Big White Floral: 39 posts

Heady, “bombshell” blends dominated by white florals like tuberose, gardenia, tiare and jasmine. Often, these fragrances tend to be among the most complimented by virtue of their impressive diffusion

4 Flamboyant White Florals Against Winter Blues

With the holidays behind us and still too many winter days ahead, it’s important to find ways to add a splash of color to cold, grey mornings. I reach for my brightest dresses and scarves and add swirls of saffron and paprika to my food, evoking sunshine and warmth. Or I rely on white floral perfumes to create a vivid ambiance. White flowers may call to mind bridal veils, but there is nothing prim and pastel about the scent of tropical blossoms like tiaré, frangipani, ylang-ylang, tuberose or jasmine. They have a voluptuous aroma reminiscent of warm skin, coconut milk and petals sticky with nectar. The synesthetes among perfumers swear that white flowers smell purple and pink, rich and saturated, and it’s true that wearing a white floral perfume makes me feel as if the day is brighter.

These opulent, flamboyant scents are the topic of my FT column, Four white floral scents to brighten grey days. You will find the full article here.

How do you cure yourself of winter blues? What flowers among the white floral family are your favorites?

Image via FT

Carnal Flowers

No fragrance type elicits more polarized reactions than white flowers. For some, they’re the ultimate love potion. For others–a bottled nightmare. I realize that the term “white flowers” covers too many botanicals to be useful, but let’s pretend we’re talking about night-blooming plants like jasmine, gardenia and tuberose. Jasmine can smell like horse sweat. Gardenia has a distinct whiff of mushrooms. But at least jasmine and gardenia can be tamed and made pretty and gentle. Tuberose, on the other hand, doesn’t do demure well and it also stands no competition. Add a touch of tuberose to a perfume, and it takes over everything with its warmth and luxurious heft. It’s perfect for those of us tired of wan floral perfumes that smell as if they need to be on life support.

My favorite tuberose is Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower. It’s been around since 2005, and I’ve rhapsodized about it for about that long. It thrills me with the richness of the sensations it evokes, from the brightness of green notes to the warmth of the tuberose petals. But that’s not why I selected it for my modern classics series, On White Flowers. Over the past decade it has become one of the gold standard tuberose fragrances against which others are judged. Love it or hate it, but it’s a modern classic.

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Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum : Fragrance Review

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Although I indulge in plenty of fantasies of spending summer by the sea, preferably a tiny fishing village where I would have nothing to do but read books and gaze onto the blue waves, every August I find myself in the city. With everyone rushing to the coast in search of their own summer fantasies and with airfares skyrocketing, I just create my own city vacation. I take long walks, experiment with my photography and just enjoy the strange calm of a European city during the summer break.

terracotta

I turn to perfume to make my city summers feel more tropical. In principle, cologne is the most refreshing choice on a hot day, but I hardly ever reach for citrus in the summer–gloomy winter mornings are another story. Instead, my perfume wardrobe blooms with white flowers–Marc Jacobs for Her, Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage, Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, Chanel Beige, and now, Terracotta Le Parfum.

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Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine and Michel : Perfume Reviews

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“The fragrance of magnolia is pure happiness,” said a friend of mine from Alabama. To her, the scent of magnolia meant the lazy days of summers, white sandy beaches and picnics on the grass with ice cold watermelon, crab cakes and banana pudding. Much later when I myself had a chance to visit the American South, I pulled down a heavy magnolia branch and leaned into a large white blossom. It smelled of melted lemon ice cream and green, not yet opened roses. I was drunk on the perfume of magnolias all summer long.

Grandiflora

This heady, radiant aroma was likewise spellbinding for the Australian floral designer Saskia Havekes and two perfumers, Sandrine Videault and Michel Roudnitska. Havekes decided to capture all facets of magnolia and gave the perfumers carte blanche to create their Magnolia Grandiflora. Although both fragrances aim to give a realistic rendition, their creators leave enough of their own fingerprint and imagination. But they also reveal what a challenging subject they’d been given. The sunny radiance of magnolia is not easy to capture in a perfume bottle.

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Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait : Perfume Review

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Elisa talks about gardenia, tiare, and leather as she reviews Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait.

Searching for a natural gardenia perfume is a little like hunting for unicorns – gardenias, notoriously, don’t release a natural oil. As Victoria once put it, “gardenia, temperamental flower that she is, does not give up her essence to any distillation methods.” Accordingly, gardenia in perfumery is necessarily a re-creation, using other materials to approximate the flower’s scent: sweetly tropical, but with an earthy element often likened to dirt or mushrooms.

gardenia

I was surprised, then, when I heard that Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes was releasing a gardenia scent, since Aftel is known for her all-natural creations. As it turns out, Cuir de Gardenia is based on the Tahitian gardenia, or tiare flower, which can be made into a (costly) enfleurage (termed monoi when using coconut oil). Aftel has bolstered this material with jasmine and benzyl acetate, an isolate that occurs naturally in jasmine and ylang-ylang and is also used as a solvent in plastic and resins.

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