Come rain or shine, bird tweets and new leaves, with Spring comes festivities and loads of scents! Fresh, vegetal, the smell of delicate dewy flowers and yummy chocolate. So what are the scents of spring? Emmanuelle Moeglin, fragrance expert and founder of the Experimental Perfume Club guides you through three types of fragrance notes that evoke the new days of springtime.

 

The flowers of spring

Spring flowers smell like spring: fresh, green and delicate. While a lot of the spring flowers are fragrant, the perfumery techniques to extract their scent are not always able to do so due to the delicate nature of the flowers and perfumers often have to use their magic to recreate their odours. Here is a selection of some of the flowers of spring used in perfumery.

Hyacinths have a powerful scent which can be described as floral green with vegetal aquatic accents and sweet and spicy notes. Lilac has a sweet, delicate floral fragrance, close to lily of the valley with sweeter powdery balsamic notes. Magnolia smells like the way it looks: creamy, velvety and exotic. It can be described as having a delicate creamy floral scent with a hint of lemon, spice and vanilla. Last but not least, Narcissus is a type of daffodil, which smell can be extracted to obtain the very rare and expensive Narcissus Absolute extract. As many as 1200 kilos of flowers are needed to obtain 1 kilo of the precious perfumery ingredient!

 

Smell spring flowers in Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu (narcissus), Frédéric Malle Eau de Magnolia (magnolia) and Bluebell by Penhaligon’s (hyacinth).

Magnolia flower
Lilac flower
Hyacinth flower

 

 

The clean scent of bed sheet

The smell of fresh bed linen is also evocative of springtime. But how do perfumers interpret the smell of cleanliness? Traditionally the fresh aromatic scent of lavender is linked to a clean smell. Nowadays, our washing powders feature any notes from clean fresh aromatic to woody, via floral fruity scents. Perfume ingredients such as aldehydes (which have a soapy mineral scent), floral transparent notes (such as lilial) and musks are typically used to create the scent of clean bed linen. Ambery woody notes such as ambroxan and Iso E Super, two synthetic ingredients that have a woody ambery smell delivering depth and long lasting and an indulging cocoon effect.

 

Smell an interpretation of clean bed sheet in L’Eau Serge Lutens, Lazy Sunday Morning by Martin Margiela and in our good old laundry detergent Ariel!

The smell of clean sheet

 

Chocolate or cocoa?

Spring wouldn’t be spring without Easter. And Easter wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate!!! In other words, the pure smell of happiness… Cocoa is used in perfumery in its Absolute extract form. It is used by perfumers to give an edible/gourmand note to fragrances, but not only this, it can also be used in ambery, oriental, spicy, woody and fruity fragrances. But there is a big difference between the smell and taste of raw cocoa bean, which is bitter and earthy and the chocolate we eat, which is sweet and creamy. The later is made from roasted cocoa beans with added sugar, vanilla and milk powder. Perfumers recreate the smell of the chocolate we eat not necessarily using Cocoa Absolute but using a blend of ingredients that smell of vanilla, caramel, milk and almond for instance. In perfumery there are ready-made accords (called bases) such as Chocovan from Givaudan that perfumers can use to give a creamy vanillic chocolate hint in a fragrance.

 

In its pure yummy form, find chocolate in the iconic  Angel by Thierry Mugler. Or, if you prefer the smell of raw cocoa, find it associated with hot chilli pepper in Piment Brulant by L’Artisan Parfumeur or with orris in Dior Homme

 

Keep your eyes and nostrils open this Spring! Happy Easter from the Experimental Perfume Club! And don’t forget to take time to sniff your Easter egg before eating it!

 

Easter egg