What makes a fragrance difficult versus light

Description of fragrance ingredients
including their effect on the psyche
by Burkhard Treude
(Sales trainer for specialist retailers, Dortmund)


Origin (meaning)


Psychological effect
(as far as known)


Fir resin, amber.

smoky, slightly tarry


Ambergris (Ambergis)

From indigestible stomach contents of the whale.

woody, balsamic, warm, a bit earthy



Oil from the seeds of the ambrette bush.

flowery, musky, similar to amber, slightly sweet with a note of brandy

Makes you sensual

Angelica (angelica)

Oil from the roots of the umbelliferous plant, which can be up to 2 m high. Origin: France, Belgium, Germany.

musky, peppery, tangy-tangy

Encourages fear, stabilizes under stress


Essential oil from the fruits and leaves of the evergreen anise tree.

sweet, herbaceous

Relaxes, strengthens trust, conveys a feeling of security


Aromatic and medicinal herbs.

aromatic-hot, spicy, aniseed or slightly lemon-like

Cheers up, has an antidepressant effect, activates the mind

Benzoin (benzoin)

Balsamic resin from the tropical styrax tree. Origin: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos.

Like vanilla and chocolate, sweet, balsamic

Calms down, agrees peaceful, relaxed,


Is pressed from the green fruit peels of the Citrus bergamia tree. The fruits are in the shape of a lemon and the size of a large orange. Origin: almost exclusively Calabria (southern Italy).

clear, fresh, citrus-like, fruity-sweet

Cheers up, cheers up, calms, harmonizes, relieves fears, strengthens self-confidence, relieves from external pressure


Oil from the leaves of an evergreen tree. Also used in cola drinks.

spicy, similar to cinnamon


Cassis (black currant)

From the leaves of the black currant bush.



Castoreum (Bibergeil)

Canadian beaver glandular secretions.

warm, animal-like, leathery, pleasantly sweet when diluted



Essence from the roots of the costus plant (from the daisy family).

exotic-warm, violet-like



Is extracted from the Tonka bean and is produced synthetically.

Sweet, herbal, spicy, like fresh hay, vanilla and woodruff


Oak moss

Fragrant lichens that grow on oaks and other trees. Origin: former Yugoslavia, Tuscany, southern France.

mossy, earthy, spicy and woody

Relaxes, makes you balanced, has a slightly aphrodisiac effect


Oil from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. Origin: Australia, Spain, Portugal.

Herbal and camphor smell.

Concentration-enhancing, stimulating, encouraging in case of lethargy


Oil obtained from the fruits of the aromatic plant.

warm, sweet, aniseed, herbaceous

Soothes stress and nervousness, conveys warmth and security


Cannot be obtained from the flowers themselves, but is created by the perfumer using a mixture of jasmine, ylang-ylang, neroli and vanilla.




Yellow-brownish resin from the roots of the galbanum bush (large umbrella plant). Origin: Iran, Syria, Turkey.

spicy-green, woody, foliage-like

Calms down, relieves tension


Lush white flower.

strong sweet



Tendril with tiny, strongly fragrant flowers.




Oil from the leaves of the plant. Origin: Southern France, Spain, Russia, North Africa, Egypt. One of the main essential oils used in fragrances.

floral, rose-like, minty, sweet

Relaxed, calmed down, cheered up


From the peel of the citrus fruit.

fruity, fresh, light, bitter

Euphoric, counteracts the feeling of heaviness, stimulates creativity


Essence from the curved, bright purple or white flowers of the heliotrope bush.

floral with undertones of almond



From the peels of unripe oranges (as "Hesperides"Citrus notes such as lemons, oranges, mandarins, bergamot, lime etc. are referred to)





sweet, mild, warm, balsamic

Harmonizes, soothes, conveys warmth and security


Blue, white or purple flower from the lily family that grows wild next to the olive groves of Grasse.

