There is a Vegetable in my Perfume…

By Jo Phillips

Do you remember that old joke about there being ‘a fly in my soup’? A man in a restaurant calls to the staff, “Waiter! Waiter, there is a fly in my soup, to which the waiter replies “Please don’t speak so loudly, sir, or everyone will want one.” Well, my version is why is there a vegetable in my perfume? Worry not, it’s delicious but find out more as to why, There’s a Vegetable in my Perfume.

Trends come and go in fashion, make-up, art, literature and film so, of course, it’s only logical it will apply too in perfumery. The latest trend is vegetable facets in the world of scent. Not entirely new but certainly a new angle and a growing trend.

Possibly this new style grew from the love of gourmand sweet fragrances that started all the way back in 1992 with Angel by Thiery Mugler with the introduction of a sweet sugary facet to perfumery. An explosion grew from this that went further into juicier sweet red fruity or tropical notes, and now the gourmand takes another step forward this time with vegetable notes.

Now there could be several reasons for this new facet of perfumery. One could simply be that as we come into a world post Covid we are trying to find our way towards a more natural green world; many after all grew their own vegetables during this time period. Also, we crave what we perceive to be good, and a table of vegetables certainly appeals to that reasoning in a sort of naturopathic way of subconscious thinking. It’s green so it must be good.

Far more likely is though, that companies that develop perfumes notes and food tastes have managed to extract notes from vegetables as has never been done before, giving access to new aroma molecules. So now perfume noses have a grand list of vegetal notes to choose from.

Symrise, a global supplier of fragrances, and flavourings, has created a novel extraction process called SymTrap. Its aim is to capture the aromatic microelements of vegetables. Think of the technology in very simple terms, as being capable of ‘capturing’ from the steam and ‘notes’ used to cook vegetables.

Yes, we have had in the recent past Carrot seed, Tomato leaf and even Green Peppers in some scents for a while, even scented candles with Artichoke and perfumes with Peas but add to these notes Cauliflower, Leek Asparagus, Sweet Potato, Beetroot, and even Onion to the scented recipe. It’s as if the fragrance noeses have eaten way too much sweet sugary treats and are now craving a fresh vegetable dish.

Meet a new collection inspired not just by vegetable notes but actually a starting point of a found, very old, box containing seeds from a 19th-century Swiss botanical school collection by the team at Officine Universelle Buly 1803 who bring to the kitchen table a collection of six ‘garden’ perfumes called Les Jardins Français.

Officine Universelle Buly 1803 is a French beauty brand, which was first founded by Jean-Vincent Bully in 1803 on rue Saint-Honore in Paris. At the beginning of the 19th century, the merchant perfumer, Claude Bully, invented a ‘Vinaigre de toilette’.

By today’s standards a vinegar-based fragrance to fight body odours, cure disease, and nourish the skin, doesn’t sound that nice, but it did have huge success often reserved for aristocrats to cleanse and perfume.

Then his son sought validation from doctors and scientists, bringing further recognition to the brand, while the vinegar was granted two patents in 1809, and with further improvements it even made its way in 1851 to the Great Exhibition in London.

So what goes best with a vinegarette? Why salads, herbs and vegetables of course? So 220 odd years later we have a collection from the brand that is just that.

The first fragrance in the set is Andes Verbena and Ula Basil. Deeply aromatic with bright citrus notes this scent is the meeting of herbs, flowers and zestyness. Very specific about the location of the ingredients this utilises Basil from the Black Sea that brings herbaceous light pepper, spice and mint to the party alongside Verbena from the Andes with its lemony zing. Alongside this find Mint, Cedar tied up with a soft Musk giving a gentleness that wraps up the perfume beautifully in the skin. A feeling of walking around a vegetable and fruit garden whilst the moon is high in the night sky.

