A ROSE RE­MEM­BERED

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Beauty Bottled -

HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR ROSES? Pale, crisp and cit­russy? Sto­ry­book red and straw­berry-scented? Or fat, frilly-skirted and smelling of face pow­der? If any­one knows how mul­ti­fac­eted the rose can be, it’s Ed­ward Bo­den­ham. As per­fumery di­rec­tor of cen­turies-old fra­grance and groom­ing brand Floris (and de­scen­dant of founder Juan Floris), he’s worked with many va­ri­eties in his time, but even he was un­pre­pared for the in­tense fra­grance of the Moroc­can blooms when he vis­ited the rose fields there. ‘Roses are part of our her­itage at Floris, there’s some­thing so eter­nal about them. But where English roses are greener and more del­i­cate, these had a hyp­notic qual­ity and a spicy warmth un­like any­thing I’d ever smelled be­fore. I was cap­ti­vated.’ Back in Lon­don, Ed­ward be­gan piec­ing to­gether the re­mem­bered scent of those Moroc­can roses, hop­ing to cre­ate a con­tem­po­rary eau de par­fum that would take Floris’s tra­di­tional love af­fair with roses on a new course. ‘Ob­vi­ously I started by sourc­ing a Moroc­can rose oil, but in an un­ex­pected twist, the oil that ar­rived at our Lon­don per­fumery didn’t smell quite rich enough. It wasn’t un­til I added Turk­ish rose, which has a deeper qual­ity, and Bulgarian rose, which is fruitier and has a hint of cit­rus, that the for­mula started mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion,’ he says.

A rose left alone smells pretty enough, but to cre­ate a scent with at­mos­phere and longevity, Ed­ward would need to layer notes us­ing an ar­ray of per­fumery in­gre­di­ents. He in­tro­duced patchouli to bring out the dark heart of the rose, vanilla for soft­ness and Dar­jeel­ing tea (ac­tu­ally not tea at all, but part of the rose mol­e­cule that has a tea-like note) to recre­ate the drier el­e­ment of the flow­ers he’d been so fas­ci­nated by. ‘I also added cas­sis, which is the leaf of the black­cur­rant bush. It’s a lovely in­gre­di­ent to work with as it brings in a green and sparkling feel, which then gives way to the deeper, darker notes.’ Then came or­ris, or iris root – pow­dery and al­most lip­stick-like with a hint of vi­o­let, which Ed­ward used to smooth to­gether the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of his for­mula so far, fol­lowed by san­dal­wood for what he de­scribes as a but­tery warmth. ‘Each new note brought out a dif­fer­ent el­e­ment of the rose’s char­ac­ter, though some took me too far away from what I was try­ing to cap­ture.’

For six months, Ed­ward worked on four dif­fer­ent pro­to­types, paint­ing an ol­fac­tory pic­ture that brought him closer to the Moroc­can rose fields with ev­ery tweak. Four pro­to­types be­came two, then one, and with a fi­nal pinch of smokey, in­cense-like oud, he had his for­mula. ‘I sat in the per­fumery in the Floris shop on Jermyn Street with those few drops of liq­uid, and for a few min­utes I was back in Morocco. Very happy. Very happy in­deed.’

£160: a rose to re­mem­ber, burst­ing with smoke and spice. Floris A Rose For… Eau de Par­fum,

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