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Bottling Sunshine...

If you can't smell sunshine, how does a perfume smell "solar"? There are many fragrances described as solar and they all have something in common. Discover the keys to bottling sunshine with this months solar jasmine perfume: Stellar Bloom.

Solar Powered Dreams

If someone asked you to describe the smell of sunshine, naturally, your mind would start thinking of all the things you associate with summer. The most obvious notes of sunscreen, pool water and fresh cut grass are likely to come crawling across your memory. However, if you have spent a lot of time in South Carolina, then the most beautiful, rich and enticing memories of succulent white florals will drift in on a humid breeze. The hot balmy climate of the Carolinas is welcoming to many rich smelling flowers species, such as gardenia, jasmine, wisteria, tea olive, magnolia, mimosa and more. I spent four years living in the Carolinas and the lovely floral aromas still haunt me.

The inspiration for this months fragrance all started when my mother told me she was almost out of the perfume I gifted her a few years ago. Her dwindling fragrance, Tuberose Gardenia by Estée Lauder, is a fantastic rich white floral with heavy notes of gardenia and jasmine. My mother loves her white florals and I was not surprised when she told me that her sights were set on Gucci Bloom Profumo Di Fiori, another white floral. Lucky for her, I had been studying this perfume for months and had already unraveled some of it's secrets.

Salicylates and Sunshine

There are many ways to express a jasmine, but I find that Profumo Di Fiori takes a solar approach. What do I mean by solar? As I was describing before, you can't really smell the sun so your mind goes to everything associated with it. Sunscreen being the most prevalent. Then we might ask: What does sunscreen smell like? What makes the smell unique? The answer is more simple than you might think. The unique olfactive component of sunscreen is also the functional factor that protects your skin from the sun! I am referring to salicylates.

There are many different kinds of salicylates. Really, the term describes a larger family of molecules found in many applications from drugs like Asprin to the sunscreens you wear daily. The salicylates found in sunscreen typically include homomenthyl salicylate, ethylhexyl salicylate and trolamine salicylate. These molecules work to protect your skin cells from harmful UV light by absorbing the radiation energy that would otherwise damage the DNA in your skin cells.

UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that can initiate many different chemical reactions, especially in perfumes. As a perfumer, I often use ethylhexyl salicylate to protect my fragrances from UV light. It just so happens that these salicylates have a very distinct smell, often described as slightly floral and a bit like hot plastic. There are many other salicylates used in perfumery for their odor alone. In fact salicylates are very important when building a white floral, especially a tuberose or jasmine like Stellar Bloom, which contains 5% cis-3-hexenyl salicylate!

Cis-3-hexenyl Salicylate

This months featured raw material, cis-3-hexenyl salicylate, is not the strongest of materials, so you may have to look for it. Most salicylates used in perfumery have what I would describe as a hot glue gun plastic smell. When compared to other salicylates used in perfumery, cis-3-henenyl salicylate is among the strongest, and is more distinctly green and floral in the jasmine direction. The hot plastic aspect of this material does wonders for creating that petal in the sun feeling in the formula, while the green notes support the fresh jasmine quality. This material is highly tenacious, so expect it to stick around.

Compare the (+) and (-) Perfume

I don't expect the two fragrances to be worlds apart as there are actually a variety of salicylates in the formula to create dimension and a more realistic complexity to the petal. With that being said, I suggest looking for the difference in the middle and base notes. The (+) perfume should seem slightly more solar, where the (-) perfume will be a little more woody and sweet. I like to describe the effect of the material as a slight shift in "aura" rather than a distinct character shift or textural change. It is almost as if I was trying to capture the visual of bright sunlight bouncing off of white petals to create that slight stellar halo.

Stellar Bloom

Notes: Jasmine Sambac, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose, Solar Petal, Mirabelle Plum, Dried Tobacco, Sandalwood, Vegan Tonkin Musk.

Stellar Bloom opens with bright yellow ylang ylang, tuberose, and a radiant solar jasmine that envelopes the mind in a sunny day. The word stellar, meaning relating to a star, is referring to our star, the sun. As the fragrance dries into the middle notes, a sweet golden Mirabelle Plum mixes with deep leafy tobacco notes. The terminal notes of the fragrance leave you with smooth creamy sandalwood and a sensual animalic musk. To be clear, the musk here is not derived from an animal and is completely vegan. Tonkin Musks were traditionally scoured from deer glands, but can now be simulated with a pallet of synthetic musk materials.

So now that you have trained your nose to identify cis-3-hexenyl salicylate and its effect(s) in perfumery, what do you think? Do you perceive it as solar? Do you prefer the (+) or (-) perfume?

Feel free to share any questions or comments you have! I would love to hear your thoughts! As always, thank you for subscribing. I work very hard to make this subscription as fun, engaging, and educational as possible, but I am always seeking suggestions for improvement.

If you like what this perfume has to offer, I do suggest sniffing the perfumes listed below:

  • Gucci Bloom Profumo Di Fiori Gucci

  • Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia Estée Lauder

  • Gucci Bloom Ambrosia di Fiori Gucci

  • Carnal Flower Frederic Malle

  • Narcotic Venus Nasomatto

  • A Drop d'Issey Issey Miyake

  • Le Parfum de Therese Frederic Malle

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