Peaches and Cream : Quest for Ultimate Peach Fragrance

Peach

Few desserts can compete with the perfection of a ripe peach. Topping it with a dollop of crème fraîche is like gilding a lily, but if one seeks utter indulgence, it is the ultimate recipe. The melting sweetness of peach and the tartness of cream were made for each other, resulting in a beautiful balance of flavors.

In cooking, like in perfumery, an interesting sensation can be created by combining either two complementary notes or two dissonant ones. In the case of peaches and cream, the flavor of both is highly dependent on the creamy, milky notes. (If you’re curious to dig deeper, this flavor occurs thanks to the presence of lactones, a diverse group of organic compounds with creamy nuances; lactone is derived from the Latin laclact-, which means milk.)

If peaches and cream form a perfect gustatory marriage, nothing can serve as better inspiration for exploring peach notes in fragrance, especially when they appear as a luscious accent, rather than as a canned fruit salad.

Golden peaches

If peach notes can be envisioned as gold mosaic, then Mitsouko is San Vitale, the ultimate expression of Byzantine artistry. Its dusky chypre structure is embellished with radiant fruity and floral touches, which lend a romantic softness to the composition. It is a fragrance that does not require a special occasion to appreciate its beauty.

In a slightly different vein, Chanel Coco is an example of peach serving as a delicate accent in a baroque composition. Languid and opulent, Coco’s spicy layers unfold to reveal creamy floral notes, ranging from frangipani to rose.

Peaches and Blossoms

The lush floral accords of Robert Piguet Fracas belie its powerful impact. This provocative beauty offers tuberose in such a dark guise that it seems almost disconcerting, and yet, as the composition develops, a sweet glow of peach softens the effect.

While Fracas is smoldering, Annick Goutal Petite Chérie is the embodiment of innocence. It is a peach ice-cream treat from one’s childhood, a sweet memento of carefree days. For something equally lighthearted, Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan might be another choice.

Peaches and Woods

Serge Lutens’s Les Eaux Boisées collection including Bois de Violette, Bois Oriental, Bois et Musc, Bois et Fruits as well as their predecessor Shiseido Féminité du Bois adds a creamy touch of peach to soften the roughness of the cedar base. The peach is quite subtle, and yet its effect of bright, milky sweetness proves to be a perfect accent. It turns the woods into spun silk. Similarly, Santa Maria Novella Città di Kyoto weaves a delicate touch of creamy peach into the resinous verdancy of its heart.

Mossy Peaches

Mitsouko is the forerunner among fruity chypre fragrances, relying on peach for a hint of creamy sweetness; however, Rochas Femme is undoubtedly one of the most striking fragrances ever created. The elegance of its floral heart underpinned by the seductive darkness of oakmoss and patchouli has not suffered even though the reorchestration has removed the powdery veil from the top notes and amplified the softness of peach.

Although it would be a stretch to call Femme gourmand, Christian Dior Dolce Vita hints at the abstract dessert motif hiding in its heart. Peach nectar spills onto its woody base, remaining pronounced even in the drydown. The peach of Christian Dior Diorella tantalizingly borders on overripe, resulting in a fascinating juxtaposition of sensations.

For a contemporary take on the mossy theme accented with peach, Gucci Rush is one of the most interesting fragrances. It retains the seductive frame of classical chypre, while using very few adornments, among which the lactonic sweetness of peach stands out.

Green peaches

Green peaches smell of rose buds and tart leaves. The sultry softness and sweetness that makes a ripe peach such as a seductive fruit are not yet obvious, but the green peach accents can be very appealing in fragrances. Lancôme Climat and Magie offer such an experience; their peaches are tart and crisp. A milky touch of peach in L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier rounds out the green intensity of its fig accord, while a whisper of peach in Guerlain Chant d’Arômes lends an exquisite delicacy to the gentle floral arrangement.

Certainly, this list is only a suggestion to start exploring further. After all, a definition of what constitutes a perfect peach often depends on what one is craving.

