Many of these restricted ingredients are the important, classic, exquisitely beautiful and complex irreplaceable ingredients of perfume that have been used, like rose and jasmine for example, for more than two thousand years. Many citrus ingredients, and one of my favorites, oakmoss, integral for the classic chypre formulation (the beautiful dark earthy scent that is distinctive in a chypre) are also on the IFRA list of outlaw ingredients. Because of this their use has been reduced to such small amounts in the European Union that they have lost their significant contribution to perfume composition. Synthetic substitutes which are much cheaper and chemically much simpler are being used instead.
The independent perfumers in the Natural Perfumer's Guild do not belong to IFRA but if they are in the EU or if they wish to sell in Europe they are affected by these policies. There has been lobbying to get the IFRA standards passed in the U.S., which will make life very hard for the independent natural perfumers, just as they are now beginning to become more well known and popular with consumers. If these regulations are adopted in the U.S., the natural perfumers will become outlaws, because these restricted ingredients are so important to their palette and are the main source of the special beauty of the natural perfumes they make. Suppliers of natural essential oils will also be affected adversely, and the availability of natural essences may shrink or become even more expensive than they are already.
The list of ingredients is long, and actually quite shocking, because most of these ingredients have been known to have beneficial effects, even if some people are affected adversely by them in some way. It is like saying aspirin should not be used except in very minute amounts because it can be counter-indicated for certain people. Food products like peanuts and strawberries have a strong, even lethal allergenic effect on some people, but we use labels warning that the machinery used in food product manufacture might have had contact with them, rather than outlaw or restrict their use across the board for everyone.
Full labeling would be a reasonable way of dealing with the issues of sensitivity, but for the EU and IFRA, the answer is to prohibit or restrict the use of such natural essential oils and substances to such a degree as to render them ineffective in a perfume. Of course what we are left with then are the chemical imitations, which as good as they may smell, are nothing in comparison to the real thing, and perfumers of all kinds know this.
Here follows the essential oils and absolutes that are affected by IFRA, either because they are listed directly, or because they contain listed chemicals. Including essential oils prone to oxidation, there are some 200 materials impacted by the IFRA Code of Practice. This list has been drawn up to highlight the extensive repercussions of the guidelines, not to suggest that none of the listed oils should be in any way restricted.*
(I have emphasized my personal favorites):
Ambrette seed oil, Angelica root oil, Bakul absolute, Basil absolute, Basil oil (estragole CT), Basil oil holy) Basil oil (linalool CT), Bay oil (West Indian), Bergamot leaf oil, Bergamot peel oil (distilled), Betel leaf oil, Birch tar oil, Black tea tree oil, Boldo leaf oil, Broom absolute, Cabreuva oil, Cade oil, Calamus oil, Cananga oil, Cangerana oil, Cardamon oil, Carnation absolute, Carrot seed oil, Cascarilla oil, Cassia oil, Cassie absolute, Cinnamon bark oil, Cinnamon leaf oil, Cistus oil, Citronella oil, Clary sage oil, Clove oil, Costus oil, Cumin oil, Davana oil, Elecampane oil, Elemi oil, Fenugreek oil, Fig leaf absolute, Galangal oil, Geranium oil, Ginger oil, Ginger lily absolute, Grapefruit peel oil, Ho leaf oil, Honey myrtle oil, Horseradish oil, Horsemint oil, Huon pine oil, Hyssop oil, Jasmine grandiflorum absolute, Jasmine sambac absolute, Karo karoundé absolute, Laurel leaf oil, Lemon balm oil (Australian), Lemongrass oil,
Lemon basil oil, Lemon leaf oil, Lemon myrtle oil, Lemon tea tree oil, Lemon peel oils, Lemon thyme oil, Lemon verbena oil, Lemon verbena absolute, Lime peel oil (expressed), Lovage leaf oil, Mace oil, Mandarin leaf oil, Marjoram oil (sweet)
