hyacinth: 2 posts

Hyacinth Perfumes That Spell Spring

Spring is not spring for me unless it has hyacinths. I buy the forced bulbs and leave them around the apartment to wait for the moment when the flowers open up and fill the air with their perfume. The scent of hyacinth is not as delicate as that of many other spring blossoms; it’s rather heady and sweet, with an earthy note. It can sometimes be overwhelming, but the contrast is the reason why the fragrance appeals to me – and to other perfumers. Its complexity is an endless source of inspiration. In my latest FT column, Seven perfumes that tap the headiness of the hyacinth, I talk about this note and how it can be used in fragrances.

The green accent of hyacinth is often used in both masculine and feminine fragrances, even if the hyacinth itself plays a secondary role. Its verdant, crisp note brightens up the unripe mango in Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil, adds depth to the fig accord in Marc Jacobs for Men and softens the sharpness of leather and galbanum in Chanel No 19. In each case, hyacinth blends smoothly into the composition, buttressing the elements with an aroma that recalls crushed fresh leaves. To continue reading about my other hyacinth gold standards, please click here.

What are your favorite fragrances with hyacinth or other spring flower notes?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Guerlain Chamade : Perfume Review

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Created by perfumer  Jean Paul Guerlain in 1969, Chamade was a homage to Françoise Sagan’s novel La Chamade. Symbolizing a quick beating of the heart of those in love, “Chamade” is another enchanting name given to the Guerlain creation.

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It is a blend, dominated primarily by hyacinth and blackcurrant. As Moslih Saadi, Persian poet who lived in 13th c said,

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And from thy slender store two loaves (of bread) alone to thee are left
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”

Although hyacinth is one of my favorite flowers, I find that its lush exotic scent is often rendered as oily and heavy in perfumery. This is the case with Chamade, which starts out with a heavy green hyacinth note, however blackcurrant adds a tangy green layer, which cuts through the richness.

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