Freesia

lat. Freesia refracta (Iridaceae)

Group: Flowers

Freesia Freesia refracta (Iridaceae)
Freesia Freesia refracta (Iridaceae)
Freesia Freesia refracta (Iridaceae)
Odor profile: intensely refreshing and peppery flower with green nuance, synthetically recreated to give sheen and freshness to perfumes


"The happiness of that afternoon was already fixed in her mind,
and always would the scent of freesia recall it to her mental sight,
for among the smells of the roses and violets and lilies and wall-flowers,
the smell of the freesia penetrated, as a melody stands out from its
accompaniement, and gave her the most pleasure."
 
~ from The Way Things Happen by Hugh De Sélincourt

 

The peppery, fresh jolt of freesia flowers just cut from the garden tingles the nostrils with the anticipation of warm weather. It's written in the cards, you see: This African breed came out of its natural habitat to decorate gardens the length and breadth of the globe, but it retains the memory of its sun-warmed seeds close to heart. Just seeing the yellow, pink or mauveish cones unfurl their petals, like a ballet dancer's Romantic Tutu undulating with her every plié, is almost heart-wrenching.
 

BOTANY

Freesia was named in honor of Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese (1795-1876), a German physician from Kiel; it was his friend, plant collector Christian Friedrich Ecklon, who proposed the name.


The genus belongs in the family of irises, Iridaceae. Even though freesias look different than irises, they do share a common sparsely branched stem with few leaves and a loose spike-like racime of fragrant flowers. The most common cultivar is freesia refracta, thanks to its vivid yellow blossoms that adorn gardens and its inviting, strong scent which attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and moths alike.

Even though we're mostly familiar with freesias from the florist's shop to put in vases in our houses, growing them in the garden isn't hard to do: It's preferable to purchase fat, thick bulbs in the autumn or early winter and plant them at a depth twice their size. Water them regularly and come spring a tapestry of colorful blossoms will greet you, with flowers that will not shy away from the sun but will continue to blossom time after time well into the warm days.
 

SCENT PROFILE

The fragrance of freesia is incomparable in that it contains a cheerful bouquet of peppery zing and floral freshness projected at the right intensity, a delicious aroma that radiates for a long distance. High in linalool, a major component in all freesia varieties, it emits a refreshing, floral woody aroma with a subtle citrusy-terpenic note.

 

But even within the species there are differences: the white flowers tend to smell more spicy, the colorful ones greener with the sweetness of crushed leaves and grass. The yellow flowered breeds "Gold Flame", "Aladdin" and "Rijnveld Golden Yellow" emit volatile compounds to abundance, while some others such as "Rose Marie", "Volcano" and "Bleu Heaven" are only noted for their flamboyant appearence rather than their scent.
 

The mollified sweet aspects, with the nectarous quality of jasmine smelt through ozone, are given a cheerful piquancy by the spicy top note which pinches you by the nose upon stooping to smell the beautiful flowers. The overall character is clean and with a soapy facet, a fact that makes freesia a favorite candidate for inspiring the added scent of soaps, shampoos, body lotions and so forth. It's no wonder freesias stand for innnocence!


Freesia often blends in with other clean, crystalline floral "notes" such as magnolia, cyclamen and lily of the valley, or the equally synthesized but shriller, rosier peony.
 


FREESIA IN PERFUMERY:
How to Make, How it all Began

Even though a type of freesia oil can be extracted, all freesia notes in perfumery are uniformely synthesized, usually with copious amounts of linalool* (the dominant constituent in over half of freesia cultivars), hints of jasmine synths and green notes. Natural freesias in some breeds also display other related monoterpenoids; 2-penylethyl acetate (sweet, honey-like) and benzul alcohol (fruity smelling) as well as limonene (fresh lemony, sweetly citrusy), ocimene (green and terpenic with vegetable nuances), and alpha-terpinolene (fresh and delicately lilac-like) in supplementation of the linalool. Perhaps one of the most intriguing facets of freesias is that they display ionone (violet) characteristics while living, but they lose those notes when cut!!

[*one suggestion for the amateur or the natural perfumer to recreate a freesia note as need be is via using white verbena essential oil, which has plenty of the floral woody ingredient linalool]


The freesia note acts as a "modifier", meaning it is used to sway the composition one way or the other and is only rarely given a dominant role.
 



The craziness for using freesia notes in fragrances began when Antonia Bellanca-Mahoney first brought out her Antonia's Flowers perfume in 1984, which is freesia dominant because this is the flower she stocked in her florist's shop and was most enamoured with. The great perfumer Bernand Chant composed it for IFF using headspace technology to replicate that electric freshness that natural freesia exude. Antonia was adamant that her fragrance should be free of the tricks of scented seduction, she didn't want a fragrance that would "remind her of old ladies", but one that would be light and reminiscent of her flower shop. She focused on freesias because they "knocked your socks off, like trumpets in an orchestra; everyone else sings backup, even the lillies".


