Musky Warmth of Angelica

Angelica essence smells of musky flowers and foggy autumnal mornings. It’s a fascinating aroma because, despite its delicate aura, its character can be quite assertive, and although it starts on a bright and shimmering note, the earthy base layers betray its darker leanings. Angelica is used widely by perfumers to give a green touch to an accord or to soften a citrusy cologne, but it rarely stars as a leading note. On the occasions it is given center stage, however, it reveals its full capacity to surprise.

Though angelica is not as a well known perfume ingredient as rose or jasmine, it’s a fascinating material with a diverse range of effects. It can be sweet and spicy, green and musky, woody and floral, depending on how it’s used. To uncover more facets of angelica, I selected it for one of my FT column topics. In the article, Musky Warmth of Angelica, I talk about this material and some of the most interesting perfumes, in which you can smell it clearly. You can read the article by clicking here.

If you have tried any angelica perfumes, please let me know which ones you like.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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35 Comments

  • Liz: A wonderful and timely reminder of this herb. I used to have it in my garden but it bit the dust last summer after I had to move it. As it happens I was looking at it yesterday thinking about buying a small supply. I read that it is phototoxic so wondered about using it in perfumery. I guess I need to check IFRA to check its allowed amounts. January 8, 2018 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t remember off the top of my head whether it’s regulated or not, but it’s used widely enough. January 11, 2018 at 8:46am Reply

  • lovestosmellgood: With Angelique Noire I get vanilla vanilla..did I mention..Vanilla? January 8, 2018 at 11:38am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s there too! January 11, 2018 at 8:46am Reply

    • Edward: I love Angelique Noire! January 11, 2018 at 4:17pm Reply

  • Julie Demelo: Hello–Lovely article Victoria, thank you for this! Very interesting to read.Ciel d’Opale Eau de Parfum by Anne Gerard the perfumer is Bertrand Duchaufour has angelica root listed in the notes. I have always wanted to sample it. Beautyhabit has a full bottle marked down too. All three of those perfumes you describe are probably quite beautiful to wear. 🙂 January 8, 2018 at 12:19pm Reply

  • KatieAnn: Hello Victoria! Happy New Year! This is a delightful article. Angelica is a note I am not very familiar with at all, so this was very educating. Interestingly enough, my most recent purchase was Parfums DelRae Wit. It’s a lovely, sparkling floral with notes of citrus and Angelica in the top notes. There is narcissus in the heart that absolutely makes me swoon. I’d love to try the perfumes you mentioned. They all sound so lovely. January 8, 2018 at 12:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: Wit is another favorite. It’s such a beautiful floral vignette. January 11, 2018 at 8:47am Reply

  • Julie Demelo: Correction…It’s actually Cuir de Nacre Extrait de Parfum (by Ann Gerard) with angelica root. My mistake, sorry. Sounds a bit spicy…Have you ever tried it Victoria?
    All three of her perfumes listed on Beautyhabit sound quite nice. January 8, 2018 at 12:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve tried it, and I agree that it’s excellent. I love the whole line. January 11, 2018 at 8:48am Reply

  • Elizabeth: Angelique Noir is one of my favourite perfumes. The opening is sparkling green and it then settles down into a lovely Guerlainesque vanilla. (I will sometimes say it smells like angels wings.) Although I have worn a fragrance of some sort or another, all my life, Angelique Noir was the one to send me down the proverbial rabbit hole. I haven’t been the same since. Nor has my wallet. January 8, 2018 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: Vanilla and angelica is a great combo, isn’t it! January 11, 2018 at 8:48am Reply

  • Filomena: I love Angelique by Papillon Perfumes. January 8, 2018 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: I need to include it too. January 11, 2018 at 8:49am Reply

  • Becky K.: The only perfume I have tried with Angelica is Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling. I thought it was a wonderful fragrance. I only remember the juniper and a nice icy component, yet it was not a cold-feeling fragrance, if that makes sense. Like others, I am not familiar with Angelica, but I hope to find it, just so I can identify it in the future. Thank you for introducing it to us! January 8, 2018 at 4:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I forgot about that one, but you’re right, it’s a good example. January 11, 2018 at 8:49am Reply

