Roses that Smell Like Roses … and Limes, and Peaches, and Cut Grass, Too

By Jacques Ferare

In my last blog, I gave you a little history about how Meilland International works with Maison Robertet to identify the exact fragrances of Star® Roses and, in the process, learn about how to create new essences based on these scents. In this installment, I will tell you a little more about the process, and give you a chart that shows some of the roses and their defining fragrances. Some of them are sure to surprise you!

One of the most fragrant Star® introductions, Peter Mayle, was defined as a complex almost fully elaborated perfume, with Rose and Woody dominants mixed with floral and fruit essences of jasmine, apple, apricot, and lime undertones.

Several times a year, experts from Robertet meet with the research team at Meilland to measure the type and amount of essential oils that make up the fragrance of each new variety.

As a result of this work, the fragrance experts at Robertet have come up with a fascinating new vocabulary to define the fragrance of new roses by their dominant characteristics. They have identified more than 50 specific essences in modern roses to date. Not bad for a single plant species, and a feature most likely unrivaled in the plant kingdom.

Perfume makers describe the fragrances of the newly hybridized roses in their own words, and can chose the most original and powerful descriptions for their own future creations.

Chemists can analytically define the molecules responsible for the fragrance. These analyses are so accurate they can show the presence of new aromatic compounds as well as new combinations of known and well-defined compounds that can be replicated and used in creating new perfumes.

The Michaelangelo rose’s dominant fragrance is apricot and peach.

Rose hybridizers can use the analysis to check their breeding lines and see which fragrances have been carried from one generation to the next. This can be very important since fragrance is so critical. Some of the genes that control a rose fragrance are recessive and therefore do not necessary express themselves in the descendants of a given variety.

What does this mean to you when you go into the garden to smell the roses?

That will be the topic of my next blog. Stay tuned!

2 responses

  1. Pingback: Is This Rose Fragrant? Depends on the Nose of the Beholder! |

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