TONKAAmazingly, tonka bean is actually a member of the pea family. The seeds – from the fruit of the Dypterix Odorata tree – are black and wrinkled, and when grated give off pleasant aromas of sweet spice, vanilla, praline and almond. The scent actually comes from an aroma compound called coumarin: traditionally, tonka beans would be dried and cured in rum, producing small crystals of coumarin. (Today, a synthetic coumarin is widely used.)  Very popular in contemporary perfumery – tonka’s sweetness goes beautifully in gourmand fragrances, as well as Ambrées – it was also used in the past for making pot pourri, to scent snuff, as well as being layered between clothes. (Now that we’d have loved to smell…)

As perfumer Alienor Massenet explains, ‘tonka is warm and smooth – but unlike vanilla, it can remind you of hay. I love to use it because it’s big and powerful, very sensual. Used with an amber note, it creates a real addiction…’ And Dior’s Perfumer-Creator François Demachy adds: ‘The tonka bean is a concentrate of sensations and aromas. It is dual, it has a multifarious seduction. Its milky sweetness invariably attracts. But it also reveals a soft yet surprising bitterness, when you taste it.’

Smell tonka in:

Bulgari Jasmin Noir
Chanel Coco
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
Dior La Collection Privée Fève Délicieuse
Dior Addict
Dior J’Adore L’Or
Givenchy Ange ou Demon
Guerlain Shalimar
Guerlain Elixir Charnel Ambrée Brulant
Guerlain Samsara
Guerlain Tonka Impériale
Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 15
Thierry Mugler Angel
Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto

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