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What is a soliflore fragrance?

What is a soliflore fragrance?

Centifolia rose
Centifolia rose

One of the most fascinating trends in modern perfumery is a concept called “soliflore”. Simply, it is a single floral aroma – a fragrance that is built around one particular flower such as rose, jasmine or peony. This gives a perfumer the opportunity to demonstrate his or her interpretation of that flower. It’s a creative and technical challenge to compose a scent recipe that expresses the character or mood of a specific bloom.

Centifolia rose
Centifolia rose

What makes this concept interesting is that is allows perfumers the opportunity to showcase the many different facets of a flower. Take rose for example. If the blooms are picked later in the morning under direct sunlight, the petals can actually caramelize on their way to be processed giving them a sweetness. Pick the sample flower at first daybreak and you get a fresher, brighter aroma.

It’s not surprising to learn that climate and soil condition affects how a flower smells. Roses grown in dry conditions with very warm temperatures will smell different than the very same variety grown in damp soil with cloudy skies. Even the trees and plants around the rose fields can have an impact on the scent. One top rose farming family decided to clear away the weeds and scrub bush surrounding their fields – to make it look cleaner. Something interesting happened. When it came time to harvest the flowers, they smelled different. It took weeks of investigation to discover that the weeds and trees surrounding the fields had a big influence on the aroma of the plants. The farmers immediately replaced the weeds and trees. The rose scent returned to normal the following year.

Composing a fragrance around a solitary flower is one of the most challenging exercises for a perfumer. He or she needs to have the skill to layer different facets of the note throughout the composition carefully picking supporting ingredients. But the result is often miraculous and a real olfactory treat for those who love flowers.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    September .Dee
    January 17, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    I love learning new things and drink up this kind of information with the utmost of joy! Thank you for sharing this with us. I have a Jens Munk shrub rose that has the most exquisite scent. Have never seen another ine at the garden centre since so I am hoping this one will last forever.

  • Reply
    Cynthia Sacks
    January 16, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    Informative story. And it made perfect sense that clearing away trees & bushes from around the flowers changed the scent! Just like how what trees/bushes/flowers/etc are around a hive will change the flavor of honey! @cindy_sacks

  • Reply
    Roberta MacQuarrie
    January 15, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    Love, love flowers! Yes, it is not surprising that the terroir of flowers plays an important part in the essence of a fragrance. 🌹🌺🌸🌼

  • Reply
    Angela Citrigno
    January 15, 2022 at 11:52 am

    I’m imaging my nose smelling that sack of roses. That would be heaven. I recently purchased some roses from my grocery store and was pleasantly surprised that they actually had a fragrance to them. Every time I walked by that bouquet I took time to smell the roses. I find flowers rarely have a scent unless grown in your own garden. @959angela

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