Bracing, uplifting and almost nose-tinglingly spicy, ginger pairs beautifully with vanilla, woody notes and citrus, as well as white flowers like jasmine and neroli. This spice is used quite widely in perfumery – as well as a wide range of foods and medicines, too, produced everywhere from South America to Malaysia, the Caribbean, Japan and Africa.
Many of us are familiar with the beige-skinned, yellow-fleshed fresh spice, which adds pungency to cooking – as the Romans, who first imported it, discovered. Those same roots we love to spice up our food with – rhizomes, to use the perfume world’s word for them – can be steam-distilled to produce this useful scented oil.
We’re generally not so familiar with the flowers – which aren’t any help to perfumers at all – but aren’t they gorgeous? (Interior decorators, as well as perfumers, also love ginger – for the sheer architecture of the plants.)
Smell ginger in: