Real vanilla is a fascinating plant with beautiful orchid flowers, a rich and magical history - and long traditional use as a powerful mood-influencing aroma!
When Spanish settlers arrived at the Gulf coast of Mexico in the early 1500s, they discovered that the Aztecs were using this exotic little pod (‘vainilla’ in Spanish) in their temples as a soothing fragrance, to connect them to their Gods.
And it turned out, also at home to connect them to each other by boosting their libido! It was collected up and shipped back to Europe, along with other new sensations cacao and tobacco.
There, it gained a racy reputation amongst the courtiers of fashionable European cities as a sensual, elegant perfume for both men and women.
Vanilla is the most labour-intensive crop in the world. That’s why it’s so expensive. It can take three years before the first beautiful orchids appear on the vines. Each flower then has to be hand-pollinated - using a method invented back in 1841 by a 12-year old slave called Edmond Albius, whose name lives on in history.
When the beans are harvested, they are sun-dried and rested for a month or two to mature. During that time, in Madagascar (where the best vanilla is now grown) they are vulnerable to vanilla rustlers – so growers have to ‘brand’ each bean with a pin.
Vanilla Moods today
Today, many aromatherapists make strong claims for its anti-depressant and antioxidant qualities. At Prescent, we prefer the original Aztec uses – simply to help relax, and to gently boost the libido.
We’ve tried it many ways – and found it best when blended as part of a rich, complex fragrance where its sweet gentle magic works as a major – but subtle – ingredient.
So we invite you to enjoy its sensual qualities, like the ancient Aztecs, in two different summer perfumes: a fresh easy-going mood of chilled-out pleasure for the day time, and a stimulating, sensual mood that leads deep into the magic night.