Narcotic and intoxicating the heavy grapes of purple wisteria when they hang in the blue sky are the perfect gateway to the world of Hypnoss. Their color, shape and strong smell look surreal this spring. One famous wisteria is found near Paris at Giverny, on the bridge of the garden of Claude Monet.
The smell of the flowers can be described as very peppery, sweet and green, with a distinctive smoke-phenolic note and this burnt aspect increases during the life of the flower. Purple Wisteria has many common aspects with vanilla notes, but less on the sweet aspect and more on other secondary notes. I would say that wisteria is a symphony of notes that share the same phenolic pattern with an important accent on methyl eugenol and methyl iso eugenol. Imagine several vanilla absolutes, very burnt because of guaiacol, less the over sweetness, plus a very green pea and fresh note almost fruity mandarin. Wisteria shows similar notes with carnation and ylang and to a minor extent with the green honey aspect of jonquils, but also reminds me several delicate lilies. Unlike carnation, the scent is not warm (eugenol/isoeugenol like) but spicy metallic and cold. Compared to narcisse / jonquille it is sweeter and spicier, less animalic.
To make up a wisteria scent one could use:
- burnt phenolic notes like guaiacol rounded with some vanilla Tahiti absolute
- very spicy notes like methyl eugenol and methyl isoeugenol or green pepper, nutmeg, bay and in a very small dose the other spicy molecules (even methyldiantalis that is spicy and vanilla) or even laurel
- very fresh linalool (even coriander like)
- a very green pyrazine note like in pepper bell or pea or a green vegetable note (leguminal) or even lower aldehydes (C8, C9 etc)
- a honey note like in genet absolute
- a grape/wine note, anthranilate like (but very delicate compared to acacia) rounded with some acetophenone like molecules (but not anisic)
- some elements from ylang/ carnation/jonquille without their characteristic note
- camphor note and methyl salicylate
- sweet and delicate flower notes (from "phenyl ethyl -" family)
- maybe a faint cassis note
There is also a possible amine note (fish, salmon), a flesh note like in tuberose and I have the feeling that the flowers contain several important molecules with nitrogen. Salicylates like ethyl, hexyl, hexenyl are welcome inside this wisteria.
A modern fragrance that suggests me the wisteria dream is Vanille Galante (Hermès). No matter what Jean Claude Ellena said about this perfume and creation …I feel it as a perfect metaphor for the scent of those flowers. But I could understand that Chinese wisteria is a less appealing name that vanilla or osmanthus. I can imagine also the wisteria as a very "Belle Époque" flower that suggests the atmosphere of the recent movie, Cheri.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art