Next in the vegetable patch are Indian Cucumber and Syrian Mint. So it goes without saying this has an aquatic facet, cucumber being made up of a whopping 96% water. Bright clean and fresh, sum up this scent with its added notes of Syrian Mint that come together alongside Musk. This feels like the morning of a spring day in the vegetable garden, the sun is out and there is a spring in your step.

Fresh green herbs must be picked out of the garden next. Oriental Watercress and Sardinian Parsley to be precice. This has a deeper woodier vibe than the earlier two. Fresh and green with an almost Green Pepper vibe. Peppery water of course comes via the Watercress with its crunchy green yet delicate clean and fresh notes from Parsley. Here the two hero notes pollinate with verdant Geranium grassy hay-like Vetiver and a touch of warmth via Musk. The moment you pick the herbs from your garden and the green stalks paint your fingers.

The fourth of the scents may somehow seem a little more recognisable with both Redcurrant and Tomato, but never have they been presented like this in Scandinavian Recurrant and Peruvian Tomato. A zesty, summery chilli jam of a fragrance. The Redcurrant with its facets of fruity, green and tart, notes sits with the Tomato bringing floral, sunny, and lemony angles. Alongside these two hero elements come facets of green plant stems with Bergamot. Overall, think of a midsummer’s day breathing in the scents of the vegetable patch.

Next up comes in the surprise format of Iraqi Beetroot and Egyptian Rhubarb again zesty but with sharp fruit notes and earthy hints. Beetroot along with its purple vista comes with a scent of slight sweetness that is both earthy and softly metallic whilst the Rhubarb cuts through with vibrant zing and sharp fruity freshness alongside a soft sweet rooty earthy facet. Alongside this earthy tangy sent are notes of Patchouli and Musk. Leaving the garden to enter the kitchen, this is the cutting of produce with a sharp knife into the garden’s glory.

Last but by no means least comes the very unusual Afghan Carrot and Caribbean Sweet Potato that brings with it an unusual soft spice element and touches of rooty earthiness. The carrot in perfumery really has in the past been all about the seed and now the vegetable comes into her own. Soft, warm just like the sunny colour she sits perfectly with the unusual gentle spice of the Sweet Potato, tying the bundle up together added the warm woody rooty notes of Veitver. This is the moment you pull the plants from the ground, the roots dangle and the aromas of the peaty earth surround you before devouring the spoils.

All Buly 1803 perfumes are water-based fragrances as opposed to the tradition of alcohol-based scents and come not in the known white bottles but a soft ‘Victoriana light grey-green’ so evocative of a kitchen garden. Each vessel is topped off with a brass ‘knob style lid.

The idea of vegetables and even herbs making up the notes in perfume may on the surface seem a little ‘out there’ but think back to when sugary notes were first added and how successful that style of fragrance has become.

After all, nature offers up her bounty in so many ways, think of it like this. Asparagus has a nutty, green and even salty taste with earthy powdery notes we smell so not so dissimilar to the very well-used plant in the scent world, Patchouli. Therefore it can just as easily be used for floral or woody accords and could, in theory, replace galbanum (a green resinous note) as a note.

Artichokes actually share common tonality with Roses and have already been used in scent making whilst the Onion and Leek families have already made their mark. Onions with their sharp sweet odour  “boost” a composition whilst Leeks surprise with tones that sit within the chypre family because of their marine and mineral side.

Each of these elixirs has brought to the perfume table new notes, elegant intriguing and fresh. Crunchy and vibrant new words and new facets we can all add to our perfume wardrobes. The refresher we really need for a healthy balanced diet.

Buly 1803 asked a simple question,

What if vegetables were the most forgotten in perfumery?’

Well, it seems the vegetable patch and herb garden have now come into the perfume studio, now it makes sense why there is a vegetable in my perfume and I rather like it.

Find the whole collection here at

If you enjoyed reading There is a Vegetable in My Perfume then why not read Harmony In Duality here

.Cent Magazine London, Be Inspired; Get Involved

Verified by MonsterInsights