Hawthorns are small flowering shrubs indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere. Closely related to the rosebush, this plant has been the focus of many myths and stories since ancient times. But perhaps the plant’s most famous claim to fame lies in its reputation as a powerful heart tonic, dating as far back as the first century. Its leaves and flowers have been used to help prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol. Animal and laboratory studies also show that hawthorn contains generous amounts of antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals and protect against a variety of health problems, such as cancer and heart disease.
Aside from its health benefits, hawthorn is also known in perfumery for the delicate fragrance emanating from its flowers. Granted, its flowers are mute, so it’s impossible to extract essential oils from them. But this hasn’t stopped the olfactory industry from capitalizing on the flower’s unique qualities. Modern perfumery has recreated hawthorn primarily through the use of anisic aldehyde, a synthetic compound found in many floral accords, including anise, hawthorn, honeysuckle, and lilac.
Hawthorn is a strong floral fragrance with watery, sweet, and honey nuances. Luminous and voluptuous, perhaps the best way to picture this perfume note is to imagine a lush, rain-soaked garden after a summer downpour.
Whether at the top or near the middle, hawthorn perfume notes lend a fresh, sparkling quality to all olfactory formulas. It’s a note that agrees very well with multi-faceted floral fragrances, matching both their floral and powdery nuances to a tee. Hawthorn can also be found in certain oriental fragrances and in woody, more masculine scents (where its powdery softening effect imparts an inviting sensual touch).