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Let's Talk Tonka

by Michael Schrammel 31 Aug 2023
Let's Talk Tonka

No. Not the truck from childhood. We’re talking Tonka Bean. One of the next releases at For the Scent of It will be all about this wonder and its many facets. Without Tonka (coumarin), there would be no Fougère family. In perfumery, this note can come in many forms. These are a few. So, let’s talk Tonka 🔥

Tonka Bean Absolute (France)- One of the most stunning ingredients to smell on its own. Smoky spice with a rustic, nutty sweetness. Picture a bale of dried hay rolled up tight with powdered vanilla beans and almonds while cinnamon smoke blows in the breeze. That’s tonka bean absolute. Paired with Vanilla, they’re the gourmand Bonnie & Clyde ❤️‍🔥 

Coumarin Synthetic & Natural (ex Cassia)- Coumarin is what gives tonka bean its characteristic aroma. Coumarin smells like that bale of spiced hay and powdered sweetness. Very warm and gives a perfume a familiarity & comfort. The synthetic is that powdery tonka bean, minus most of the spice and richness. Coumarin extracted from cassia is quite different due to trace impurities from the source which give this coumarin a comforting cinnamaldic kick to the face. Natural Coumarin ex Cassia actually reminds me a bit of those old “oriental potpourris” of yesteryear you’d find in your grandmother’s home at Christmastime with its powdery, cinnamon spice. 

Methyl Laitone 10% (Givaudan)- Tonka Bean meet Coconut. Now, dance. This material is very smooth, very alluring. Sometimes, it smells more coumarin, other times it can smell more coconut/lactone. Helps a lot when you want that softer tonka touch in florals and citrus.

Koumalactone 10% (Firmenich)- Smells similar to coumarin. It doesn’t have all the restrictions in use either. It does have a smoother, more elegant feel than coumarin, while still sharing a little of that smoky spice that helps make this smell very natural. 

These are just a handful of the many ways to add that Tenacious Tonka Tone we all love 🎶 

-Michael, Perfumer at For the Scent of It

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