8 Popular Indian Scents

8 Popular Indian Scents

The link between India and fragrances is one that runs back thousands of years.

With a history rich with the use of spices, flowers, and other beautiful scents, it’s no surprise that India is the place that many people think of when they smell some of the world’s most recognizable fragrances.

What are some traditional Indian scents that are still popular today?

You’ll find many perfumes today use scents like jasmine, sandalwood, patchouli, oud, and rose, all of which are deeply rooted in Indian culture. It’s easy to find a modern perfume that has many recognizable smells mixed with a range of newer notes that seem to work so well together.

The world of perfume manufacturing in India may have changed in modern times, but local fragrance designers understand the importance that these classic scents have today.

It’s not uncommon to see most of our beloved aromas being used by today’s luxury perfume brands, and we’ve got a list of the most popular Indian scents you can expect to find.

#1: Jasmine

Jasmine Flower

By far the most popular Indian scent that is used in designer perfumes today, with reports claiming it’s a key ingredient in around 83% of women’s fragrances.

Jasmine has a beautifully soft, flowery, and woody aroma about it, and in India, it’s common to be worn on its own without any other fragrances blended.

Not only does it smell beautiful, but a study found that jasmine calmed down the body and mind completely, so it can have an enjoyable impact on your and those you encounter when you wear it.

#2: Patchouli

Patchouli Flower

If your favorite types of perfumes are those with oriental notes, you probably have patchouli to thank for it.

This beloved Indian scent has been in and out of fashion since it was discovered and is used today by most of the world’s most famous luxury brands in their perfumes, including Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabbana.

Patchouli’s scent is velvety, heady, and earthy, and it has a long-lasting aroma that makes it ideal for wearing, if you prefer to use just a little to get a lot of impact.

Some consider patchouli to be a more masculine scent but by adding it with other floral notes like bergamot, you can get something beautifully feminine.

#3: Oud

Oud Flower

Oud can be summed up with the quintessential description for Indian fragrances: intoxicating and musky.

You can find oud in most men’s perfumes today including top sellers from Versace and Lancome.

This deep and intense perfume is known by all in India and sometimes called agarwood, after the tree it originates from.

Extracting oud is no easy feat however, as it requires a specific type of mold to grow on this specific type of tree, which then creates a dark and fragrant resin where the oud is made.

For rich and oriental perfume lovers, oud is an Indian scent that you’ll definitely want to try.

#4: Sandalwood

Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood is one of those special scents that works just as well on its own or used as a carrier for other perfumes and aromas.

Many popular perfumes use a hint of sandalwood, whatever the reason, and it has an incomparable earthy yet exotic scent.

When sandalwood comes together with traditional Indian scents like oud or jasmine, it gets even more impressive, so this is one to try as a blend.

Naturally grown sandalwood is prevalent across India and the country has strong ties to this tree and its perfume, although there are restrictions on farming it.

#5: Rose

Antique Rose

If you want a fresh and floral fragrance, rose is by far India’s most popular scent and one that’s loved by perfume brands around the world.

This light and flowery smell comes from the rose flower, and it’s no surprise either, as you can smell it in all its glory just by sniffing its petals.

Rose perfumes are timeless and always manage to stay on-trend, which is why they’re a common ingredient in most women’s perfumes.

Rose perfume was the preferred choice of the Mughal Queen’s thanks to its soft romantic scents, and it’s an all-time favorite in India.

#6: Pepper

Madagascar Black Pepper

Pepper might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re thinking of traditional Indian scents used for perfumes, but it’s more prevalent than you realize.

Pepper is fresh and dry, and when added to other scents, it can be everything from bright and citrusy to sweet and grassy.

The rich tones of pepper are classically Indian and the flowering vine was first discovered in South India, and used traditionally for Ayurvedic medicine.

If you want something to give your favorite scent a new twist, consider looking for a men’s or women’s perfume where pepper is a key note.

#7: Chai

Perfume Oil

When you first think of chai, you probably imagine yourself sipping on a hot tea, but its intoxicating scent is also a popular choice for perfumes in India.

Chai has a distinct warm aroma that works well with floral notes, and it smells the perfect blend of spicy and sweet.

You might even notice some hints of vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, and honey in there, so it’s a multifaceted fragrance that works beautifully as a perfume, whether it’s for men or women.

Close your eyes when you smell chai perfume and you could easily think you’re driving into a local Indian marketplace thanks to its exotic and intoxicating aroma.

#8: Guggul

Guggul Resin

One of the lesser-known scents in the western world, guggul is a treasured traditional aroma of India.

Guggul is instantly recognizable for its warm, sweet, vanilla aromas, as well as being earthy and balsamic at the same time.

This unique resin comes from the C wightii gum Guggulu tree, and upon first smell, you might compare it to myrrh.

For Indians, this is a smell that reminds them of home as it’s often burned as incense in the evenings to relax.

Some might choose to wear a scent with guggul in it as perfume oil, and it has proposed benefits such as reducing stress and brightening up your mood.

Related Questions

There’s a lot to learn about perfume, and knowing some of the most popular scents favored in India is just one part of it.

The perfumery business has been around for centuries and it’s a fascinating industry to dive into, with a lot to learn about how it’s made.

We’ve answered some FAQs about perfume and its scents, to show you how they’re created and which ones are most popular.

What Kind of Oil is Used in Perfume?

Perfume oil is made with either synthetic or natural sources, depending on the scent and its availability.

These oils are sometimes referred to as aromatic oil, aroma oils, or flavor oils.

As a concentrated oil, they have to be mixed with a carrier like mineral oil or propylene glycol to dilute them and make them safe for applying to the skin.

What Perfumes Are Popular in India?

India has popular perfumes in both mid and high-end price brackets, including perfumes like Wild Stone, Yardley, and Fogg, or luxury brands like Hugo Boss, Bvlgari, and Guess.

Both men and women’s perfume are popular products in India, and due to a decline in the number of local perfumeries, most of their market is saturated with overseas brands.

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