The initial fragrance in the Aybury range, Reticent, brought together two distinctive oils, geranium and lime, both of which have been employed in body lotions for centuries. We use Egyptian geranium for its natural skin toning properties while the sweet aroma encourages deep relaxation. Recently we’ve been digging through musty volumes to learn more about this fragrance, which hails from southern Africa, and discovered fascinating insights.
Geranium oil is an almost colourless to yellowish-green liquid extracted from the Pelargonium capitatum, or rose-leaf geranium, the leaves of which when steam-distilled give a rose-like odour approaching the attar (the essential oil) of roses. Extracting geranium oil is a complex and expensive process, with up to 500 kilograms (1,125lbs) of plant needed to produce a single kilo (2.25lb) of oil. Geranium oil is recognised for its value in promoting skin cell health, and in regenerating new cells; as a circulatory oil, its fragrance is released with the natural perspiration of the body.
Geranium oils have been used since Egyptian times to soothe the skin and calm bodily rhythms. A native plant of southern Africa, the geranium first appeared in Europe in the 17th century: in 1631, gardener John Tradescant is believed to have purchased seeds from France and introduced the plant to England. In Victorian times, fresh geranium leaves were often consumed at the table; edible leaves are still used in desserts and calming teas.
From Poucher’s standard reference Perfumes, Cosmetics & Soaps, published in 1925, we found that a hundred years ago the geranium plants were cultivated extensively in northern Africa, southern France, Spain, and Italy, and harvested only after the leaves began to turn yellow, their odour changing “from that of lemon to rose.” The plants were “mown towards evening on fine days”, to ensure the herb remained moist, and the oils from geraniums grown in the Vallauris district of France were said to be “of very fine bouquet.”
By the way, there are more than 200 varieties of Pelargonium, but only a few are suitable for perfume oil extraction, and the familiar garden variety is not one of them. At Aybury we brought two wonderful fragrances together - geranium and lime - to rather magically (we think!) create Reticent as our initial, signature product.
Check out our discoveries about lime too.
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