Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 78 ~ One Year, One Nose: There's Saffron in There

Saffron. An elusive and difficult little bugger to work with when it comes to scent formulation. Aside from that, it's the color that can be off putting in perfume. Include a discernible amount of saffron in a formulation, and you'll get a solar flare rainbow ranging in intensity from pale yellow light to orangey New England in the fall, and somewhere in that lovely spectrum lies the dreaded urine-tinted cascade. Avoid that color if at all possible. The scent of saffron can seem just as difficult to work with. It can't make up its mind if it wants to be bucolic or industrial, the scent comprising elements of dry grasses, sheer tints of honey, and hot metal. But there is something beyond that which makes saffron special when used in perfumery. A magical element that has nothing at all to do with its rarity or cost (it takes around 65,000 crocus flowers to produce approximately one pound of saffron, and, according to Wiki, "forty hours of labour are needed to pick 150,000 flowers"; 10 milliliters of saffron absolute costs $100; 1 gram of dry saffron costs about $7.00 USD, and just to give you a comparative, 1 gram of high grade California pot costs about $10.00 USD). The reason I chose to discuss saffron today (she says, adjusting her spectacles) is because it was a primary material used in one of the Primordial Scent Project's Water-themed parfums by Ane Walsh (my dear friend), and I included the sparkling threads into the Golden Kyphi, which, it turns out, isn't so golden anymore, and somewhat resembles cow plunk, and I can't seem to get the idea of formulating perfume with saffron out of my head (and I'm wondering what kind of nastiness I can whip up with a saffron/cumin formulation -- amped up sexy-ugly).

Marlen, The Perfume Critic, in his acclaimed blog section 'Confessions of an Aromaholic' writes of Ane Walsh's water-themed entry drenched in saffron, "I immediately recognized the coconut but there was something else there that was familiar, something that indeed evoked a Berber-esque vibe, and that note would be the saffron. Although not taking center stage, the saffron is definitely omnipresent and I wonder if Ane didn’t in fact make a tincture of saffron to use as the base alcohol for Essaouira. Anyhow, the blast of citruses certainly aids the tropical feel (think Rio) while the oudh (and I should explain that this is NO way an oudh scent), cedar, chamomile and other earthier notes aids the Moorish seaside feel (think Casablanca). Although not quite as exotic, I think a coco-saffron cocktail might actually be the most appropriate metaphor for Essaouira…"


  1. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Totally aside from the interesting info on saffron, I just want to say I really like the new visual style of your blog. Very clean, bright and easy to read.

    -- Lindaloo

    1. Thanks! I try to keep the blog as 'clean' as I can since I have a tendency to clutter it with lots of side material an photographs, without making it boring. I'm happy you're finding it manageable -- that's what I was going for :)



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