jasmine sambac: 1 post

All About Jasmine Perfumes

Bois de Jasmin is turning 9 years old this spring, something that I find hard to grasp. Has it really been this long? But what I need not reassert for myself is my love of jasmine. The small white flowers don’t have the Hollywood glamour of roses or the regal elegance of iris, but their scent is so luscious and complex that it has few rivals. One of the first articles I had written for Bois de Jasmin was about jasmine. I described how jasmine essence is obtained and mentioned representative jasmine perfumes but an update has been long overdue.

jasmine

Although most jasmine used by perfumers comes from Morocco, Egypt, Italy and India, the five petaled flowers are still the symbol of the French art of perfumery. At one time the hills of Grasse in the South of France were thickly planted with jasmine, the picking of which involved the whole town. It is one of the most revered and intriguing materials in the perfumer’s palette. Jasmine smells of bananas and apricot jam but also of horse sweat and mothballs. One moment you notice the springlike freshness of white petals and the next you’re seduced by its hot animalic breath. Even a hint of jasmine essence can lend a seductive, voluptuous layer to the composition.

Romance aside, most perfumes named jasmine don’t contain any natural jasmine essence. It’s one of the most expensive ingredients, and few brands can afford it.  Depending on the origin and quality, a pound can fetch anywhere from $4,000 to $9,000. The sheer effort involved in producing jasmine essence is astounding. The flowers have to be picked by hand and processed immediately, before the rot darkens the delicate petals. Six million flowers are needed to create 1 kilogram of jasmine absolute. That means more than 800 hours of picking.*

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