
Hope this helps,
(Might be Aussie Perfumer / Perfumer search page Mark Evans, all around fantastic guy, but I really can't remember now...)
Hmm... I only have nutty pyrazine (as well as a few other ones, which are more musty),
milk lactone and acetoin.. Do you think these will work?
Just tried my green accord on the bride and she thought it smelled fresh and lemongrassy. It got a smile. I have just received coriander leaf and galangal so that will be next.
I ran through all the flowers to test what reaction. It was the jasmine grandi rather than the sambac that made her smile with recollection. The blue lotus chimed a bell too along with osmanthus. She said that reminded her of the posh restaurants there and frangipani reminded her of relaxing.
A jasmine rice tincture is under way to see what that produces. I shall try an accord too. This is a really nice project to play with.
With all those smiles, you might have to add some Hyraceum to tone down all that enthusiasm..
Mumsy, I'm hoping that you did request the Alpinia galanga version of Galangal, that being the variety that is commonly used in Thai cuisine. The name of Galangal is also applied to Kaempferia galanga.
I've noticed that a number of online vendors offer a product that they refer to as "Galangal Essential Oil", with the botanical source identification being one or the other of the two, depending on which vendor site you are looking at.
I noticed no one mentioned mango sticky rice yet! It's so delicious and it's something I never fail to order when I go to a Thai restaurant, or when I'm in Thailand!