Friday, July 2, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Cilantro

It's that time of year where Summer festivities are at a peek with fresh foods from the garden, picnics, and fun in the sun. For this celebration of bounty today we illuminate the flavor and fragrance of Cilantro.

Cilantro, often termed Chinese parsley, is the green leaves of the Coriander plant Coriandrum sativum. The term cilantro is used when speaking of the fresh herb where as the dried seeds are referred to as Coriander. Nothing like a little botanical confusion.

Most often you will find the fresh herbs used for fresh south of the border flavorings for Mexican and Asian food where as the dried version is used in European and Middle Eastern dishes.


The essential oil of Cilantro is very much like the herb: green, fresh and enlivening. To obtain the essence the raw plant matter is steam distilled The note classification falls between a top and a middle. I suggest putting it on a scent strip and determining the classification for yourself. In natural and botanical perfumery you will notice that the same fresh quality the herb imparts on food also transpires in perfume. The dominant fragrance family for Cilantro essential oil is herbaceous and has the ability to wander into the green and spice territories as well.

Coriander essential oil is much more common than Cilantro. This is due to the fact that the later is mainly composed of the organic chemical decylaldehyde which is very cheap as a synthetic aroma chem.

I used Cilantro essential oil in the new version of Page47. I discovered that this note has the ability to amp up citrus and works particularly well with Bergamot. Thus for our project today I'd like to suggest an adaption of a traditional cologne using Cilantro as the herbal component.

CILANTRO EDC (Eau de Cologne)

Essential oil Synergy (see below)
- 7 drops distilled water or hydrosol
- 90 mls Alcohol: Use perfumers alcohol. Vodka, rum,
or brandy can be used if perfumers alcohol is not an option.

Essential Oil Synergy
25 drops Bergamot essential oil
15 drops Lime essential oil
4 drops Neroli essential oil
5 drops Cilantro essential oil
3 drops Clary Sage essential oil
1 drop Cistus essential oil

1. Combine essential oils together into a glass bottle with a tight fitting lid. Allow to meld or move on to to step two.
2. Add essential oils to your alcohol, allow to meld or move on to to step three.
3. Add water drop by drop to the blend and allow to set in a cool, dark space with lid tightly secured for at least a few days, a month to a week is best.
4. Decant or filter into a colored glass atomizer.
5. Spritz as needed.

Look for my version on at the E-shop soon.


About a month ago I came across a package of Red Quinoa at Trader Joes and choose to give it a try, already being a long time fan of the regular variety. When I went to prepare it I decided to follow recipe on the box for a fresh Mexican salad using the protein rich grain, black beans, corn, cilantro and lime. Since that day I have been addicted to using fresh cilantro in almost everything. My favorite is combining it with lime for salad dressing.

"Delish" Strawberry photo by of Mindy Strauss
Cilantro photo from FrogPondGardens
Mouth, Nose and Cologne engravings have been digitally enhanced by Roxana Villa


Unknown said...

Yum. I love to make pico de gallo with fresh cilantro. I also adore it in curries. It's still early here and now I'm hungry. Have you ever noticed it's a love/hate herb though? I know people who absolutely can't stand it.

Illuminated Perfume said...

Hi Kjanicki, Curry with fresh cilantro sounds like heaven! Indeed, some people detest it, reminds me of that love hate affect of Patchouli essential oil.