Your Bag
Enjoy 15% off + Free Shipping for orders above 70 USD

What Does Rosemary Smell Like? Understanding the Scent of Rosemary Herb

Disclaimer - The information provided in this blog, including any linked materials herein, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. For accurate and personalized recommendations, please consult with your specialists.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the captivating scent of rosemary! In this blog, we will delve into the aromatic world of rosemary, exploring its unique fragrance, versatile uses, and the delightful experiences it offers.

Whether you're a culinary enthusiast seeking to elevate your dishes or a fragrance aficionado in search of a new scent adventure, understanding what rosemary smells like is essential. Join us as we unravel the woody, refreshing, and invigorating aroma of rosemary and uncover the myriad ways it can enhance your sensory journey.

From its role as an herb in the kitchen to its presence in perfumes and aromatherapy, we'll explore the richness of rosemary's fragrance and its ability to bring a touch of nature's essence into your life. So, let's embark on this aromatic exploration and unlock the secrets of rosemary's captivating scent!

What Is Rosemary Oil?

Rosemary oil is a fragrant essential oil derived from the rosemary plant, scientifically known as Rosmarinus Officinalis. This perennial herb, native to the Mediterranean region, is not just a culinary superstar but also a treasure trove of health benefits.

This aromatic oil is typically obtained through a process called steam distillation, where steam is passed through the plant material to vaporize the volatile compounds, which are then condensed back into liquid form. The resulting oil is a clear or pale yellow liquid with a complex aroma that combines woody, herbal, and slightly camphoraceous notes.

According to the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Rosemary oil is known for its nourishing properties. It can be widely used in the field of hair and skin care [1].

What Does Rosemary Smell Like?

Rosemary, a versatile herb cherished for its multitude of uses, possesses a distinct and enchanting fragrance. When you encounter rosemary, whether in its fresh form, essential oil, or dried herb, its scent is bound to captivate your senses. Let's dive into the aromatic profile of rosemary and explore what makes its fragrance truly exceptional.

The scent of rosemary can be described as woodsy, evoking the image of a serene forest. It carries subtle hints of lavender, adding a touch of floral elegance to its overall aroma. This unique combination of woody and floral notes gives rosemary a refreshing and invigorating fragrance that is instantly recognizable.

Rosemary is often used in the form of essential oil. Rosemary essential oil captures the essence of the herb in a concentrated form, intensifying its aromatic qualities. The aroma of rosemary essential oil is often described as calm, minty, herbaceous and aromatic, with a delicate balance of woody and floral notes. Its captivating fragrance makes it a sought-after ingredient in perfumes, scented candles, and aromatherapy practices.

Even in its dried form, rosemary retains its characteristic scent, albeit in a more concentrated manner. The aroma of dried rosemary is robust and earthy, with a prominent woody undertone. It exudes a sense of warmth and richness, making it a staple herb in a variety of dishes.

How Is Rosemary Oil Extracted? 

Rosemary is a perennial herb and is cultivated worldwide. The essence of rosemary oil is a staple in aromatherapy, skin care, hair care and culinary applications.

The following are a few methods through which rosemary oil is extracted. 


Steam Distillation 

Cold Pressing 

Carbon Dioxide Extraction

The first step involves harvesting the rosemary leaves and flowering tops.

Fresh rosemary leaves and flowering tops are harvested, ideally when the plant is in full bloom.

Similar to other methods, the rosemary leaves and flowering tops are harvested and prepared.

The harvested plant material is usually dried to remove excess moisture, although some producers use fresh leaves.

The harvested plant material is cleaned and may be chopped into smaller pieces to increase the surface area for extraction.

The plant material is placed in an extraction chamber and exposed to CO2 under high pressure and low temperature.

The chopped rosemary is placed in a distillation apparatus, where steam is passed through the plant material. 

The plant material is then mechanically pressed to squeeze out the essential oil. This is usually done using a hydraulic press.

Under these conditions, CO2 becomes "supercritical," exhibiting properties of both a liquid and a gas, which allows it to act as a highly effective solvent.

The steam carrying the volatile oils is then passed through a cooling system, where it condenses back into liquid form. 

The extracted liquid contains both the essential oil and plant juices. These are then separated, often through a process of centrifugation.

The supercritical CO2 carries the essential oil as it passes through the plant material. When the pressure is released, the CO2 returns to its gaseous state, leaving behind the essential oil.

