Jasmine Perfume Ingredient: What is It? What Does It Smell Like?

Jasmine is flowery, heady, and exotic. Its scent is rich and sweet, and its animalic quality could also explain why jasmine is thought to be an aphrodisiac.

Its richness has seen it used in the perfume industry to add a sexy muskiness to otherwise flowery, light scents. 

Jasmine smells different depending on where it’s grown. Thus, jasmine absolutes (the concentrated pure form of jasmine oil) each have their own character. 

Some will be sweeter, others more aromatic. This is one of the many reasons jasmine forms a cornerstone in perfumery.

What is Jasmine?

Jasmine is a small, white, star-shaped flower that boasts an intensely sweet-smelling, almost sensual scent. Jasmine does not like the cold; therefore jasmine plants must be protected from the cold weather when grown in cooler climates. 

Common jasmine grows as a vine and is distinguished from Royal jasmine due to its larger, glossier green leaves. Jasmine bushes can produce white flowers, pink, ivory, and even yellow blooms.

Many varieties, including those grown for perfume, are produced in subtropical regions where the climate and temperature are just what these white florals require for optimal growth. 

Jasmine also requires some sort of structure for support, be that garden cane, an arbor, or a wall as the plant can grow up to 4.5m tall! All varieties require fertile soil, plenty of sunlight, and good drainage. 

When young, the plants will need to be trained, so weave their tender shoots through trellis or use plant ties. 

If you’re growing the vining variety, be wary of spider mites. These mites can be combated using neem oil or horticultural oil. 

All types are members of the olive family. 

What Does Jasmine Smell Like?

The jasmine smell comes from the flowers of the plant. Jasmine sambac and grandiflorum are the two species most often used for perfumes. 

The former comes from eastern India and is also found in China. Sambac comes from the Sanskrit word ‘campaka’ which means heady perfume. 

The word jasmine is from the persian ‘yasmine’ which means fragrance, spawning the literal translation: heady fragrance.

It’s close to the orange blossom flower in scent and contains hints of green tea. It has a honey-like smell and is often referred to as sweet jasmine.

Meanwhile, jasmine grandiflorum comes from northern India and can be identified by 5 long petals. It’s greener than sambac and has a stronger emphasis on spice.

The lifespan of a jasmine plant is about 15 years. The scent of jasmine was originally obtained through enfleurage.

Enfleurage was a very expensive and time-consuming technique that involved each petal being pressed between cold fat. The fat would absorb the scent of the flower and result in jasmine oil.

Today, jasmine perfume is harvested using the volatile solvent extraction technique. Hexane is most commonly used as the solvent and is heated and then removed via evaporation. 

A fragrant, waxy material called concrete is then isolated. The concrete is subsequently mixed with alcohol, then heated and cooled repeatedly until the concrete is purified of the vegetable components and waxes it contains. 

The absolute or essential oil is finally harvested once the alcohol has evaporated.

800kg of fresh jasmine flower results in a yield of around 600g of jasmine absolute.

What Scent Family is Jasmine?

Jasmine belongs to the floral family. 

In Persian, jasmine means ‘gift of the gods.’ The jasmine scent is alluring and sensuous, creating fragrances with an unforgettable floral scent.

What are the Benefits of Jasmine?

In Muslim and Hindu traditions, jasmine flowers are used to create a perfume that is deemed the perfume of love. It’s used in aromatherapy to relax muscles, lower emotional borders, and promote intimacy.  

When inhaled, jasmine scents improve mood, reduce food cravings and alleviate stress levels. If created for aphrodisiac purposes, jasmine perfumes often include ylang ylang.

Jasmine flowers are also used in medicine. They’ve been used to help treat hepatitis (liver disease), as a sedative (due to its relaxation qualities), in cancer treatment, to treat pain caused by cirrhosis of the liver, and abdominal pain caused by diarrhea. 

Jasmine is applied topically to the skin to speed up wound healing, treat skin disease, and reduce breast milk production. It’s also used to flavor food and drinks. 

However, the scent is quite intense so they should be diluted before use. 

Is Jasmine Feminine or Masculine Scent?

Although identified through its flowery and sweet smell, jasmine perfumes are suited to both males and females as the spicy notes lend jasmine some versatility in perfumery.

Best Perfumes with Jasmine Notes

1. Byredo Flowerhead Eau de Parfum

Byredo Flowerhead blends supporting notes and other florals to produce their jasmine perfume. 

Honeysuckle, rose, and vanilla are mingled with top notes of angelica seeds and lingonberry to produce a scent explosion.

2. Gucci Bloom

Featuring top notes of rangoon creeper, heart notes of jasmine bud, and base notes of natural tuberose, Gucci Bloom, like its name, unfolds on the skin. 

The smell of jasmine perfume lingers long past the initial spritz of perfume and its sweetness and hint of musk create a sensual, aromatic experience.

3. Le Labo Jasmin 17 Eau de Parfum

Fragrances of bitter orange, sandalwood, bergamot, amber, rose, honeysuckle, neroli, and green tones twist together with jasmine scent to form a rich, and intoxicating musky note.

4. Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

This is one of those perfumes you can’t forget. Due to the addition of melon and cucumber, its distinctive green color makes this unique within the family of jasmine perfumes. 

Created in the 1950s by Edmond Roudnitska, this perfume was a secret recipe and was worn only by his wife, until it was recently debuted by Frederic Malle. 

It smells unique yet familiar all at once. 

The Bottom Line

A giant in the perfumery industry, the delicate scents of these white flowers create a perfume that is delicate and equally animalic.

The heady, floral smell lends well to mixing with other floral notes to create the best jasmine perfumes.