As one of the two principal ingredients in our Reticent line of body products, lime was matched with geranium to produce a distinctive, sensuous fragrance redolent of summer days and evenings in the Mediterranean. The uplifting and zesty notes of Reticent’s lime oils come from fruit specially hand-picked for us in Cagliari, Italy. Our historical research has turned up some engaging details about this most prized fruit of the citrus family.
The lime - a native plant of India - is now grown around the world, although Poucher’s standard reference Perfumes, Cosmetics & Soaps, published in 1925, insists that the best supplies a hundred years ago came from the Caribbean, in particular the islands of Dominica and Monserrat, where the lime oils were extracted from the rind of Citrus medica either by hand pressing or distillation. Verrill’s Perfumes and Spices (1940) notes “the finest quality of hand-pressed lime oil is made from selected, perfect, unripe fruit”, using a device similar to a nutmeg grater.
Known to be highly beneficial in skin care, the lime figures in mythology. A Greek tale has the gods Zeus and Hermes descending to earth in disguise only to find that nobody would give them shelter - until they reached the home of Philemon and Baucis, who opened their door to the strangers. As a reward, Zeus granted them eternal life together by transforming Philemon into an oak tree and Baucis into a lime, so they could grow side by side. To this day, Greeks will often plant a lime next to an oak.
Across history the lime tree has been sacred. The much-travelled English baronet Sir Thomas Herbert (1606-1682) in his volume Some Yeares Travels into Africa and Asia the Great refers to limes growing near Mozambique in the mid-seventeenth century “along with oranges and lemons.” In the middle ages in Europe, courts sat under a lime tree as a sign of justice and fairness. Limes were planted along highways by royal decree so citizens could access the fruit.
It’s a pleasure to wander through old books and find these treasures of information from the past. At Aybury we brought two wonderful fragrances together - geranium and lime - to rather magically (we think!) create Reticent as our initial, signature product. Our follow-up offering, Limerence, is a tantalising blend of two equally unique fragrances, frankincense and mandarin. The world is full of wonderful scents, and we’ve only just started on this journey of subtle discovery.
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