Full of beans: the tonka edit theme

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In this theme

Introducing the delicious tonka bean, renowned for its rich warming exotic fragrance and a symbol of luck and happiness. Harvested from the dipteryx odorata tree in South America and the Caribbean, its fragrant flowers attract bees and pollinating insects. Cherished for its vanilla-like sweetness, especially in Colombian tonka beans, it gained popularity in 19th-century Europe, particularly among French perfume houses like Houbigant and Guerlain. Over the last few decades, it has become one the most popular spices in perfumery, and no wonder as it lends its bewitching character to many perfumes.

The harvesting process often involves breaking the pods, extracting seeds, and drying them in the sun for weeks before macerating them in rum. The resulting tonka bean absolute happens through solvent treatment and alcohol rinsing. Interestingly it is the coumarin, the natural aromatic found in both tonka beans and tobacco leaves, that gives that woody depth to many fragrances.

Initially used as a vanilla substitute, tonka was prized for enhancing fragrances' longevity by binding other materials together. With advances in perfumery we can now experience its brilliant versatility. As a sharp note in verdant diffusions, a creamy dry tone in ambers, woody and sweet when married to florals; the diverse olfactory profile seems endless.

As you explore this edit, and immerse yourself in the tantalizing world of tonka, we hope you come to know tonka as much more than a simple sweet vanilla-like note, but a complex material in its own right.

Liqueur Charnelle Pierre Guillaume Black Collection Linking tobacco to the rest

Here the aromatic and woody coumarin of tonka infuses the blond tobacco for a richer tone. This is balanced with honey notes from elemi and linden. Boozy fumes from a blend of peppers and cognac are enriched with raspberry. Overall joyful and delicious.

Pure Azure Phaedon Paris Sharp behind green

The beautiful blend of tonka and vanilla give honeyed undertones and present a contrast to the leafy green botanicals. The artful shimmering mix is highlighted by way of joyful florals and projected by figs for a fresh clean tone.

Tonkade Laboratorio Olfattivo A refence perfume

A celebration of tonka’s complexity. Enriched with cardamom, its sweetness is enhanced with candied fruit while the woody tones are infused with cedarwood and cashmeran for depth. Sweetness is refined with incense and musk. Spicy and seductive.

Tonka Lavande Marie Jeanne Sweetening a fougere

This perfume is the brand’s vision of a 21st century fougere. Tonka Lavande features the classic fougere elements such as bergamot and lavender as well as the signature bitter-sweet warm hay nuance conjured up with the help of Brazilian tonka beans.

PG31 Tonka Bodykon Pierre Guillaume - Parfumerie Générale Tonka and rum

A sweet twinkling tonka bean that has soaked up apple flavored rum. A fragrance that gives a boozy decadence, enhanced by tonka’s woody coumarin facets and balanced by nutty pistachio. Deeper sensuous warmth and sweetness is given by amber and vanilla

Vents & Marées Molinard Dry and woody

Bright citrus notes blend with generous amounts of tonka bean and sandalwood, contrasting the zesty tones with airy woody vibes. A delicate harmony of sea spray with the elegance of white flowers swirls in the background. The effect is a gentle inviting sweetness.


Technically tonka are nuts as they come from a tree (whereas a bean is a seed of a legume). ‘Tonka beans’ is a misnomer but also phrase used to refer to them in perfumery, cooking, etc. In Happy Nuts tonka is key note contributing to the delicious nuts roasted in caramel fragrant idea. The name could be a suggestive euphemism or just a reference to tonka being promoted to their accurate botanical rank – nuts.

Mimosa Gold Exaltatum Woody and sweet

A deliciously generous feminine scent where tonka’s woody creamy tones blend with the depth of sandalwood and the exotic floral warmth of champaca, heliotrope and mimosa. The sunshine glow is highlighted by almonds and star anise.

Revelo Jul Et Mad Bitter and clean

This perfume gives a chemical clean diffusion with sharp ambroxan and second-skin white musk. Bright airy hedoine and generous use of tonka beans bring sweet-smelling notes with woody vibes. Gentle, inviting and intimate.