An emblematic ingredient of Japanese culture

The Headspace of Tougouchi Whisky is one of the centrepieces of Takasago’s Japanese Palette. "This palette of ingredients was created in 2015," explains Claire Liégent. Takasago has drawn on Japanese nature and culture to carve out an original palette. A unique source of inspiration for Fine Fragrance perfumers.

"This palette combines natural ingredients - essential oil of yuzu, hinoki, a variety of Japanese cypress, seaweed absolute - and headspaces," adds Claire Liégent. These include the headspace of Tatami, a noble material used in temples, the headspace of kodo, black sesame, sansho pepper, or shima gyokushinka, a tiny flower native to Ogasawara with sunny, spicy notes. And finally, the headspace of Togouchi Whisky, which Claire Liégent loves for its elegant character, just like this world-renowned nectar.

"The Headspace of Togouchi Whisky was an obvious choice because it is an icon of Japanese excellence," confirms the perfumer. This know-how draws its inspiration from Scotch whisky, which was imported to Japan at the beginning of the 20th century. "Due to a shortage of wood during the Second World War, the Japanese used Mizunara, a large oak tree that gives Whisky Togouchi its unique flavour," reveals Claire Liégent. The headspace of Togouchi Whisky is made from Togouchi Premium from the famous Japanese brand. A blend of grain whiskies, made from barley and malt, fully distilled, and aged in bourbon casks. Takasago has also added a headspace of Nikka Pure Malt to its palette of exceptional ingredients.

A process that captures the essence of whisky

The scent of Togouchi Whisky is obtained by using the headspace technique, which involves capturing a fragrance in its environment to reproduce it. This innovation was developed in the 1970s to replace traditional methods (distillation, extraction) when they failed to extract the fragrance of certain plants.

"Here, the dome is placed just above the glass of Togouchi whisky for an hour, to capture the volatile compounds. The result is then injected using GMS (Gas Chromatography coupled with a Mass Spectrometer) to analyse the organic composition of the whisky," explains Claire Liégent. The perfumers then recreate the scent using a combination of natural and synthetic notes.

An olfactive profile rich in nuances

At the top, this headspace unveils an "eau de vie" facet, with hints of yellow fruit. It develops into notes of mirabelle plum and plum, their delicate note contrasting with the woody, leathery structure of the ingredient. An undeniable sweetness that reveals, in the background, a velvety texture, with hints of vanilla and cocoa.

"The originality of this ingredient lies in its volatility," says Claire Liégent. "Despite its sweetness, it is perceptible right from the top notes, which is a plus when formulating."

A valuable complexity from a technical point of view

It is precisely this volatile side of Headspace of Togouchi Whisky that adds richness to the creative process. "With its woody nuances, it fits in with dark, warm accords, but its fruity facet stands out as soon as the fragrance takes off. This offers a twist, a contrasting effect at the top while blending harmoniously with the rest," explains Claire Liégent. "For example, this material lends itself very well to fruity ouds currently in vogue, while giving a new edge to the accord," she continues.

Behind its sweetness, this headspace has a lot of character. Rarely does an ingredient with such a syrupy aroma reveal so many nuances. "Its warm, woody facet could also replace guaiac wood in a formula. This could be an asset in making up for the shortage the industry is currently experiencing," she adds.

For the moment, the richness of the Headspace of Togouchi Whisky makes it a material dedicated to Fine Fragrance. But, as Claire Liégent points out, it is also ideal for the hushed atmosphere of a candle or a venue’s signature fragrance.