In memoriam

Wearing purple today to remember six young gay guys who has committed suicide because of being teased and abused.

RIP Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas.

Purple color of the rainbow flag means spirit... Wearing this purple flower on my blog now. And next to that a tender sweet perfume combining lily (the sign of mourning) and lilas (Un Lys by Serge Lutens).

More about action here or google with words "purple, 20 october, action".


What makes it art?

There is a question that keep me think about it for quite a long time. And not only me I guess, but many perfume lovers. What is the difference between a nice smelling blend and perfume as a piece of art? How does the aesthetic of perfume work? Unfortunately this question is difficult to answer on a rational level. You need to learn to feel the difference. And sometimes you can sense that “piece of art” feeling…

Like the video I found recently on youtube (thanks to my perfumista-friends). This video is an artistic project and actually it’s a skillfully made illusion. But knowing that doesn’t diminish the effect it makes on you. As a skillfully created perfume is also an illusion – a fantasy of a perfumer that you voluntary makes your reality and admire.

Please, watch it in YouTube (right mouse click and than choose whatch on YouTube) in full screen mode to get the right imression.

Even knowing it’s not real I still would describe this video as beautiful (nice to watch), impressive and expressive (it communicates with me on emotional level) and it’s complete (it’s a whole story). And what is also important it’s inspiring – it motivates and encourages. Funny I guess I’ve just mentioned a couple of key moments that could describe a “piece of art”.

This video makes me also think of a masculine fragrance advertisement. But it has something I really miss in many of them. What could it be? Character? Courage? Uniqueness?


Fragrances you don't wear in the Zoo!

There are several practical wisdoms in life that I always approached as funny jokes. One of them is a rule never to wear a musk fragrance in the zoo. Do you remember it from The Nanny TV-soap? But there seem to be more truth in it than you might imagine. You should really be careful choosing the perfume you are going to wear in the zoo. But first look at this funny commercial and think.

Here is a nice fragrant riddle. What fragrances might the father wearing in the following funny commercial?

You’ll probably find answer at the website of the Wildlife Conservation Society. They’ve discovered that several commercial perfumes are attractive for big cats. Pat Thomas, the general curator at the Bronx Zoo has studied the influence of 24 fragrances on tigers, snow leopards and cheetahs by spraying the perfumes on the rocks and trees at the places of exhibits of those animals. It was funny to discover, that the reaction of animals varied depending on the fragrance. Beautiful by Estee Lauder and Charlie by Revlon were found not to be interesting. But L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci and Obsession for men by Calvin Klein turned out to be very attractive. Big cats spent on average 10,4 and 11,1 minutes respectively investigating each if them. Not only by sniffing, but also rubbing against it with their heads and paws.

This discovery is used to collect information about the wild life of cats. The conservationists from WCS have sprayed Obsession near the automatic cameras reacting on movements or temperature. The fragrance helped to attract the animals and hold their attention while the camera’s were making pictures of them.

More details on the experiment you can find on:

The website of WSC

The Guardian

And here is a film from the WSC showing how cats react on the fragrance.

Well, I tried if it could work on my little cats too. But both of them have shown no interest to Obsession. May be they are not big enough to play the games for adults?


A tuberose dessert presented in a wooden box

Cèdre by Serge Lutens

This fragrance is created in 2005 by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens. The notes are: Cedarwood, Tuberose, Musk, Amber en Cinnamon.

It was my First niche fragrance I bought. Walking through a local store I quickly noticed the bottles of the new brand I didn’t know yet. I stopped to take a closer look and to smell. And I was completely fallen in love with Cèdre.

You probably expect Cèdre to smell like Cedar or at least to have distinct woody notes. Not in this one. This one is all about the tuberose. Yes, there are some woody notes at the opening, but are they real? Or is it your imagination that tries to create what you expect find there? Wood in this fragrance is only a package, an ornamental wooden box presenting you an exotic tuberose dessert. The flowers here are made from a whipped cream sweetened with some tuberose flavored syrup and warmed with spices. A big gourmand tuberose presented in a wooden box with oriental ornament – this is what Cèdre is about in my opinion. This fragrance helped me to discover my passion for tuberose flower.

Luca Turin calls it a niche version of Amarige. And I can agree with him – it’s a very similar tuberose, but more elegant, more oriental (woody-spicy) and without mimosa dust. Poison might be another good example of a loud sultry tuberose (served with honing, blackberries and low fat cream rather than spices). But this one is more floral and less oriental, than Cédre.