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34 Comments

  • Ina: Fascinating! I wonder what category my beloved Divine by Divine would fall into. I’m thinking Golden Peaches borderline Peaches and Blossoms. September 21, 2006 at 12:00am Reply

  • Laura: I hate to admit this, but in classic Guerlains and Carons and Chanels, I can’t detect fruit notes—everything is so attenuated and stylized and synthesized that the fruit disappears for me. In the past, I didn’t actively seardh for these notes, though. Maybe I’d detect them now that you’ve pointed them out. I’m going to find out! September 21, 2006 at 8:18am Reply

  • Jenn: I have tried to smell the peach in Mitsouko for so long but at last it does not exist on me, but then again most Guerlains do not work on me. September 21, 2006 at 10:08am Reply

  • Robin: Cote Bastide Peche de Vigne! I’m guessing you don’t like it one bit, but to my plebian nose it is the perfect peach :-)

    And cheap to boot… September 21, 2006 at 11:47am Reply

  • AngelaS: Nahema is another Guerlain with a wallop of peach. Thank you for the post–now I want to smell all my bottles for peaches! September 21, 2006 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Elle: Fascinating about the lactones and aldehyde C-10. And what an inspired comparison – Mitsouko and San Vitale. Perfect! I can’t believe I’ve been neglecting Mitsouko recently. Must rectify that. September 21, 2006 at 4:16pm Reply

  • Andy: Thank you for this interesting post! isn’t it fascinating what can be done with C14 (peach aldehyde) and other aldehydes? I wonder why this is… imagine: Ananas wouldn’t work. Stawberry either. There is something about peach! September 22, 2006 at 12:51am Reply

  • MiriamSilvana: Now this a fantastic article on peach. In my experience the best ingredient in ´gourmand´ labelled scents. Superbly elegant and warm. Also, I am amazed of the ones you discuss here. I own 7 of them and like all the others you mention while I just tested them. I guess that makes me a ´peach-woman´ apart from my liking for chypre and woods. By the way could it be so that Coco by Chanel also owes some to peach? I could be wrong of course but it was nice to see that you listed Coco in your autumn favourites recently. A month ago I rushed to get the eau de toilette in the original bottle (without atomizer). September 22, 2006 at 1:55pm Reply

  • MiriamSilvana: I got so excited I overlooked the phrase on Coco in the second paragraph. (as I was wondering: does she also mention Dolce Vita)
    Thanks! September 22, 2006 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Katie: Oh my, what a lovely post, dear V. I so love so many of the fragrances you mention. How funny it is that I never really think of Coco as bearing peach at all. But now that you mention it, I can see it :)

    Mitsouko parfum is one the best smelling things I have ever experienced, however, and it is primarily because of they way peach is used. September 22, 2006 at 3:33pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, Divine is beautiful, and yes, it is probably in the Golden Peach category. Of course, my division is rather whimsical. :) September 22, 2006 at 4:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Laura, it is a fairly abstract peach note, but for some reason, it always stood out for me. I was curious to discover that it is in fact the same flavour compound as what peaches contain in nature. September 22, 2006 at 4:58pm Reply

  • violetnoir: I just picked up a body scrub by DianaB that is peaches and frangipani flower. Delicious, and it belongs in your peaches and blossoms category.

    Boucheron Jaipur Saphir has a peach note. I love it!

    Thank you, darling, for this wonderful post. My daughter loves all things peach, so I read it with particular interest. :):)

    Hugs! September 22, 2006 at 5:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Jenn, I can understand that. The classical Guerlains can take a while to grow on you. September 22, 2006 at 6:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I love Peche de Vigne, and I have it in several different forms–shower gel, scrub, candle, etc. The fragrance water itself is nice, but it fades in no time. September 22, 2006 at 6:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Angela, I was thinking of Nahema as well. Also, Attrape-Coeur will fit into the category of Golden Peaches. September 22, 2006 at 6:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, San Vitale is one of my highlights of a trip to Ravenna. It is simply breathtaking. Mitsouko, of course, is likewise special. I am tempted to put it on again. September 22, 2006 at 6:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Andy, you are right, lactones (from C-14, gamma-undecalactone to the jasminic gamma-jasmolactone) lend themselves to lots of applications, from Mitsouko to Coco. They seem to soften the patchouli in such a beautiful manner. September 22, 2006 at 6:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Miriam, I am glad that you’ve enjoyed it. Peach is a great note, and I am very much attracted to it, especially when it is used as a delicate accent. September 22, 2006 at 6:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Miriam, Coco and Dolce Vita are two of my favourites too. September 22, 2006 at 6:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I am very glad to hear this. I am with you on Mitsouko–the peach makes all of the difference in this chypre. Another favourite we share, Iris Gris, is based on the combination of peach scented lactone and iris. And what a great combination this is! September 22, 2006 at 6:27pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, frangipani and peach sounds like a great pairing. I will definitely have to look for it. Thank you! September 22, 2006 at 6:29pm Reply

  • songscent: Oh, sweet, wonderful Victoria. I’m kicking myself. Had I visited Bois de Jasmin earlier, I would have seen what you’d done. Thank you. To have my product mentioned on your highly regarded perfume blog is the greatest honor. Your article on peach perfumes is by far the most in-depth and helpful of all the writings I’ve come across so far, and I must have searched for them all. Much love! Your friend and fan always, Sali October 3, 2006 at 12:25pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sali, thank you for a compliment. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the article. Your fragrance is lovely, and it is definitely in the Peaches and Blossoms category. October 3, 2006 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Lucas: When it comes to peach I like Histoires de Parfums – 1969 Parfum de Revolte. It has a gorgeous peach opening, nice and realistic. Then peach gets some company of a bitter chocolate.

