An ode to elegance and purity, a symbol of royalty and femininity, white flowers have been very popular with perfumers for many years. However, behind their apparent wisdom lie much richer, sensual and even daring facets! And some noses no longer hesitate to show this other “personality”. Let’s find out what’s inside the perfume of white flowers…
Portrait of flowers like no other
The queens of floral notes
There is an incredible variety of floral notes in perfumery. We think in particular of the rosy nuances, created by the various types of rose or the peony. There are also powdery flowers, of which iris and violet are the perfect ambassadors. Others are more spring-like, such as narcissus or daffodil, while some give off spicier notes, such as carnation or immortal. But among all these notes, we find a category very appreciated by perfumers: white flowers. Unlike other floral nuances, they have a dual olfactory profile, between freshness and sensuality.
The white flowers
In perfumery, white flowers refer to essences, extracted from flowers with light petals. These perfumed materials are generally obtained by steam distillation of plants. The most known are :
- Jasmine: an emblematic flower, jasmine is one of the ingredients most used by noses. Its fragrance is rich, quite sweet with fruity and solar undertones. It brings light and power to a fragrance.
- The tiare flower: shrub from the Pacific, the tiare produces a flower with many virtues and a mesmerizing scent. Its absolute diffuses a sweet and floral smell with solar and exotic nuances, which is used to make monoi.
- Tuberose: this bewitching charmer gives off a very feminine fragrance in which we can distinguish milky, solar accents but also honeyed and almondy notes. This ingredient is very powerful and persistent.
- Ylang-ylang: this raw material distils a very powerful perfume, typical of white flowers with a solar, creamy and fruity side. But ylang-ylang also brings a spicy aspect and powdery nuances.
- The frangipani flower: sacred flower of Asia, it delivers a divine perfume between freshness and vanilla scents with almond tones that makes it subtly gourmand. It is the exotic white flower par excellence.
- Orange blossom and neroli: these different ingredients come from the bigaradier tree, which produces the bitter orange. Both fresh and tangy, these materials have been adored for hundreds of years. Discover all their secrets here.
- Gardenia: Coco Chanel’s favorite flower, its essence is mainly used in high-end feminine creations. Its fragrance is subtle but persistent, with green and fruity tones, sometimes with metallic accents.
- Magnolia: still little used in perfumery, the magnolia is nevertheless an ingredient that does not lack interest! Its solar and sensual perfume is quite fleeting. It brightens up compositions with its vegetal and floral notes, quite delicate.
There are other lesser-known or little-used white flowers that are just as rich and sensual. This is the case with white rose, osmanthus or some muted flowers such as lily of the valley or honeysuckle.
The use of white flowers in perfumery
Between purity and sensuality
A staple of perfumery for centuries, white flowers were first favored by noses for their elegant and refined image. Their immaculate whiteness evokes virginal purity and is often found in the bridal bouquet. As the absolute essence of femininity, the scent of white flowers has long been reserved for wise, even candid fragrances. However, if elegance defines them, sensuality also applies to these ingredients which are far from being as chaste as they seem!
Indeed, white flowers also reveal a fragrance with an exacerbated sensuality. Almost all white flowers naturally contain indole, an olfactory molecule with an animal scent. Subtly dosed, this organic compound brings a very wild, even sexual aspect. Aware of this olfactory paradox, perfume designers have been moving away from the wisdom of white flowers for several years. They now use them in much more assertive compositions.
Olfactory associations of white flowers
Thanks to their great richness, the fragrance of white flowers can be combined very easily with many accords. They can highlight warm and oriental notes such as ambergris, vanilla or tobacco. Also, these sunny essences accompany marvelously the spicy nuances or the fruity ingredients. Moreover, they bring a lot of depth and hold to the citrus compositions. The different white flowers also have the ability to match each other very well, thanks to their similar olfactory composition. Perfumers can create bouquets of white flowers, which they usually position at the middle note of the fragrance to give it relief.
The perfume of white flowers and Carrément Belle
A source of infinite inspiration, white flowers diffuse their fresh and bewitching nuances in some of our creations.
The eau de parfum ippi patchouli pays tribute to the timeless woody and resinous scent of patchouli from the seventies. But to give it more subtlety and reveal a sensual wake, we have chosen to enrich it with a floral heart where jasmine and tuberose take hold. These ingredients exhale their sweet and sunny scents, to reveal and soften all the power of patchouli from Indonesia.
What are your favorite white flowers?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article