Cardamom smells earthy-sweet, smoky, nuty, and a bit spicy. Fennel and star anise undertones are characteristic of cardamom as well. Cardamom essential oil smells a bit spicier, closer to spicy eucalyptus.
The cardamom smell deconstructed
Cardamom is in essence a spice and its aroma smells accordingly. It has a fruity-aromatic aroma with a nutty undertone. Its smell and taste make it valuable as most people like it. This is the reason it has a high sale price together with saffron.
In perfumery, cardamom has a warming effect. For me, cardamom has the effect of amber with its warmth and a bit of tonka bean in its smell.
Does cardamom smell like anything popular?
I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I think cardamom reminds me of a type of black tea. It would be an earthy herbal tea with a bit of sweetness and milk which gives it its almondy or ambery aroma.
Most importantly, cardamom doesn’t smell like cinnamon or cloves.
Since it is a bit darker than these 2 piercing notes, cardamom is an excellent addition to citrus compositions in perfumes. You can think of many fruits along the line of mandarin, grapefruit, lemon, or bergamot.
Cardamom becomes even heavier and more mysterious when blended with oud, amber, or sandalwood.
Now, the big question in perfumery – is cardamom masculine or feminine? While classification is subjective, it can easily be shaped into any type of composition.
Are green and black cardamom the same?
Green cardamom is a type of Indian spice with high versatility used in perfumes and cooking. You can purchase green cardamom and grind them to understand more about its rough scent.
Black cardamom is rare compared to green cardamom. It is only used in really strong (intense) perfumes and while it’s a supportive note, it can sometimes take the spotlight.
Some of the best cardamom fragrances
At the moment, cardamom is among my top 5 preferred fragrance notes. Everybody is saying how different it is in certain compositions, but I find it very similar in La Nuit de L’Homme and Stronger With You.
Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit de L’Homme
Cardamom perfumes can’t be complete without La Nuit de L’Homme. Cardamom is of a spicier nature in this perfume, maybe due to added red pepper. Cedar and coumarin are also intense in the perfume. As its name suggests, it wears the best in the evening. It’s a safe blind buy and one of the top mass-pleasing cardamom perfumes.
Armani Stronger With You
Cardamom plays a central role in Stronger With You together with chestnut and vanilla. Sweet by nature, it can be an excellent choice for the colder days of the year. However, I wear it all the time due to the pleasant cardamom which smells welcoming and which turns it into an excellent daily wear cardamom fragrance.
The smell of cardamom is more inviting than you can imagine. It can’t be compared to cloves or other similar spices. Known for its small seed pods originating in India and Indonesia, cardamom has a versatile smell which for some reason turned it from a food spice into one of the sexy perfume ingredients of the last decades.