    Yum! June 24, 2012 at 9:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Lucas, mmmm, that’s a wonderful peach perfume. I might wear it today. I went to the market today and came back with some of the best peaches I’ve had this year. Was tempted just to leave them to perfume the room. Unfortunately, who knows if next week will bring good peaches–the summer here is very cold this year and most fruit seems to be imported. June 24, 2012 at 10:19am Reply

  • Anna Minis: Hallo, Victoria! AsI told you, I loved that peach in the ±1950 Femme very much, that overripe peach. In 1989 they (Rochas) said, in a copy of the French Vogue, that the had removed ”son coté trop fruité”. There is still a peach, but softer. Now I saw your interesting article on peach perfumes, and my question is: could I have that peach back by layering? In the past I tried Philosykos and Fraiche Passiflore, but that was not succesful. In any case, I must try that Histoire de Parfums! June 24, 2012 at 12:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t think so, Anna, because it wasn’t just a peach. It was a very rich plummy note too, and I haven’t found a perfume that was just that alone. If you love plummy notes, do try Serge Lutens Bois et Fruits, which smells rich and juicy, but also elegant and sultry. June 26, 2012 at 4:26pm Reply

  • Emily: As a Serge Lutens fan and hopeless romantic regarding all things Silk Road, I thought of Edward H. Schafer’s book, ‘The Golden Peaches of Samarkand’, and how lovely a voluptuous yellow peach must smell like mingled with rare spices and exotic woods traveling across the desert…..

    Ahhhhh….. June 26, 2012 at 3:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Emily, your mention of The Golden Peaches of Samarkand sent me straight to Amazon, and thankfully they have an excerpt available. I was instantly smitten and I’m ordering it right now. Thank you very much. June 26, 2012 at 4:25pm Reply

  • Anna Minis: Thank you very much for answering my question, Victoria! So this fruity, overripe, almost rotten (in a very interesting way) note was more complicated than just a peach. I am grateful to you for this information. How awful they killed the perfume in that way, it was so glorious. I certainly will try that Lutens. For a period, I was fond of Lutens, and Bornéo 1834 is still a favorite, but suddenly I was bored by this dried fruitnote I smelled everywhere, even in my beloved Arabie. Bois et Fruits is perhaps the solution, or perhaps another perfume with plum in it. Perhaps Goutal, Parfum Préféré par Camille? Well, a good excuse to go to the perfume shop! Have a nice time in Holland, if you go there. The most beautiful town in the Netherlands is Maastricht (perfumeshop: Mignonne, Wolfstraat 5). June 27, 2012 at 5:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that town is on my must-see list, so thank you for your boutique recommendation!

      Mon Parfum Cherie is one of my plummy favorites too. Bois et Fruits is less dried fruit than Arabie, by the way. Also, Feminite du Bois is worth trying for the rich plummy notes. It’s less juicy and sweet than Bois et Fruits, so very elegant. June 27, 2012 at 8:10am Reply

  • Sharon: I’ve always loved peach-like fragrances, though I’m embarrassed to admit my first one was Avon’s Pretty Peaches in the 1960s at age 15. But my first boyfriend liked it — after a date, his sweater would keep the fragrance, so he’d put his sweater under his pillow at night to remind him of me. Nice memory! Then in my 20s I wore mostly Mitsouko but occasionally Coco. Unfortunately, I haven’t worn fragrance for decades because it used to bother my husband. I am just now beginning to wear it again, but somehow (although I’ve always adored Guerlain perfumes more than any other) the idea of Mitsouko seems too strong for me. I’d prefer something that no one will smell until they’re close enough to embrace me. So I will be trying out several of the fragrances you mention here — are there any that you would recommend as “lighter” than others? I don’t mean less complex (forgive my lack of the appropriate vocabulary) just less “enveloping” to others. Thanks so much for a wonderful site — I’ve read dozens of pages and am working my way through it with great delight. Also, could you recommend a fragrance with orange blossoms that is similarly “light”? December 9, 2012 at 9:37pm Reply

  • sniffer: Peche Cardinal by MDCI is a luscious peach/floral! December 14, 2012 at 6:29pm Reply

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