Ingredients Glossary

Each of the fragrant essential oil ingredients used by Aja Botanicals has been carefully chosen from the natural world for its individual mystery and magic, then combined to weave stories in scents that speak to the soul.

Here, we invite you to deep-dive into the ingredients you will find in Aja Botanicals fine fragrances.



Musky, green, almost peppery, angelica is the perfect perfumery companion ingredient for woods, citrus, florals and aromatic scents. Wonderfully complex, almost mystical, angelica waves a botanical magic wand over other ingredients in any blend, encouraging them to work synergistically together to elevate a fragrance creation – and as a result, it’s much-loved by perfumers.

Both the roots and the seeds in this family of beautiful, umbrella-like angelica plants offer up fragrant essences (as well as the bright green natural oil that is used in the liqueur Chartreuse). Sometimes referred to as the ‘herb of the angels’, in neo-Pagan times, graceful Angelica archangelica was used for protection against witches, evil spirits and enchantment, carried for good luck and defense.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘The use of angelica in the fragrance gives a natural outdoor freshness.’

Discover angelica in... DREAMS



Fresh, uplifting, airy, zingy, bergamot is extracted from the zest of the green, intriguingly knobbly rind of Citrus bergamia – a bitter orange that grows on a small, winter-flowering evergreen tree. Most of the world’s bergamot is harvested from Citrus aurantium var. bergamia trees grown along the coast of Calabria, in Southern Italy, where this gloom-banishing ingredient is extracted from the zest of the fruit rind for use in fragrances and flavouring – bergamot also gives us the citrus note in Earl Grey tea.

Bergamot’s first recorded use in perfumery goes right back to an Eau de Cologne created in 1709. Myths and legends surround the history of this unique and valuable citrus, with whispers that it was first brought to Europe in the 15th century from the Canary Islands by Christopher Columbus.

Bergamot is one of perfumery’s brightest notes, vividly awakening the senses, while giving fragrances an almost ethereal quality, a shimmer and radiance. Think of sunlight, streaming through a window – and easy elegance.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘Bergamot adds the most wonderful freshness to a fragrance, which is why perfumers are so drawn to it.’

Discover bergamot in... HELLO, I LOVE YOU



Woody, warm, with a hint of sweet flowers, cabreúva is steam-extracted from the sustainably harvested bark and twigs of the tree Myrocarpus frondosus, or Myrocarpus Fastigiatus – a family of trees that offers the perfume world several other precious resins, including Peru balsam, copaiba balsam and tolu balsam.

Flourishing in the wild in South America, the tree itself is renowned for its extreme resilience. One of perfumery’s lesser-known woody ingredients, cabreúva beautifully complements the other woods in the perfumer’s palette, as well as enhancing floral notes – basically working to “uplift” those elements in a fragrance or a candle. At the same time, cabreúva is wonderfully grounding – in fact, it’s said that energetically and emotionally, cabreúva may work to ease mental and emotional exhaustion, helping with focus and clarity while reducing “over-thinking”. The perfect fragrance note for the times we live in, then.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘We chose cabreúva for its sweet woodiness – and for its mind-clearing vibes.’

Discover cabreúva in... WALK ON THE WILD SIDE



With its evocative “new pencil” scent, cedarwood is one of the most recognisable ingredients in a perfumer’s palette. And while it’s woody, yes, there’s a freshness, a dryness, hints of warm resin and even spice, whisking us to the depths of an evergreen forest.

Cedarwood has a rich history in perfumery, right back to the ancient Middle Eastern times, when it was first extracted from trees and prized for use in incense, perfumes, even medicine. These majestic trees have been known to live for up to 3000 years, and in many cultures, cedarwood is said to allow communication with the sacred. It is even synonymous with immortality, across cultures ranging from China to Greece via Japan and Tibet.

Natural cedarwood sourced from Virginia, which you’ll find in Aja Botanicals’ creations, is steam-distilled to create an elegant perfume note with so many different facets. While there’s an uplifting vibrancy and brightness to cedarwood, like all woody notes used in perfumery, it’s also very grounding – something we surely all need, in the age of devices, social media and 24/7 news.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘With its sweetness and warmth, I enjoy cedarwood as a way to reconnect with the Earth and with oneself.’

Discover cedarwood in... INTO THE MYSTIC



The name “cade” comes from the old French word “casc”, or “cascate”, which actually means juniper, with this ingredient extracted from the wood of that tree. Impossible to cultivate, it’s an ingredient that’s always harvested from the wild.

Dating back to the time of the Roman Empire and ancient Greece, records tell us cade oil became renowned for its healing and medicinal properties. Native to regions of the Mediterranean and the Middle East and sometimes known by the name “juniper tar” or “prickly juniper”, cade is still popular today for use as an antiseptic and disinfectant.