The essence of the day

When you have a lot of fragrances to choose, it can be difficult. What shall I wear today? Mostly I try to look at my emotional needs, my mood and the wear trying to understand - what do I need today? What fragrance can fulfill that? Very often your fragrance becomes your essence of the day.

So, today I was looking at the cold, gray and wet morning. It's almost end of the spring, but we haven't seen much warm sunny days this year. It looks like the automn is very early this year. Will the summer come? Dwelling on those sag thought I saw the parrots on the tree. Yes, there are parrots in Amsterdam. People tend to think that those are fugitives escaped from the local zoo. Other theories confirm it, but underline the fact that it's happened many years ago and those parrots are having a colony here. But some wise people say that parrots came here long time ago - before the zoo. It was so long that you can call parrots native to the fauna of Netherlands.

Anyway what a pittance was it to observe those wet unhappy tropical birds under the cold rain! And it was funny as well. So, it made me laugh. If I look to those parrots, especially to those mean expressions... well I tend to think that there is might be lack of abusive terms in a birds language, but definitely plenty of swear thoughts - you can just see it.

This image becomes my essence of the day - keep smiling even if it's cold and wet. And what do I need? Yes, something warm and consoling. Like... chocolate! Yes, let it be Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens today. A nice bitter piece of chocolate made of Pathouli with some spicy, woody and smoky nuances. This is a ship that takes you to an exotic warm island where parrots are happy!

And here are some pictures. Look at those mean expressions!

And this is an essence of being lonely I guess...


Fragrant flowers of my balcony

Last time I told you about Freesia I bought to investigate the smell and to use as a reference point in perfumery. Today we’ve got a couple hours of sun, so I decided to make a picture of my plants. Here are Freesias and Carnations. I hope the lilies and jasmine will be next to blossom.

Pink Freesia has a soft green smell with a fruity undertone. Reminds on a florist shop where you smell wet earth and all the shades of green coming from different plants.

White Freesia – the “florist shop” effect is present, but on the background. Dominating is a fresh smell with a peppery note.

Carnations have a surprisingly soft and quiet scent unlike their interpretations in perfumery. A spicy hart of clove with sweet vanilla note and a floral veil. White carnations are much more fragrant.


Freesia lessons: a big frustration on purity

Well, perfumery can give you the greatest moments of pleasure when you smell a fragrance gently striking your emotions. But it also can be your greatest frustration when you can’t find a smell you are looking for. Learning perfumery gives you similar ambivalent feelings, but they seem to be stronger and occur more often.

Let’s take Freesia again. Well, I tried the smell of the sample formula from the PerfumersWorld. Nice, green, soapy clean, but it’s not a smell of a Freesia flower. Trying to improve it I made another version – less soapy and lees sharp in green notes, softer, but again… it’s not Freesia. And then a very simple solution – what if I just blend the materials found in the headspace of Freesia smell? About 15 drops of Linalool, 3 drops of beta-Ionone, 1 drop of alfa-Terpineoil and a drop of 10% Triplal as a green note (thanks to a perfumer from a perfumemaking Yahoo group for this wonderful idea). I was very surprised to smell a real Freesia flower very similar to the smell of a live flower, but… it lasted just for a couple of moments as later I smelled the harsh notes of linalool and alfa-Terpineol… So I faced a problem of quality of aromachemicals I used. The impurities making linalool harsh and alfa-Terpineol piney killed my Freesia accord. When you use those aromachemicals in a complex composition you can blur and mask the effect of impurities. But when you make a simple accord where those ingredients are crucial… you need the purest materials you can get.

The only problem here is the question – is it possible to find Linalool of such purity grade? Reading the description of Freesia from the PerfumersWorld I understand, that it looks like natural Linalool that occurs in Freesia is much more pure and radiant than a synthetic product available. Does it mean that there is no Linalool on the market that could concur the natural Freesia smell? It’s funny and frustrating. With the power of all the modern science and technology we can do many great things, we can precisely determine the components of the live flower smell, but we can’t reproduce it in the way the nature does using only earth, sunlight and water in less than a year…

Now I am sitting here and typing this message and by the random movements of the air I smell a real Freesia fragrance that is coming from a bunch of blotters with the residues of my experiments.

By the way, searching for information on Freesias I found an interesting discussion on Perfume of Life. Here is a quote: "In fact, there’s no freesia in any perfume in the world." -Chandler Burr. The full text you can read here: http://www.chandlerburr.com/articles/25tghost.html (you have to “download” the article to read it).

