In the beginning…
Rhubarb is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Asia, more precisely to the Himalayan mountain region, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. During the 18th century, rhubarb was introduced to Europe, particularly England, where it became a popular foodstuff, especially for its tart stalks, which can be used in jams, pies and other desserts.
The use of rhubarb in perfumery is not as old as its medicinal or culinary uses. It wasn't until the mid-20th century that rhubarb began to be incorporated into perfumes for its unique, fresh and slightly acidic note.
What do you know about rhubarb in perfumery ?
To overcome these challenges, perfumers began using synthetic molecules to reproduce the scent of rhubarb. These molecules can be modified to accentuate certain facets of rhubarb's scent, such as its acidity or freshness, giving perfumers greater flexibility.
Rhubarb belongs to the fruity olfactory family. It has a distinct olfactory profile that is both sweet and tart, evoking a combination of green apple and red berries. This tangy freshness works particularly well with light floral notes such as rose and lily of the valley, as well as spicy notes like ginger and cinnamon. In perfumery, rhubarb is often used to give a unique, piquant freshness to fragrances, creating an unforgettable scent that invites discovery.
Some popular Rhubarb Perfumes …
• Hermessence Rose Ikebana by Hermès
This elegant and sophisticated eau de toilette, created by Jean-Claude Ellena, is part of the high-end Hermessence collection. Top notes include the energizing acidity of rhubarb and lemon zest, blending gently with heart notes of delicate rose and peony. The base is soft and enveloping, with a touch of white musk and vanilla. The result is a lightly fruity floral scent, with rhubarb adding an unexpected complexity that contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the floral notes.
• Bella by Nina Ricci
In 2018, the third installment of the Les Belles de Nina saga is revealed, introducing a new modern princess, Bella. The iconic apple is dressed in a bright green, as bold as it is eye-catching. The bottle is a testament to Bella's insouciance and femininity, reflecting her vibrant passion. Golden leaves whisper beneath the feet of a mysterious ladybug, the inseparable companion of this new heroine. Bella leaves behind a floral, tangy trail, where the gourmand audacity of rhubarb is balanced by the romantic femininity of rose jelly.
• Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate by Hermès
This creation by Christine Nagel is a true tribute to rhubarb. Rhubarb dominates from the opening, its acidity blending harmoniously with citrus. Heart notes in Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate are softened by the presence of red fruits, while white musk provides a soft, enveloping base. It's a fresh, joyful eau de cologne, perfect for summer for men and women.
• Rhubarb & Citrus Cologne by Jo Malone
Created by Christine Nagel, this fragrance is a fresh, invigorating blend of tart rhubarb and sparkling citrus. The rhubarb top note is complemented by mandarin and grapefruit, while the base is composed of cedar. The result is a light, refreshing fragrance, perfect for a sunny summer's day.
• Fabulous Me by Paco Rabanne
A unisex amber and vanilla fragrance launched in 2019 by Paco Rabanne in the Paco Rabanne Pacollection collection. This Eau de Parfum is designed to evoke luxurious comfort, as if wrapped in precious cashmere. The opening is dominated by a zesty, exotic note of rhubarb, which lends a slightly tart freshness to the fragrance. At the heart of the fragrance, notes of orange blossom and vanilla create a soft, sensual and slightly gourmand accord, while the sandalwood base brings a rich, woody warmth to the composition. The result is an opulent, cosy fragrance, a true eulogy of gentleness and indulgence. Fabulous Me Eau de Parfum is ideal for those who appreciate sophisticated vanilla fragrances with a modern twist.
• Live Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent
A men's fragrance launched by Yves Saint Laurent in 1998. Inspired by the energy and spontaneity of jazz, this fragrance captures the spirit of the music in a vibrant blend of aromatic and citrus notes. The fragrance opens with fresh, sparkling top notes of lemon and mint, evoking the effervescence and vivacity of jazz. The heart notes, composed of coriander and nutmeg, add a spicy warmth that contrasts perfectly with the freshness of the opening. At the base, the fragrance reveals woody notes of cedar and vanilla, adding depth and sophistication to the composition. Live Jazz is a dynamic, stimulating fragrance, perfect for the modern man who appreciates the art of jazz and the enthusiasm it inspires. Its rich, varied composition makes it an excellent choice for any occasion, whether casual or formal.