There’s an interesting ingredient trending in men’s fragrances this season that was hugely popular in ancient Egypt: papyrus.
The grassy plant, known as Cyperus papyrus, has a wonderfully aromatic-woody aroma that can have a spicy or earthy facet depending on where it is grown. Some species of papyrus can even have a smoky/leathery character making it ideal for elegant men’s fragrances.
Papyrus thrives along the banks of the Nile and throughout Egypt most commonly in marshlands where its roots can remain submerged in water. Surprisingly, this plant can grow to an astounding 10 feet in height when it enjoys full sun. The ancient Egyptians used this as their main source of writing material crosshatching the fibrous strips and allowing the flat layer to dry in the sun creating paper. It was used for official documents, religious writings and even love letters.
The fragrant pure essential oil is extracted from the plant using a cold-press method that reveals a clean, crisp scent. Cleopatra is said to have used papyrus oil in her daily beauty regime. Modern-day perfumers love it not only for its rich aroma but also for its fixative properties. Adding papyrus ensures longer-wear from an eau de parfum. You’ll always find it in the base notes of a fragrance composition along with vetiver, sandalwood and cedar.
One of the most interesting uses of papyrus is 19-69’s Christopher Street, a sultry leathery fragrance for him or her that blends the note with saffron, Indonesian patchouli, cumin, myrrh and black pepper.