Since then, not only has Antonia's Flowers become a cult favorite, it also has catapulted an entire avalanche of freesia notes containing fragrances which take this jolting, fresh, spring-like note as a departure point of clean, feminine, pretty compositions for every woman.
 

Some fragrances with prominent freesia recreation notes include:

 


Author: Elena Vosnaki is a historian & perfume writer from Greece and a Writer to Fragrantica. She is the founder and editor of Perfume Shrine, one of the most respected independent online publications on perfume containing fragrance reviews, industry interviews, essays on raw materials and perfume history, a winner in Fragrantica Blog Awards and a finalist in numerous blog awards contests. Her writing was recognised at the Fifi Awards for Editorial Excellence in 2009 and she has been contributing to publications around the world.
 

Perfumes and Colognes With Freesia

1.5095130237826
Ofresia Diptyque
1.502718006795
Dreaming Pearl Tommy Hilfiger
1.502718006795
Nautica Sunset Voyage Nautica
1.502114005285
One Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
1.5020385050963
Dreamlife Bouquet Avon
1.5016610041525
Fresia Zara
1.5014345035863
Glam Goddess Victoria`s Secret
1.5009815024538
Fresia Santa Maria Novella
1.5007550018875
Freesia Fields Bath and Body Works
1.50060400151
Be...Serene Avon
1.5003775009438
Freesia Splash Coach
1.5003775009438
Freesia Caswell Massey
1.500302000755
Freesia Demeter Fragrance
1.500302000755
Freesia – White Tea Durance en Provence
1.500302000755
Joie de Vivre Jacob
1.5001510003775
Freesia C.O.Bigelow
1.5000755001888
Avec Toi sous les Etoiles Des Filles a la Vanille
1.5
Charlie Pink Sparkle Revlon
1.5
Tropical Wind Dzintars
1.474590002265
Love to Dream Victoria`s Secret
1.4603140079275
Chiffon Peony Freesia Victoria`s Secret
1.4591815050963
Ghost Summer Dream Ghost
1.4577915081163
Very Sexy Summer Victoria`s Secret
1.454545
Vanilla Elixir Monotheme Fine Fragrances Venezia
1.4520840966402
Les Creations de Monsieur Dior Forever and Ever Dior
1.4296280026425
Delicate Freesia Taylor of London
1.428571
Classic Freesia Dana
1.4268295186863
Goddess Avon
1.41727100151
Florentine Freesia Flower Water Crabtree & Evelyn
1.416511006795
Zara Rose Zara
1.4018875047188
L'Eau d'Issey Summer 2006 Issey Miyake
1.4017263333333
Flowerbomb Viktor&Rolf
1.400906002265
In Case of Love Pupa
1.4007550018875
Sun (original) Oriflame
1.4005285013213
Body Fantasies Signature Freesia Parfums de Coeur
1.4002265005663
Union Square Bond No 9
1.3999244998112
Collection Privee Brise d'Amour Faberlic
1.3855505179313
U by Ungaro for Her Avon
1.3833537346168
Chloe Eau de Parfum Chloe
1.381254000755
GMV Donna GianMarco Venturi
1.380952
Ose Il Profvmo
1.3770385050963
L'Eau d'Issey Summer 2007 Femme Issey Miyake
1.3764316560966
Pure Seduction Victoria`s Secret
1.3731655043413
So...?Desirable So...?
1.3684965001888
Be...Romantic Avon
1.3670393144583
J`adore Dior
1.3622015126463
Clinique Happy in Bloom Clinique
1.3606160086825
Modern Quartz Molyneux
1.3591060049075
U by Ungaro for Her Emanuel Ungaro
1.3579735020763
Sula Butterfly Kiss Susanne Lang
1.3573695005663
Wistful Aroma Body Mist Amway
1.3504530011325
Petal Zents
1.3482730177425
Incredible Daring Victoria`s Secret
1.3374855103813
Dream More Gap
1.3366285783314
Boss Woman Hugo Boss
1.3362775073613
London Glam Rimmel
1.3341635020763
Azul Animale
1.3335595005663
Parfum de Sévigné No. 1 Sevigne
1.3334085001888
Solo Dzintars
1.3272650286901
Vixen Victoria`s Secret
1.3225002397131
Acqua di Gio Giorgio Armani
1.3209815024538
Signature Summer for Her David & Victoria Beckham
1.3204189505474
Miracle Lancome
1.3192465145338
Blue Rush for Her Avon
1.3164685016988
Fahrenheit Summer 2007 Dior
