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Commodity NoteBook

You’ve probably seen notes listed in fragrance descriptions a countless number of times. But what are notes exactly, and how are you supposed to know what they smell like from behind a screen?

Notes are generic terms for ingredients in a fragrance, while ingredients refer to specific molecules or materials in a scent. Notes give an idea what a scent should smell like, while ingredient lists provide an account of what’s inside.

Take a scroll through the Commodity NoteBook to read more about any note—and maybe discover something new.

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Amber

Plot twist: Amber isn’t an ingredient with a scent. In perfumery, it's actually a building block of warm fragrances. The synthetic accord often contains Vanilla, resins like Benzoin and Labdanum, and musks, and adds an element of sweetness and warmth.

Noteworthy

Find Amber in:
Gold Expressive

Ambrocenide

Long-lasting with strong woody and ambery qualities. Adds depth to other notes in a fragrance.

Noteworthy

It’s a favorite of perfumer Christelle Laprade. She used it in Milk Expressive to balance out the fragrance’s fluffier, more edible notes.

Amyris

A warm, woody balsamic with a hint of citrus.

It's often used as a fixative, a Final note that holds a fragrance to the skin and increases its longevity. Also commonly used as a replacement for Sandalwood.

Noteworthy

Amyris is one of the Final notes in our Bergamot fragrance. Maker Stephen Nilsen wanted to dry down the fragrance’s blend of bright, tonic First notes with a clean, woody finish.

Benzoin

Often used to give "body" to ambery fragrances, Benzoin is a warm, woody resin reminiscent of Vanilla.

Noteworthy

Christelle Laprade, one of our perfumers, compares Benzoin to a favorite blanket that brings comfort and coziness.

Find Benzoin in:
Milk- Personal
Milk Expressive
Milk+ Bold

Bergamot

A steaming mug of Earl Gray tea.

The citrus is often used as a First note, and smells bright and bitter with a mild spice.

Noteworthy

Find Bergamot in:
Bergamot

Black Tea

The sharp, crisp inhale of a hot cup of tea. Adds a refreshing element to a fragrance.

Noteworthy

Find Black Tea in:
Book- Personal

Cashmere Woods

The rich coziness of your favorite cashmere sweater.

The popular synthetic has an aroma of warm woods and Musk.

Noteworthy

Find Cashmere Woods in:
Milk- Personal
Milk+ Bold

Cedarwood

A log cabin or a walk in the woods. Fresh, dry and woody, it adds a soothing, grounding quality to fragrances.

Noteworthy

Maker Donna Ramanauskas considers Cedarwood a personal favorite. She admires how the note’s distinct woody, forest scent transports her right into nature.

Find Cedarwood in:
Book- Personal
Book Expressive
Book+ Bold

Paper Expressive

Clove Bud

Warm and sweet, with a Cinnamon-like spice.

Clove Bud comes from dried flower buds of clove trees.

Noteworthy

Find Clove Bud in:
Velvet- Personal

Coconut Water

Not unlike the Coconut Water you'd find in your local supermarket, as a note in fragrance, Coconut Water is light, refreshing and slightly nutty.

Noteworthy

Find Coconut Water in:
Velvet Expressive

Cold Milk Accord

The perfect start to any day. A cool, clean glass of fresh Milk.

Noteworthy

A fragrance accord is a blend of several ingredients or notes used to create a fuller picture. Milk Maker Christelle Laprade featured this accord in Milk Expressive.

Elemi

A spicy balsamic scent with hints of fresh pine and lemon.

Elemi is often used as a fixative, anchoring other notes to the skin that would otherwise fade quickly.

Noteworthy

Find Elemi in:
Moss+ Bold

Eucalyptus

In aromatherapy, a heavy dose of the scent is used to open your sinuses and soothe your mind. In fragrance—where a significantly smaller portion is used by perfumers—Eucalyptus is a fresh and woody aromatic that usually opens a fragrance.

Noteworthy

Firewood Accord

The cozy crackling of a fireplace. Warm, woody and smoky. Will have you reaching for a warm blanket and a good book.