Massoia bark oil, May chang oil, Melissa oil, Mustard oil, Myrtle oil, Narcissus absolute, Nasturtium absolute, Nutmeg oil, Oakmoss absolute, Opoponax oil,
Orange blossom oil, Orange blossom absolute, Orange leaf oil, Orange peel oil (bitter), Orange peel oil (sweet), Oregano oil, Palmarosa oil, Peppermint oil
Perilla oil, Peru balsam oil, Phoebe oil, Pimento berry oil, Pimento leaf oil
Pteronia oil, Rose absolute, Rose oil, Rue oil, Sandalwood oil (Australian),
Santolina oil, Sassafras oil, Savin oil, Savory oil (winter), Snakeroot oil, Spearmint oil
Spike lavender oil, Styrax oil, Sugandha oil, Taget oil, Taget absolute
Tarragon oil, Tea leaf absolute, Tejpat oil, Thyme oil (thymol CT), Tolu balsam extract
Treemoss absolute, Tuberose absolute, Vassoura oil, Violet leaf absolute, Wormseed oil
Ylang‐ylang absolute, Ylang‐ylang oils
Essential oils containing “substantial amounts” of limonene or linalool should have antioxidants added to them. IFRA does not define “substantial amounts”, but adding essential oils containing 20% or more of either or both constituents to this list would grow it by 50‐60 further essential oils. Essential oils derived from the Pinacea family should also have antioxidants added to them. This would include a further 25 or so essential oils
*Source: IFRA/EU Boycott Primer 2007
Dupetit Cannabis EdT features what is probably the most outlaw natural scent of them all. There have been number of perfumes with this note recently, it is one that combines well with rose and sandalwood, as in Fresh Cannabis Rose and Fresh Cannabis Santal. The Dupetit Cannabis EdT is composed of the true hemp flower absolute with strong top notes of Tskana neroli and petitgrain from Grasse which give it a beautifully sparkling citrus quality. The cannabis effect is more in the fond and body than in the top notes. Other notes in the composition are basil, bay, bergamot, birch tar, citronella, clove, geranium, ginger, grapefruit peel, jasmine sambac absolute, lemon peel, lemon verbena, lime peel, mace, nutmeg, orange blossom absolute, orange leaf, bitter orange peel, peppermint, rose absolute, rue, thyme and tolu balsam extract (see above list, many of these are on it).
This combination of so many citrus notes of all types, combined with the green jasmine sambac and the herbs, contribute to the overall sense of an almost effervescent energetic uplifting effect, unexpected in a cannabis themed product. This is not an indolent, relaxing perfume, but an uplifting, energizing one that is smoothed by the cannabis absolute which holds the citrus notes for a long-lasting and intensified effect. Overall it seems related to a true Cologne or Acqua Admirabilis type, and I can see this as a strong masculine tho wearable as a feminine fragrance too. The anchoring cannabis absolute is made from the flower rather than the leaves so it allows more modification by the herbal notes and the rose absolute while still retaining the characteristic sharp tang. Brisk and clean, the scent does not smell like you've been getting high, but the qualities of the cannabis note have been thoughtfully used to both fix the citrus uplift and impart a unique kick of its own. The lasting power is quite long for a pure natural. Those who would like to try it can leave a comment and I will draw at the end of the week so that the outlawed perfumer, Alfredo Dupetit-Bernardi, may directly send one of you a 5 ml give-away. The site has this and other selections.
Please visit the other bloggers in this discussion of various Natural Perfumer Guild independent perfumers who are writing about the fragrances they have received with a giveaway feature, and also the rest of the outlaw perfumes:
Gaia at The Non Blonde, Donna at the Examiner.com, Felicia at Fragrance Belles Lettres, Carol at Waft by Carol, Ida, Mark and Monica at Ca Fleure Bon, me of course, here at Indieperfumes, Beth at Perfume Smellin Things and Pat at Olfactarama
As with the natural perfumers' Musk Project, I expect to get eight more interesting and beautiful natural perfumes, using the outlawed classic materials listed above, and will be discussing them here in my next posts.
Above photo of female cannabis flowers from Wikipedia, taken by Banana Patrol;
Above detail of a painting with what looks to me to be a poppy bud and the reverse of a carnation, (on the list) from a still-life of flowers by Willem van Aelst