And for those who didn’t know yet – Nicole Kidman makes her own perfumes. Freesia was one she made. He doesn’t share the secrets of her craft, but you can watch two interviews where she mentions her hobby. In the first one it’s in the begin and in the last one at the end. Have fun!


Freesia quest II: technical details on smell

See the first part about Freesia here

There is something very special in Freesia fragrance in perfumery – it doesn’t really has a “key” ingredient. Unlike eugenol for carnation or rose alcohols for rose or benzyle acetate and indole for jasmine. PerfumersWorld course mentions linalool to be that “key” for Freesia. But linalool is also a very common ingredient in many other raw materials – bergamot, rosewood, lavender to mention a few. It’s also often used in floral bases to give freshness. I guess it explains the problem of Freesia note in perfumery – consisting mostly of linalool it can easily become dominated by other components, loose its character and just turn into a fresh note.

To my nose the white Freesia I bought does smell like pure linalool with a peppery nuance. A perfumer in a perfumemaking group where Freesia accord was discussed also mentions that Freesia smells like linalool, but without a harsh part of it. A chemical analysis of the smell shows about 80% linalool to be the major constituent of live Freesia fragrance (it increases up to 90% in a picked flower).

Another important constituent of Freesia fragrance is beta ionone. It’s found at the amount of 3% in the fragrance of a live flower (together with 3.7% of dihydro beta ionone, 5,4% 4-oxo beta ionone and 2,2% 4-oxo beta ionol). Michael Storer also mentions that smell of beta ionone is very close to the smell of Freesia. I tried his suggestion and I can say it’s true – 1% beta ionone solution on the blotter start to smell very close to my colored Freesia flower in about 30 mins (but not right from the beginning).

Another important constituents of Freesia fragrance are Terpineol 4% and traces of green molecules (like cis-3-hexenyl butyrate and beta cyclocitral). So, it looks like the formula of Freesia is made of linalool with a little bit of beta ionone and traces of green nuances. A good point to start!

The sample formula from the PerfumersWorld produces very clean, fresh and green Freesia note. The presence of aldehydes and sharpness of green notes make it soapy. It would be a nice base to use in body care products. It can be also a good fresh room scent reminding on spring. But I guess I have to work on it a little bit and try to make it closer to the smell of the flowers I bought.

Freesia quest: smell and perfumes

Picture: Yellow Freesia Bloom found at teleflora.com

It was very exciting to receive my new unit from the PerfumersWorld – it was all about flowers – about 18 sample formulae to make, investigate and to play with, so I can learn to understand the soul of each of floral note in perfumery. The funniest thing I discovered that there are flowers I don’t know at all… like freesia.

Well, of course I’ve heard about it and met in pyramids, but… I’ve found I don’t remember how it looks like or how does it smell. That’s a good time to learn about this fragrance. And you know, Fortune always helps to those who follows their heart and is eager to discover. May be that’s why the next day I found folder from the local garden shop telling me they had fragrant Freesias on sale, so I went there to meet my housework and came home with two freesias – a white one and pink with yellow.

The first surprise was to discover that they smell different. The white flower has a fresh fragrance with peppery notes and the colored one smells very green – just like at florist shop – a mixed fragrance of plants, leaves and stems. It’s fresh and rather soft green unlike the sharp smell of fresh grass or crushed leaves. It’s funny to find how many varieties of flowers in shapes and colors it produces… and the tough thing is that the smell varies as well. So, what would be the reference?

PerfumersWorld in their course puts Freesia among “Light Green Floras” together with Muguet and Cyclamen. I also found that in one classification it was listed under the Tuberose-Narcissus group. Well to my nose it’s green, but less sharp than hyacinth and less poisonous than narcissus. I guess “light green” or “fresh green” would be the nice place for Freesia.

It’s funny to find that there is very little information on Freesia in perfumery books or magazines. Well, I can understand that – there is no essential oil or absolute available. Some sources mention that Freesia have been a fantasy bouquet in earlier fragrances. They also mention that it was used for extracts or as modifier.

Searching for Freesia fragrances I found that most of the soliflores called Freesia are made by brands specializing on Bodycare fragrances (like Crabtree&Evelyn, The Body Shop, Bath&Body Works) – I guess the freshness of Freesia note makes it very suitable for such products. But I also found a couple of niche Freesia fragrances – “Orfésia” van Diptyque and “Musc et Freesia” by E.Coudray. Fragonard, Borsari and Demeter also have their Freesia versions. Unfortunately I haven’t smell any of them, so it promises a lot of sniffing, discovery and surprises.

