Siblings or Cousins?? Which is more complex or versatile?? – The debate continues..

We are talking about the two spices – Nutmeg and Mace.

The Nutmeg tree is unusual in that it is the source of two separate spices – Nutmeg and Mace. Nutmeg is the seed of the tree and mace is the aril or the reddish seed covering. The flavor of nutmeg is considered as a strong, rich, spicy and somewhat musky odour, mace is more delicate with sweet undertones, reminiscent of freshly grated nutmeg.

Nutmeg is the common name for Myristica fragrans, which is an aromatic evergreen tree with spreading branches and a yellow fleshy fruit similar in appearance to an apricot or peach. It is cultivated by sowing the seeds. Only freshly collected seeds are suitable for cultivation. The plant thrives well in warm humid climate and grown in locations from sea level to an altitude of 900 m. The requirement for rainfall is about 200–250 cm. That is why Nutmeg is mainly cultivated in South India, especially Kerala – in fact, Nutmeg gardens are all around Bhoomi’s facility!

Did you know that Coca-Cola’s most guarded secret recipe is speculated to have Nutmeg oil in it?

Nutmeg oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dried kernels of the nutmeg seeds. The seed is obtained from the female plants. The oil is colorless or light yellow and smells and tastes of nutmeg. Nutmeg essential oil has been used as a natural flavouring agent, a perfume in the cosmetic industries and in medicines and dentifrices. Owing to its demonstrated antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, Nutmeg essential oil is considered to be a promising bio-preservative. It contains numerous components of interest to the oleochemical industry. The essential oil is preferred to ground nutmeg and it leaves no particles in the food.


Nutmeg extract is a natural product obtained by the solvent extraction of ground nutmeg. The volatile oil content is 30-31% and is a buff to dark orange, semi-solid waxy resin with an aroma characteristic of nutmeg. Mainly used as a flavoring agents in foods such as confectioneries,  meats, sausages, sauces, veggies, custards, cookies, spice cakes, soups and even analgesic and tonic preparations, soaps, lotions, detergents, cosmetics, perfumes.


Mace has a higher concentration of the same essential oil as the nutmeg thus giving a more intense flavour. Oil of mace is derived from steam distillation of dried aril of the ripe seed of Myristica fragrans. Mace oil is a pale yellow to reddish yellow liquid with a warm, pungent, strong, aromatically sweet odor. It is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing and have the properties of being an analgesic, anti-oxidant, anti-septic and digestive.  Mace oil is used in food and beverage industries, perfume industries. It also finds use in cosmetics and toiletries due to its aromatic properties

Mace Oleoresin or Mace Extract is the end product obtained by solvent extraction of the arils or skin covering of the shell of nutmeg. The volatile oil content of this product is 40-41%. It is a reddish-yellow, semisolid, waxy, free-flowing, homogeneous liquid with an odor characteristic of mace. It is used in the creation and/or manufacturing of fragrance and flavor concentrates (pickles, seasonings, sauces etc.).


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