In this post, we take you through two of the most iconic ingredients of perfumery – rose and geranium. Did you know their scent is very close to one another and this is due to their shared chemistry.
Geranium, A Masculine Rose
From the Latin Pelargonium graveolens meaning strong-smelling. And it most certainly is!
When you think of geranium you’ll probably conjure up images of flower boxes on window sills, with beautiful pink and red flowers sitting elegantly, their scent filling your nose as you walk by. It’s not the flowers that carry its scent, but the leaves! If you crush a geranium leaf between your fingers, you’ll smell citrus and fruity accents with a hint of spice and a rose smell of course!
Generally, for its scent, geranium is often mistaken for ‘the other’ rose but with a less powdery and more lemony, herbaceous aroma, with a soft but potent warm green scent.
Geranium in Perfumery
It is commonly used in many soaps and lotions, giving it a believed ‘soapy’ scent which is also then why rose get’s a similar association but is also often used in masculine fragrances.
Geranium is a great floral note to bring your top and base base notes together, giving a boost to any other rose ingredients in a composition.
Geranium Essential Oil
Similar to rose, geranium oil is obtained by the distillation of the leaves and stalks. The liquid gives off a sharp and herbaceous green scent and with a sweet minty-rose undertone. Unlike rose, it’s much cheaper to obtain!
However, where rose generally carries a sweeter smell, geranium has an aromatic quality (similar to lavender) making it smell more ‘masculine’ to some noses. The extract is therefore used in many masculine perfumes, as well as the traditionally masculine Fougere and Chypre accords although we see everyone enjoying it’s scent.
You can find the noble geranium absolute, a richer, deeper extract to its counterpart essential oil, also comes at a higher price-tag!
The Chemistry of Geranium
The well known molecules found within geranium oil are citronellol, nerol, geraniol and linalool – many molecules shared with rose and which explains why they carry a similar scent profile! Nerol is found in lemongrass, contributing to geraniums lemony scent and geraniol is one of the primary components in rose oil, contributing to geraniums rosy smell!