Light as a Soufflé : Delicate Floral Scents

I was recently having dinner with a friend at Le Soufflé, a restaurant in Paris specializing in the iconic French dish comprising little more than eggs and air, when she asked me if there were any fragrances that suggested the same lightness and sensuality as a well-made soufflé. The question took me by surprise, but I liked the idea of a floral that felt weightless without being fleeting.

My quest wasn’t simple, because the floral family in perfumery is vast, ranging from fresh blends based on orange blossom and lily of the valley to smoldering potions of tuberose and jasmine. Since it’s one of the most popular choices for women the world over, perfumers constantly develop this family, adding new accords that suggest novel types of florals as well evoke different effects.

The first fragrance that I selected was Cartier’s Baiser Volé, a composition of white blossoms glazed with vanilla. Its green, sparkling opening highlights the warmth of flowers that include rose, gardenia and white Casablanca lilies. The sweetness is tempered by the cool touch of woods, and in the drydown, the foam of petals subsides leaving behind musk and cedar. Despite its caressing, velvety impression, Baiser Volé retains its effervescent personality from the first to the last accord.

Dior’s Souffle de Soie was my next choice because of its elegant character. At first, the perfume smells crisp, with citrus notes setting the stage for the floral whirlwind. The jasmine is combined with honeyed rose and creamy tuberose and layered over warm musk. A hint of freshness prevents the fragrance from becoming too fleshy, which often happens with blends based on white flowers, and Souffle de Soie lives up to its name, which means “silk breeze” in French.

Next to the floral confections like Baiser Volé and Souffle de Soie, Shalini’s Amorem Rose might seem like an unexpected recommendation.  Indeed, the combination of amber, rose, and saffron reads like a recipe for a fudge cake, rather than an ethereal delight. Yet while Amorem Rose has substance and opulence, in the hands of renowned perfumer Maurice Roucel, the fragrance becomes tender and luminous. Like a perfect soufflé, it’s also indulgent.

Do you have other suggestions to add to this list?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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19 Comments

  • Nenda Inasa Fadhilah: Apres L’Ondee, Chloe EDP (new one) and Diptyque Eau Rose also have the delicate scent quality to me February 5, 2024 at 9:16am Reply

  • Keri Destito: Anamcara by Dusita came straight to mind. It’s an explosion of florals with OB, freesia, jasmine and tuberose but has a lovely tea note with peach and vanilla but something comes across like grape pixie dust that flutters like butterflies. It’s so lovely and feminine. Never feels heady or weighed down! February 5, 2024 at 9:40am Reply

  • Jill: Victoria, I love the idea for this post. For some reason the lily notes in Cartier Baiser Vole’ seem too strong on me. Do you have any idea why?
    I definitely want to try the Dior. Thanks! February 5, 2024 at 9:50am Reply

    • Ruth: Hi Jill ~ I have worn both the EDT and EDP. The EDP, to me, is intensely lily-forward which I liked when I first began wearing it. Lily is gorgeous but can be heavy – some folks really dislike stargazers for that reason. The EDT is less weighty and perhaps ‘fresher’. It’s been quite a while since I tried it, but it might be worth a try. In fact, I think I need to revisit it – as I am down to my last drops of the EDP. February 5, 2024 at 3:18pm Reply

      • Jill: Thanks, Ruth! February 5, 2024 at 4:29pm Reply

  • Marsi: I love Le Soufflé. That’s all 🥰 February 5, 2024 at 10:37am Reply

  • Princess Tonk: Diptyque Fleur de Peau, sometimes a deeper skin scent, sometimes just betraying wisps of deliciousness. February 5, 2024 at 10:43am Reply

    • OperaFan: Fleur de Peau was the first fragrance that came to mind among the more recent releases. It’s just lovely! February 5, 2024 at 12:51pm Reply

  • AndreaR: Perhaps La Chasse aux Papilions by L’Artisan. February 5, 2024 at 11:14am Reply

  • Lorna: Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Nettare di Sole- feels light as a sunbeam February 5, 2024 at 12:05pm Reply

  • Nina Z: Very interesting challenge! And I can relate because lately I’ve felt like wearing a “light veil” of perfume instead of the more challenging fragrances I mostly have in my collection. And that’s why I bought a travel size of Baiser Volé recently. My only other suggestion is Chanel No. 22.

    But I have also found that spraying a few sprays of a perfume I own into a very large blob of unscented body lotion and then applying that to my arms and chest creates a similar light veil–perhaps souffle–effect, and it’s a good way to use up some of my, ahem, overly large collection. February 5, 2024 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Maureen: I haven’t been around in a while, nor have I worn perfume in a while. Funny that I should pop in today, the day after I wore Baiser Volé! It is as light and delicious as you say, and it was the perfect antidote to all the gloomy rain we’ve had lately. 🙂 February 5, 2024 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: What an interesting question!
    Maybe Guerlain Nerolia Vetiver fits the soufflé profile…a bright and crisp neroli opening, drying down light and creamy. If the soufflé is a bit more custardy la Via del Profumo’s Tasmeen may fit. February 5, 2024 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Debby: Lovely subject, Victoria!

    Baiser Volé is gorgeous, I’ve got the Extrait de Parfum version, sadly discontinued, which has an added warmth, sweetness and a gently animalic quality. I must get the EDP as well.

    Maison Violet’s Compliment fits this brief, I feel, a lovely creamy tuberose.

    And something I’m very fond of that I know a lot of people dismiss as basic, Dior’s Blooming Bouquet, I love it in the early days of Spring. February 5, 2024 at 1:48pm Reply

  • Rickyrebarco: Laboratorio Olfattivo’s Decouvert fits the brief. February 5, 2024 at 4:36pm Reply

  • BMC: Perfumes where osmanthus are the main note, not tampered with significant quantities of other notes such as woods, musks, resins, and incense, fit this category for me.

    One that comes to mind I recently wore is Osmanthus by Acqua di Parma. February 6, 2024 at 10:44pm Reply

  • Laura: Aqua Allegoria Nettare di Sole comes to mind. Also California Reverie by Van Cleef & Arpels, and earlier editions of Flower by Kenzo. Also, one light version of White Linen that everyone liked and complimented on me but I could barely detect after 10 minutes. But then I never look for lightness in fragrance. February 7, 2024 at 11:13am Reply

  • Carol Melancon: Osmanthus Yunnan is a delicate floral on me. February 9, 2024 at 8:54pm Reply

  • Judith: I do like Noa by Cacharel 🙂 February 12, 2024 at 5:53am Reply

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