Lily of the valley, lilac, lily, hyacinth, carnation, honeysuckle, peony, violet, freesia, gardenia, sweet peas… Most of these plants are very fragrant. They delight your senses, perfume your gardens and your home in their beautiful scented bouquets. However, we still do not know how to catch their oil naturally! Discover how perfumers do to use these mute flowers in your fragrances…
Why are they called mute flowers?
The nickname “mute flowers” was given to them in the middle of the 18th century because they never revealed their secret, not even to the most experienced, passionate and stubborn perfumers… To date, no traditional perfume manufacturing technique succeeded capturing their delicate scent. They simply do not deliver oil naturally so far! Yet, they are often found in the main ingredients of known and beloved fragrances. But do not be fooled: you will not find lily of the valley or hyacinth in an eponym creation.
Therefore, if it is impossible to extract their scent naturally, how can perfumes claim being made of these plants?
A new olfactory palette
Like a real olfactory puzzle, the perfumer juggles between the different natural raw materials and synthetic molecules. With the help of scientists and chemists, he transcribes the flowery, green, powdered or sweet accords of these plants. A flower’s perfume is itself made of several smells. Honeysuckle, for example, smells jasmine with vegetal, honeyed and orange facets. The reinterpretation of these mute flowers can therefore vary from one perfumer to another according to their olfactory sensitivity, the personal memories and experiences they evoke. Thanks to the synthesis, the perfumer’s palette continues to grow, allowing to better express themselves and enhance floral compositions.
Get your chemistry books out
A perfumer has several basic molecules in his olfactory palette to create or reinterpret scents. He can use indole for instance, which is found in every white flowers and emits a sweet floral fragrance when used at low concentration. Also, phenylethyl alcohol is one of the natural components of the rose, which allows to reproduce the smell of hyacinth. Other example, the green and fresh notes of lily of the valley that you can find in some of our fragrances as ïōdé, kilim, musc or even musc original, are transcribed using hydroxycitronellal. The tuberose, which you can smell in ippi patchouli, usually comes from an accord of ylang-ylang, coconut, mimosa, indole and other olfactory elements.
Synthesis and the curiosity of perfumers allow to these mute flowers to leave their olfactory print in your perfume’s formula… Did you know that some flowers refused to deliver their oil? Do you like flowery fragrances?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article