From this week onwards, I will introduce the different families of fragrances according to one of the most famous classification in the industry, created by the perfumery expert Michael Edwards: the Fragrance Wheel. 4 basic groups – Floral, Oriental, Fresh and Woody – divided into 14 different families of fragrances are represented on the wheel. Under the spotlight today: the FLORAL family of the Floral Group.
The Floral family of fragrances is essential feminine. A few fragrances have a predominant single flower note, we called them soliflores, but in general, floral perfumes are like a bouquet of flowers in a bottle . The most common notes in this family are rose, jasmine, tuberose, lilac, peony, gardenia, lily-of-the-valley, violet, magnolia, mimosa, and many more actually. The extraction of floral essences is complex as the essence content of a single flower is very small, and these oils are very volatile.
Basic extraction processes such as steam distillation do not work well for these delicate stars of perfumery. Instead, the very old tradition of enfleurage (french term for “putting a robe around a flower”) was developed in Grasse, using odorless fats to capture the aromatic compounds of the flower during several days or weeks. The fats are then washed by ethanol and when this alcohol eventually evaporates, the concrete of flower remains as the essence of this flower. This method is now superseded by faster and cheaper techniques of solvent extraction, using usually (but not only) carbon dioxide (CO2) in liquid form to dissolve the precious aromatic compounds. After evaporation of the CO2 at ambient temperature and pressure, the flower concrete is revealed. At the Pitti fair of Florence last week, I was amazed to watch a live demo of solvent extraction with a very simple equipment, yet producing a decent quantity of concrete for a modest raw material sample in less than an hour. I believe that we could see some home extractors on the shelves in the future, for the ones like us interested in producing our own essences. CO2 extraction works on most raw materials and not only flowers. Enjoy this YouTube video if you are interested for more about home CO2 extraction.
So, what are the best Floral fragrances to choose from? Obviously so many, as this family is the most popular of all, as women still constitute the majority of customers for fine fragrances (men and unisex fragrances represent however the major growth trend today).
Here is my selection in the Floral family. These fragrances are exclusive yet affordable. Click on the links below for more information about each fragrance:
- Aqua di Parma – Rosa Nobile > Italian love at its best
- Montale – Taif Rose > the most controversial
- Jo Malone – Red Roses > light and romantic floral
- Serge Lutens – A la Nuit > a superb evening bouquet centered around the jasmine note.
- The Different Company – Jasmin de Nuit > complex yet its jasmine note is outstanding.
- Annick Goutal – La Violette > a sentimental violet soliflore
- Marc Jacobs – Daisy > a great bouquet with a distinct violet note
Before to conclude with the Florals, I can’t resist introducing perhaps the most controversial, yet one of the most original creation of this floral family signed by Tauer Perfumes and called “Carillon pour un Ange“.
Powerful top notes are lilac and lily-of-the-valley, evolving into an hypnotizing floral bouquet, soften by some leather and ambergris. For me, a real master-piece, and I would be interested to get your feedback about it, after you find a tester in a serious perfumery shop.
I wish you all a floral fragrant week!