Noteworthy

A fragrance accord is a blend of several ingredients or notes used to create a fuller picture. Christelle Laprade, one of our Makers, used Firewood Accord for the blazing finale of Milk+ Bold.

Grapefruit

A bitter, sweet and sparkling citrus. Goes well in a cocktail, salad, or the beginning of a fragrance.

Noteworthy

Find Grapefruit in:
Moss Expressive
Gin

Iso E Super

Despite its complex name, you won't actually smell much of anything if you hold a bottle of pure Iso E Super up to your nose. The popular synthetic was created to interact with your unique skin chemistry for a one-of-a-kind scent experience. Once on the skin, the ingredient is warm, ambery and woody, but you'll have to try it for yourself to be sure...

Noteworthy

You’ll find Iso E Super in many of our Personal Scent Space scents, as well as in the Paper Scent Space trilogy.

Juniper Berries

The piney, aromatic and invigorating smell of Gin, which is predominantly flavored with Juniper Berries.

Noteworthy

Find Juniper Berries in:
Gin

Labdanum

Did you read how Amber isn't actually an ingredient with a scent? That's where Labdanum comes in. This warm, leathery note adds depth to many Amber-based fragrances.

It's also used as a fixative, tethering other ingredients to the skin.

Noteworthy

Find Labdanum in:
Velvet+ Bold
Leather

Mahogany Wood

A warm, rich, woodsy aroma with a hint of spice.

Noteworthy

Marshmallow

That creamy air of sweetness. Pairs well with graham crackers, chocolate and a fire.

Noteworthy

Find Marshmallow in:
Milk Expressive
Milk+ Bold

Mimosa

Mimosa isn't only a fun brunch cocktail. It's also a bright, yellow flower used in perfumery. Our Mimosa fragrance is an ode to both.

The Mimosa flower is bright, powdery and honey-like with light green facets.

Noteworthy

Find Mimosa in:
Mimosa

Musk

Not to be confused with must (that stinky attic smell), Musk is a versatile, synthetic ingredient that usually smells delicately sweet and dry. Used in a vast majority of perfumes, Musk is both a fixative that holds the scent to skin and a rounding note that adds soft balance to the entire blend.

Noteworthy

Neroli

Like Orange Blossom, Neroli originates from the flowers of orange trees. What separates these two notes is their extraction processes, resulting in two olfactory profiles.

Neroli is a light, aromatic citrus with hints of orange and honey. It's often used in white floral scents.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: Neroli served as one of Mathieu Nardin’s main sources of inspiration for our Nectar fragrance. He paired the delicate, captivating flower with the bright, juicy Pomelo.

Nutmeg

A warm, nutty, sweet spice similar to—yet more subtle than—Cinnamon, Vanilla and Clove.

Noteworthy

Find Nutmeg in:
Gold+ Bold

Oakmoss

Think lush, damp forest floor. It's earthy, green and woody with a hint of bitterness.

Noteworthy

Orange Blossom

Although Orange Blossom and Neroli both originate from the same place—the flowers of orange trees—these notes have different olfactory profiles. (That’s because they have two distinct extraction processes, creating two distinct ingredients.)

Neroli is a light citrus, while Orange Blossom is a warmer, headier floral with lush green facets.

Noteworthy

Orange Blossom is a favorite note of Mathieu Nardin, one of our perfumers. This note takes him back to his childhood in Grasse in the South of France, among the orange trees in his grandparents' garden.

Find Orange Blossom in:
Nectar
Mimosa

Patchouli

The deep, smoky and earthy aroma of an incense shop.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: You’ll most commonly find Patchouli in our Bold Scent Space fragrances due to its robust nature.

Petitgrain

A green, woody citrus from the leaves and twigs of orange trees.

It's found in many fresh fragrances due to its uplifting, energizing quality.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: It’s a favorite of perfumer Donna Ramanauskas. The note immediately transports her to lush citrus groves under a warm, vibrant sun.

