Reseda (Mignonette) in Perfumery

Reseda is not a basic floral note in perfumery, but its vibrant green-floral odor gives a special cachet to a fragrance. At the beginning of this century, the natural flower oil of reseda was used in high class perfumes. Today, no natural flower oil is produced, and synthetic reseda compounds are used in perfumery.

Origin, Yield and Mode of Production

Reseda odorata L. (family Resedaceae) originated in Asia Minor. Three varieties were once used for the extraction of the flower oil, i.e. var. gigantea, grandiflora, and pyramidalis.

In 1891, it was reported that steam distilled reseda flowers yielded 0.002 percent of a volatile oil. The reseda-like odor of this oil became apparent only in strong dilution. Because of the low yield, reseda flowers were co-distilled hy Schimmel & Co. with geraniol, and the product was known as “Reseda-Geraniol”.

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