Cedar (Cedrus) is a coniferous tree from the Pinaceae family and is one of the first fragrant notes that man used in the production of perfumes and aromatic concoctions. Its natural, woody scent, with subtones of spices and fragrant resins, goes well with many notes and accords, and because of that, it is present in numerous perfume compositions. Cedar grows almost all over the world but is most common in the Himalayan belt and the Mediterranean.


The history of cedar use, for various sacral and earthly purposes, dates back to ancient times, and many civilizations considered it a significant gift from nature. In ancient Egypt, it was considered a symbol of heaven, earth, and the underworld. Like the tree itself, which draws its roots from the underworld and touches the sky with canopy, the scent itself is associated with the earth and the freshness and etherealness of the air. The smell of cedar was associated with everything that the ancient Egyptians considered sacred. They also used its essential oil for embalming. Lebanese cedar is also mentioned in biblical records as the primary material for Solomon’s temple’s construction.

Cedar has its application in the wood industry, medicine, and aromatherapy, due to the exceptional soothing and relaxing properties when you inhale it. Cedrol, one of the main ingredients, is responsible for this effect and the effect of masking unpleasant odors.

There are several popular types of cedar, namely: Atlas, Himalayan, Lebanese, and Cyprus cedar. Species differ in tree height, color and bark texture, but also needles. The most popular type is the Lebanese cedar, which is often mentioned in the Bible and is considered sacred by Christians worldwide. For unknown reasons, this species is extinct, perhaps as true Christianity, and there are several hundred more of this holy tree in the world. For that reason, the essential oil of Lebanese cedar is almost never used for the perfume industry’s needs.


Atlas cedar oil is most often used, with a lot of variations, but it certainly gives the most beautiful and most authentic cedar scent. Its application in the perfume industry is widespread and is excellent as a fixative and base in floral and woody compositions. Atlas oil is not an expensive perfume material, and almost all production comes from Morocco, where this type comes from. The oil was obtained by steam distillation under pressure. Undiluted oil does not have a delightful smell, like most fragrant oils, although by diluting it, oil gets a smell like a freshly cut pencil, which we all remember from school days. When the fragrant oil is further diluted, it even begins to look like the flower essences of mimosa and yarrow.

For the perfume industry’s needs, the essential oil obtained from the so-called Virginia cedar (technically juniper) is also important. You can usually smell it in masculine, woody aromatic compositions based on the harmony of wood, citrus, and herbal notes. This essential oil is not as viscous as Atlas or Himalayan oil: it is quite flexible and has a pleasant, gentle, and slightly balsamic scent.

Serge Lutens once traveled to Morocco and found a cedar there. At the first breath of the strong scent of this sacred tree, he fell in love with its peculiar and complex fragrant nature. During the nineties of the last century, he produced his first perfume with an aromatic note of cedar.

Another essential oil worth mentioning comes from Texas. It is sold much more today than any other cedar oil and is an indispensable part of every perfumer’s arsenal. It has a pleasant woody-sweet, slightly spicy and smoky scent, at times reminiscent of the smell of freshly bought graphite pencils. After a while, its fragrant note becomes sweeter and more balsamic, and there is the most significant difference between Virginia oil and Texas oil.

Cedar, as a fragrant note, is currently one of the most sought-after and most popular notes in niche perfumery. Sometimes, due to high demand, synthetic fragrant notes of cedar are used instead of natural cedar oil. However, whatever its origin, the combination of the scent of cedar with vetiver, sandalwood, and patchouli is a fragrant melody that most people enter the ear very quickly, or rather the nose. The cedar is deep, a little dark and warm, but vibrant and mesmerizing on top of all that, paradoxically fresh and phenomenal in summer perfumes. Although cedar is slowly disappearing from our planet, certain species such as Virginia or Texas cedar allow us to enjoy this sacred fragrance that has fascinated human senses and imagination for thousands of years and reminded us that even though we have roots deep in the earth, we can always aspire to heaven.

List of perfumes with cedar fragrance note:

  • April Aromatics Precious Wood
  • Armani Privé Cedre Olympe
  • Avon Timeless
  • Azzaro Visit
  • Bentley for Men
  • By Kilian Straight to Heaven
  • Byredo Super Cedar
  • Cartier Declaration
  • Christian Lacroix Tumulte Pour Homme
  • Comme des Garcons Sequoia
  • Comme des Garcons Wonderwood
  • Creed Royal Oud
  • Creed Spice & Wood
  • Demeter Log Cabin
  • Diptyque Tam Dao
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
  • DSquared She Wood
  • Fendi Theorema
  • Gorilla Breath of God
  • Gucci Pour Homme
  • Gucci Rush for Men
  • Hermes Terre d’Hermes
  • Hermes Voyage
  • Hugo Boss Deep Red
  • Lalique Equus
  • Lancome Tresor in Love
  • Le Labo Chant de Bois
  • L’Occitane Cedre
  • Moschino Couture
  • Nasomatto Black Afgano
  • Panouge Cedarstorm
  • Premiere Note Cedar Atlas
  • Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque Cedres Du Liban
  • Penhaligons Opus 1870
  • Shiseido Femininte du Bois
  • The Merchant of Venice Cedarwood
  • Zara Black Pepper & Cedarwood