Browsing through the Basenotes discussions I also found the following fragrances might be interesting to try: Miracle by Lancome, Red Door by Elizabeth Arden, Rush by Gucci, Cerruti 1881 pour femme, Eternity by Calvin Klein, Kenzo Parfum d’Ete, So de la Renta, Beige van Chanel, Paul Smith Woman, Sun Moon Stars van Lagerfeld, New York Fling by Bond No. 9, Antonia’s Flowers, Pleasures by Estee Lauder, Allure by Chanel, L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake, JPG Classique, Dolce & Gabbana Woman, Ralph by Ralph Lauren, Incanto Dreams by Salvatore Ferragamo, Balmy Days and Sundays by Inele. I haven’t checked those fragrances and it would be interesting to search for Freesia in them. But you are also welcome to share your experiences and suggestions.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find interesting facts or inspiring myths and legends related to Freesia. This flower seem to have a short history as it’s cultivated as a cut flower only since the begin of the XIX century. It was named in honor of Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese, a German physicial from Kiel. His friend, a plant collector Christian Friedrich Ecklon has proposed the name.


For Andy who likes to play

This cute guy's name is Orange Star and I put him here for someone who likes to play a lot, but probably doesn't have enough time lately. So, the message is simple - keep your inner child alive, smile and play whenever you like :o)

To feed Orange Star just click within the window.
To make him work for you click in the middle of the wheel.

This guy is found at aBowman


Antihéros by Etat Libre d'Orange


Etat Libre d’Orange


Parfumer: Antoine Maisondieu

Concept (according to a website of Etat Libre d’Oragne): "Take me as I am," seems to say this fake Mr Everybody. An anti-hero never lies about who he is, hence the seeming simplicity of this hedonistic and sun-drenched creation, entirely centred on lavender flower. This hero of everyday life fights very ordinary battles at work, when driving, at home without every taking anything too seriously. His innate modesty is extremely appealing and he knows it. He cultivates his imperfections with wit and with natural unconventional elegance. With his tousled hair and look, this somewhat unexpected superman catches the eye and still cannot believe it – that’s why we adore him.

Notes: Lavender, musk, wood.

My impression: In the begin lavendel is accompanied with a cool breeze, later in the hart it’s aromatic and in the base it is mossy-woody. But all the way long it’s just about lavender from top to base. Rustic and nonchalant. Smells like a lavender soap, but gives rather a clean and groomed impression. It smells simple, but not cheap on my skin. To me it’s a perfect perfume for a lazy Sunday or on vacation somewhere in South France – it gives a relaxed feeling when nothing has to be done and all the time is free for whatever you’d like to do. Rustic, peaceful and nonchalant. On the other hand I also think it would be a good perfume to wear in the office – clean impression, soft and helps to keep your head cool. So, if you like lavender than it's a nice one to try, but if you don't - well - you might smell an old lady there.

Luca Turin says it smells like a cheap soap, but gives it 4 stars of 5 and calls it wonderful, poetic and affecting.

Classification: Osmoz classifies this perfume as “aromatic rustic”, but Michael Edwards places it into the floral classics. Well, it’s not really a fougère, but it has definitely aromatic aspects. I’d classify it as a floral, soliflore, lavender (B5 according to SPF classification) and would place it into aromatic subgroup (if such precise classification would exist).

Compare this with:

Lavender by Yardley – is another perfume around just a single lavender theme. This one is sweeter and less aromatic or woody. Antihéros is more powerful.

Pour un homme and Le 3eme homme by Caron – another classic masculine lavender, but opposite to Antihéros lavender is softened and sweetened with Vanilla here.

Rêverie au jardin by TauerPerfums – a very special variation of lavender theme, where she is married with sweet resins to create a complex fragrance that makes you dream of green fields and gardens.

Sliver Aoud by Montale – is another different view on lavender theme. Lavender and Oud are not easy to combine. A classic lavender theme with a twist.


A question...

On Saturday we are planning a trip along the special perfumery places in Amsterdam. We - those are some ladies from different part of Amsterdam who will come for this special event and me. Of course, when you are among the perfumistas you tend to choose a special perfume to surprise everyone. Well, I've chosen the mine. And I wouldn't tell it. But here is the music and the movie I definitely associate with this perfume. It's build around a special component. Some people call her the temptress. Oh, and this temptress has definitely something to hide - she is playing on the edge of what is possible and allowed. Do you know the name?


