|Friday Five: Perfume Flowers|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Friday, 23 December 2011|
Flowers, along with other plant parts such as bark (sandalwood), resin (oakmoss), buds (cloves for example), fruits, leaves, twigs, and roots and rhizomes, are essential ingredients in perfumes. Since we’re on the topic of fragrance, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at several of the most common flowers that perfume chemists use to make fragrances, plus I've added one of my favorite fragrance flowers as a bonus.
1. Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) flowers (pictured above) are said to be the secret ingredient of Chanel No. 5, a perfume introduced to the world in 1923 by the famous designer Coco Chanel. The tree is native to Southern Asia including Malaysia, Southern India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Jasmine (Jasmine grandiflora and J. sambac), a climbing vine is another flower that is widely used in the perfume industry--83% of perfumes use jasmine in their formula. The flower of the jasmine plant is very delicate and must be hand picked at dawn when the scent is strongest. It takes approximately 8,000 flowers to produce 1/25 th of an ounce of essence.
The Damask Rose (Rosa damascena) is grown specifically for the perfume industry, primarily in the countries of Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, India, Iran and China. Cabbage roses (R. centifolia) are also used in the perfume industry to a lesser extent. Attar of roses is the essential oil extracted from the petals. Rose water is the hydrosol portion of the distillate.
Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a bulb thought to be native to Mexico. The highly fragrant, waxy white flowers of tuberose bloom at night. It is a member of the Agave plant family and is the traditional flower used in Hawaiian lei making.
5. Orange Blossoms
Orange blossoms from the Seville Orange aka Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium var. Bigaradia) are another standard in the perfume industry. Similar to rose water, orange blossom water is made from the hydrosol produced during distillation. If you love the smell of orange blossoms check out the January MGG video, Seville Orange Harvest for L’Occitane.
6. “Joy” Tree The flowers of the "Joy" tree, otherwise known as Michelia champaca, are the source of the fragrance in the perfume called Joy, the most expensive perfume in the world--and my absolute favorite. These flowers are also used in another perfume, J’adore by Dior.
Photo sources for Jasmine and “Joy” Tree: www.rareflora.com