Fragrance Notes: Cedar

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Cedar is my favourite fragrance note at the moment. It’s a scent that’s really common as a base in perfumes, with some interesting properties:

  • Cedar oils in perfumery come from the wood and leaves of cedar trees, but also related juniper and cypress species.
  • Depending on the source of the oil, cedar oil can contain different scent compounds. Common chemicals in cedarwood oil include cedrol, ∀-cedrene, himachalene, d-alpha-atlantone and thujopsene.

Cedar-cedrol-structure

Cedar fragrance reviews

cedar fragrances

I’ve been working my way through Commodity’s sample sets, and encountered Book. It’s part of their Black collection, which is tailored more towards men. Book has eucalyptus and bergamot framing the cedar, and it smells a lot like a wooden bookshelf. The problem I’ve found with the entire Commodity range is that while the scents are unusual and interesting, they don’t tend to last very long on your skin. Book has decent lasting power – around 8 hours on me.

I kept seeing Sarah Jessica Parker Stash mentioned in reviews of Book, so after seeing that it was $9.99 for 30 mL at Chemist Warehouse I immediately went out and grabbed myself a bottle. It’s a warmer woody cedar fragrance, with an incense vibe at the beginning and a soapy finish. I think it’s definitely a lot more feminine than Book, but not very girly. It smells a bit more like the bottom of a wooden chest of drawers, without the fresh wood scent.

The Original Gap was a destash from my friend Michaela when she moved to Dubai. It has notes of plum, cedar and leather. To me it smells the most like freshly cut wood, with a slightly acrid scent at the beginning which I’m guessing is the leather note. It’s a little harsher on the nose than Book and Stash.

I was surprised to find cedar in Katy Perry‘s new fragrance Indi. It’s quite different from the usual sugary celebrity perfumes – it starts off with a blast of musk and tonka that makes me a bit nauseous on bad days. It has a really pleasant drydown after the first few hours.

Overall I’m really enjoying my foray into woodier fragrances. I find them really comforting (maybe it’s the cedrol’s relaxant effect?).

Do you like woody perfumes? What’s your favourite?

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8 thoughts on “Fragrance Notes: Cedar”

  1. AHHHHHH woody scents are MY JAM! Ones I go on and on about to anyone who’ll listen : Comme des Garcons’ “Avignon” from their incense line (this smells precisely like some cedar or cedar/sage incense I had in the mid 90s which I’ve never been able to find again — it’s quiet and slightly sweet), D.S. & Durga’s “Bowmakers” (rare woods and varnishes, as in a luthier’s workshop — glorious), and Brambleberry’s straight-up Cedarwood EO/fragrance oil (which I also add to unscented liquid soaps etc, in combination with other stuff). Also Union’s “Celtic Fire,” and Armani Bois d’Encens, tho it’s warming up here and both of those are a little Too Much in hot weather.

    (For reference, all of these are much deeper/drier with less “light-sweet” going on than Commodity “Book.”)

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  2. So happy to have discovered your site!
    I completely understand your obsession for woody scents.
    For years I’ve been stashing pine incense in drawers and shelves to create that incredible forest vibe.
    Finding an actual woody scent has been difficult, however.
    My search has brought me to a company called Juniper Ridge.
    They seasonally forage the mountains and coastal areas for plants to make extracts, used in a few limited products.
    …and although not a cedar, Sage company makes a wonderful name-sake scent: Sage. It’s a sweetish green scent, that is contrary to standard perfumes.
    I look forward to trying some of the suggestions you have made.

    Reply

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