Spicy flowers in perfumery

les fleurs épicées dévoilent des notes végétales et piquantes à la fois. Parmi elles on retrouve notamment le safran et l'œillet

Who said that flowers were simply beautiful romantics? In fragrances, some of them even have a strong character and reveal very surprising notes. Noses like to use the essences of spicy flowers for their pungent and vegetal scent at the same time. Let’s go together to pick this floral bouquet with mischievous and unexpected nuances.

Perfume of character

If the floral family is the most used in perfumery it is certainly because it includes a multitude of notes and categories whose olfactory profiles differ greatly. We have already talked to you about rosy notes with their soft and fresh nuances. We also think of the sensual white flowers with their luminous and creamy essences. There is a rarer but equally fragrant category in this large family: spicy flowers. Its use is however less widespread than that of their flowery cousins. Indeed, even if they offer amazing tones, they are sometimes more complex to integrate in fragrances.

Both herbal, floral and pungent, spicy flowers have a lot to reveal! While they remain floral ingredients, these tones also fall under the subcategory of spicy notes. These can be derived from bark as with cinnamon, berries, leaves, seeds, but also from flowers.

Spicy flowers : who are they ?

There are different spicy flowers used by perfumers. Two of them are the main ones. Others are rarer, but they are not without interest, on the contrary! Let’s have a look at these flowers like no other:

the powdery and spicy notes of the carnation are reproduced through synthesis

Carnation from Egypt

There are many varieties of this pretty and colorful flower in nature, such as the Chinese carnation or the poet’s carnation. Not to be confused with the one commonly known as the marigold, which is actually a tagete. It is another raw material used in perfumery for its fresh notes, which we find in our eau de parfum alfred kafé.

But let’s go back to our carnations! Noses can incorporate carnation absolute into their compositions. However, this material is less and less used because its scent is not nearly as interesting as the natural flower. Moreover, its yield is very low. The creators therefore reproduce the smell of the carnation of Egypt through synthesis. The natural smell of this flower is mostly composed of eugenol, one of the main constituents of cloves. This explains its spicy profile. To create a carnation accord, noses rely on eugenol, to which they add a floral note (provided by rose and jasmine) and solar nuances. They round it off with vanilla tones. With its spicy floral perfume, the carnation accord has been winning back the hearts of noses in recent years.

The saffron red gold

The other star of spicy flowers is saffron. If this red gold perfumes dishes wonderfully, it also has the power to spice up fragrances! Saffron is generally known for its golden-red pistils which are sold at a high price. It is above all a bulbous plant, whose precious flowers bloom in one day… to fade a few hours later. In perfumery, it is not possible to use its essence. Indeed, natural saffron contains safrol, an allergenic component. The noses have therefore synthesized and isolated the fragrant molecule of the flower and its stigmas: safranol. The saffron note is very rich in nuances. It is quite dark, with leathery and spicy tones. We can feel a tarry aspect and honeyed touches. It is a rather marked odor, which we generally associate with the fragrances known as masculine.

Other spicy flowers

In addition to saffron and the Egyptian carnation, other flowers assert their spicy character. It is the case in particular of the immortal. This one, also called the flower of the maquis, grows on the arid lands of Corsica, Spain and the South of France. Its essence is very spicy with liquorish nuances. It also diffuses undertones of honey and tobacco. The perfume of the immortal reminds a lot the smell of the curry. Its particular scent must be dosed with balance and moderation in the formulas.
Noses can also use wallflower. This perennial plant owes its name to the sweet smell it gives off, very similar to that of cloves. Its fragrance is also very spicy, with musky and vanilla notes.

The use of spicy flowers in perfumery

Two magical molecules

To infuse a spicy floral scent into fragrances, perfumers often resort to organic chemistry. They generally use two synthetic molecules well known to noses for their recognizable smells. Eugenol is thus very widespread. This viscous yellow liquid, the main compound of the clove, reveals spicy, woody and smoky notes. It is also present in the essential oil of cinnamon.

The other molecule that spices up fragrances is benzyl salicylate. Its somewhat barbaric name probably does not tell you anything, yet it is an ingredient widely used in cosmetics and perfumes. It is this compound which is at the origin of the solar note that we like so much in summer and which reminds us of beach and vacations memories. Its smell is floral, with balsamic and spicy nuances. These two molecules come to the rescue of perfumers who seek to develop a floral and spicy wake in their compositions.

Spices, flowers & fragrances

As we have seen, the scent of spicy flowers is quite complex as its nuances are rich and full of character. These pungent flowers embellish the oriental and amber perfumes by small touches. They bring them depth and a lot of sensuality. These notes are also combined with warm, enveloping and creamy nuances such as musk, tonka bean and vanilla. Finally, spicy flowers are a perfect complement to fresh and romantic floral compositions, giving them that little olfactory boost that often makes all the difference!

Do you like the perfume of spicy flowers?


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