Cardamom

Cardamom’s been spicing up perfumery (and the incense trade) at least since Egyptian times, and was one of the key fragrance plants used in Greek perfumes.  It’s pricy –the third-costliest spice in the world (after vanilla and saffron) – but so aromatic that only a touch is needed of the essential oil that’s steam-distilled from the seeds of the Elletaria cardomomum plant.  (What you see in a photo is the pod:  pop it open and the tiny seeds spill out.)  Widely used in cooking, too, in south-east Asia – and perhaps most famously, to flavour chai – its slightly camphorous properties work to freshen breath.  In fact, there are two variietes of cardamom:  earthy, smoky black cardamom – and the fresher, almost minty, eucalyptus-y green cardamom.  The first works perfectly in more exotic, Ambrée blends – making for something that’s almost skin-like, or suede-soft – while the aromatic green cardamom adds brightness mostly to colognes and men’s scents.

Smell cardamom in:

Dior Dolce Vita
Diptyque L’Autre
Yves Saint Laurent La Collection Nu

 

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