The Effectiveness of Rosemary Scent in Essential Oils

The world of essential oils is a fragrant one, filled with a myriad of scents ranging from floral and fruity to earthy and spicy. But these oils are not just about their captivating aromas; the scents play a significant role in the effectiveness of essential oils for various applications, including aromatherapy, skincare, and even medicinal uses.

According to the Journal of Agronomy, Technology and Engineering Management, Rosemary essential oil has been proven to calm down your nerves and promote relaxation [4].

The scent of an essential oil comes from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are naturally occurring in the plants from which the oils are extracted. These VOCs interact with receptors in our nose, sending signals to the olfactory system and eventually reaching the brain.

  • One of the most well-known applications of essential oils is aromatherapy, where the oils are either inhaled directly or diffused into the air. 

  • Scents like lavender are renowned for their calming effects and are often used to relieve stress and promote sleep.

  • Citrusy scents like lemon or orange are uplifting and can help improve mood and focus.

  • The effectiveness of these oils in aromatherapy is largely due to their scent profiles, which interact with the brain to elicit specific emotional and psychological responses.

  • While the primary focus in skincare is often on the active compounds in essential oils, the scent can also play a role. 

  • Some essential oils have traditional medicinal uses, and their scents contribute to their therapeutic properties. For instance, the strong, menthol-like scent of eucalyptus oil is not just invigorating but also helps in clearing respiratory passages.

  • It's crucial to note that not all essential oils are created equal. The quality of the oil can significantly impact its scent and, by extension, its effectiveness.

Scent Profile of Rosemary Oil

The scent profile of rosemary oil is a complex and multi-layered experience.

Here is a breakdown of its aromatic characteristics: 

Scent Profile of Rosemary Oil 


Top Notes

The first impression of rosemary oil is often a sharp, almost camphor-like aroma. This scent is invigorating and stimulating, capturing your attention right away.

Middle Notes

As the initial sharpness begins to fade, the scent transitions into a green, slightly minty aroma. This is the herbal heart of rosemary oil, and it's what most people associate with the plant. 

Base Notes

Finally, the scent settles into woody, balsamic undertones that linger in the background. These base notes give the oil a grounding quality, making it a long-lasting aroma that stays with you. The woody notes also add a touch of warmth to the overall scent.

Versatility in Blending

Rosemary oil's multifaceted scent profile makes it a versatile choice for blending with other essential oils. It pairs well with citrus oils like lemon and orange for an uplifting and refreshing blend. 


It's worth noting that the scent profile can vary depending on several factors, such as the growing conditions of the rosemary plant and the method of oil extraction. Some varieties may have a more pronounced camphoraceous note, while others might lean more towards the herbal or woody aspects.

Uses and Benefits of Fresh Rosemary Essential Oil in Aromatherapy, Perfumes, Scents, and Colognes

Rosemary, with its invigorating scent and distinct aroma, has long been valued for its versatile uses and benefits. From dried rosemary leaves to the concentrated form of essential oil, rosemary offers a wide range of applications in aromatherapy, perfumes, scents, and colognes. 

According to the Special Issue by Discovering and Exploiting Natural Cosmetic Materials and their Functional Mechanisms, published in the year 2020, Rosemary is widely used in cosmetic fields as a fragrance and as a skin conditioner in safe concentrations. It preserves cosmetics from degradation and has great potential to be used topically. It absorbs UV light well and is a bactericidal and antifungal agent [2]. 

Let's explore the various ways in which rosemary can elevate your sensory experiences and enhance your well-being.

Perfumery: Rosemary essential oil is a popular choice, frequently used as a base note to add depth and complexity to fragrance products. Its distinctive scent blends well with other aromatic ingredients, creating a unique and complex olfactory composition. The aroma of rosemary essential oil is often described as refreshing and green, evoking the image of a lush Mediterranean region.

Aromatherapy: When it comes to using rosemary essential oil in aromatherapy, its benefits are widely recognized. The oil's refreshing and energizing properties help create an invigorating atmosphere, promoting mental clarity, focus, and a sense of well-being. Its aroma stimulates the senses and uplifts the mood, making it a popular choice for diffusers, massage oils, and relaxing bath blends.

Therapeutic Benefits: In addition to its aromatic qualities, rosemary essential oil also possesses therapeutic benefits. While scientific evidence supporting its specific effects is ongoing, rosemary has been used traditionally for quite a long time. It is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, among other potential benefits for the skin, hair, and overall health.

