Over dinner recently at Le Soufflé, a Paris restaurant specialising in the famed French dish, my friend asked me if there are any fragrances that suggest the same lightness and sensuality as this airy confection. The question took me by surprise, but I liked the idea of finding a floral scent that felt weightless without being fleeting. This was no simple task because the floral family is vast, ranging from fresh blends based on orange blossom and lily of the valley to smouldering potions of tuberose and jasmine.
The first fragrance I selected was Cartier’s Baiser Volé (£60 for 30ml EDP), a composition of white blossoms glazed with vanilla. Its green, sparkling opening includes rose, gardenia and white Casablanca lilies, while the sweetness is tempered by the cool touch of woods, subsiding in the drydown to musk and cedar. Despite its caressing, velvety impression, Baiser Volé retains its effervescent personality from the first to the last accord.
Dior’s Souffle de Soie (£200 for 125ml EDP) was my second choice: a scent with an elegant character that lives up to its name, which means “silk breeze”. At first the perfume smells crisp, with citrus notes setting the stage for the floral whirlwind – jasmine combined with honeyed rose and creamy tuberose, layered over warm musk. A hint of freshness prevents the fragrance from becoming too fleshy, which often happens with blends based on white flowers.
Next to these floral confections, Shalini’s opulent Amorem Rose Parfum ($300 for 15ml) might seem like an unexpected recommendation. Indeed, the combination of amber, rose and saffron reads like a recipe for a fudge cake rather than an ethereal delight. But in the hands of renowned perfumer Maurice Roucel, the fragrance becomes tender, luminous and, like a perfect soufflé, wonderfully indulgent.
Victoria Frolova has been writing her perfume blog boisdejasmin.com since 2005. Her explorations of fragrance touch upon all elements that make this subject rich and complex: science, art, literature, history and culture. Frolova is a recipient of three prestigious Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards for Editorial Excellence and, since receiving her professional perfumery training, has also been working as a fragrance consultant and researcher. @boisdejasmin