What Does Heliotrope Smell Like? Perfume Guide

Heliotrope is a South American plant with a sweet vanilla-like scent.
what perfume does heliotrope smell like

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Key Takeaways

  • Heliotrope is a South American plant with small purple flowers known for its sweet, vanilla-like scent, used in perfumery as a middle note to add a sweet, creamy, and almond-like quality.
  • Heliotrope's scent is sweet, powdery, and slightly reminiscent of vanilla and almonds, making it popular in oriental, gourmand, floral, and powdery fragrances.
  • Fragrance suggestions for heliotrope lovers include Armani Code Cashmere, Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto L'Elixir, and Etro Heliotrope.
  • Notes that blend well with heliotrope include violet, vanilla, iris, white flowers, and citrus notes like bergamot and tangerine.
  • All parts of the heliotrope plant are poisonous and can cause gastric distress in humans and animals if consumed.

Heliotrope first came to the attention of the botanical world when it was discovered in Peru. Its distinctive pink-purple petals and the way they turn towards the sun throughout the day caught the eye of explorers and botanists alike. 

Between the years 1735 and 1757, heliotrope was introduced in France, where it quickly became a novelty and a prized addition to European gardens.

The word “heliotrope” actually derives from the Greek words “helios,” meaning “sun,” and “tropos,” meaning “to turn.”

Read on to find out more about how heliotrope scents are used in perfumery.

What Is Heliotrope?

Heliotrope is a South American plant with clusters of small purple flowers that have a sweet, vanilla-like scent. It is usually used as a middle note in feminine and unisex perfumes to add a sweet, creamy and almond-like quality. 

What Does Heliotrope Smell Like?

heliotrope flowers

Heliotrope smells sweet, powdery, and slightly like vanilla and almonds. On top of its nutty scent, it has quite a cozy and relaxing, warm aroma, which is why it’s particularly popular with oriental or gourmand, floral and powdery scents.

Given its rich and slightly heavier scent, heliotrope is often blended with lighter floral or citrus notes to create a more balanced fragrance. 

In other words, you can probably tell by now that heliotrope scents are invaluable in the fragrance world because they’re so versatile.

How Is Heliotrope Oil Made?

Heliotrope oil is typically extracted through a process called enfleurage, which is a traditional method of extracting fragrance from flowers.

The process involves using a pure, organic palm oil to absorb the aromatic oils from the heliotrope flower petals. 

Once the palm oil is saturated with the essence of the heliotrope flower, it is separated from the heliotrope oil by cane sugar alcohol, which is then evaporated to leave only the heliotrope oil.

It’s a pretty labor-intensive process and requires meticulous attention to detail. 

The resulting heliotrope oil is pure and undiluted. 

What fragrances should you wear if you love heliotrope? 

Here are some of my top heliotrope fragrance suggestions for men: 

  • Armani Code Cashmere: Renowned for its infusion of heliotrope, this fragrance imparts a sweet and heady floral elixir layered over suede and powdery almonds, with a deep, dark mysterious vibe.
  • Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto : Another top heliotrope perfume, Manifesto L’Elixir  mixes sparkling jasmine and tuberose absolute with oriental notes like sweet vanilla and cashmeran.
  • Etro Heliotrope: A unisex heliotrope scent with a powdery, almondy, and floral aroma. It really reminds me of marzipan. 

What Notes Blend Well With Heliotrope?

Some notes that I think go well with heliotrope scents are:

VioletTogether, heliotrope and violets create a sharp, floral aroma.
VanillaHeliotrope, when paired with vanilla, draws out its sweet, powdery, and slightly almond-like qualities, resulting in a warm and comforting scent.
IrisAdding iris to the heliotrope can create a deeper, more complex powdery fragrance. 
White FlowersCombining heliotrope with white flowers creates a light, floral, and airy touch.
Bergamot and TangerineCitrus notes like bergamot and tangerine add a fresh vibe with heliotrope. 

What color is heliotrope?

heliotrope colour

Heliotrope is a pinkish-purple color, similar to the color of the Heliotrope flower. It is a vivid pink shade of purple that can brighten up any garden. The color heliotrope corresponds to the hex color code #D462FF, with a high lightness and medium saturation.

Is heliotrope poisonous?

Heliotrope is indeed poisonous. All parts of the heliotrope plant are toxic and can cause gastric distress in humans and animals. It contains alkaloids that are potent liver toxins, and ingestion of the plant can lead to extreme illness and sadly, even death in pets. 

Heliotrope’s toxic components can cause liver failure, referred to as “walking disease” or “sleepy staggers,” and the poisoning often occurs when the deep green leaves are ingested in large quantities. 

Does heliotrope smell like licorice?

Heliotrope does not smell like licorice in my opinion. It’s powdery, and fluffy with notes of almond, cherry, and vanilla. 

For me, it’s more like a cherry pie topped with almonds and marzipan, creating a sweet and slightly nutty aroma. 

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