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What is Saffron?

What is Saffron?

What is Saffron?

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus Sativus, commonly known as Saffron Crocus. This flower yields red stigmas, or threads, similar to Lilies. These stems are what is visually familiar, and how Saffron is usually found.

It is thought to have originated in Iran, but possibly also Greece and Mesopotamia. Today, though, Iran produces around 45% of the Saffron used around the world.

This spice has been used for centuries around the world, for everything from food and fabric dye, in food, in religious ceremonies, and a variety of medical remedies.

Its name originates from the Persian word ‘Zarparan’, meaning ‘Gold Strung’, and has been translated through many languages. Today, we call it by its English name, Saffron. 

Saffron has long been the world’s most expensive spice, costing thousands of dollars per Kilogram or more! This is due, mostly, to the labor intensive harvesting of the threads, which are picked by hand. It takes about 440,000 stigmas per kilogram, or 200,000 per pound, and takes roughly 40 hours to pick around 150,000 flowers.

Saffron’s aroma is said to be like metallic honey. It can be sweet and spicy, and/or have a grassy or hay-like aroma to it. 

There are a number of fragrances with a notable Saffron note.

Sun Force from The Harmonist is a bright, spicy, aromatic scent. Saffron’s sweetness shines bright when paired with Organic Honey and Pomelo, and its spiciness boosted with Cardamom and Incense.

Side Effect from Initio Parfums Prives is warm and sweet with a sultry quality. Saffron boosts the sweet and spicy elements of Rum, Tobacco, and Vanilla. Further depth comes from Cinnamon, Leather, and Vanilla.

Suede Et Safran from Nishane puts Saffron front and center. Suede and Leather combine to create a heightened Leather aroma, and Ambrette Seed mellows the harshness. A hint of Ginger adds a brightness to the Saffron, keeping it lasting.

Guidance from Amouage adds Saffron to the heart of the scent, boosting opening notes of Pear and Rose. Frankincense pairs with AkigalaWood, creating a smooth Incense thread. Touches of Jasmine, Amber, and Vanilla add sweetness, but the spice can be felt just under the surface at almost all times.

African Leather from Memo Paris is a spice bomb with Saffron penetrating a blend of Cardamom, Cumin, and Leather. Bergamot and Vetiver brighten the composition while Oud and Musk boost the Leather essence.

Ooh La Rouge Exclusif from Christian Siriano is a scent where Amber shines brightest. Saffron and Moss work together to lift notes of Jasmine, Cassis, and Bergamot, while Fir Balsam, Musk, and Boya Wood add depth and warmth. Saffron can be felt under the surface throughout the composition, adding its gentle touches of spice.

You can find all these, and more, at Parfumerie Nasreen in Seattle!

We’d love to hear what your favorite Saffron based scents are.

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