Hot, gourmand, vanilla… the adjectives struggle to describe the enchanting scent of the tonka bean, one of the most precious natural ingredients of luxury perfumery. This heady almond comes from the fruit that produces a tropical tree, which grows only in South America: the Cumaru. The tonka bean is a rare raw material whose aromatic richness has captivated great perfumers for over a century.
The most sought-after tonka bean is found in a remote area of Venezuela, where the harvest season is expected every year with apprehension, because the plant is capricious, and no one can predict whether from one year to another the harvest will keep its promises. The tonka bean is today not only an economic issue, but also an environmental issue in this region of the world where the extraction of gold and the exploitation of wood are often more valuable than the delicate perfume of an almond.