With the growth of the beauty industry in the Middle East there have been a slew of spicy, oriental and woody fragrance directions emerging, some of which are specially developed for this market. Following the trend to spicy and woody scents, opulent saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, is making a comeback, particularly in fine fragrance.
Estee Lauder’s Aramis Perfume Calligraphy and Estee Lauder Wood Mystique are two perfumes that were designed for and specifically launched in the Middle East. In the U.S., there have been quite a few new launches that highlight the luxury ingredient such as Byredo Black Saffron, which I mentioned in my Black is Still Black post, and Byredo Bullion. Although not in the fragrance name, saffron is also appearing as notes in fragrance creations such as Bond No. 9 Manhattan, which uses “worldly saffron” and Viktor & Rolf Spice Bomb is made with “incandescent spices.”
Rose an already popular flower in fragrance, seems to be the trendy combination of choice. The Fragrance Kitchen introduced fifteen exclusive fragrances, two of which feature saffron – War of the Roses and Scent In A Bottle. Grossmith London recently launched the Black Label Collection and Saffron Rose is one of four scents, which is described as a “wonderfully rich and opulent scent.”
In flavors, saffron has long been used in cooking and gives food the golden yellow-orange hue. Lior Lev Sercarz of La Boite Biscuits & Spices uses saffron in six of his forty-one different blends – N.19 Salvador, N.20 Dali, N.21 Moruno, N.25 Escabeche, N.30 Mousa and N.33 Mishmish. Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea is a new line of five Greek, saffron-based herbal teas. The flavors are Greek Herbal Tea with thyme, rosemary and saffron; Greek Green Tea with ginger, licorice and saffron; Greek Herbal Tea with honey, orange and saffron; Greek Herbal Tea with mint, lemongrass and saffron; and Greek Herbal Tea with cinnamon, cloves and saffron. Saffron has even trickled into vodka. Saffron Vodka by Sub Rosa Spirits is distilled with eight spices – “toasted cumin, lemony coriander, a hint of ginger, and just a touch of heat and the aromatics of saffron.”
Keep your eyes peeled as saffron emerges in new flavor and fragrance products. Have you noticed any new products with saffron? Tried any new dishes from chefs using saffron in unexpected places?