The dried bean of an orchid from Mexico -  the only one which can be used in perfumery. So common as to sometimes feel invisible or boring, but vanilla is anything but: smoky, deep, complex. We associate vanilla with sweet foods and comfort (the ultimate Hygge aroma!). but this is a cultural association as it can register as savoury, too. Which means it works in many styles of fragrance to enhance or transform. The material vanillin, which is found in vanilla but which can also be made synthetically, was one of the first ever aroma chemicals and transformed the world of scent in the late 19th century. It smells very much of vanilla but the simple version: think ice cream.

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