Thyme gets its name from the Greek word meaning ‘to fumingate’ – and its fragrant use goes back that far: the Greeks used it as a powerful incense in their temples (it was even thought to repel snakes), while the Arab perfumers also used it in their recipes. There are many different varieties of this Mediterranean shrub, but today it’s the flower tops of ‘Garden Thyme’ (a.k.a. ‘French Thyme’), or Thymus vulgaris, from which most of the essential oil is steam-distilled. It’s spicy, aromatic – and surprisingly leathery, in a perfume. A pinch of thyme is more likely to be found in a ‘masculine’ fragrance than something targeted at women, though it also makes its way into quite a few unisex Colognes.
Smell thyme in: