There are a lot of different ingredients used in the chemistry of perfumes, but there’s no cooler name than Dragon’s Blood!
This article is for everyone who’s every wondered what Dragon’s Blood really is, what’s the story behind it, and in perfumes, is it for men, women, both …
No worries, we’ve got you covered. Read on!
What is Dragon’s Blood?
Dragon’s Blood is the dried resin of one of several different tree species.
Take a look at the picture below, and you can see straight away how it got the name! Doesn’t that deep red just look like dried blood from some mysterious creature?
Dragon’s Blood has been known since ancient Roman times in the west, and maybe for even longer in China. Ancient textbooks would often refer to it as if it truly was the dried blood of dragons.
In reality, there are actually a few different trees that produce very similar resins. They all dry into very similarly-hued solids, and the product is called the same regardless of which tree is the main source.
(Of course, there are also synthetic sources these days, as there are for most things, but we’ll ignore those for now. They’re not nearly as interesting!)
The Obligatory Science Bit: In case you want to go really deep here – the groups of trees/plants that produce this resin are Croton, Daemonorops, Dracaena, and Pterocarpus. They are found in different regions, from the Canary Islands and Morocco (Dracaena) to the Indo-Pacific (Calamus) and even parts of South America (Croton).
This is what they look like:
What is Dragon’s Blood Used For?
Since ancient times, this substance was often used in dyes, or in pigments for paint.
Makes sense – the deep, moody red resin would presumably make quite a permanent, richly colored dye.
But that’s not all.
Perhaps inevitably with a name like that, Dragon’s blood has often been used for its reputed medicinal properties.
(Actually, thinking about it – perhaps the name was used as an early marketing ploy. I mean, who wouldn’t want something like Dragon’s Blood to heal what ails you?)
Those properties allegedly covered a wide range of ailments from helping with respiratory problems, to ulcers, to healing wounds.
In different cultures around the world, blood disorders and healing wounds are the most common, and regularly repeated beliefs in the power of this substance.
And frankly, with a name like that, who can blame them? Blood magic has a powerful reputation after all.
But there’s more – Dragon’s Blood has also been used to make incense, and even magical ink that can be used in rituals and incantations.
And of course, perfumes.
What Does Dragon’s Blood Smell Like?
The scent of Dragon’s Blood varies slightly depending on the source (remember, it can be from any of several tree types), but the common elements are an earthy, somewhat musky floral – vaguely reminiscent of roses and freshly-turned soil. Not overly sweet, but a very “dense” scent that can be a bit too strong for some.
In perfumes (for example, Santa Sangre from Bortnikoff) and in incense it’s often used to compliment notes like cedarwood, orange, clove, and patchouli.
Is Dragon’s Blood for Men or Women?
That is, Dragon’s Blood isn’t for everyone, but its not stereotypically feminine or masculine. In fact, most of the perfumes that incorporate Dragon’s Blood into the base notes (and its always in the base notes) are marketed explicitly as unisex fragrances.
OK, hopefully that quick intro was helpful. Dragon’s Blood is a fascinating ingredient, with one of the more interesting backstories!
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