French magazine Psychologies has devoted its November-December 2009 supplement issue to Happiness - The Ultimate Luxury (Yes, it's come to that). One of the articles is about perfume and asks 11 perfumers what their favorite flowers are from the standpoint of olfaction.
The perfumers that were interviewed are: Jacques Cavallier, Christine Nagel, Jean-Michel Duriez, Jean-Claude Ellena, Olivier Cresp (an insert), Mathilde Laurent, Thierry Wasser, Ben Gorham, Francis Kurkdjian, François Demachy, Serge Lutens, Jacques Polge...
Jacques Cavallier loves both Bulgarian roses and Bordeaux wines with a passion and find similarities in them; Jean-Claude Ellena cultivates a black iris in his garden that smells of chocolate and plans to compose an iris perfume in the future, news that are especially interesting in light of a previous discussion on Iris Gris (see Hermès's head of PR Olivier Monteil's response on the blog); Serge Lutens as usual is loath to pinpoint a restrictive preference but finally concedes that it is thanks to the rose that he has composed his "most beautiful perfume: Sa Majesté La Rose" (Her Majesty The Rose); Jacques Polge talks on behalf of the house of Chanel and stresses that jasmine is the signature floral note of the brand. He explains "It is the most precious flower, the least heady and the most fragrant one, the lightest and the most present one." Can you feel the love? He personally decries the carnality of tuberose adding that it is not very Chanel. Here I have to differ from what he says or at least nuance it because I remember that Coco herself must have loved the scent of tuberose because a person from her entourage kept smelling it when he visited her rue Cambon. What would Karl Lagerfeld say he who has co-designed the über-tuberose-y Chloé (the original) and has been channeling Coco for decades?
Queenly and Shy Flowers
Some of the perfumers cannot stop marvelling at the beauty of great classical flowers like rose and jasmine, while others like Francis Kurkdjian are moved by Seringa; Christine Nagel confesses a passion for bringing out the beauty of lesser-known flowers like sweetpea and lilac; François Demachy hesitates between ylang and jasmine; Jean-Michel Duriez is resolutely affective associating memories of his mother, the south of France, holidays and discontinued Quickies with the scent of orange blossom; Thierry Wasser goes back to the classics and has a new-found love for Bulgarian rose thanks to Jean-Paul Guerlain; Ben Gorham is enamored with magnolia and has inherited his mother's passion for it (he is working on a magnolia perfume); Mathilde Laurent talks about the "perfect architecture" of the scent of narcissus which makes you run the risk of breaking its harmony by adding any new ingredient.
Other perfumers not interviewed in that article but who are known to have a predilection for a specific flower are:
Maurice Roucel loves magnolia; Sophia Grojsman would have to be associated with rose; Dominique Ropion's fetish flower is gardenia.
What is your favorite floral scent?