Tart, zingy and sharp, at the same time refreshing, sweet, fruity and green. In this post, our perfumer takes you through the wonderful smell of rhubarb!
All about rhubarb
Rhubarb is recognised for its bright pink and red fleshy stalks and tart flavour. Although classed as a vegetable, it is often treated as a fruit in the culinary world and usually incorporated into sweet foods like tarts and pies for a touch of zing.
In Britain, rhubarb is often associated with childhood thanks to the beloved rhubarb and custard sweets. In some Asian cultures, it better known for its medicinal uses. Due to the high levels of oxalic acid and anthrone glycosides, the large triangular leaves of the rhubarb plant is poisonous and so only the stalk is consumed.
Ingredients that smell of rhubarb
In perfumery, the use of rhubarb notes can add a unique freshness and sharpness to a fragrance. Like most fruits and vegetables, the scent of rhubarb cannot be extracted naturally. So perfumers have a choice to reconstruct its smell with accords or to pick between ready-made ‘compositions’ and synthetic ingredients when creating a fragrance with notes of rhubarb.
Depending on the type of effect a perfumer wants to create, there is a range of different ‘rhubarb-like’ ingredients to choose from including styrallyl acetate, rhubarb oxirane and rhubarb pyran, as well as the popular Rhubofix by Firmenich.
Like most fruits and vegetables, the scent of rhubarb cannot be extracted naturally. So perfumers have a choice to reconstruct its smell.
Rhubarb in perfumes
Rhubarb is an underrated ingredient in perfumery. Surprisingly so as the ingredient pairs seamlessly with notes of floral, green and citrus. Each of which pulls out a different rhubarb facet: florals enhance its fruitiness while greens heighten the already verdant nature of the ingredient, and citruses bring out the tingly, sharpness often associated with rhubarb.
A multi-faceted ingredient going from sour to sweet, green to fruity, but wherever it’s used in, it always adds a mouth-watering zing to the fragrance. A kind of fruity-green tingle that can’t help but bring a smile to our faces.