Osmanthus – a different kind of leather.

Sidney Gilbey

Resident Artisan
In perfumery animalics and leather have been closely related. The history of European perfumery started with leather tanners trying to alleviate the smell of raw hides. The classic natural leather material in the perfumers pallet is castoreum, a leather animalic note.

Sometimes we overlook other natural materials whose fragrance has a leather aspect. What surprises people is to find out that saffron has a strong leather note, natural vanilla absolute maybe sweet but it is also quite phenolic. And birch tar is as leather as they come. Then there is the famous synthetic Iso Butyl Quinoline which smells of jet-black leather. The Cambodia oud that I am using in one of my formulas also has a leathery animalic note.

The best fine perfumery which interests me seeks to make every note complex. Yes, there maybe a lot of one material but you balance and add trace notes of other complimentary materials for complexity. By doing so you create a new smell and an interesting journey from opening to drydown. If you want to create a leather aspect to your perfume there should be more than one leather type material playing in harmony.

Often over looked in the leather repertoire is osmanthus and like many of the white florals it has many complex facets. It is obviously floral, sweet and being an absolute it is dense and jammy. Within this complex labyrinth of smells is a fruity apricot leather aspect.

In my osmanthus floral perfume I explore the floral facet and add finest Egyptian jasmine absolute which adds a sweet animalic note. To set the whole animalic journey alight I add my favourite Civet tincture. Adding complexity to the leather I have added a trace note of tobacco and basil essential oil. The top has an array of citrus and spices to piquant the onlookers interest.

If you would like a bottle or a sample please direct message me or visit my Etsy store: rebelperfume.etsy.com

I am happy to give 20% to the Ouddict community in my Etsy store (Please use the promo code REBELOUD)


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Oud Fanatic
Nice work, I just noticed this and happened to be wearing Osmanthus absolute with a hint of Mongolian musk. Osmanthus absolute and concrete are two very interesting florals that you do not see very often but as you mentioned, have a very dynamic appeal over time. It is great to see someone working with this material.