perfume ingredients: 3 posts

Mimosa, Cassie, and Honeyed Almonds : Perfume Note

In the depths of winter, when I begin to lose faith that spring will ever come again, the yellow pompoms of mimosa lift my spirits. No matter how rushed I am, the slender branches arranged in the florist’s windows tempt me to slow down, and I walk out of the store burying my face in a large bouquet. The fluffy flowers caress my cheeks and dust them with lemon-yellow powder, and the scent is vivid and joyful to match the explosive color–a mixture of green violet and honey soaked almonds. It’s delicate, but remarkably persistent, filling the room with the aroma of Provence within minutes.

mimosa1

Even if you haven’t smelled real mimosa*, chances  are you’ve encountered it in perfume. This material is one of the most intriguing and complex. The mimosa used in perfumery belongs to a related family, Acacia, with two varieties processed commercially for their fragrant oil–Acacia decurrens var. dealbata (called simply mimosa in the perfumery trade) and Acacia farnesiana (cassie). The former is the pompom like yellow mimosa in my photo, the latter is simpler and more austere but equally fragrant.

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Lilac : Perfume Note That Smells of Almonds and Roses

My childhood smelled like crushed strawberries, dirt caked fingers, freshly baked sugar buns, sun dried linens and lilacs. Those few days in the spring when the lilacs would bloom profusely and fill our house with their heady perfume were enough to leave a lasting memory for years. So whenever I see a lilac bush in bloom, I can’t resist burying my face in the thick foam of its tiny blossoms.  Lilac smells of roses, milky almonds and green leaves. The first whiff is citrusy and fresh; a deeper inhale reveals its haunting accent of decay and mothballs (indole, the same aromatics that give jasmine, tuberose and orange blossom their seductive timbre).

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Jasmine Perfume Note and Material

It seems fitting to start my reflections by devoting some attention to jasmine, which is not only my favorite fragrance note, but also the most widely used perfume ingredient, be it natural or synthetic.  While the rose is “the queen of flowers,” jasmine is indisputably the king.
jasmine
The original habitat of jasmine is considered to be India, which alone possesses about 42 species with various olfactory characteristics. In India, Ghazimpur has traditionally been the center of jasmine cultivation, while in Europe, it was Grasse, France. The jasmine was first cultivated in in Provence in 1548, being a gift of the Arab trade network (Morris 1984, 104). Today, jasmin de Grasse is the most expensive jasmine available, and the only widely available perfume using it is Chanel No 5 extrait de parfum. It is sweeter and fruitier than the more commonly available jasmines from Italy, India, Morocco and Egypt (responsible for 80% of jasmine production).

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Michael in Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa : Perfume Review: Thanks for the interesting review, Victoria! One of my favourite coffee based fragrances is the (now sadly discontinued) Jo Malone Stephanotis & Cassia Coffee Cologne, a wonderful fusion of heady… October 22, 2017 at 12:15am

  • Carla in Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa : Perfume Review: This sounds so interesting. I wonder who the perfumer is. Your description is excellent as usual; I can imagine it. I’ll have to get a sample. I’m not a fan… October 21, 2017 at 4:21pm

  • Perry in Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2017: Thanks for the suggestion, Astrid! I haven’t tried any Costume National scents, so I’m intrigued to sample Scent Intense. The notes look appealing. I’m one of those people who really… October 21, 2017 at 3:10pm

  • spe in Balmain Vent Vert New and Vintage : Perfume Review: Having worn the 1990’s version and the parfum, I sprayed the disco ball version yesterday on skin. Perhaps galbanum does really well with my chemisyry. It’s still there, soft and… October 21, 2017 at 12:12pm

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