One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The black seed of a South American tree, which has a vanilla-like fragrance. The dried beans are cured in rum or other alcohol and then used in perfumery and for scenting and flavouring tobacco, ice cream, and other products.
- ‘Perfume connoisseurs will love this scent, an incense-inspired mix of tobacco, vanilla and tonka bean.’
- ‘However, the use of natural coumarin in food was banned in the USA in 1954, and the use of tonka beans restricted to perfume.’
- ‘We were introduced to many exotic fruits like five fingers, tonka bean, pois doux, fat-pork, banga, donkey stones mangoes and sour cherry back then.’
- ‘Tonka beans, sweet woodruff, and melilot are natural sources of coumarins commonly found in herbal teas.’
- ‘The perfume is a blend of peppermint, lavender, patchouli, atlas cedarwood, coffee, styrax, musk and tonka bean.’
Late 18th century: tonka, a local word in Guyana.
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