The Little Dictator's Love Affair with Rosemary

The Little Dictator's Love Affair with Rosemary

I have an idea of why this picture of my daughter reminds me of Napoleon Bonaparte, but it cracks me up at the same time it reminds me of the tiny dictator. It is well known that the Napoleon loved cologne, at times using 50-70 bottles per month.

The main constituent in his cologne was rosemary. He is said to have loved that scent because it reminded him of the cliffs of Corsica, his home. Sometimes I read that he loved his cologne because of the citrus top note, but more likely it was unique combination of citrus and rosemary to create the special chemotype that is uniquely found in Corsica. 

Corsica has many special plants of interest including Helichrysum. Many are notably aromatic like rosemary. The rosemary that most of us are familiar with is the type that has a bit of a peppery or camphorous smell to it. Corsica rosemary is dominated by verbenone, which gives it this fruity citrus smell.

The cologne would have been very recognizable as a type of refreshing aromatherapy type blend and would have been considerably different to the heady floral perfumes worn by many at the time. 

The essential oils in Napoleon’s blend would also have a notable amount of 1-8 cineole. This component is uplifting and known to give a cognitive boost for mild fatigue and weariness. Many of my clients are surprised by how much a simple roller bottle can aid banishing that afternoon drag. Especially now as so many of us are wearing a mask, a refreshing minty citrus blend is very appealing, though I do not recommend going through more than 1-2 small bottles a month. A little goes a long way. 

Two years ago, I created a blend that celebrates the mint and citrus pairing called Clear Head. Originally I called it “focus blend” with a therapeutic emphasis to enhance cognitive function, memory, and focus. It sells out at music camps and events that cater to musicians and artists. It is also very popular with my students. They appreciate any additional help with focus as they often need it for long periods of time.

I was pleased to find many clients love the aroma of the blend so much they wear it as a natural perfume. As I examined the history of rosemary and citrus, especially finding information about the aroma of verbenone Rosemary, this helped me find the perfect ratio and paring of citrus to Rosemary.

You can purchase my Clear Head blend here. It really is great for tension headaches and fatigue. It can help hurdle unwanted tasks. I use it as part of my afternoon routine. Around 3:30-4, I often try to take a break, rub it on my wrists and take a short walk. Associating the smell with the invigorating walk enhances the impact of the blend.

Clear Head Blend in front of rosemary plant
The rosemary grown in the United States smells much different from that in Corsica, so the addition of orange essential oil helps create the beautiful lift that comes from citruses.