The Great Indian Ingredients in Perfumery

India’s rich history bottles notes of a rather fragrant past which have evolved and matured with time. India houses a multiplicity of scents that has almost every type of scent that would please the olfactories of perfume lovers.

From time immemorial perfumes have been linked to divinity, beauty and sensuality in India. These scents have journeyed time and are still a major part of our lives today. Be it the soothing incense fragrances of Sandalwood, the carnal scents of Jasmine and Mogra and the tantalizing notes of Indian spices like Cinnamon, Clove and Oud (Agar wood).


India is famously known for its attars popularly made in Uttar Pradesh’s perfume capital Kannauj. Attar or Ittar is made by extracting essences from flowers, herbs, wood species , spices and other botanical sources. The attars were earlier observed to be worn only by the aristocrats and royalty for good fragrances linked them to being rather cleaner and more desirable than the other sections of the society.

Some of the most preferred fragrance notes for the royalty were Rose, Jasmine and Sandalwood. The usage of these attars was at its pinnacle best during the Mughal era where kings and queens used to anoint themselves, bathe in and mix water in their fountains with attars to lend a rather sensual and carnal surrounding.

With times a lot of other ingredients started to be experimented with. The British brought along with them the tea culture which has only blossomed since then. The tantalising scents of Chai and its various types also soon became a fragrance most revered with amongst Indians and has now become synonymous with the country.

Some accords of perfume that are synonymous with scents that lend an Indian touch to perfumes include:

  1. Coconut: A tropical paradise for perfume lovers. The notes of coconut bring along with them lusciousness. Some perfumes that radiate beautiful coconut accords are Crystal Noir by Versace, Kenzo Homme Night, Indian Coconut Nectar by Pacifica and Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens
  2. Agarwood(Oud): Agarwood or popularly known as Oud is a fragrant dark resinous wood used in incense, perfume, and small carvings. Some of the perfumes that radiate beautiful Oud accords are Versace Oud Noir, Tom Ford Oud Minérale, Le Labo Oud 27, Agarwood Noir by Amouroud
  3. Cinnamon: Cinnamon exudes sweet and warm powdery tenacious accords. Some of the perfumes that radiate beautiful Cinnamon accords are Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb, Parfums De Marly Oajan, Creed Original Santal and Azzaro Pour Homme Intense
  4. Sandalwood: A creamy Oriental note, Sandalwood has been and still remains a rather important fragrance note in Indian Spiritualism. The note of Sandalwood can be described as woody note veiled in creamy textures which linger on for quite some time. Some of the perfumes that radiate rich Sandalwood accords are By Kilian Sacred Wood, Lush Smugglers Soul, Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule , Byredo Parfums Blanche and Tom Ford Santal Blush
  5. Cumin : Cumin is a rather overpowering Indian spice which has a pungent fragrance. The notes can be noticed as a bitter sweet base which can also render a more animalic feel to the perfume. Some of the perfumes that radiate Cumin accords are Akro Night, Lush Hellstone, Hermessence Epice Marine by Hermes and Bong No.  9 Harrods Oud
  6. Clove: This note exudes a warm and spicy fragrance note that is bejewels the base of perfumes most of the times. Perfumes also use clove leaf as an ingredient whilst churning out a perfume concoction. Some of the perfumes that radiate Clove accords are Lush Yog Nog, Chanel Coco, Rich Hippie Rockstar
  7. Chai : The one ingredient that makes the nation function is Chai/ tea. Having fresh and earthy note structure tea is a popular note in a green perfumes. A masala chai note is also a note that perfumers have experimented with. This type of chai lends a spice mix to the green notes coupled with a leafy sweetness. Some of the perfumes that radiate zesty Chai/ Tea accords are Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, Omnia by Bvlgari, By Kilian Imperial Tea, Old Navy Orange Blossom and Tea, Jo Malone London Assam and Grapefruit
  8. Jasmine- The Nocturnal flower princess is a favourite scent amongst many The sweet opulent redolence of the Jasmine are tantalizing and are sure to linger on the skin creating floral magic. Some of the perfumes that radiate the opulence of Jasmine accords are Mugler Alien, Calvin Klein  Beauty, Yves Rocher Tendre Jasmine, Nasomatto Nudo
  9. Rose: Famously known as the king of flowers its rather easy to associate to the smell of rose. The sweet nectar of rose are known to lend carnal and romantic moods to the wearer and the one who smells it. The perfumes that exude the freshness of a Rosy bouquet are Stella Mcartney Stella, Jo Malone London Red Roses, Givenchy Very Irresistible and Bvlgari Rose Goldea.
  10. Mango: A beautiful mixture of tangy and sweet notes filled with creamy lusciousness, the note of Mango are peach like combined with facets of Pine. Perfumes that radiate the accords of a tropical and juicy Mango are Pacifica Brazilian Mango Grapefruit Solid Perfume, Carol’s Daughter Mango Melange, Demeter Mango

Other notes that exude very Typical Indian Scents are:

  1. Khas
  2. Saffron
  3. Ginger
  4. Basil
  5. Turmeric
  6. Sesame

Check our Collection of Natural Attars in "Kannauj - Attars of India" Collection

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