Pepper Timur and a bit of Imagination ~ Raw Materials

I got acquainted with Art de Parfum perfumes at one perfume exhibition and was greatly impressed. Soon the brand appeared in Moscow stores, but somehow quietly and casually, which is not fair, because iodine-marine Sea Foam and refreshing summery Gin and Tonic Cologne are, in my opinion, some of the best fragrances on the given subjects.

In July of 2020, precisely on 07.07, the brand introduced its seventh perfume, Le Joker. Unfortunately, I have seen not one Batman movie, neither am I acquainted with tarot cards, but you can read about the fragrance from that point of view in Raluca Kirschner’s review and watch the official fragrance commercial (the music for it was written by Paul Humphreys, the co-founder of the legendary British electronic band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark aka OMD, and the husband of Rūta Degutytė, the founder of Art de Parfum).



At some point, you might think that Le Joker is moving along a beaten path, replicating the main iodine mineral note of Sea Foam’ marine theme in combination with yet another quotation, Excentrique Moi’s spicy-camphor accord.

However, the true marvel and the center of the fragrance is pepper Timur (Timut), a unique material that has reached perfumers’ palettes relatively recently.

Timut Pepper

Timur pepper aka timut, timit, timbar, and timber is closely related to more known Sichuan pepper. Timur pepper is grown and harvested in Nepal, where it is one of the most common spices and medicinal plants. Firmenich produces an amazing SFE (extracted by Supercritical CO2 Extraction) of timur pepper. Charabot, which has now become a part of Robertet has its own timur pepper material.

Timur pepper has quickly become very popular among perfumers. For example, you can smell it in Tom Ford Noir Anthracite, in which it plays an important role.

Perfume materials extracted from timur pepper are produced by Mane and Symrise, but only for in-company use by their perfumers. Timur is a new material, but I am sure we will smell more of it in the future. Timur pepper was used in Frederic Malle Rose & Cuir, Atelier Materi Poivre PomeloL’Orchestre Parfum Bouquet EncoreLolita Lempicka Oh Ma BicheHistoires de Parfums 7753 Unexpected Mona and even Avon Patchouli Indulgence.



In fact, Timur and Sichuan pepper are peppers only by their look, they are actually fruits of the plant Zanthoxylum from the Rutaceae family, to which also citruses belong. You can picture them as tiny dried oranges of some sort. Although closely related, Sichuan and Timur pepper have significantly different odor profiles.



on the left – Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum bungeanum),
on the right – unripe Japanese or Korean pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum),

in the center – Timur pepper (Zanthoxylum armatum) from Nepal.


The complexity of the olfactive profile of Timur pepper is truly impressive. It’s so nuanced that it alone comprises a full-fledged perfume composition. Citrus notes can be clearly picked up: first of all, grapefruit, then, bitterish Italian citrus chinotto (Citrus myrtifolia) more known after the carbonated drink made with its fruits, and spicy-sweet ginger. An aldehyde complex loudly declares itself as well: octanal (soapy, orange peel), methylheptanal (fresh, green, juicy), and citronellal (lemongrass, dry, herbaceous). There is an expressed aromatic herbal aspect in timur pepper –- you can distinctly smell the freshness of mint and the sweet tartness of basil.

Terpenes compose a significant part of the timur pepper essential oil SFE: limonene, myrcene, phellandrene, pinene – the latter adds a coniferous nuance to its general “turpentine” terpene tone.

The methyl ester of cinnamic acid, methyl cinnamate, is also an important component in its odor profile. You actually smell this material in very small quantities almost everywhere, especially in fruits, for example, plums, and flowers, such as narcissus, champaca, jasmine, but the amount of it measured in dozen percent is almost never found in a single perfume material. Except for timur pepper. Methyl cinnamate gives timur pepper its balsamic-fruity character and is responsible for the nuances of cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, and the light spicy aspect of cinnamon. There is a floral facet in timur that resembles rose.

A presence of a micro amount of sulphuric compounds is also found in the scent of timur pepper. Grapefruit mercaptan makes the citrus note recognizably bitter, and 4‐mercapto‐4‐methylpenthanon‐2, 3-mercaptohexanol, and 3‐mercaptohexyl acetate add a tropical fruit nuance (lychee) and black currant nuance.

Timut Pepper Chemistry

Such a kaleidoscopic complexity of fragrant nuances found in one natural material would have been enough to comprise an entire perfume composition, but the creators of Le Joker added to it at least seven other natural materials.

Right after spraying the perfume, we are pinched by inevitable fresh spicy-woody pink pepper, nicely accentuated by elemi. The aromatic sweet minty and basil-like facet of timur is supported by sweet-spicy star anise, which also balances the mineral accord based on salicylates, which, in turn, stretches to the base by ambroxan.

Le Joker has a woody base made of smoky cypriol (nagarmotha), Atlas cedar, and earthy patchouli. The fresh aquatic accord wonderfully compensates the heavy animalic cedar and moldy patchouli.

Le Joker naturals

The main idea of the perfume is expressed in the quote from Aristotle: “No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.” Indeed, everything remarkable has to go off the common rails offering a new viewpoint or a new experience. Le Joker is made with this extraordinary approach in mind – it certainly doesn’t intend to instantly please you. However, no matter how impulsive and spontaneous love-me-as-i-am the perfume might seem, the perfume was made with great attention to the overall balance and detail. This is undoubtedly a very beautiful and graceful perfume, created to delight its owner without shocking others around.

Le Joker is simply packed with polarizing details. There are aquatic and mineral accords, camphor, anis, patchouli, honey (let’s call it that), Atlas cedar, and smoky cypriol. And even if you have already declared your definite “no way on earth” to this fragrance, I warmly suggest you smell it. There is a big chance you will change your mind.


News Comments

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Rose Alexandrie

jeca 05/18/21 00:17

Timur pepper is crazy interesting! It is herbaceous grapefruit, fresh air, ocean breeze and spicy something. So weird. I smell it so nicely incorporated in Bergamotto di Calabria by Perris Monte Carlo.

Dark is Night

LSAUG 05/16/21 06:35

Based on the art work on the box, no thank you. I do not like the Joker and could not watch that Batman movie. Clowns of any type give me the creeps. I have to like the art work and ad campaign of a fragrance as well as the juice inside and this type of thing is a hard no for me. A great feminine fragrance that features Sichuan pepper is Pink Iris by Abel. I remember when I sampled it I thought how is Sichuan pepper w/ basil going to smell in perfume. My husband joked, can you eat it?! Turns out it is brilliant and it is our favorite fragrance from Abel and my best friend adores it as well. As for the question below about the what the joker has to do w/ tarot cards, the joker is the fool card in a tarot deck. The card is called The Fool or The Joker. The card from the tarot deck doesn’t represent evil (the joker in Batman is pretty evil) it represents mans foolishness which can work for or against a person depending on the situation at hand. The fool in the card is walking along and is about to step off a cliff. Sometimes it is better to look before you leap in life and sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith. I dappled in tarot cards when I was young and it was fun. The cards in the deck kind of represent archetypes of the unconscious mind.
Joys of life

Joys of life 05/16/21 06:14

Ah :) thanks jeca

Rose Alexandrie

jeca 05/15/21 18:00

:-) I guess Mat mentioned Tarot in connection to The Fool tarot card.
Joys of life

Joys of life 05/15/21 17:09

Another great article Matvey! I really enjoy reading about new perfume materials. One question though, what does Le Joker have to do with Tarot cards?

Write your comment: Art de Parfum Le Joker: Pepper Timur and a bit of Imagination

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