sweet, green, foliage, floral, narcotic intensity

Opens heart and mind, gives courage


Oil extracted from the rootstock of the perennial. Origin: Tropical part of Asia.

woody, warm, spicy

Stimulates, clears and has an aphrodisiac effect, especially in men


Made from resins or balms.

heavy, spicy, narcotic

Leads inwards, intensifies meditative states

Iris (iris)

The absolute is obtained from the peeled, dried and ground roots. It is one of the most expensive of all natural fragrance essences. The roots have to be stored insect-proof for 3-4 years in order to obtain the desired odorous substance "iron".

oily-woody, violet-like with sweet, fruity-floral nuances, slightly warm-woody, powdery

Harmonizes, stimulates creative forces, strengthens intuition and the ability to love


Fine white flower from which one of the most important essential oils is extracted. 500g jasmine cost several thousand marks. The best jasmine comes from Grasse, southern France. More than 200 different species grow in Egypt, Algeria and Italy. The flowers have to be picked by hand before sunrise, otherwise they will lose their fragrance intensity. It takes 6,000 kg of flowers to make 1 kg of oil.

intense, floral with fruity and herbaceous undertones

Soothes,, promotes intuition, relieves fear, promotes the solution of relationship problems, one of the best aphrodisiac fragrance essences


Extract from the dried flower heads.

mild, somewhat tart and clear

Soothed, antidepressant


Obtained by distilling the chips of the camphor tree (laurel plant). Origin: Taiwan, East Africa, Ceylon.

medicinal, intense, reminiscent of eucalyptus

Has an antidepressant effect, promotes inner clarity and concentration


Distilled oil from the cardamom plant from the ginger family. It is the most expensive spice oil after saffron. Origin: Ceylon, India.

spicy-aromatic with balsamic-floral undertones, slightly camphor-like

Strengthens, activates, stimulates the brain, relieves feelings of inferiority and sexual blockage

Pine needle

lat. Pinus silvestris

bright, fresh, resinous, tart, slightly tea-like

Relaxed, reassured


Oriental coriander oil (from the parsley family).

warm, spicy, flowery, very aromatic, resembles the pepper fruit

Cheer up, relax


A soft, dark oleo resin extracted from stone rose.

warm, spicy, amber-like, leathery, balsamic with dry, woody accents



Low-growing evergreen plant with a purple blooming tip that is native to the Mediterranean Sea. The flower spikes are steam-distilled to obtain the fresh oil. Most of the lavender extract comes from the south of France.

sweet and balsamic, fresh and herbaceous with flowery and woody roots

Relaxed, refreshed, harmonized in extreme moods


Construct of perfumery.

smoky, sweet, animal, warm


Lemongrass (citronella grass)

Grass type. Origin: India, Ceylon, Java.

citrus-like, tart, fresh

Refreshes, activates, relieves tiredness and poor concentration


Oil obtained from the fruits of the bay tree (Mediterranean).

fresh, sweet and spicy, slightly fiery

Encourages imaginative decisions


Made from the seeds of the hard, scaly, oval-shaped fruit of the lychee tree. Origin: China.




A sweet, strongly scented blossom that does not release its essences. The perfumer creates the essence by mixing rose, jasmine, neroli and ylang-ylang with synthetic flavorings.


Fires the imagination, stimulates creative, artistic work

lily of the valley

Lily family.




Oil extracted from the peel.

sweet, tender, fresh, mild

Relieves nervous tension, has an antidepressant effect, and inspires


The scent of the fresh mango fruit is produced synthetically.

mild, fruity, musky


Balm (lemon balm)

From the strongly fragrant leaves of the garden herbs.

fresh, lemon-like

Invigorates, balances, clears the mind


From the blossoms and branches of the mimosa tree.

gentle-sweet, flowery, somewhat green, violet-like

Calms, comforts, harmonizes, takes away the feeling of inferiority


Made from stems and aromatic leaves of the climbing mint plant. Contains menthol.

