What makes a fragrance powdery?
Most of us have heard the term ‘powdery’. But what does that even mean?
The first thing that comes to mind is usually baby powder, talcum powder, face powder.
And you’re right. There is a history to powdery scents that begins with cosmetics.
Once upon a time, high class society would use flour to whiten their faces and wigs. Eventually flour became too expensive and everyone began using rice powder.
It is said that Catherine de Medici began to add Orris(Iris) Powder to her skincare items, and thus began the powdery essence of the beauty and fragrance world.
Iris/Orris is most notably used in ‘powdery’ fragrances, evoking a cosmetic vibe to the scent it is used in, and can sometimes smell like lipstick.
Other ingredients used to evoke a powdery essence include:
Aldehydes - A group of synthetic ingredients that can add a radiance to a composition, lifting other floral ingredients, and creates a clean, powdery, or soapy nuance.
Rose - A Rose is naturally powdery in itself. If you smell Roses in nature, their essence is delicate, soft, smooth, and sometimes sharp. Throughout the history of fragrance, Rose is associated with ‘old’ fragrances, which were, for a long time, oriental and powdery.
Violet - This flower evokes a earthy, flowery, slightly woody nuance, but does not produce a scent when distilled. A synthetic concoction, called Ionone, is a powdery molecule naturally occurring in the Violet Flower, and is used to recreate the scent.
Musk - This is a note that can produce an animalic essence, but is often sultry, or slightly smoky in fragrance, creating a wispy feeling. It can be sweet and create a powdery nuance.
Amber - Though Amber is often a warmer note, we often describe it as buttery or creamy. When blended with flower and sweeter notes, it can evoke a powdery essence, or be the warmer note that lifts a powdery scent to last longer.
Mimosa - This flower can evoke a number of scents, sometimes smelling like Orange Blossoms, powdery, and sometimes like Baby’s Breath Flowers.
Coumarin - This is a synthetic ingredient that comes from the Tonka Bean. It can give a hay-like or Almond Powder essence.
Heliotropin - This compound is derived from the Heliotrop Flower and creates powdery, floral, and Almond nuances.
Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, released in 1912 is said to be the first ‘powdery’ scent, and includes notes of Heliotrope, Bulgarian Rose, Iris, Vanilla, and Musk.
Powdery scents tend to evoke a softness, a tenderness, an innocence, and create a romantic and/or calming essence. They are traditionally feminine in nature, but you can find some masculine scents described as powdery these days as well.
You can find a great variety of ‘Powdery’ scents at Parfumerie Nasreen!
Musc Poudre by Christian Provenzano - This scent almost explains itself, translating to Musk Powder. Fresh and light notes of Bergamot and Raspberry soon become enveloped within Bulgarian and Moroccan Roses, Magnolia, Violet, and an Orris Fusion. A soft warmth comes from Tonka Bean, Benzoin, Vanilla, Amber, and Precious Musks.
Ombre Rose by Jean-Charles Brosseau - This is a floral scent that closely evokes the essence of talcum powder. It blends Coumarin, Iris, Musk, and Rose with Honey, Lily, Peach, Rosewood, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang, and Sandalwood.
Rea from Giardino Benessere - This scent is an Iris bomb. It blends Imperial Iris and Flag Iris atop a heart of flowers that leads into soft citruses and Leather. A blend of woods in the base is sweetened with Vanilla Berries.
Athalia from Parfums de Marly - This scent is delicate and romantic. It takes inspiration from the era of time when women powdered their faces and wigs, and put their most regal selves forward in court. Iris blends with Orange Blossom above a heart of Incense and Musk, and warmed with Vanilla and Amber.
Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier - This scent is warm and gentle with a sweet side. It blends Amber with Bergamot above an intriguing blend of Lavender, Mint, and Orange Blossom. A warmth arrives in the base with Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, and Vanilla. A subtle powdery nuance can be felt by many wearers of this scent.
Imitation Man from Amouage - This scent brings intrigue and mystery. Its powdery essence comes from a blend of Rose, Orris, and Violet that become infused with Peppers and spices and the warmth of Leather and Myrrh.
Continuum from TUMI - This scent is dark and alluring. A heart of Orris Root brings in a subtle powdery essence that is enveloped with Amber, Suede, and Smoked Musk.
We are always happy to help you along on your fragrance journey. Stop in, call, or email us to learn more!