But in the world of perfumery, used with the lightest and most expert touch, cade delivers something quite different and magical: an intriguing leatheriness and a campfire smokiness that’s been said to evoke a journey back to humanity’s origins. Unsurprisingly, cade has long been associated with spiritual gatherings – a mystical scent that today, perfectly complements floral, citrus and fresh notes in candles and fragrances.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘Cade was chosen for its unique, smoky leatheriness and intensity.’

Discover cade in... WALK ON THE WILD SIDE



A walk in a forest. Crisp mornings. Clean, clear air. Whatever the association you have, smelling this natural extract – from the very same trees we have in our homes each Christmas – it’s quite simply green, green, green. (And in perfumery and home fragrance creation, this refreshing, aromatic and bright note can be enjoyed as deeply in high summer as the depths of a winter.)

Fir needle is steam-distilled from the needles and twigs of Abies balsamea, a tree native to Canada and the northern areas of the United States, but now grown in cool climates around the world. Coniferous trees, including fir, act as guardians of the planet, with an extraordinary ability to clear the air.

Historically, fir needle was widely used by Native Americans for religious and medicinal purposes – they would stuff pillows with pine needles as a way to beckon peaceful sleep.

Today, balsam fir needle is used to purify the air and soothe feelings of anxiety, helping to bring balance and focus.

In perfumery, fir needle has an almost citrus-like energy, while at the same time evoking that comforting sensation of being enveloped in an evergreen forest. Fir needle is said to uplift the spirits and bring a sense of ease – the feelings that will be invoked when filling your home with the scent of DREAMS...

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘We chose fir needle as an ingredient for its unrivalled outdoorsy freshness.’

Discover fir needle in... DREAMS



Still relatively untapped by the perfume world, fragonia (Agonis fragrans) is the scent of the bushlands of Western Australia. Smelling a little like tea tree, but without the love-it-or-hate-it camphor/menthol notes, fragonia has an exquisite floral quality, from the tiny white flowers that emerge like stars on a shrub that has long been the mainstay of Australia’s cut-flower industry. Actually, it’s only been used in fragrance creation since the year 2000.

The flowers are generally harvested in November – Australia’s spring – and steam-extracted, to capture their precious essential oil. With its citrusy freshness, fragonia is sometimes described as “hypnotic”, with deep emotional and spiritual properties that include banishing tension, instantly relaxing and calming, helping to develop inner strength and acceptance of past and present. Fragonia has even been described as ‘carrying a unique energy pattern, bringing the gift of the power of love.’

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘There’s a “white light” energy around fragonia – a truly cleansing power.’

Discover fragonia in... DREAMS



Frankincense’s name comes from the old word for “franc encens”, meaning high- quality incense. So, maybe it reminds you of church. Perhaps of weaving your way through an exotic souk, on holiday, with a thin veil of frankincense hovering in the air in shaded walkways. But as a perfume ingredient, frankincense is brilliantly versatile, delighting us with its citrusy pepperiness and slight lemony freshness, as well as a resinous woodiness.

Also known as olibanum, frankincense’s history is inextricably linked with that of perfume itself: a gum resin sustainably harvested from the Boswellia sacra tree, generally from Somalia, Oman, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Yemen, it was once known as ‘the gold of the East’, burned in vast quantities in ancient times to honour the gods before it became woven into Christian ritual. Famously, frankincense was one of the gifts carried by the Three Wise Men to mark the birth of the baby Jesus.

Frankincense resin is tapped from trees via the artful slice of a sharp knife, releasing precious liquid that pours from gnarled trunks (some of them hundreds of years old), before setting into precious amber-y nuggets. From this, an essential oil is created: a powerful ingredient that is considered relaxing and restorative, and to improve concentration and memory. Overall, frankincense is a complex, wonderfully balanced aroma for mind and soul – woody, earthy, deep and spiritual.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘The resinous quality of frankincense really grounds a fragrance – the perfect counterpoint to floral notes.’

Discover frankincense in... HELLO, I LOVE YOU



When perfumers want to add a gusty breeze of green outdoorsiness to their creation, they often reach for galbanum. Often used to conjure up a spring-like freshness, used alongside floral notes, it works beautifully to evoke the scent of... simply being in nature: woody, yet alive with the scent of clean, damp earth and bracingly pure mountain air.

You can find references to galbanum in the Old Testament as an ingredient in holy incense, while the Ancient Egyptians imported vast amounts of galbanum from Persia (now Iran), to use in religious ceremony. Today, the ingredient is steam-extracted from umbrella-like plants Ferula galbaniflua, part of the fennel family, which flourishes in Iran, Turkey and surrounding countries.