1.3163175013213
Barth Alexandre Barthet
1.3155760222726
Be ... Kissable! Avon
1.31491600604
Afghanistan Orange Blossom The 7 Virtues
1.3138590033975
Fahrenheit Summer Dior
1.3078780373726
Dream Gap
1.3078430003775
Mylla Bottega Verde
1.3055970064175
mark Instant Vacation Greek Isles mark.
1.30555600302
Animale Animale Animale
1.3032131162703
Les Exclusifs de Chanel Beige Chanel
1.3006795016988
Rose Leger Herve Leger
1.3000755001888
Freesia d’Or Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier
1.3
MAC Creation Hue M∙A∙C
1.2999335190638
Vanitas Eau de Toilette Versace
1.2992961241978
Vanitas Versace
1.2975155084938
Zara White Zara
1.2920185198188
Burberry Summer Burberry
1.2867710026425
Calypso Rose Calypso Christiane Celle
1.2863935016988
Valeria Valeria Mazza
1.2863095213288
Paco Rabanne Pour Elle Paco Rabanne
1.2862425013213
Tabac Sport Maurer & Wirtz
1.2862425013213
Daydream American Eagle
1.2859405005663
Pure Police London Femme Police
1.2859405005663
Within Max Azria
1.2840015100038
Clinique Happy In Bloom Clinique
1.2839380139675
Antonia's Flowers Antonia`s Flowers
1.283413599094
Midnight Fantasy Britney Spears
1.2825670064175
Avon Smile Avon
1.2820045300113
Astor Place Bond No 9
1.2817365043413
Pastel de Gres Gres
1.2815855039638
Freesia Fragonard
1.2798580532276
Incanto Bloom Salvatore Ferragamo
1.279184008305
Clinique Happy In Bloom 2013 Clinique
1.2777623288033
Ralph Ralph Lauren
1.277114005285
Perhaps Bob Mackie
1.2754795130238
Samba Perfumer`s Workshop
1.2735575020763
Blu Men Enjoy Byblos
1.2734820018875
Esprit for my Peace Esprit
1.2728780003775
Lorinda Yves de Sistelle
1.2725759996225
Freesia Bronnley
1.2719310041525
Claire de Nilang Lalique
1.2704420094375
Eau du Val (Magnolia) L`Occitane en Provence
1.270378600604
Amazing Grace Philosophy
1.2693905447339
Forever and Ever Dior Dior
1.2685545047188
Eleganza Luminosa Linari
1.26787500302
Aura by Swarovski Love Collection Swarovski
1.26762400906
I Love New York for Mothers Bond No 9
1.266969000755
Wisteria Chantecaille
1.2655395100038
With Love Guerlain
1.2648945043413
Talisman eau Transparent Cristobal Balenciaga
1.2631350056625
Vie Privée 2007 Yves Rocher
1.2630700101925
Burberry Summer for Women 2013 Burberry
1.2624555039638
Cabotine Green Summer Gres
1.2621115209513
Pergolese Parfums Pergolese Paris
1.262002800302
Lacoste Pour Femme Lacoste
1.2610490086825
Musc Et Freesia E. Coudray
1.2590495160438
Mandarina Duck Mandarina Duck
1.2583805209513
Emporio Armani Diamonds Black Carat for Her Giorgio Armani
1.2559645149113
Petal by Cynthia Rowley Avon
1.2558890147225
Andy Warhol Union Square Bond No 9
1.2531826711967
Femme Hugo Boss
1.25302000755
Cerruti 1881 Blanc Cerruti
1.252497619479
Chloe Eau de Toilette Chloe
1.2524915062288
Core Gap
1.2522650056625
Gucci Rush Summer Gucci
1.2519630049075
X Pose Passion Christina Aguilera
1.2517365043413
Together Her Oriflame
1.251586582484
English Pear and Freesia Jo Malone
1.2509815024538
Soleil d`Issey Issey Miyake
1.25060400151
Whisper Blush Ghost
1.2504530011325
Wistful No1 Amway
1.2503775009438
Aerie American Eagle
1.2501510003775
Notes from Michael Houndstooth Michael Kors
1.2501510003775
Night Obsession Novaya Zarya
1.2500395118913
Journey Mary Kay
1.25
Petal Pecksniff`s
1.25
Shozan Black Princesse Marina De Bourbon
1.2496150339751
Vie Privée Yves Rocher
1.2494340154775
L’Eau d’Issey Fleur de Bois Issey Miyake
1.2487645054738
Flower Market Maison Martin Margiela
1.245909011325
Panthere de Cartier Eau Legere Cartier
1.244620584749
Pur Blanca Avon
1.24292701208
OP Juice for Women Ocean Pacific
1.24258700302
Love Eau Blush Coach
1.2421370592676
Perceive Avon
1.2411075145338
Eau Fantasque Fragonard

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