Like Nutmeg, Mace essential oil is warming to cold areas of the body, effective for easing the tension of sore muscles and an overall tonic. It was used hand in hand with nutmeg oil in french medicament compositions to help with digestion and fevers. From the medieval word nut, it was considered suitable for an ointment. When blended with a fat of the day – likely lard, it was used to treat gout and rheumatism as mentioned in Grieve’s “Modern Herbal”. Mrs. Grieve also thought nutmeg and mace were almost identical in scent but perhaps that was due to high volume distillations which can miss the subtle notes I capture in my smaller distillations. There is a depth and wisdom to mace essential oil. It feels maternal, perhaps because of how it cloaks the nutmeg as if to protect against life’s harsh words and thoughts. The color of fresh mace is as vibrant as the first arrival of spring poppies and is a gorgeous contrasting visual against the fresh nutmeg which is a rich, dark brown color of the cacao pods in my apothecary. When doing the photo shoot for our nutmeg listing in 2020, I was fortunate to find a source after considerable effort for fresh nutmeg from Grenada with the bright mace intact. It was so pleasing to experience such a vibrant whole spice that I had only ever know as a grey, dull looking nut to be used in holiday baking.
In Arctander’s era, mace had little demand as is much the same with the modern artisan perfumer. It’s a big miss in my estimation because of this oil’s ability to sweeten and soften notes in a blend. I consider mace the fullest expression of nutmeg without the bitter woody notes. Mace is my go to in perfume compositions to sweeten with it’s almost floral, sassafras like notes that lift heavy wood oils such as Blood Cedarwood or Nootka. In a side by side evaluation, I experience nutmeg as the straight laced grown up in the myristica family and mace the wild child, willing to drop into any blend to add its take on soft, sensual notes.
Suggested use: Adds a luxurious note to lotions and creams. Can be used in after shaves, men’s colognes, chypre and fougere based compositions. Blends well with mandarine, petitgrain, lime, rosemary, blood cedarwood and nootka essential oils.