• Solitaire
  • JournalSoliflore


Solitaire, originally uploaded by Michael J Metts.

Now that I have sufficient quantities of a few more rare floral absolute – broom, cassie, linden blossom and osmanthus – I went straight away to work on my corresponding soliflores.

Creating soliflores is one of the most challenging tasks for the natural perfumer. But to top it all off, I have my own personal challenge when I create my soliflores. I am not a keen soliflore wearer. Being drawn to complex perfumes, I believe I make a good judge for which soliflore will be interesting enough to wear…

The technical challenges of creating a soliflore are many, and I believe I can sum this up in three main categories that are of concern to me when I go up for the task of designing them:

Natural building blocks are extremely complex. One needs to remember that each and every single oil contains myriads of single chemical components, all interacting with each other in a magical way to create a “note”.

Blend too many of those to create an all-natural perfume, and you are in danger of producing a cacophony of scents: a muddy, indecisive concoction that doesn’t know what she is thinking or saying. That is not something I would want to wear.

So you can imagine how difficult it is to make a soliflore that will smell distinctively of a specific flower or plant.

Evolution, Lasing Power and Consistency
I love complex and evolving scents. With a passion. I dislike and stay away from linear scents that do not evolve and simply hammer the same note or accord over and over and over into my olfactory existence.

To create a soliflore that smells distinctively of a certain flower or plant, I need to create an evolution that is consistently related to the specific note, in one hand; and does have an interesting life and a story to tell while on the skin.

A perfumer that uses synthetics hase less technical limitations and is more often able to use the same note over and over in the different layers (i.e.: jasmine top note, jasmine heart note and jasmine base note). A natural perfumer is prone to have substantially more limitations here. Jasmine can be found only as a heart note. Therefore, there is no particularly jasminey note to keep the composition alive for long enough.

To overcome this obstacle, I incorporate other notes, that are not the same, but are similar or close to the theme of the soliflore, in order to prolong the perfume’s life on the skin. For instance: in Yasmin, my jasmine perfume, I have included cassie in the base, a floral note from the family of mimosa, along with subtle, delicate amber and sandalwood, in order to extend the jasmine notes to the roots of the perfume. The result is perhaps a bit more complex than other jasmine soliflores I smelled before, but it is, nevertheless, a jasmine dominated perfume, made only of natural essences.

The challenges are to do so without losing the “soliflore” on the way, without overloading the base with long lasting but muddying notes, without losing track of what we are here for – singing praise for a certain beautiful note that nature conceived and bringing it from the garden to our own skin-covered temple.

This may seem marginal and unimportant. Naming a soliflore can be quite a challenge. Most frequently, soliflores bear the name of the flower or plant they mimic. If you want to be particularly imaginative, use a foreign language, such as French or Italian. I try to stay away from that, simply because it’s confusing: there are so many “Fleur d’Oranger” and “Osmanthus” now that one cannot distinguish a soliflore of one house from the other. I also prefer names that are more imaginative and alluring, perhaps a tad mysterious, and that have more meaning – beyond the simply name of the flower.

My rose soliflore is called Rosebud (inspired by Citizen Kane) and is a symbol of purity through roses.

My lavender soliflore pairs lavender with vanilla and orris to create a modern-day love potion, and is thus name Lovender.

Viola, my violet soliflore, is also a woman’s name and a string instrument.

The jasmine soliflore I created is called Yasmin, the Hebrew word for jasmine, and also the name of my best friend.

My ornage blossom soliflore is named Zohar, also after my (other) best friend, and “Zohar Water” is the common name in the Middle East for orange flower water.

My new version of my Linden Blossom soliflore is going to be called Tirzah, which is the name of the lindern tree in Hebrew, and also a beautiful women’s name.

I am having a challenge naming the two other new upcoming soliflores I am working on at the moment: Osmanthus and Mimosa. I seem to have been running out of inspiration.
Cute names on their own, but are they ever overly-used?!

I am considering calling the mimosa perfume Acacia. That reminds me of desert. I kind of like that. But it’s not desert-y enough. And it’s not different enough either. Also, I already have plenty of perfumes that begin with “A”. But I digress. The bottom line is, as much as I love different permutations of the name of the plant – Mimosaique, Mimosa pour Moi, Acacioza, Farensiana… - The have already been used! Why can’t I come with something new?!

As for Osmanthus – that’s such a long name. Did I also mention it’s over-used? Probably another 4 houses that I think of at this moment have a perfume called “Osmanthus” with very slight differences. How about osmanthus in Chinese? 丹桂 dān guì. No, it may look good in Chinese, but it doesn’t sound very appealing… Maybe Japanese? Kinmokusei. Turns out it’s also the same pronounciation of a name of a planet in an Anime classic. I like that! But who is going to remember this name? Or know how to pronounce it? Maybe it’s not such a great idea…

So I will just concentrate on making these two soliflores last on the skin and be interesting and alluring for now, showcase the natural beauty of the flowers they are representing. I will worry about the names later. But if you have a good idea for a name, you are more than welcome to share it. If I pick the name you offered, I will give you a bottle of the soliflore you helped naming!

  • JournalSoliflore
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