Snowdrops and birds

At Andy’s blog I promissed to hotlanta linda to place a picture of the snowdrops to ensure her that the spring has already begun. So, it’s snowdrops time! Those nice little guys are found around my temporary vacation house on the Dutch island Texel. Each year I come here for vacation in the end of winter and beginning of spring. A pretty crowd island is full of tourists in the summer, but now you can enjoy nature, rest and life in a slow motion.

Here they are – the snowdrops for hotlanta linda. Unfortunately those doesn’t smell. But I found that Calèche by Hermès could be really a matching smell for those flowers.

And here is a piece of quiet nature. It’s pretty unique as for every island combining country side, forest, dunes and seaside.

Every morning I wake up from the chirping of two small birds behind a kitchen window. They come to enjoy their everyday meal. Funny to see how their exacting glance behind the window. They are pretty tame and I could feed them from my hand. It’s always nice to experience such a trust.

On see I found another funny birds – very busy guys were running after a sea wave trying to catch small animals disappearing in the sand. A second later the birds were running from the coming wave. And so the whole time – to and fro. Really funny busy guys.


A cup of roses

You probably know that baby wisdom. You should taste everything that attracts your attention. Especially if you think it’s beautiful. And when it comes to such a beautiful creation of nature as flowers, well… it’s difficult to resist temptation.

This childish instinct, a mixture or curiosity and inspiration, was tempting me while I was looking to the dried rose buds I bought for tincturing. Even dry they were still looking beautiful. So, I decided to make a tea from them. An Internet search delivered basic guidelines and I could start to experiment.

For a cup of a rose bud tea you need just two or three buds per cup (about 100 ml). You place them into a pre-warmed cup, pour over with boiled water (should be about 90 C) and draw for just two or three minutes (one or two minutes extra is not a problem at all). It’s better to cover a cup to keep the essential oils inside.
I decided not to take the rose buds away – they give a nice finishing touch to a very delicate fresh green colour of tea. They can give tea a bitter taste, but probably you finish your tea before the bitterness appears.

I was really surprised with a taste. It combines dry herbal note with rose and deep vibrant honey-like undertone (as you might know from the rose absolute). It’s not too rosy as I was afraid of and really delicate. To my taste I prefer it without sugar, but a little bit of honey might go pretty well with this tea.

Besides its delicate taste and amazing look this tea is very good to calm the nerves and even to relief headache. Rose has also been used as a remedy against hay fever and nasal catarrh.

Yesterday evening I tried a good synergy between rose and lavender. It was amazing to feel the effect of just a teaspoon of lavender blossoms and three rose buds. My head became calm, my eyes sleepy and I could easily fall asleep. Rose and lavender tea was a nice closing of the day. Now I understand a Dutch proverb “to sleep like a rose”…


The Rose is born...

This beautiful video is found on YouTube. Thanks to the user rulivede who has shared it there.

Everyone who has ever touched, seen or smelled a rose understands the divine nature of this flower. According to the Ancient Greek and Roman Myths the Rose was created by Chloris (Roman name Flora), the Goddess of spring, new growth and flowers, the wife of Western Wind Zephyrus. Once she was walking through her garden and suddenly came upon a lifeless corps of a beautiful nymph. Deeply touched by her beauty she decided to preserve it by turning the nymph into a flower. Chloris implored Aphrodite (Roman name Venus), the Goddess of Love and Beauty, for assistance. The Three Graces gave her allure, brilliance and elation. Dyonissus (Roman name Bacchus) gave her a drop of nectar to endue her with a wonderful fragrance. Zephyrus, the Western Wind blew the clouds away so that Apollo, the God of Sun could shine upon her. A beautiful rose came to blossom under the golden light of Apollo and was crowned with a diadem by Chloris to distinguish this most beautiful blossom, the Queen of Flowers.

Persians also recognized the divine origin of the Rose and believed it was a gift from Allah himself. From the times of Ancient Egypt Lotus was the King of the flowers. But he slept a lot neglecting his royal duties. All the flowers were complaining to Allah about this habit and asked to name another blossom for this position. The White Virgin Rose became the new Queen of Flowers. And to protect her Allah gave her the thorns.

Turkish legends have a different view on the origin of the Rose and believe that White Rose was born from the sweat drops of Mohammed during his night ascend of the sky.

