In a bid to escape the ‘florals for spring’ formula, I wanted to mention an alternative fragrance note. One that, for whatever reason, has seemed a bit unpopular until now, maligned even, but really can work in lighter scents and warmer weather; Cardamom.
I first came across cardamom, like most people I guess, in Indian food. A forkful of pilau rice disguised the slightly shrivelled looking green capsule which, once bitten, released a taste and aroma I can only describe as ‘damp armpit’. We’ve come a long way since then, me and cardamom, (with a bit of help from several kardamummabullar – research, you understand…) and I can now appreciate its unique warm and comforting spiciness. Despite the slightly festive connotations of a warming, almost resinous spice, there’s also a fresh, green and sweet side to cardamom that gives it year-round appeal.
Spicy perfumes have become more mainstream in recent years, with the likes of Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb (too sickly for my tastes) playing on cinnamon, clove, vanilla and pepper. Marni are bringing their own trademark quirkiness to the market, celebrating under-loved cardamom in Marni Spice*.
Opening with a spicy hit of black and pink pepper, ginger and cardamom, the middle notes are a bloom of roses, mimosa and jasmine (it’s still spring after all) giving way to patchouli, benzoin and musk. It dries down to a beautiful light spiced-rose that lasts all day on my skin, always with a subtle green nod of cardamom. I don’t know the exact launch date just yet, though it’s expected very soon and I believe it may already be in store at Harrods, but will update the post when I find out.
Like Marni Spice, cardamom is paired with rose in Jo Malone’s Cardamom & Moroccan Rose Scented Candle* from their My Wanderlust Charlotte Stockdale collection, however the rose is very much the supporting act. Inspired by the Atlas Mountains, even unlit this kicks out a beautifully punchy scent of aromatic, earthy and green spice that evokes a bustling souk.
The collection was limited edition and may be a little difficult to source now (although I’d highly recommend if you do). As an alternative, and for an even more resinous twist that brings its soothing and uplifting properties to the fore, find cardamom combined with frankincense in Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Candle* (£35). With a soy wax base that burns cleanly (and slowly!) and a scent that fills several rooms, the effect always seems far superior to the usual suspects (read: lavender) at truly calming the senses.