fresh, bright, cool, tart

Promotes concentration, refreshes, calms, clears the mind


Originally from a musk deer skin pocket. Origin: Central Asia.

finely woody, animal-like, slightly fruity-fresh



Seeds from the fruit of the tropical nutmeg tree. Origin: Antilles, Moluccas, Sumatra.

spicy, tart

Helps against depression and lack of energy


From the resin of the myrrh bush from the frankincense family, incorrectly called "opoponax oil", correctly called "bisabol myrrh oil". Origin: East Africa, Arabia. Was already around 2000 BC. used.

warm, slightly spicy-sweet, balsamic-fine

Against overexcitation and over-excitement, for inner cleansing and relaxation


Evergreen shrub. Origin: South America, Australia, New Zealand.

fresh, tart, herbal, spicy

Helps against addictive behavior, fear and despair, clears, cleanses


Yellow or white bloom. Came in the 8th century. from Persia via the Silk Road to China. Small amounts are used to round off floral compositions.

earthy, hayy-spicy, sweet

Calms, relaxes, activates the ability to accept oneself

Clove (clove)

Oil obtained from the dried flower buds of the evergreen clove tree (myrtle family). Origin: Indonesia, Madagascar.

warm, spicy, aromatic, sweet, metallic

Stimulates the brain, supports the ability to concentrate

Neroli (bitter orange)

Distillate from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree. Origin: France.

spicy-bitter, sweet, orange-like

Works against inner tension, slightly aphrodisiac

(Frankinzens /

Resin from a tree growing in Arabia and South Africa. Olibanum is often used in oriental notes. Exceptional fixative.

balsamic-spicy, slightly lemony, typical incense scent, kieny, somewhat coniferous

Promotes meditative immersion


Resin from a plant in the umbelliferae family. Origin: western Mediterranean, Egypt, Arabia.

very balsamic, warm, sweet with a cheeky note, slightly buttery


Orange blossom

The scent of orange blossom was discovered by Arab traders in China and used as a symbol of a fruitful marriage. Origin: Florida, California, Sicily, Spain.

warm-bitter flowery, sweet, narcotic


Orange oil

The oil is obtained from the peel of bitter and sweet oranges.

naturally bitter, fruity, tart and spicy, also sweet, light

Sensual, cheers up, has a balancing effect, conveys warmth and tenderness


From the blossoms of the osmanthus tree. Origin: Japan, China, Southeast Asia.

floral with a slight aroma of plums and raisins



The dark orange essential oil is extracted from the dried leaves of the patchouli bush. Origin: India, Malaysia, Sumatra, South America. An important ingredient in oriental fragrances. In recent years, patchouli has become its own form of fragrance. It is mostly used with vetiver.

strong, woody musty, earthy, animal, penetrating, exotic, musky

Antidepressant, conveying relaxation and satisfaction, erotic, sensual


The oil, which is distilled from the leaves and branches of the bitter orange tree, gives scents a gentle note. It is often used with lemon and orange. Although it can also be found in the West Indies and Paraguay, the best petitgrain is grown in southern France.


Calms, clears emotions, strengthens concentration, helps to achieve more distance and mental clarity


Rose absolute is a very valuable and precious oil. The scent is full and long-lasting. The many types of roses offer the perfumer a wide range of fragrances.

delicate, gentle, flowery, sometimes fruity to violet-like

Sensual. harmonized, soothed

Rose de Mai (May rose) / Rose centifolia

From Grasse, southern France.

warm, sweet

Harmonizes, helps against lovesickness, unsurpassed as an aphrodisiac fragrance

Rose, Bulgarian

Rose Damascena, from Bulgaria.

even fuller than the May rose, a little less sweet

Promotes real affection, brings back joy and trust


The oil comes from a South American tree and is used in aromatic creations, especially in rose compositions. A lavender-like derivative is isolated from rosewood oil, which is also found in other plant species.

warm, woody, slightly spicy, flowery

Aphrodisiac, anti-stress, antidepressant