Ah, pesto… Basil is a delicious herb, when used in cooking – and a delicious, aromatic fragrance note, too, with a green, slightly sharp and spicy edge that lends itself really well to men’s scents. In ancient Arabic perfumery, basil was known as ‘the king of the fragrant plants’. Closer to home, this annual (a member of the mint family) grows up to three ft./almost a metre high, and the oil’s derived from the paper-thin leaves leaves. Different basils have different fragrance qualities: it can be lemony, or tarragon-like, or – well, just plain basil-y. Because some of the natural chemical compounds found in basil – eugenol, linalool and methyleugenol – are sensitisers, those now must be listed on perfume ingredients lists as a caution to those who know they react.
Smell basil in: