One of the earliest perfume with a gardenia note is the Italian creation of the famous Borsari house from Parma. This illustration from 1909 shows their very rare but exquisite Fior di Gardenia. 2 decades after, the gardenias would bloom in many Parisian creations through several outstanding interpretations. Before WWII perfumers were able to find the very rare gardenia absolute among other natural ingredients, almost unknown today. Borsari had a huge success at the end of XIXth century and their most celebrated creation was "Violetta di Parma", created around 1870/1880, and containing the real violet flower enfleurrage extract. Apparently there is an untold story relating this "vera violetta" type and the Roger & Gallet creation, but already before WWI both formulae have changed considerably compared to their first editions. Gardenias and violets seem totally unrelated, but for the perfumer of the golden era there was a common ingredient (molecule), the same used 90 years later by Dominique Ropion in Amarige. This potent molecule, later developped by Firmenich in one of their outstanding historical products for the creative perfumer, is maybe the key to understand why in 1909 Borsari had a gardenia extract in their collection. There are many ways to conceive a gardenia note but maybe the first modern interpretation, based on unusual floral crops in Parma, was Italian created in a magnificent town located not far from Grasse and Swizerland. With 2 forgotten products from Chuit Naef (now Firmenich) and several floral extracts you can recreate one of the most opulent intoxicating flowers. I asked myself many times why that molecule, not found in the natural extract nor in the flower headspace and not described as a gardenia, was sometime used in gardenia or tuberose products. I found my answer in Italy where the most beautiful violets gave birth to one of the earliest legend of modern perfumery and to a new floral prototype. The correct name for the gardenia prototype accord I have now in mind should be "Gardénia de Parme", because it is different from the other 2 famous interpretations with different green notes.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art