The fig tree, adorned with its lush leaves and delicious fruit, is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a treasure trove for perfumers. Within its essence lies a fragrant fusion of sweetness, earthiness, and a subtle green note, making it a sought-after ingredient in the world of perfumery.
IN THE BEGINNING
The use of fig in perfumery dates back to ancient times. The fig tree, known botanically as Ficus Carica, has been cultivated in various parts of the world, including the Mediterranean and the Middle East, for thousands of years. Its leaves, fruit, and milky sap have been used in traditional remedies and the crafting of fragrances.
In ancient Egypt, fig was valued for its sensual, earthy qualities, and it was often incorporated into fragrant oils and unguents. Its symbolism was closely tied to fertility and sensuality, making it a staple in the perfumes of the time.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FIG IN PERFUME
Each part of the Ficus carica plant has inspired distinct fragrance notes.
Here are some key characteristics of fig in perfume:
Sweet and Fruity: The ripe, sweet aroma of a fig adds a fruity, succulent dimension to perfumes. It can be reminiscent of a plump, sun-warmed fig freshly plucked from the tree.
Green and Leafy: The green, slightly herbal scent of fig leaves adds a refreshing and natural quality to fragrances. It can transport you to a Mediterranean garden or a lush grove.
Woody and Earthy: The woody undertones in fig notes can add depth and warmth to a fragrance, conjuring the rustic image of gnarled fig tree branches and roots.
Creamy and Milky: The fig tree's milky sap can impart a velvety, lactonic dimension to fragrances, enhancing their creamy texture.
THE CHEMISTRY OF FIG AROMAS
When figs are processed for perfumery, they can be used in a variety of forms: fig extract, fig essential oil or fig fragrance accord. Processing techniques include maceration, distillation or cold extraction to encapsulate the olfactory elements of fig, such as its fruity sweetness, green freshness and light milky note.
Figs are often recreated from synthetic molecules in perfumery for several reasons. Firstly, fresh figs are not easily accessible as a natural ingredient in many parts of the world, and their availability is restricted to specific seasons. By using synthetic molecules, perfumers can reproduce the characteristic scent of figs consistently and without seasonal constraints.
Additionally, figs have a complex olfactory profile, with different aspects: skin, pulp and fig milk. Synthetic molecules make it possible to precisely reproduce these different olfactory nuances, giving perfumers more control over the creation of the fig note and enabling them to adjust it according to their artistic vision.