There’s a whiff in the air at the moment. Something recognisable yet hard to pin down. Bittersweet and tangy, verdant and fruity, a scent that captures the essence of spring – we’re talking rhubarb. The long-stalked plant, renowned for its striking gradient hue, which travels from pale green to ruby, has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, and its stalks stewed down in culinary delights.

While some think of rhubarb merely as the filling for a crumble or paired with custard in a hardboiled sweet, the beauty industry is harnessing the sweet yet sour scent and bringing it to the forefront of new blends like never before.

Tart and sweet, rhubarb can add a fresh, sharp edge to fruity florals and sheer aquatics, in perfumery. When paired with rich flowery notes like jasmine, tuberose and rose, rhubarb’s fruitiness is enhanced while greens heighten the already verdant nature of the ingredient, and citruses bring out the tangy, sharpness often associated with the plant.

Niche fragrance makers, Experimental Perfume Club and Perfumer H (both of which are Because favourites) are some of the brands to recently push and celebrate the note. Rambling away from “traditional” summer fragrances that are often loaded with sickly-sweet or heady scents like honeysuckle, patchouli and vanilla.

Perfumer H, a maverick in wholly unique scents, has fused the stems of rhubarb with crimson red fruits and rose water to bring a new sense of sensuality. Combined with rosemary and cedarwood for earthy depth, orange flower for zestiness and aromatic juniper and vetiver grass – all topped off with lemon, the newly launched fragrance is enlivening and deep all at once. A single spritz will bury whatever assumption you have about the legum-y note.

“[The scent is] inspired by the vegetable patch in my grandmother’s walled garden, where the vivid pink stalks stood sheltered under a canopy of green leaves. An image synonymous with the onset of spring and its rose-warm sunsets,” founder Lyn Harris told Because.

While Experimental Perfume Club fuses rhubarb and rose for one of the blendable essentials within their six-piece core collection. “Rhubarb is an underrated ingredient in perfumery, says founder Emmanuelle Moeglin, “surprisingly so as the ingredient pairs seamlessly with notes of floral, green and citrus.”

Housed in a bottle that blends from green to pink, I was taken in by the scent’s nostalgia-inducing familiarity and chose to blend it with a bright and zesty bergamot to create a new perfume I’ll be spritzing all summer long. It was also delicious when combined with heady jasmine for a sweeter and richer experience.

Despite rhubarb season coming to an end soon, the plant will continue to flourish well into summer with these new perfumes that bottle the essence of times gone by.

Discover more ways to indulge in rhubarb this season…