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Perfume & Flavour Translations
Notes between the perfumer & historian June - August 2021
Nicolas and I had some back and forth on painting no. 4: 'Garden Scene' as the flowers were not obvious to me. Nicolas pointed out the red and pink poppies in the furthest register of the image and some purple-hued irises among the greenery in the forefront. The fragrance-palette in our view was green but for obvious reasons we found it challenging to communicate our ideas for the perfume. Midway through our process, I sent him samples for paintings 1, 2, 3 and a fougere fragrance I proposed for this landscape. Our following conversation then focused on what the scent should not be: minty, eucalyptus-y, herbaceous, that the proposed perfume sample was missing a floral quality.
Iris has a very subtle scent and in perfumery, this is a fantasy note, meaning that it is constructed with synthetic aroma chemicals as the flowers are too delicate to be distilled for their scent. 'Orris' (rhizoma iridis) is the highly prized root of Iris germanica and Iris pallida that is harvested, dried for upto five years, then put through extraction process to yield "orris butter" that possesses a pleasant violet-like scent.
Apart from Iris, Nicolas imagined a sweet floral-citrus note that I asked him to expand on: Did citrus mean mandarin, lime, lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, petitgrain, neroli/ orange flower; On a scale of one to ten, was the palette warm or cold, floral or fruity? While Nicolas specified the sweetness of citron fruit (I could not locate/ source the extract for perfumery), the rest of his responses to these prompts had us settle on prominent notes of iris, orange flower and jasmine atop a silvery cedarwood.