  • Sarah: Dear Victoria, I was delighted to find Angelica as the topic of your latest article! I just purchased Angelique Noir after first smelling it in the flagship store in 2005. I fell in love! Thanks for the information on this perfume ingredient; I so enjoy learning from your writings! January 8, 2018 at 8:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy it, Sarah! It’s such a beauty. January 11, 2018 at 8:49am Reply

  • Maria-Anna: What a fascinating ingredient to focus on! I was vaguely aware of the muskiness and pepperiness of angelica, but your note of the earthy, wet tones has suddenly let Jasmin Angelique fall into place. I’ve loved that perfume for a while now, but never knew to attribute its soft, wet impression to angelica. (Even though it’s in the name…)

    I have to say, I also love the botanical name for angelica – makes one think of medieval herbals, and their sense of the magic of plants. January 9, 2018 at 6:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! I also think of medieval herb gardens and monastery pharmacies. January 11, 2018 at 8:50am Reply

  • Aurora: Such an original refreshing article about an overlooked note. Enjoyed it so much and the perfumes you list are new to me. Immediately made a search on angelica to see what I have in my collection. It turns out I have 2 AG, Nuit Etoilee EDP and Musc Nomade, couldn’t find my mini of MN but Nuit Etoilee is so meditative and cool, it felt so good for a grey January day. Thanks to your article I will pay much more attention from now on. Also tried on my Paloma Picasso but there is so much going on in that powerhouse of a chypre, that I gave up. Sometimes I forget how overwhelmingly strong and molten gold PP is. January 9, 2018 at 6:45am Reply

    • Victoria: You have quite an angelica collection! Do you prefer Nuit Etoilee EDP to the EDT version? January 11, 2018 at 8:51am Reply

      • Tara C: Not Aurora, but I like the edp much better. The edt has too much citrus and not enough resins for my taste. January 14, 2018 at 1:15pm Reply

      • Aurora: Sorry for late answer, victoria, and Thank you Tara for your description. Yes, the EDP is like a walk in a deeper forest compared to the EDT which I find a little wan. January 20, 2018 at 5:52am Reply

        • Victoria: Such a great description. 🙂 January 22, 2018 at 2:17pm Reply

  • Aurora: And the photo is so beautiful, did you find this angelica growing in Bruxelles? January 9, 2018 at 7:08am Reply

    • Victoria: I took a photo of it in Sicily a few years ago. It was a rainy, foggy day, and the flowers looked so delicate. January 11, 2018 at 8:52am Reply

  • Tara C: I have four angelica fragrances: Angéliques sous la Pluie, Angélique Noire, Nuit Étoilée and Musc Nomade. It’s an unusual note and I don’t enjoy some of the compositions with it, but those four work for me. January 9, 2018 at 1:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Those are definitely among the best perfumes. January 11, 2018 at 8:52am Reply

  • Karen A: Your FT articles are always fun to read Victoria! My sample of Angeliques Sous la Pluie is always hiding, but I managed to find it and put some on. Perfect for today when temperatures are beginning to climb after bitter cold and the sun is shining! January 9, 2018 at 1:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! I might this perfume today, because it somehow feels right. January 11, 2018 at 8:53am Reply

      • Karen A: It’s one of those that for me is kind of specific to a certain temperature/weather conditions. Like a warm, sunny, breezy spring day would definitely not be when I reached for it! January 11, 2018 at 9:39am Reply

  • Sherry: I can only identify Angelica from one of my collection: Jo Malone Tuberose Angelica. I can’t say the Angelica is very pronounced, only t the beginning. The slight dark earthy woody opening quickly gave away to Tuberose and other white flower notes. I like it as a slight deviation of typical mainstream Tuberose, but I cannot call it a masterpiece. January 12, 2018 at 6:02pm Reply

  • Marzipan: I have worked with and worn angelica essential oil but am not as familiar with it in conventional perfumes. Although I have sampled the Atelier and remember liking it. March 16, 2018 at 12:14pm Reply

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