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Scents of the Amazon: Replacing Rosewood in Perfumery? Part I*

Posted: March 20, 2007

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In 2004, Brazil ws the 10th largest essential oil importer ($42 million) in the world. Simultaneously, the country is the world’s fourth leading essential oil exporter (US$98 million). (For a rundown of key materials, see T-4.) The domestic cosmetic and perfumery industry fragments as follows: hair care 25%, fragrance 13%, oral care 10%, bath 10%, skin care 9% and deodorant 9% (source: ABIHPEC). The country’s growing sales rate in cosmetics (~17%) has outstripped everyone (including China), except for Argentina. The market share of the Brazilian cosmetics segment breaks down into: 69% personal care, 18% cosmetics and 13% perfumes.

The strong growth has sparked a competitive landscape, including national companies such as Dierberger, Centroflora & Anidro and Sanrisil; Amazonian interests such as Beraca-Brasmazon, Magama Industrial, Erva Ativa, Kaiorós (ex-Aromatica), Robert Mause and Benchimol (Bemol); and international interests including IFF, Givaudan, Firmenich and Mane.

Brazil has already commercialized a number of traditional raw materials for the fragrance industry, including rosewood, tonka beans and copaiba. Some interesting emerging essential oils of the region include Cordia verbenaceae, Lippia sidoides, Schinus therebentifolium, Baccharis dracunculifolia, Piptadenia rigida, basil (Ocimum basilicum) and Priprioca (Cyperus articulatus). From Amazon new oils are being researched as Breu (Protium heptaphyllum), Aeolanthus suaveolens, Macacaporanga (Aniba parviflora) and rosewood leaf oil. 

Address correspondence to Lauro E.S. Barata;

*Adapted from a presentation at Centifolia—6th International Congress on Perfumery and Natural Raw Materials, Grasse, France.