Therapeutically, galbanum is said to be calming, helping to promote better sleep. Ritually, it has strong ceremonial links. But creatively, there are few ingredients in the perfumer’s palette that can rival galbanum’s power to evoke an almost forest-like earthiness – and at the same time, an expansive airiness. Both ancient and modern, think of it as a bracing walk, bottled.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘Galbanum has a mystical, rich, green resinous character that is the perfect olfactory accompaniment on a spiritual journey.’

Discover galbanum in... INTO THE MYSTIC



For many of us, geranium conjures up nostalgic aromatic memories – maybe rubbing a leaf of these tender fragrant plants between our fingers as a child, experiencing wonder at the rosiness, the lemoniness, or even the spiciness that a geranium’s green leaf offers up.

We’re not talking the sort of geranium that brightens summer windowsills with their red and pink flowers, though. It is the well-loved and really rosy Pelargonium graveolens (it means ‘strong-smelling’) that is the type of geranium harnessed in perfumery – a soft but potent, warm scent. The essential oil is distilled from stalks and leaves, giving an herbaceous, green, aromatic oil with sweet, minty-rose undertones.

Working on the mind, geranium is said to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and tension, while boosting concentration and balancing the emotions. But for many perfume-lovers geranium works rather like Doctor Who’s Tardis, with its power to make us travel through time and space, simply by closing our eyes, and smelling.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘The geranium in HELLO, I LOVE YOU adds a wonderful rosy note that works so well, entwined with the jasmine in this blend.’

Discover geranium in... HELLO, I LOVE YOU



From over 200 species of jasmine, only two are used in perfumery – and it is the exquisite Jasminum grandiflorum enjoyed in Aja Botanicals. Although it originated in India and China, this white flower – quite surprisingly, a member of the olive family – is grown across the world from India to France, Spain, Morocco and Algeria.

The name itself is Persian, meaning “a gift from God”, and jasmine has variously been called both “the Queen of Flowers” and “the King of Flowers”. In different cultures, jasmine is synonymous with love, romance, weddings, passion, seduction and beauty, while it’s said to allow us to relax into our heart space, finding a place of warmth, compassion, love and trust.

When it comes to harvesting jasmine, timing is everything: the flowers open after dark, when the sun has set and the temperature drops. A constellation of teeny star-shaped flowers dots the green bushes with a fresh crop, by the time a platoon of pickers turns up for work soon after dawn. By lunch, each harvest is over, until the next day, and the process of extracting jasmine begins, transforming the petals into one of perfumery’s most precious oils.

It is known to perfumers, quite simply as “La Fleur” – or “the flower” – which tells us everything we need to know about jasmine’s importance, with a scent that is quintessentially floral, fruity, powdery – narcotically rich and more than a little sexy.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘Excitement and joy of life can really be felt when you smell jasmine – it brings out the magic of love.’

Discover jasmine in... HELLO, I LOVE YOU



With its greeny-grey foliage, Cistus ladanifer scrambles all over the Mediterranean region. More commonly known as rock rose, its delicate, flat, rose-like flowers belie its toughness and tenacity. The plant gives off a sticky resin (known as labdanum) from its twigs, stems and the underside of its leaves – and it’s these, rather than the flowers, which give us the ingredient for perfume alchemy.

Labdanum has been used since the time of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, while in the Middle Ages, it was not only used in fragrances, but also in pomanders. Once upon a time, people would comb labdanum from the beards and thighs of goats who browsed on hillsides, using rake-like comb made of leather from which the resin could be scraped for distillation. Rather more easily, it can now be extracted via boiling the green materials, which sees the resin rise to the surface, to be skimmed off.

The result is complex: ambery, musky, rich and herbaceous, all at the same time – but also warm, earthy and slightly sweet. This powerful essence is loved by perfumers for its fixative powers, ensuring any scented creation that features labdanum will simply linger longer. Therapeutically, labdanum is loved for its power to ease stress – yet another of nature’s aromatic antidotes, for the world we live in.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘I love the sweetness that labdanum resin brings to this blend – sultry, soft, warm and smooth.’

Discover labdanum in... WALK ON THE WILD SIDE



Once upon a time, laundry would be aired over the purple mounds of lavender bushes, picking up the aromatic scent as the linen dried. (It’s still a custom in some parts of the world.) That’s why lavender takes its name from lavare, the Latin for “to wash”. The Romans also perfumed their baths with lavender oil, while in Medieval times, lavender was strewn on the floors of homes and churches, as well as interleaved between linen and clothing, in closets and wardrobes. It works to repel insects – although ironically, bees love it, and you’ll often see these purple bushes a-buzz.

