hyacinths: 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

Holland Tulip Experience : Visiting Keukenhof Gardens

Who says that tulips have no scent? After spending several hours sticking my nose inside more than three dozen varieties, I discovered that not only are tulips perfumed, their fragrances vary dramatically. Some smell of potato peels and pear brandy, others of cloves soaked in honey and crushed green buds. Lemon, moss, wet earth, rose, carrots, and apricots are some other scents I wrote down in my notebook. A dusky purple hybrid called Cuban Night reminded me of waxed wooden floors. Some varieties may smell lighter than others, but all of them have a distinctive perfume.

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Every spring the flower fields in the Netherlands burst into bloom, transforming the surrounding countryside into a surreal painting of vivid red, yellow, and blue.  At the height of tulip mania in the 17th century, a single bulb could cost as much as a house, but even after the economic bubble burst, the flower remained a distinctive national symbol. Today, the flowering fields draw lots of visitors, and one of the most popular destinations is the Keukenhof, considered to be the world’s largest flower garden.

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