First I learned of it as a wood,
And then found out it’s a resin.
I’d drink it if I knew I could*;
It smells like fresh, bitter lemon
Or kumquat—that’s more accurate.
A fragrant tree, I picture it.
A heart note and good fixative,
Elemi befriends most other
Notes, being non-competitive.
A yellow, terpenic wonder.
No stranger to mainstream or niche;
Mildly spicy, it aims to please.
*Essential oils, absolutes, and extracts are generally not for internal use! Don’t drink them or add them to your food unless they are specifically labelled as food grade.
I received a good suggestion from Undina to add some examples of perfumes that contain each note at the end of these posts. With most of these, I’m going by the ingredient itself, and haven’t had the chance to smell most (if any) of the representative perfumes yet. I see a sizeable list of elemi perfumes on Fragrantica. The only one I have on hand is a sample of Kastellorizo by Maison de Parfum Berry, where elemi is listed as one of the top notes along with mastic and artemisia. To me, it smells most strongly of dried sweet fruits, and though I haven’t smelled mastic by itself, there is a pasty/gummy quality to this perfume. I have to convince myself that the elemi is there—maybe it’s in the slight acidic tang at the top.
What are your favorite perfumes that feature elemi?
4 thoughts on “Perfumed Alphabet: E is for Elemi”
Three perfumes from the Fragrantica list that I know – Diptyque Eau Duelle, NVC Mohur and Trayee – do not help me to figure out how that note smells. Not surprised or upset: oftentimes I can’t tell apart even those notes I’m well familiar with.
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The other day I tried a Fragrance by Aftelier. It is very gourmand to the point where I wanted to bite right into my arm where I sprayed it.
A gourmand with elemi? I’m imagining something like lemon custard.
Oh no, not with elemi. Your post just brought it to mind. This was with cepes mushrooms.