I was walking in the woods with a friend the other day and we happened upon a large black walnut tree. She has been asking me to make her a walnut perfume, so we started talking about that again. It's not the scent of the walnuts themselves that she's looking for, but the fruit that contains them. The heavy tennis-ball sized green fruits that drop beneath the tree give off a startling spicy green citrus aroma with earthy undertones.
Apparently you can pick them from the trees before the walnut even has a chance to develop inside, quarter them, put them in jars with alcohol and spices, and age it for awhile to make a liqueur the Italians call Nocino (which is going on my long list of infusions to try the next time I have a gallon of vodka leftover from a party or something.) Unfortunately the juice from the fruit turns a deep mahogany brown and stains anything it touches, making an infusion for perfume purposes a little impractical.
But I did the next best thing and set about recreating the scent when I got back home, starting with verbena for the herbal lemony brightness, black pepper for spice, and cedar wood for the earthy base. It's kind of weird, but I like it: citrusy and dirty and fresh smelling at the same time. I'm interested to to see what my friend thinks!