floral perfumes: 2 posts

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.

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Why Do We Like Floral Perfumes?

One of my favorite childhood pursuits was to make perfume. At least, that’s what I called it—my great grandmother’s description was “pestilence.” I scoured the flower beds, collected rose, carnation and dahlia petals, soaked them in water and waited until they turned into a fragrant brew. Eventually, the whole lot would rot and smell more beastly than beautiful, but undaunted I persevered. Faced with a garden that her great granddaughter pillaged on a daily basis, Asya gave me a bottle of perfume called White Lilac and hoped that my interest would eventually fade.

Years later, and I’m still fascinated by floral scents. Their variety is immense, from jasmine to marigold, from rose to ylang ylang. More than any other family, florals are susceptible to change as technology evolves. The aroma-material called hedione has changed the way we perceive floral perfumes. Its lemony freshness decorates almost all floral accords–and fragrances in all other perfume families. For instance, you can notice hedione in classics like Christian Dior Diorella or in modern blends like Penhaligon’s The Favourite.

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