The Nose of the Narcissus
Now that the Paperwhites in pots have been shown the door there is nothing much fragrant in the house save the powerfully scented Witch hazel Hamamelis Wisley.
We are working on improving fragrance attributes for our site, but olfactory evaluation being highly subjective, it’s hard to notate more than “smells good”. We are aiming to collect data to see if blindfolded volunteer (and amateur) noses can at least distinguish between poeticus, jonquil and tazetta scents.
There is a collection of fragrance mentions by Andy Moore from 1989 at dafflibrary : https://dafflibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/fragranceopt.pdf
In the dark science of perfumery a scent is described by its source, whether naturally derived or increasingly synthetic in origin, and where it falls on numerous and mystical scent wheels : woodsy; earthy; resinous; … all of the way round to the florals: Light; Powdery; Fruity; Rosy; Sweet; Narcotic;.Yes, we can attest that Daffodils can have fruity, sweet, and rosy notes, along with the narcotic.
The essential oils of narcissus flowers are powerful components and expensive: Poeticus, Jonquilla and Tazetta blooms providing the raw materials. You gotta crush a lot of little Poets to get a gallon of juice.
At one time there was an old chestnut in perfumery: Men’s fragrances were not floral. But the spectrum of sexuality has moved on, now you will find many more men’s and gender neutral fragrances built with floral scents.
This is a quick survey of perfumes showing that the narcissus nose knows hard work and plays well with others : as a top note, in the heart, or as a slower moving base note:
Narcisse Noir by Caron 1911
Top notes: Floral , Narcissus,
Middle Notes : Fruit, Orange Jasmine,
Base notes: Sandalwood, Musk
Je Reviens by Worth 1932
Top notes: Aldehydic, Fruit
Middle notes;Floral, Narcissus, Hyacinth, Lilac, Ylang Ylang
Base notes: Musk
White Flowers by Creed 2011
Top: Fruits, Apple, Lemon
Middle Notes: Jasmine
Base notes : Narcissus, Musk,Sandalwood
Poeticus (for Men) by Fleurage N.D.
Not looking to be assaulted by salesperson’s samples at the escalator ?
Here are two small-scale domestic producers that recently caught our interest. They are working with solid perfumes, particularly narcissus scents, which are an economical choice for the hoi-polloi like us.
Parterre Gardens in Iowa
Lady Bowditch in Shelter Island New York https://www.ladybowditchnaturals.com
QDaffs offers 30 or more sweetly scented daffodils : https://www.qdaffs.us/fragrant.