As soon as I got some galbanum essential oil, I knew I wanted to experiment with building a blend around it. That sharp, bitter, unrelenting greenness, that would make itself known no matter what else it accompanied in a vial.

It turned out not to be straightforward at all.

The first few tries were just plain awful. They soon convinced me that galbanum is an “accessory note,” an ingredient of which a tiny amount has a large effect in a mixture. I thought that perhaps some ethylene brassylate and ambrettolide would help to smooth it out and enable it to amalgamate with the florals, but these synthetic musks mostly stood aside and aloof.

The latest (before I put it away and call it a day) contains:

  • Top: galbanum, cypress, Rhubofix®
  • Heart: litsea cubeba, jasmine sambac, tuberose, rose absolute
  • Base: sandalwood, amyris, Haitian vetiver


It opens green, but tempered with eager flowers that soon make way for the vetiver and sandalwood, retreating into sandalwood (as it’s in a higher concentration) dusted with an earthy, nondescript essential oil smell. The citrusy aspect of litsea cubeba—an accessory note—lends a brightness throughout.

This was one that I didn’t have a name for, but it’s easier to shelve something with rather than without one. As it made me think of what a freshly broken twig might smell like, with some leaves around it, I dubbed it… Twigonometry.






4 thoughts on “Twigonometry

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