Tag Archives: Si Lolita

The Sensuous Wallflower

Wallflowers from Unwins UK

Wallflowers from Unwins UK

Wallflowers are not supposed to be sexy, I know, but the flower Cheiranthus Cheiri has a wonderful rich scent that is sensual.  Usually their fragrance is described as being halfway between lillies and carnations, which is a hard notion to get your head around.  Carnations can be green and sparkling and spicy, and lilies are green but creamy and with that big old white flowered whiff that makes them an irresistible choice for Spring, but few people think of walflowers in that capacity at all.

However the scent has made a few appearances in perfumery, though not very often and not very recently.  The all time famous one, if anything regarding Wallflowers can said to be famous, is Dior’s Dune, that monster hit from 1993, which among its wood and floral notes also contains wallflower. Continue reading

White and Green and Carven all Over

sweetpeasThe story is that when Carven came out with Ma Griffe in 1946 the company dropped little bottles all over Paris from tiny white and green parachutes.  Not long afterwards, the company found itself with a best seller.

Carven has always stressed youth and pert petite-ness in its designs, and the perfume first conceived for the designer was also youth oriented, a bright floral chypre. The fragrance ended up being one of those that everyone who was a young in Paris at the time either wore or remembered.  The trick of the scent was a combination of new aroma chemicals that Jean Carles* put together to give Ma Griffe its distinctive scratch, a new gardenia and citrus accord that was sharper and fresher and springier than anything that had gone before it. Continue reading

Doubling Down

Sometimes plant hybridizers go for broke.  They’re going to do everything, the color, the size, the heat resistance, the double blooms.  In the mad race to twirl around those chromosomes faster than you can say Watson and Crick and select for the most spectacular hybrids, something gets spun off.

That something in the case of the Sweet Pea was scent.  For a large part of the twentieth century the Sweet Pea was a forgotten flower and when grown, it was grown for flower shows, primarily in the UK.

This was a minor tragedy of the commons.  None of the hybridizers meant to forego scent, but those flower showing gardeners wanted bigger and better blooms, basically the mid-century mantra had permeated the hybridizers’ plant growing world and on every day, in every way, the blossoms were getting better and better. Continue reading