Buddawood July 18, 2016
Mysterious & Curious
If the name doesn’t capture your attention, then the product itself should as its unique woody note has got many in the fragrance world excited!
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Buddawood is also known as ‘False Sandalwood’, ‘Desert Rosewood’ or by its botanical name Eremophila mitchellii and there’s more to the name than first meets the eye. Eremophila can be broken down into its true meaning. ‘Eremo’ refers to a lonely place or desert, while ‘phila’ means to love. Put together and you have something like ‘to love a lonely place’, or ‘to love the desert’, and it’s from the desert, or drier parts of Queensland where the tree finds its native place.
Its meaning doesn’t stop there. In the perfumery world, buddawood is also part of the woody family also known as the Chypre family. The name ‘Chypre’ is French for Cyprus – birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
So when all this is put together what’s not to love about the name and the product itself certainly won’t let you down.
Buddawood is steam distilled from the bark of Eremophila mitchellii and is found in drier parts of eastern Queensland, South Australia and northern-central New South Wales. The tree itself can grow up to 10 metres tall and when flowering produces a delicate white/cream petal as pictured.
The main constituents of the essential oil are eremophilone, 2-hydroxy-eremophilone, and 2-hydroxy-2-dihydro eremophilone, and is said to be somewhat similar to components of vetiver and agarwood.
The species was first formally described in 1848 by the botanist George Bentham and the description was published in Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia. The specific epithet (mitchellii) honours the explorer and surveyor, Thomas Mitchell.
As with many Australian essential oils buddawood has many stories connecting its medicinal and therapeutic benefits with Aboriginal communities. Steeped in history for its positive effects it was even recognised as a potential fragrance fixative back in the 1920s. For many years it remained a boutique essential oil while other local oils, particularly sandalwood and tea tree, took all the headlines and grew on a global stage.
Despite its seemingly multi-purpose properties the product hadn’t been given the opportunity to prosper until recently. In the 1990’s there was a small amount of production, which was extracted by hexane, but raw material supply and producers interest was not in place, so for anyone who did show a genuine interest, projects became a non-starter. Thankfully, with the help of a few supporters, a new steam distillation facility was set up in South Australia and with it the guarantee of the respective state governments to harvest almost unlimited supplies of the tree, which in turn helped combat what was seen as fire hazards by the local authorities. So only in the past few years has buddawood had the platform on which to shine and with confidence amongst potential end-users growing, so to is the demand.
AROMATHERAPY & MEDICINAL
It was the Aboriginals who first started to use buddawood to sooth cuts and grazes but the oil was also used in religious ceremonies to inspire peace and mindfulness. It is believed it also helps centre our emotions and encourage calm and relaxation, making it a fantastic aromatherapy oil. It can also be used to help relieve muscular pains thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
There are not many examples of this oil already be used in fine fragrance but having canvased a number of perfumers from around the globe there has been a genuine interest in the product.
Many describe the odour as having a sweet and fresh top, a musky heart, a warm and mossy depth and a peppery spice note.
However in today’s market it does present some interesting commercial value as other essential oils in the woody family are either more expensive (like sandalwood), IFRA restricted (like oakmoss) or simply unavailable (like vetiver). Not only does this have a unique odour profile, but also it performs well as a fixative as well as blending nicely with cedar and patchouli.
So isn’t it time for a new sustainable woody note that ticks all the boxes?
In summary the product performs, has genuine benefits, it’s a little unique, has a great story, its sustainable and competitively priced.
So now seems an appropriate time to ask – why are you not using buddawood?