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

1.508971871969
Ofresia Diptyque
1.5028289686389
Nautica Sunset Voyage Nautica
1.5027481409635
Dreaming Pearl Tommy Hilfiger
1.5024248302619
One Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
1.5017782088587
Fresia Zara
1.5015357258325
Glam Goddess Victoria`s Secret
1.5010507597801
Fresia Santa Maria Novella
1.5008891044294
Freesia Fields Bath and Body Works
1.500404138377
Be...Serene Avon
1.500404138377
Freesia Caswell Massey
1.500404138377
Freesia Splash Coach
1.500404138377
Florentine Freesia Flower Water Crabtree & Evelyn
1.5003233107016
Freesia – White Tea Durance de Provence
1.5001616553508
Freesia C.O.Bigelow
1.5001616553508
Freesia Demeter Fragrance
1.5000808276754
Avec Toi sous les Etoiles Des Filles a la Vanille
1.5
Tropical Wind Dzintars
1.5
Charlie Pink Sparkle Revlon
1.4739827623666
Chiffon Peony Freesia Victoria`s Secret
1.4589212088587
Ghost Summer Dream Ghost
1.458020590042
Very Sexy Summer Victoria`s Secret
1.4566465195603
Dreamlife Bouquet Avon
1.454545
Vanilla Elixir Monotheme Fine Fragrances Venezia
1.4510516967346
Les Creations de Monsieur Dior Forever and Ever Dior
1.4296217597801
Delicate Freesia Taylor of London
1.4284891461364
Goddess Avon
1.4161370025865
Zara Rose Zara
1.4135244907856
U by Ungaro for Her Avon
1.4127349321048
Love to Dream Victoria`s Secret
1.4017782088587
L'Eau d'Issey Summer 2006 Issey Miyake
1.4009699321048
In Case of Love Pupa
1.4005657937278
Body Fantasies Signature Freesia Parfums de Coeur
1.4005657937278
Sun (original) Oriflame
1.4003233107016
Wistful Aroma Body Mist Amway
1.3999573333333
Flowerbomb Viktor&Rolf
1.3999191723246
Union Square Bond No 9
1.3999191723246
Collection Privee Brise d'Amour Faberlic
1.386166704494
Chloe Eau de Parfum Chloe
1.380952
Ose Il Profvmo
1.3771015195603
L'Eau d'Issey Summer 2007 Femme Issey Miyake
1.3732880365341
So...?Desirable So...?
1.370321500485
J`adore Dior
1.370142590042
Zara White Zara
1.3638784830262
Joie de Vivre Jacob
1.3624776265761
Clinique Happy in Bloom Clinique
1.3607802453928
Modern Quartz Molyneux
1.3591636918849
U by Ungaro for Her Emanuel Ungaro
1.357951276754
Sula Butterfly Kiss Susanne Lang
1.3525397591335
Pure Seduction Victoria`s Secret
1.348634276754
Azul Animale
1.3486121461364
Incredible Daring Victoria`s Secret
1.3397805871322
Boss Woman Hugo Boss
1.3364852793404
London Glam Rimmel
1.3360003132881
Avon Smile Avon
1.3355153472357
Afghanistan Orange Blossom The 7 Virtues
1.3343029321048
Love Eau Blush Coach
1.3338179660524
Petal Zents
1.3334946553508
Parfum de Sévigné No. 1 Sevigne
1.3334138276754
La Collina Toscana Iris of the Signory La Collina Toscana
1.333333
Solo Dzintars
1.3279939789848
Vixen Victoria`s Secret
1.3263681338506
Miracle Lancome
1.3213388768186
Acqua di Gio Giorgio Armani
1.3207274490786
Signature Summer for Her David & Victoria Beckham
1.3194142479793
Blue Rush for Her Avon
1.318990276754
Animale Animale Animale
1.3176827413514
Dream Gap
1.3165164490786
Fahrenheit Summer 2007 Dior
1.3163547937278
Barth Alexandre Barthet
1.3160430103459
Be ... Kissable! Avon
1.3137932428063
Fahrenheit Summer Dior
1.3083893837698
Dream More Gap
1.3082106340123
Les Exclusifs de Chanel Beige Chanel
1.3070153132881
Core Gap
1.3068523498222
Journey Mary Kay
1.3057781409635
