Champaca is used in certain high-class perfumes where it may produce a unique, warm, floral-leafy note which is often compared to that of.a fine grade of tea.
We consider our Red Champaca to be one of the most enticing, exotic floral scents imaginable – indeed, a precious luxury perfume material! It is similar in aroma to our Champaca CO2 but with noticeably deeper, richer, more intense sultry floral notes layered beneath suave fruit and earthy tea-like tonalities; a faint minty/herbal note lingers in the background. The drydown presents a veritable symphony of scents – hay, dried fruits, and hints of tobacco provide the underlying aromatics of this extraordinary absolute. The famous perfume Joy, introduced in 1930 by Jean Patou and advertised at the time as “the costliest perfume in the world”, contains Red Champaca among other voluptuous and highly prized floral notes.
Michelia champaca is an evergreen tree native to the Philippines and the Indonesian islands, but now also grows in places far west of its origin – India, southeast China, Réunion, and Madagascar; the flowers are a beautiful deep orange-yellow, but vary in color according to locality, borne on medium-sized slender trees related to the Magnolias. In many areas where it thrives, the flowers are used for ornamental purposes and for worship in temples. Champaca blossoms were and still are commonly used to make an ‘attar’ – regarded as a holy fragrance – by distilling the oil from the flowers directly into a receiver containing Sandalwood essential oil. According to Jennifer Peace Rhind, the aroma of Champaca has a euphoric quality, perhaps similar to that of Jasmine or Neroli. As cited in Guenther’s The Essential Oils, Champaca constitutes one of the most exquisite raw materials for perfumery.
Michelia champaca absolute, rare and hard to come by, is now known to us as being sourced from a species that is red-listed in India