Lavandin is the name for a variety of lavender
that derives from a cross between English and spike lavender. Commonly
grown in France, it dates from the 1820s. A specific cultivar
of Lavadin known as Abrialii, Abrial or Abrialis formed
the basis of the French lavender industry from 1935 to the 1970s.
However, this variety was susceptible to disease from a pathogenic
microorganism. The disease cut the plant life from around eight
to ten years to three or four. In 1972 Abrialii was replaced
by Grosso'. Since 1975 Grosso has been the dominant cultivar.
Also in use today is the variety Super, discovered in Alpine foothills.
In the 1920s, the lavender grown in France was
about 90% self-sown seed, and the crop was small (it yielded a mere 1 to 2
tons of oil). Today France grows Lavadin in large amounts (28,000
acres yielding 936 to 1,102 tons). Most of this oil is used to scent
detergents and soaps. A perfumist would describe Lavandin in general
as fruity, fatty, harsh, turpentinelike, eucalyptus fresh, camphoraceous,
sweet, aromatic, and possessing a warm wood smell. The plants
make great landscaping and produce high quality oil. All lavandins
are much less susceptible to the fungus that can ravage the English
lavenders. Here in the U. S. Grosso has become the favored aroma
for soaps, room fresheners, candles, and culinary use. It has
a harsh, turpenic note and is more pungent than another popular
lavandin known as Provence.'
source: The Lavender Garden by Robert Kourik