Timotei Fragrance – Why Does It Smell of Timothy Grass?

Timotei Fragrance – Why Does It Smell of Timothy Grass?
How does a shampoo get to smell the way it does?

Colin’s Beauty Pages is a science blog as well as a beauty blog. Think of it as a sort of social media two in one shampoo. And so it is always great to get a question in from a scientist. This comes from my friend David Bradley, the man behind the blog http://www.sciencebase.com (which incidentally, I thoroughly recommend.)

“Do you happen to know what additives are used in Timotei that supposedly make it smell like a meadow of Timothy Grass?”

The smell of Timotei, like that of all mass market products comes from a fragrance added to it.  This is an important part of the development process.  Fragrance creation is a very specialised job carried out by firms who have developed their expertise in the area over a very long time. When a brand is created a brief is sent out to one or more of these fragrance houses. They’ll make some submissions and the one that best meets the needs of the product is chosen.

The selection of the fragrance is a big deal and is taken very seriously because it is one of the strongest elements in the brand identity.  Fragrances are described by a set of agreed terms that helps the people involved in the project discuss them.  So in the case of Timotiei the fragrance is predominantly a green one. Some chemical families have strong fragrance identities. The one that most chemists know is that aldehydes have a tendency to smell fruity – but there is a lot more examples that a good perfumer would know. I think that long chain alcohols are associated with green smells, but it really isn’t my area of expertise.  So the answer is that what we think of as a green fragrance note is reminiscent of the smell of a meadow full of timothy grass.  I don’t know if the name of the product’s similarity to the name of the grass is intentional, but it isn’t impossible.

But what I can say is that  to know how to put a fragrance together takes years of practice, a good nose, a good knowledge of chemistry and a big dose of creativity. It is very much an art and a science.  The people who do the actual blending and creation are often called ‘noses’.  I think it must be quite an enjoyable job.


If you are interested in fragrances, have a look at

4 thoughts on “Timotei Fragrance – Why Does It Smell of Timothy Grass?”

  1. Hi Colin,
    Your article got me thinking about smells I love and hate. One smell that I have a love-hate relationship with is Oud. I bought some for my late grandmother and as I recall it must have been about $200 for a couple of grams a good few years back. Well, it is interesting. When you smell it from the bottle and when it is first applied it smells like farms (some people like the smell of fresh fodder- not me) Then after about 5-10 minutes it has a wonderful smell and I can understand why it is so popular. Not one I would chose for regular wear though.

  2. Hiiii Colin!!!!
    I really like your blog :)!
    I wish I have two questions: the first is what is your opinion about KORA Organics and
    the second is whether the juice of noni has a beneficial effect on skin.
    I hope you can enlighten me :)!

    XOXO, R.

    1. Thanks Rafaela. I am afraid I don’t know anything about Kora Organics. Noni juice was talked about a lot a couple of years back as an anti-cancer agent. I don’t think the evidence to back that claim up was very strong and wouldn’t be relevant to the skin anyway. It is also rich in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are probably beneficial to the skin in the sense that the skin itself is continually fighting off the effect of oxygen. A bit of help is probably appreciated. I don’t know of any reason to think that noni juice is any better than any other source of anti-oxidants.

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