In the past we have explored several different types of bases like chypre, fougere, amber etc. This has been followed by a series of newsletters on various accords including citrus, earth, spice etc. In this newsletter we will explore the Oriental Base which is considered a classic base in perfumery. The Oriental themed perfume family arose in Europe during the 1800's and was created to capture the sense of the exotic world of mystery and magic conjured up in the minds of the Western cultures as the people of those countries increased their contact with the East. The East had for centuries evolved a very sophisticated world of natural aromatic essences but many of the scents captured by their traditional perfumers were totally new to the Western world and it was natural that these odours became associated with a world that was much different than known in the European countries.
As commercial trade increased between the East and West, distiller sin Europe were able to procure spices, resins, precious woods and dried herbs that could withstand the long ship journeys and have their aromatic qualities intact. Frankincense, myrrh, patchouli, sandalwood, cardamon, cinnamon and numerous others were the first materials to receive their attention and these materials were used to create Oriental bases and perfumes. With the passage of time, the famous perfumery houses of France began to establish distilleries and extracting units in India, Madagascar, Reunion Islands, Egypt etc and this increased the range of materials for exotic Oriental creations as many of the flowers found in the East needed to be distilled or extracted in the countries of origin as they needed to be distilled fresh. Thus such essences as Ylang, Frangipani, Jasmin sambac, Golden Champa, and Lotus slowly made their way into the palette of Oriental bouquets.