Anise? Star Anise? In a Perfume?

Hi there Perfume Posse, It’s only in the 21st century that I have even known such a thing as a Star Anise existed. My last partner, being Indian, used it regularly in cooking and it added a sweet depth that made his cooking so much more like the store curry than my Mum’s or mine had ever been. When I started to see it in fragrance notes I was happily surprised that my nose and taste buds had an impression of the note and I could pick it sometimes, others it was blended in too well for me to notice but I still liked the idea that it was there.

Anise? Star Anise? In a Perfume?


Do you know what it smells like? Have you ever had a fragrance where it is the major or one of the featured accords? One of the best ways I have found to really get your nose on a note and to get a feel for the ways it can be used in a fragrance is to buy a note specific sample pack. All the major sample/decant stores have them. We at Perfume Posse are affiliated with Surrender To Chance and I trust them completely to give me the real deal, so it is them that I most often turn to.

I’m thinking this is the perfect SELF GIFT for the Holiday period. How better to celebrate?

$19.99 Anise Sample Pack: Surrender To Chance

This sampler has 8 fragrances that contain anise, the scent that resembles licorice and fennel.

Your sampler pack will include a 1/2 ml sample (1 ml sample vial filled half full) of the following:
1. Caron: Aimez Moi – Violet and anise.
2. Evian: Most Precious – White floral and anise.
3. Fresh: Pomegranate Anise – Pomegranate and anise.
4. L’Artisan: Iris Pallida – Iris and anise.
5. Serge Lutens: Douce Amere – Anise & absinthe.

mandragore-annick-goutal-fragrantica AniseFragrantica

6. Annick Goutal: Mandragore – Mandrake, pepper, ginger and anise.
Mandragore is green with a sweet and spicy kick to it. The spice lifts the green from swampiness and gives it an Asian recipe zing. Add to that a low key sillage and you’ll have people coming in for a second closer sniff. MMMMMM.

gingembre-ginger-1-natural-dsh-perfumes-fragrantica aniseFragrantica

7. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz: Gingembre – Ginger, spices and anise.
Gingembre is a sweet spicy, thrilling fragrance with anise as one of the middle ground players. The white flowers provide a creamy breathiness too before the whole fragrance gets overtaken by the woodsy booze in the base. Stellar.


8. L’Artisan: Tea for Two – Anise, cinnamon, ginger & tea.
Smokey black tea, lightly sweetened and spiced. It was so sad when they discontinued this gorgeous gem. Thank everything they’ve brought it back recently.

$19.99 Anise Sample Pack <<JUMP

So, what is your favourite? Is it here or do you love something else like Lolita Lempicka EdP, Apres L’Ondee by Guerlain or Osafume by Olympic Orchids (which are two of my Anise loves)
Portia xx



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  • Eeertmeert says:

    Givenchy Very Irresistible edt has it, quite a girly scent. Nothing as dimensional as included in the sampler pack, but I like it every once in awhile.

  • GrandmaGaga says:

    The first time I tried JPG’s Classique I was sent back in time and wondered why I felt I had smelled it before and really connected with it; I later learned that Classique shared the star anise note with Old Spice, which my father wore in the talc version many years ago during my childhood….sweet memories.

  • HeidiC says:

    Is loving Apres l’Ondee even a question? I like cooking with star anise in Asian and Mexican dishes — it does add a sweetness that counterbalances a spicy dish. It’s not the same thing as anise, which is related to fennel, though all 3 have that licorice scent and flavor. I also love aniseed in baked goods — there’s this sweet bread/pastry called Gibassier that’s flavored with orange peel and aniseed that is SO. GOOD. And I’m a fan of vintage absinthe — I’ve had a French one from the 1910s and a Spanish one from the 1930s, and they’re much more delicately herbal/floral — not like the licorice mouthwash you can get today.

    But you know what? I haven’t really sought out that note in perfume! I love A l’O, and AG’s Mandragore, but haven’t gone looking for it. May need to right that!

  • spring_pansy says:

    Thanks for this post, Portia. I love anise and spices. I wore Tea for Two today – it was wonderful. And, I’ve been planning a visit to Dawn to buy some Gingembre! Her Essence Studio/DSHPerfumes is almost right next door to me. I am also interested in a bit of Lumiere in lotion form for the holidays. She just isn’t open that many hours when I’m not at work, but I’m looking forward to seeing her and trying her newest fragrances: Dark Moon and Vanilla Chantilly as well as Kaleidoscope from last spring/summer.

    • Portia says:

      When you meet Dawn please tell her the Perfume Posse sent you. She’ll be excited I hope.
      Give her our love.
      Portia xx

  • Ann says:

    Yum! Thanks for an enlightening and delish post, Portia. I really wasn’t aware of star anise much before but now I will be on the lookout for it and will see if I can parse it out in the lovely Tea for Two.

  • carol says:

    I associate with licorice – any similarity?

    • Portia says:

      Yes, it’s linked but Anise is less invasive and more herbal. I find the words interchangeable in perfumery but I’m not a nose.
      Portia xx

  • Neva says:

    I wasn’t familiar with anise/star anise until I discovered ayurveda as a life style. Nowadays I’m using it for cooking and always have some at home.
    I really don’t know the perfumes you mention above except Tea for Two which I love. Glad it’s back again.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Neva,
      Why is it so important in Ayurvedic cookery?
      Tea for Two is beautiful. I don’t wear it enough.
      Portia xx

      • Neva says:

        Ayurvedic cookery is full of spices. They stimulate the metabolism and heat or cool down the body, they help with the digestion and the detoxification of the body… Star anise gives also a nice flavor to some sweet dishes and stews.

        • Portia says:

          Ahhhh, I didn’t know all that. Interesting.
          I love to add it to curries and soups, excellent in a Pumpkin Soup. MMMM
          Portia xx