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Opopanax in perfumery

What is opoponax?

Opoponax (which can also be written oppoponax) is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Apiacéeae family. It grows in a tuft on a long stalk leading to small white or yellow flowers. The latter comes to us from a shrub growing in the Middle East and Africa, mainly in Somalia, Ethiopia or Eritrea. You will understand, opoponax is a plant that needs a warm climate to develop. However, strange as it may seem at first glance, the part that interests perfumers is not its flower but its stem. Indeed, in perfumery, the opoponax is famous for its resin resulting from this part. Likewise, opoponax is a substance that is often used as incense and is used in particular to purify the air and to disinfect it. What's more, theopoponax has stimulating and relaxing properties. In the 17th century, doctors believed they were helpful in the healing process, and plasters were even prescribed. The remedy was thus administered to Louis XIV when he suffered from a tumor. In perfumery, on the other hand, opoponax is rather used in the form of a balm.

The use of opoponax in perfumes

Today, all of the biggest brands in perfumery use opoponax. This ingredient offers a balsamic, round, sweet and velvety scent. Opoponax is both warm and earthy, giving scents that contain it a multi-faceted olfactory sensation. It leaves behind a fruity, herbal and very uplifting sensation. Its scents are mainly used as a base for oriental or amber fragrances. However, when opoponax is used in top notes, it provides the characteristics of a solvent. It is an ingredient that pairs wonderfully with tonka bean, benzoin, vanilla or Peruvian balsam. Often, even though opoponax is an essential ingredient in many perfumes, it is not a highlighted raw material.This serves more as a support.

Opoponax is a kind of essential element of perfumery serving as the backbone of many essences. As such, it is part of certain world famous recipes such as that of the emblematic Shalimar by Guerlain. Likewise, it is the star ingredient in Opoponax des Néreides, a very resinous juice combining a mixture of citrus fruits with a more vanilla and woody background. Finally, it is very popular with the biggest luxury brands and notably present in the essential Poison de Dior, Coco de Chanel or Flower by Kenzo, combining in this one with white musk and leaving a feeling of freshness and clean behind him.


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