Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sugandh Kokila

So I ran across a one ounce bottle of this stuff in the box of gifted aromatics and became instantly intrigued. I mean, how can one not with a name like 'sugandh kokila'? Sounds exotic and rare, yes? Well, it isn't. Rare, that is. Exotic, yes. Different? Definitely. According to White Lotus Aromatics, sugandh kokila is a berry from the Cinnamomum glaucescens, syn. C.cecidodaphne. The oil from this berry, per WLA's site, is "a rich, sweet, penetrating, spicy-wood-resinous bouquet with a warm, radiant, herbaceous, camphoraceous undertone with good tenacity. In the deep dry out phase (after 12 hours) there remains a sweet, delicate, spicy herbaceous aroma on the perfumers strip". Yeah, that pretty much describes it. That camphoraceous note, though, is quite faint, definitely an 'undertone', as WLA presents. It's that spicy woods and resin with a radiant quality that makes this oil so special. It is multi-faceted, woody, resinous, spicy (think cinnamon -- true cinnamon), kind of a hard to place scent. It would come off as a perfume on its own if there were a sweeter element to it, vanilla or tonka or santal. Sugandh kokila is also used in Ayurvedic medicine as a stress and pain reliever, and as a general body strengthener, particularly the digestive system. The berry is derived from evergreen trees which grow in Nepal and Bhutan. Other names sugandh kokila goes by are cinnamon berry, gondsoroi, and malligiri. I prefer sugandh kokila, as sugandh, or 'sugandha' means 'fragrant' in Sanskrit. I don't know what kokila means. Berry maybe? I did with it what I normally do with these kinds of things when I dig them up -- I made soap. First I looked up whether it would cost an arm and a leg to replace if I used it all up in a single batch, and it turns out it's fairly inexpensive given its multi-purpose uses in perfumery. I added a bit of rosemary and peppermint oils, plus some powdered peppermint leaf and a teaspoon or two of organic poppy seeds to rough it up a bit -- exfoliating soap is so nice during the colder months. It smells out of this world -- spicy with just a hint of mint and a woody/resinous sheen. Invigorating and warming. A great transitional soap from season to season as it embodies both warm and cool elements.

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