Find Petitgrain in:
Moss- Personal
Moss Expressive

Rose Petal

The scent of a Rose varies greatly depending on the color and the region. In this case, think softly-strewn Rose Petals—delicately spicy and distinctly floral.

The note is commonly used in women’s fragrances; however, you might be surprised to hear that it’s a popular choice for men’s (and genderless!) fragrances, as well.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: The note immediately takes Maker Jerome Epinette to springtime in the South of France, when roses are in full bloom and their scent fills the air.

Find Rose Petals in:
Velvet- Personal
Velvet Expressive
Velvet+ Bold

Saffron

Not just for your spice rack. Saffron is leathery, spicy and lightly-honeyed.

Noteworthy

Find Saffron in:
Gold+ Bold
Velvet+ Bold

Sandalwood

A popular fragrance note, you've probably smelled Sandalwood before even if you didn't realize it. Next time, look for its classic warm, creamy and rich aroma.

Noteworthy

Find Sandalwood in:
Paper Expressive
Paper+ Bold

Sesame

A mild nutty, earthy spice reminiscent of warm bread.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: Christelle Laprade, one of our perfumers, enjoys exploring Sesame both in the kitchen and in perfumery. She uses it to add a toasted element and applied this concept to Milk Expressive, creating a toasted facet reminiscent of s’mores.

Find Sesame in:
Milk Expressive

Skin Musk

A lighter take on Musk, Skin Musk is meant to smell like you (but better). The note lays like a second skin, keeping your scent close and balancing out other notes.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: You’ll find Skin Musk within the Personal Scent Space, since it helps keep fragrances close to the skin.

Tangerie

A sweet, juicy citrus.

Noteworthy

It’s a favorite of Mathieu Nardin, one of our perfumers. To him, Tangerine adds joy and a sparkling energy to a scent.

Toasted Almond

The sweet, nutty scent of oven-roasted almonds.

Noteworthy

Find Toasted Almond in:
Velvet Expressive
Velvet+ Bold

Tonka Bean

A sweet spice similar to Vanilla or Toasted Almond. But Tonka Bean doesn't always call sticky-sweet gourmands to mind due to its more neutral nutty, woody aroma.

Noteworthy

Vanilla

The nostalgic reminder of childhood and the sultry scent of adulthood.

Sweet, warm and versatile, Vanilla can either play a leading role or discretely round out a fragrance thanks to its ability to blend well with other notes.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: It’s a favorite of Donna Ramanauskas, one of our perfumers. Vanilla calls to mind memories of baking with her grandmother, who always used the finest ingredients, including real Vanilla Beans, creating a nuzzly aroma that was both playful and cozy.

Find Vanilla in:
Gold- Personal
Gold Expressive
Gold+ Bold

Vanilla Flower

Vanilla is actually an exotic jungle plant with two distinct parts used in perfumery: the pod (Vanilla Bean) and the flower. Vanilla Flower is rich, warm and alluring.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: Vanilla Flower is a favorite of perfumer Jerome Epinette. To him, it’s reminiscent of a warm, golden paradise, evoking its tropical landscape, endless sunshine and sweet, sultry aura.

Find Vanilla Flower in:
Velvet- Personal

Vetiver

Vetiver varies depending on what part of the world it comes from. Most commonly, we use the Haitian version, which is clean, woody and green.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: Mathieu Nardin, one of our artisans, still remembers smelling this note for the first time in a workshop as a young perfumer. He was blown away by Vetiver’s duality—a woody, earthy scent with a fresh facet.

Find Vetiver in:
Vetiver

Violet

Fresh fields wrapped in morning dew.

Noteworthy

Find Violet in:
Book+ Bold
Magnolia

White Birch

A smoky wood with a unique crispness.

Noteworthy

Noteworthy: Maker Jerome Epinette most appreciates the note’s ability to add a layer of sophistication to a fragrance. To him, White Birch is reminiscent of winter ski trips—days spent in the fresh outdoor air and nights spent by the roaring fire at the lodge.

Smell White Birch in:
Velvet Expressive