The note of beeswax is among the few natural "animalic" notes in perfumery that are totally cruelty-free, i.e. involving no harm to the animal from which they're derived. For this reason, beeswax absolute is among the most prized materials in the natural perfume palette, where the absence of synthetics can be a problem. With its naturally fixative qualities, it aids the anchoring of more volatile notes.
Beeswax absolute (Apies Millifera) has been taken from the actual beehive without disruption to the lives of the bees for a long while. For perfumery, the wax is taken from hives that have been used for more than 5 years, therefore the material retains the scents of honey, propolis and the smell of the bees themselves, which makes beeswax a pheromone-rich essence with all that entails.
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The wax in the hive is collected carefully by hand and is then solvent extracted. The major countries producing beeswax absolute are Spain, France and Morocco where apiculture is ingrained in tradition, but California in the US is rapidly gaining momentum. The resulting essence is fully miscible in alcohol and dipropylene glycol, making it easy to work with.
The scent of beeswax absolute is a very pleasant, complex composite of both honeyed, sweet aspects (with floral facets) and of essences of a musky, intimate ambience reminiscent of sweet hay and cured tobacco. The essence of beeswax absolute is used in perfumery to render golden-ambery fragrance notes, and serves as a middle to base note. The honeyed aspect of the material with its background of hay serves as a good underpinning of lavender and rose and is great in juxtaposition with naturally bitter oakmoss.
Beeswax absolute has comforting, spiritually balancing and lifting, solar properties when used in aromatherapeutic blends and recalls the joyful activity of bees.
Notable fragrances with prominent beeswax absolute notes:
Annick Goutal Myrrhe Ardente
Dior Leather Oud
DSH Parfum de Grasse
Hermes Caleche Fleurs de Mediterranee
Krizia Theatro alla Scala
L'Artisan Fleur d'oranger 2007 (limited edition)
L'Occitane Reve de Miel
Maria Candida Gentile Sideris
Ramon Monegal Cuirelle
Roxana Illuminated Perfume To Bee
Serge Lutens Chene
Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois
Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille
Sonoma Scent Studio Nostalgie
Tom Ford Moss Breches