Perfumed Alphabet: G is for Galbanum



In many a chypre, this stern,

Unforgiving, bitter, green note

Asserts itself, making heads turn.

In fougères, too, galbanum gloats,

Knowing that it’s polarizing—

Harsh, cold, yet oddly inviting.


It’s a top note but hangs around,

Its scent slightly medicinal.

Hollow, almost metallic, how

This resin for the critical

Wearer speaks their thoughts exactly,

Of independence steadfastly.



I have 2 galbanum perfumes here: Chanel N° 19 and Frédéric Malle French Lover (by Pierre Bourdon). Neither are harsh and cold nor anywhere near as austere as my pure galbanum essential oil, but the note is more pronounced in French Lover, where it balances the spicy and earthy facets of this “unequivocally masculine” (per the brand) fragrance “for the man who would not normally wear perfume.” I’ll take their word for it, as I haven’t managed to convert any non-perfume-wearing man with it thus far.

What are your favorite galbanum perfumes?






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