Botanically, lavender – which comes in many different forms – is a member of the mint family. Thought to have originated in the uplands of India and across the Mediterranean, it’ll happily flourish anywhere sunny, stony and well-drained, although France is still the centre of production.

French lavender has such an unmistakeable scent, many of us could recognise it blindfold – fresh, cool, green smooth and aromatic all at the same time, and sometimes a little spicy or even sweet. Therapeutically, it’s one of the most heavily researched botanicals, its anxiety-soothing powers confirmed by science, as well as its ability to promote sleep.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘Lavender is quintessentially fresh and clean – a shaft of sunlight, in fragrance.’

Discover lavender in... INTO THE MYSTIC



Imagine a damp forest floor: earthy, woody, sensual, grounding. That’s the complex scent of oakmoss, an ingredient particularly treasured by perfumers, and which has been beguiling people for millennia.

Technically known as Evernia prunastri, sometimes romantically known by its French name, ‘mousse de chêne’, oakmoss is actually a lichen – a family of botanicals that flourishes only the purest, cleanest air to be found on Planet Earth. Today the moss is mostly harvested across Central Europe and then sent to Grasse, the world’s epicentre of perfumery, where it’s extracted as oakmoss absolutes and extracts.

Oakmoss was used in perfumery as far back as Roman times, while in the Middle Ages, it was an ingredient in “pastilles” that were burned to purify the air. Today, used to create fragrances and candles, oakmoss is considered irreplaceable, impossible to synthesise. Its secret power is to deliver a scent that is musky, leathery, with whispers of sweet amber.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘Oakmoss’s musky earthiness is like nothing else in the perfumer’s palette. It’s completely bewitching.’

Discover oakmoss in... INTO THE MYSTIC



What a history this fragrance ingredient brings to fragrance blends – a sacred ingredient that has been revered for thousands of years. One of the early aromatics loved by the Egyptians and referred to in the Song of Solomon in the Bible, spikenard (sometimes “nard”, for short) was also the herb used by Mary Magdalene to anoint Jesus, before the Last Supper. (It was also used to flavour wine, in Ancient Rome.)

In fact, through history, spikenard has been regarded almost as a “portal” between this world and the next, linked with ritual, thanks to the sense of serenity it invokes.

Spikenard comes from the roots (rhizomes) of Nardostachys jatamansi, a tender aromatic flowering plant in the valerian family, which grows in the Himalayas, above 3,500 metres – China, Nepal, Bhutan and India. Steam distillation produces the essential oil, which is sweetly spiced, musky, green and earthy. It’s often used in spiritual or meditation blends, sometimes known in aromatherapy as “a woman’s oil” – a powerful tool for grounding and to soothe anxiety and stress.

Aja Botanicals founder, Tilly Wood, says: ‘Spikenard has the energy of serenity, of ritual and sacredness.’

Discover spikenard in... DREAMS



Aja Botanicals uses only natural waxes in the candle collection – unlike so many candles, which are based on petrochemical waxes. This is combined with the fact that all ingredients used in our fine fragrances are vegan, except for the beeswax used in our candle base. Read more about the base ingredients, into which our exquisite fragrance ingredients are seamlessly blended...



With a lower melting point than paraffin wax, you’ll find that candles created with soya wax burn cooler and last longer than candles based on paraffin – which is a fossil-fuel wax derived from the oil, coal or shale industry.

Sourced from sustainable soya and 100 per cent biodegradable, soya wax is created from the oil of soya beans, one of the world’s most important agricultural crops. After harvest, the beans are cracked, de-hulled and rolled into flakes, ultimately being transformed into an oil that is solid at room temperature. Soya wax is a great fragrance “carrier”, which means the scent doesn’t need to be “amplified” by chemical ingredients.



Coconuts are known as the “Three Generation Tree”, because these long-lived tropical trees can support a farmer, his children and his grandchildren. Throughout the tropics, growing coconuts offers local families a chance to make a living because coconut palms are so highly productive, too.

The wax is obtained by pressing the oil from the coconut flesh before it goes through a physical process to become solidified. Coconut-based candles are non- toxic and burn super clean, with zero soot particles, while fragrance ingredients meld beautifully with coconut wax, giving a great “throw” – which means that when the candle is lit, you’re greeted by a boost of scent that quickly fills a room.



Beeswax has the highest melting point for any candle – which means that a candle featuring beeswax will burn for longer than a paraffin option. Only a small amount of beeswax can be taken from each hive, and just a tiny amount is required in our wax blend in order to reap its amazing benefits. Like the plant-based waxes in Aja Botanicals candles, beeswax doesn’t give off particles of soot when you blow it out – more than that, beeswax produces negative ions which have been found to actually clean the air of dust, smoke, pollen and allergens. Better for your home and the air that you breathe – and better for the planet.