Tonka bean, the seed of an Amazonian tree, is one of the widely used notes in the perfumery today. Tonka bean has a sweet/spicy fragrance that is reminiscent of vanilla and almond.

In oriental fragrances, tonka bean displays a honeyed facet, with fruity undertones. When used in combination with citrus notes, it plays up the freshness, and can also balance out the sourness of notes like grapefruit. With floral compositions, tonka beans tends to add a powdery aroma.

Fun Fact: Although it’s a beloved ingredient by French patissiers and master-chefs, these beans are illegal for consumption in the US. The tonka beans contain high levels of coumarin, a chemical that has been shown to be toxic in large quantities.

Here are some of our favorite interpretations of tonka bean:

Lilac Love Woman by Amouage

A floral creation with a powdery backdrop, Lilac Love Woman is a brilliant introduction to tonka bean.

Lilac Love Woman creates a deliciously light puff pastry of a perfume. Roses, jasmine, gardenia, heliotrope, and orris infused with tonka bean, cacao and vanilla – all of which is accented with patchouli’s herbal spice.

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

A cold weather staple, this Histoires de Parfums scent opens with spicy nutmeg and cardamom. As the fragrance unfolds it reveals amber, creamy tonka bean, and vanilla, which lend Ambre 114 a decadent quality.

Ever more alluring after dark, Ambre 114 makes a fabulous first, second, one thousandth impression.

Chocolate Greedy by Montale

This gourmand scent from Montale is the truest translation of chocolate in fragrance form. Bitter orange adds a zippiness to warm tonka bean, while vanilla and dried fruit dry down to a base of warm cocoa.

Full marks to the perfumer for producing a warm spicy fragrance with timeless allure, which will go perfectly with formal or casual party dress code, just in time for holiday season.

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