Botanical Name: Dipteryx odorata
Botanical Family: Fabaceae
Extraction Method: Absolute
Part of Plant Distilled: Beans
Country of Origin: Brazil
Cultivation Method: Wild
Scent Description: Rich and tenacious, with herby notes of sweet hay, tobacco and marzipan.
Blends well with: Jasmine, Vanilla, Rose, Ylang, Tobacco, Oakmoss, Tuberose, Lemon, Rockrose, Lime, Hay, Bergamot, Orris Root, Vetiver, Spikenard, Grapefruit, Coffee Bean, Cardamom, Lavender, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Patchouli, Tobacco, and Carrot.
Uses: This thick absolute is solid at room temperature. It is best experienced in dilution; bottled with 50% organic alcohol it is ready to go for use in exquisite perfumery as a fixative and aromatherapy blends.
Contraindication: Can be photosensitizing to the skin if applied in high concentration and exposed to direct sunlight.
Tonka Bean Absolute is an olfactory usher that guides natural perfumes along their path to aromatic transcendence. This rich, tenacious, vanilla-velvet aroma is used to sweeten grassy, hay-based, balsamic bouquets – a refreshing alternative to florals. If you want to create a sweet-yet-robust blend, Tonka Bean Absolute is your best friend!
These beautiful beans grow wild throughout Central and South America and can also be found in Africa. Tonka seeds or ‘beans’ grow inside the fat fruits of the Dipteryx odoratatree. A single, solitary bean grows wild within each fruit, like a lone pearl tucked inside an oyster. The beans are then dried to allow an aromatic substance called coumarin to form.
Coumarin is what gives tonka beans their sweet, caramel-vanilla-like fragrance. For a long time, coumarin was used in cooking as a substitute for vanilla. Today, it is still used in some countries to flavor tobacco.
“As well as imparting a sweet, powdery accord to fragrances, tonka bean is also used as a fixative, and can be found in the basenotes of many fragrances… a floral aldehydic fragrance, where it is used along with natural vanilla to complement the rose, jasmine and tuberose accords. Tonka is also important in the fougère category, where it typically forms an accord with lavender and oakmoss… Tonka bean is often paired with vanilla, where it can give a coconut-like dry-down…”
~ Jennifer Peace Rhind, Fragrance and Wellbeing
“The fragrance of tonka bean oil seems like a gentle, joyful melody. It suggests images of sun-drenched meadows and sweet smelling flowers. Tonka bean gladdens the heart, creates certain calm, and throws everything into a friendly light.”
~ Suzanne Fischer-Rizzi, The Complete Aromatherapy Handbook
“Tonka bean absolute contains a high percentage of coumarin. However, it is a sweeter coumarin, fruitier and caramelized, more herbal, very slightly tobacco-scented and less reminiscent of bitter almonds than the synthetic product.”
~ H. Panda, The Complete Technology Book on Herbal Perfumes & Cosmetics