note evaluations: the floral family


I am not naturally drawn to florals, never have been, unless they are very exotic which usually translates into very expensive.  I don’t know, there’s just something about the florals that screams commonplace; whenever I see Rose as a note ingredient, I roll my eyes and think, “Oh, God, not again!”  And yet I must explore, even though my mind wants to convince me that I already know what Rose smells like, that I already know everything about the olfactive landscape of Rose, I must recognise it as a prejudice that does not work in my favour, push it aside and let curiosity lead.

My favourite floral notes, two of which are not part of the course, are: Osmanthus, Tuberose and Jasmine.  The florals on my future “To Buy” list are: Frangipani, Blue Lotus, Jasmine Sambac and Gardenia.

On with the evaluations:

Ylang Ylang III: sweet, floral, a garden. Out of the right nostril it smells even sweeter, warm tender and creamy.  I even get a soft green note hiding there.  Ylang Ylang III dries down to a soft green, warm sweetness.  I can smell tobacco together with this!  Volatility: mid to low.

Ylang Ylang Extra: this note is much more piercing, almost medicinal and herbaceous in quality. Strong, green impression, more complex than the Ylang Ylang III, sweet. It dries down into a much softer version than the III less green although it retains its floral outlines; it is much more floral in the dry down.  Volatility: mid to low.

Jasmine (grandiflorum): opens with a heavy, rich, sweetness; feminine and flowing even though a bit dark.  Lighter and more penetrating, summer soft and happy memories, kindness, round and voluptuous, comforting.  I love this note!  Creamy and deep.  6 hours later it is still warm, bodaceous, sensuous, thick, creamy and rich.  Jasmine is a woman with curves, it’s the Monica Bellucci of florals. Volatility: low volatility.

Geranium Bourbon: opens sweetly, sharp, thin and light.  That’s interesting, I assumed that all floral notes were thick in quality. Slightly herbaceous, light, Lichee fruity, fruity, floral, creamy, trance-like quality, it pulls you in.  It dries down to a much brighter feeling than the other florals, green, fresh floral, vibrant! Volatility: mid to low.

Phenyl Ethyl Acetate (PEA): a natural isolate of ylang ylang, narcissus and champaca and occurs naturally in narcissus and jasmine sambac.  It opens thin and metallic, light and to my nose a hint of mint. Peppermint, floral petals, vaguely rosy and sweet.  6 hours later and it’s still soft , still metallic in quality, sharp, very present.  Volatility: mid-low.

Rose Absolute: enters like an “O”, round, dry, sweet but only with a faint gesture of rose.  Thin, garden, grass, green, rummy(?), gentle, soft, downy, creamy.  The dry down is definitely rose heavier now, even woody and it has an intoxicating quality.  Volatility: low.

Aldehyde C14: a natural isolate of peach which occurs naturally in fruit and fermented products.  Opens creamy soft but to me, one dimensional. Bright, powdery, floral, I only get a few sniffs of this and then it becomes invisible to my nose.  The dry down is much more floral but still singular, not complex, softer a bit heavy. Volatility: low.

Linalol: a natural isolate derived from citrus but naturally occurring in citrus, rosewood, aniseed and geranium.  Opens light and airy, summery and breezy, lavender.  Fresh pungent, green, transparent and lemony. After 6 hours there is a vague scent of lavender, and vaguely herbaceous.  Volatility: low.