What is coumarin (noun) koo-muh-rin

What is coumarin (noun) koo-muh-rin

By Sloan Baron

If you thought vanilla or roses were found in most fragrances, think again. Courmarin, tiny crystals found in tonka beans as well as other plants such as sweet woodruff, sweet clover, sweet grass and cassia cinnamon, are found in 90 percent of all fragrances. It smells sweet, grassy, slightly like tabacco, and of vanilla. Before perfumery, the ingredient was used to flavour food.

The name coumarin derives from the Amazonian or Tupi name for the Tonka bean tree “cumaru.” In French, it is coumarine via the Portuguese and Spanish coumarou.

The ingredient was first established as an essential component of perfume in the early 19th century by Paul Parquet, a legendary perfumer of the fragrance, Fougère Royale by Houbigant. As a result, fougères (French for fern) became a new category of fragrances, one in which coumarin would become an indispensable ingredient.

The iconic, Jicky by Guerlain scent, belongs to the fougère family of perfumery and contains coumarin. Thierry Mugler’s break-the-mold Angel fragrance also includes the element in its ingredient mix.

PHOTO: www.aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.ca
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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.