Cooking: Rosemary's distinctive scent and flavor make it a versatile herb in cooking as well. Its presence in a wide variety of dishes, like stews and dressings, adds a touch of freshness and complexity. The slightly woody and pine-like aroma of rosemary complements other herbs like basil and cilantro, creating a harmonious blend of soft and invigorating flavors.

Combinations: When using fresh rosemary essential oil in perfumes and scents, it can be layered with other aromatic ingredients to create a fragrance that is uniquely yours. Its aroma combines well with herbs like marjoram and basil, adding an aromatic freshness to the composition. A few drops of rosemary essential oil on a damp paper towel can also be placed in drawers or closets to infuse clothes with a subtle and pleasant scent.

It's important to note that rosemary essential oil contains camphor, a compound also found in evergreen trees, mothballs, and tiger balm. This gives rosemary its characteristic scent but should be used in moderation, as excessive amounts can be overpowering.

DIY Recipes for Oils that Blend Well With the Scent of Rosemary

According to the Skin Pharmacology and Physiology magazine, Rosemary oil has shown abilities for skin wound healing and has an ability to be a phytomedicine [3]. 

Check out the following DIY Recipes for oils that blend with Rosemary for a soothing effect. 

Recipe #1 - Rosemary-Lavender Relaxing Room Spray


  • 20 drops of Rosemary essential oil

  • 20 drops of Lavender essential oil

  • 1 cup distilled water

  • 1 tablespoon witch hazel or vodka (as a preservative)


  • Mix the rosemary and lavender essential oils with the witch hazel or vodka in a small bowl.

  • Add the distilled water and mix well.

  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

  • Shake well before each use and spray in the room for a calming atmosphere.

Recipe #2 - Rosemary-Mint Foot Soak


  • 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil

  • 10 drops of Peppermint essential oil

  • 1 cup Epsom salt

  • 1/2 cup baking soda


  • In a large bowl, mix Epsom salt and baking soda.

  • Add the rosemary and peppermint essential oils and mix well.

  • Store in an airtight container.

  • To use, add 1/4 cup of the mixture to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes.

Recipe #2 - Rosemary-Citrus Hair Rinse


  • 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil

  • 5 drops of Lemon essential oil

  • 5 drops of Orange essential oil

  • 2 cups of distilled water


  • Mix all the essential oils with distilled water in a bottle.

  • After shampooing, pour the mixture over your hair as a final rinse.

  • Do not rinse out; let your hair air dry for a refreshing scent and shine.

Recipe #3 - Rosemary-Eucalyptus Shower Melts


  • 15 drops of Rosemary essential oil

  • 15 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil

  • 1 cup cornstarch

  • 2-3 tablespoons of water

  • Silicone molds


  • In a bowl, mix cornstarch and essential oils.

  • Add water slowly until the mixture becomes a thick paste.

  • Press the mixture into silicone molds.

  • Let them dry for 24-48 hours before removing from molds.

  • Place one melt on the shower floor while showering and enjoy the invigorating aroma.

Recipe #4 - Rosemary-Tea Tree Cleaning Spray


  • 20 drops of Rosemary essential oil

  • 20 drops of Tea Tree essential oil

  • 1 cup distilled water

  • 1 cup white vinegar


  • Mix the rosemary and tea tree essential oils with white vinegar in a bowl.

  • Add the distilled water and mix well.

  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

  • Use as a cleaning spray on surfaces that can tolerate vinegar. Shake well before each use.

Immerse yourself in the fragrant embrace of an herbal garden with this refreshing blend. The herbaceous notes of rosemary combine with the aromatic scents of basil and eucalyptus, creating a vibrant and revitalizing atmosphere.

To use these blends, simply add the specified number of drops of each essential oil to a diffuser or create your own personal fragrance by diluting them in a carrier oil and applying them to pulse points. Remember to perform a patch test before applying any essential oil blend to your skin.


The scent of rosemary oil is a captivating blend of herbal, woody, and camphoraceous notes that come together to create a unique and versatile aroma. This complex scent profile makes rosemary oil a popular choice for a variety of applications, from aromatherapy and skincare to culinary uses. Its top notes of sharp, almost camphor-like aroma awaken the senses, while the middle notes offer a comforting herbal essence, and the base notes provide a grounding, woody undertone.

Understanding the scent profile of rosemary oil can enhance your experience, whether you're using it to improve focus, relieve stress, or add a burst of flavor to your cooking. Its multifaceted aroma also makes it a versatile option for blending with other essential oils, allowing you to create custom scents tailored to your needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions
Facebook Chat Messenger