Jasmine in perfumes
Jasmine is a very important ingredient in the perfume industry. Jasmine is rightly called "the flower of flowers." That may also be with such a name: the Persian word yasmin means 'gift of God'.
Jasmine flowers are usually white, small and star-shaped. There are 200 kinds of jasmine bushes. In the perfume industry there are two main types of jasmine which are used:
- Grandiflorum - most used in perfumes: is a full and mild fragrance, multifaceted: floral, fruity, animal, powdery, green.
- Sambac (also known as Arabian jasmine or Pikake) - is richer, spicier and more musky than Grandiflorum, smells more mysterious and exotic.
At the end of last century most of the jasmine flowers production was situated in Grasse, France.
Especially jasmine oil was used a lot in perfumes and to perfume (otherwise less pleasant-smelling) leather gloves. Today, the majority of production of jasmine takes place in India and Egypt but also China, Italy and Turkey produce jasmine.
The delicate petals have to be carefully picked by hand (!), before dawn to then be processed immediately after. If one waits too long before processing the fragrance to a large extent will have disappeared. An experienced picker can pick 3 kg of petals in a morning. For 1 kg of oil 9 million petals are needed! In other words, 8000 carefully hand-picked, individual flowers provide only 1 gram of jasmine absolue!
The millions of jasmine petals end up in a large kettle, where the jasmine oil can be obtained by solvent extraction (extraction with the aid of a solvent). The more advanced and milder extraction form "critical CO2 extraction" is becoming more and more common.
The best time for harvesting is between June and October, with peak months July and August. If you are in Grasse, in these months, do not miss it!
Jasmine smells flowery, fruity, animal, powdery and rich. It can sometimes smell almost intoxicating; certainly not charming or graceful, but rather animalic and indolic.
Indole is an odor-ingredient which is present in jasmin oil naturally. Pure indole (if you isolate it from the rest of the jasmine oil) smells heavy and strong, almost like tar and asphalt.