mark Instant Vacation Greek Isles Avon
1.3036997436146
Vanitas Versace
1.3016165535079
Claire de Nilang Lalique
1.3006466214032
Rose Leger Herve Leger
1.3004849660524
Daydream American Eagle
1.3000808276754
Freesia d’Or Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier
1.3
MAC Creation Hue M∙A∙C
1.2926494542515
Antonia's Flowers Antonia`s Flowers
1.2868455874555
Calypso Rose Calypso Christiane Celle
1.2866031044294
Aura by Swarovski Love Collection Swarovski
1.2865882166182
Paco Rabanne Pour Elle Paco Rabanne
1.2863606214032
Valeria Valeria Mazza
1.2862797937278
Wistful No1 Amway
1.2861989660524
Tabac Sport Maurer & Wirtz
1.286118138377
Within Max Azria
1.2858756553508
Pure Police London Femme Police
1.2853702324604
Midnight Fantasy Britney Spears
1.2844491839638
Ralph Ralph Lauren
1.2842298849014
Incanto Bloom Salvatore Ferragamo
1.2841222114452
Clinique Happy In Bloom Clinique
1.2818590365341
Pastel de Gres Gres
1.2808891044294
Coral Lili Bermuda
1.2802935247333
Vanitas Eau de Toilette Versace
1.2792567623666
Clinique Happy In Bloom 2013 Clinique
1.2779396553508
GMV Donna GianMarco Venturi
1.2772631749111
Perhaps Bob Mackie
1.2758471096023
Samba Perfumer`s Workshop
1.2736161044294
Blu Men Enjoy Byblos
1.273535276754
Esprit for my Peace Esprit
1.2728886553508
Lorinda Paris Bleu
1.2725653446492
Freesia Bronnley
1.2708700391206
Eau du Val (Magnolia) L`Occitane en Provence
1.2704106760427
Forever and Ever Dior Dior
1.2702302505658
Burberry Summer Burberry
1.2698287258325
Freesia Fragonard
1.2690110025865
Haiku Sunset Avon
1.267309928225
Lacoste Pour Femme Lacoste
1.2669903107016
Wisteria Chantecaille
1.2666579450372
Astor Place Bond No 9
1.2652560730682
With Love Guerlain
1.2650170365341
Talisman eau Transparent Cristobal Balenciaga
1.2632948302619
Vie Privée 2007 Yves Rocher
1.2624865535079
Cabotine Green Summer Gres
1.2608899346912
Musc Et Freesia E. Coudray
1.2606070756547
Petal by Cynthia Rowley Avon
1.2597435269964
Amazing Grace Philosophy
1.2584060782412
Pergolese Ulric de Varens
1.2582444228904
Emporio Armani Diamonds Black Carat for Her Giorgio Armani
1.2581790543162
Chloe Eau de Toilette Chloe
1.2561429033301
Andy Warhol Union Square Bond No 9
1.2556574177174
I Love New York for Mothers Bond No 9
1.253409647268
Perceive Avon
1.2529906239897
Cerruti 1881 Blanc Cerruti
1.2525056579373
Gucci Rush Summer Gucci
1.2521823472357
X Pose Passion Christina Aguilera
1.2514637329454
Femme Hugo Boss
1.2511371800841
Mandarina Duck Mandarina Duck
1.2510507597801
Soleil d`Issey Issey Miyake
1.250808276754
R de Rose Acorelle
1.2505415218235
Pur Blanca Avon
1.2504849660524
Aerie American Eagle
1.2503233107016
Flower Rose Tommy Hilfiger
1.2503233107016
Tempete de Zeste Esteban
1.2500808276754
Notes from Michael Houndstooth Michael Kors
1.2500808276754
Night Obsession Novaya Zarya
1.25
Shozan Black Princesse Marina De Bourbon
1.25
Petal Pecksniff`s
1.25
Be...Romantic Avon
1.2498708693825
L’Eau d’Issey Fleur de Bois Issey Miyake
1.2489671302942
Forever and Ever Dior
1.2465832479793
Eau Fantasque Fragonard
1.2459861774976
Panthere de Cartier Eau Legere Cartier
1.2437957778855
Chic Carolina Herrera
1.2433487989007
OP Juice for Women Ocean Pacific
1.2430714516651
True Rose Woods of Windsor

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