Words: Sarah Bradbury
The perfume world is home to lots of weird and wonderful ingredients, and one of those is rhizome! Now, you might be thinking what is rhizome and what does it have to do with perfume? Well, you’re in the right place! Today, we’re explaining all you need to know about this rare (and incredibly expensive) ingredient found in some of our favourite scents.
What is Rhizome?
Rhizome is a type of stem that grows under or along the ground which releases random roots at intervals which are capable of creating the root system of a new plant. This peculiar perfume ingredient is also known as ‘creeping rootstalks’ or just simply ‘rootstalks’ and comes with a pretty hefty price tag (an estimated £66,000 per kilo!)
Orris root is one of the most common type of rhizome and comes from the bearded iris plant. Its use in beauty can be dated back to Ancient Rome and Greece where it was used for face powders or perfume sachets which were worn on the body.
The Orris Root
Turning the root into a potent ingredient for perfumers is quite a lengthy process. To get the best out of the root, the bearded iris plant needs to be left in the ground for three years. After that, the flowers are removed, and the roots are left to dry out for another three years. It’s only after 6 years will they have developed a clean, fresh scent. Once dried, the roots are then crushed into a powder and distilled.
If you do this process with other roots, you’ll be left with an oil - but that’s not the case with bearded iris. These roots create a wax known as ‘orris butter’ which is one of the world’s most luxurious and sought-after perfume ingredients! It has a distinctive, delicate scent that has hints of raspberry, pepper and violet. It sounds good enough to eat!
Smell Orris Root in These Fragrances
Ready to root around for a new scent?
Explore many more fragrances at The Perfume Shop