The Demanding Floral

And you thought they were easy.  Actually, florals are hard.  Natural florals  are somewhat easier to wear on skin since naturally derived oils have a built in molecular complexity that is more skin friendly than most synths.  Too many naturals, however, and you can lose radiance.  The floral smells not only complex, but also dense, and who wants to exit the house feeling he has applied Eau de Compost Bucket to his person?

So the proportions become a matter of taste and engineering for the perfumer.  The balance has to be correct for the floral to work. Ideally it should be a mix of synthetics and naturals, or all naturals, if cost is no object, but most mass market releases can’t afford that kind of high end perfumery.
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Hawthorns I Have Known

Aka crataegus, and as a species, rather small dense trees, native to North America, alternate leaved, armed with fierce thorns and prone – in New England, anyway – to fire blight.  I‘ve never grown them and have never wished for their flowers, either white or pink, although other people – chiefly Europeans, I notice -  get nostalgic about them.  I don’t get nostalgic about anything involving a lot of time spent with fungicidal sprays.  It all Continue reading

The Bee’s Eye View

Once upon a time, as a matter of fact quite some considerable time ago, Guts and I lived in Vermont.  I almost said that we inhabited it because then the state actually contained more cows than humans then.

As you might expect the state was full of meadows.  I used to pass by on my daily walks and smell them, quite different smells at different times of year.  In spring when many of the meadows were still wet underfoot, the smell was green and damp, full of violets (non-smelling ones, very few violets have a scent detectable by human noses) dandelions and the tall fluffy heads of Queen of the Meadow.  Later on the smell was dominated by grasses and the pink clover which grows all over the state, and that is the state flower.  Then you lost the smell to the first haying, generally about the middle of June. Continue reading

The Late Spring List

Everyone dearly loves a list, don’t they?  Perhaps it’s the unconquered territory of our OCD calling to us across the barren wastes of common sense, but for whatever reason, we all love lists.  Here are some recommendations for that period of time when it’s just past Memorial Day and you need to remember Spring before it is gone and anticipate summer just a little. Continue reading

Sickly Children

If you live around the Mediterranean, you’re used to seeing mimosa everywhere in spring.  It is the first warm weather indicator: buckets of yellow fuzzballs crowding around the cankles of the flower sellers, some years as early as February.  Because of this association, perfumers are always tempted to make mimosa soliflors, it’s like euphoria in a glass container, and pleasanter to use than any anti-depressant. Continue reading