The emergence of the Red rose in legends and myths are connected to the stories of pain, suffer and love.

Ancient Greek myths tell us that it was the blood of Aphrodite who turned the Roses red.

Persian legend says that the White Rose created by Allah was so beautiful that the nightingale felt in love to her from the first sight. Charmed by its beauty the nightingale embraced the flower so tightly that the thorns stabbed his heart and colored the rose petals with his blood. A beautiful Fairytale “The Nightingale and The Rose” is written by Oscar Wilde.

Well, if those stories of Red Rose made you a little sad, there is another version you might like. It says that Rose was presented to Eros (Roman name Cupid), the winged God of Love, by his mother Aphrodite. Being a playful child he spilled some wine on it and turned the Rose petals red.

And at the end I would reveal one more secret of this beautiful flower. Eros presented the Rose to Harpocrates, the Greek and Roman God of Secrecy and Silence. It was a bribe for not telling to Aphrodite, his mother, about the pranks of little troublemaker Eros. So the Rose became a symbol for confidentiality. And Romans believed that everything said under the Rose should remain a secret. Red roses often ornamented the houses also reminding the guests that everything said “sub vino” (under the influence of wine) is also said “sub rosa” (under the roses that means should be kept secret).


Orris root: the origin

In its encyclopaedia of raw materials Osmoz tells us that iris comes from Far East. But there is also a legend narrating that iris flowers were born from the rainbow shatters. That is why they are named “iris” that means “rainbow” in Greek. Could it be true? Well, one can easily figure this out by looking at the colorful petals of iris flower.

Next to the rainbow colored petals some of iris flowers are also delicately scented. But only a couple of about 250 species of Iris genus are highly valued in perfumery for their scented root (that is actually an underground rootlike stem properly called rhizome). This is so called Orris root – the name referred to the rhizome of either Iris pallida or Iris germanica. Some sources mention Iris florentina as well, but others insist that it’s a variety and not a specimen. Iris pallida is widely cultivated in Florence, Italy while Iris germanica is primarily grown in Marocco.

It takes three years till the rhizomes are ready to be harvested, but three years of waiting is not enough as fresh orris root is almost odourless. You can’t use it in perfumery yet. It takes another three years of aging in jute bags for the collected and peeled rhizomes until they become ripe and scented. So, it costs you six years of patience and intensive labor to get the precious root. And the cultivation of iris is really labor-intensive, because planting, weeding, harvesting and peeling – all those steps are done by hand. It’s not a surprise that good quality natural raw materials yielded from orris root are more expensive than gold.

The main constituent of orris root are irones, chemical compounds that are formed during the aging period from other compounds of Orris root. The content of irones is an index of quality exercising the influence on the price of Orris root. So called “1% irone index” determines the standard of quality. Unfortunately there is a lot of orris root on the market that doesn’t meet this standard. Anything what is labor-intensive and expensive is often a subject of cheating and adulteration. The proper aging procedures are often violated resulting in a poorer quality of Orris root. In its article “Orris: A star of inspiration” Pierre-Jean Hellivan mentions that it’s a common practice to offer Orris root with historically low levels of irone.

The major part of Orris root comes from Italy followed by Marocco, China and France. Italy, China and France are cultivating Iris pallida while Marocco grows Iris germanica. There are also new sources of this precious root from Bulgaria, Serbia and Polland.

It’s interesting to notice, that perfume industry is not the biggest consumer of Orris root. The major part of it goes to the flavoring industry where it is used in production of beverages rounding the natural berry flavours. Much lesser part of Orris root goes to perfumery. But to become a fragrance compound it need further processing. The simplest way is to make an Orris tincture. Next to ambergris, civet and castoreum tinctures it was a very frequent constituent of ancient perfumes formulae. Nowadays there are also other natural Orris raw materials available. Next time I hope to tell you about them.

Above: Iris pallida from http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/GardenBeardedIrises

Below: Iris germanica from http://users.ca.astound.net/kenww/my_garden/bearded.htm

Interesting reading:
“Orris: A star of Inspiration” by Pierre-Jean Hellivan (Charabot) – an article in Perfumer and Flavorist, July, 2009 (vol 34. nr. 7). You can buy the full article at http://www.perfumerflavorist.com/magazine/pastissues/2009/34214239.html

Encyclopedia of raw materials on the Osmoz website (http://www.osmoz.com/Encyclopedia/Raw-materials/Iris).