Narcissus flowers provide the perfume world’s most ‘naughty notes’.
Described as sultry, rich, and earthy, its fragrance is almost a little sharp, with a ‘green’ animalic scent and traces of hyacinth and jasmine. A bit naughty smelling, the narcissus / daffodil is worn by those not afraid to wear a perfume that makes a statement. (1)
The essential oil is predominately produced in the Grasse region of France and the Netherlands (2), and used mainly in high end perfumes, such as Dior’s Eau de Toilette Miss Dior, Tom Ford’s Jonquil de Nuit, Molinard de Molinard, Guerlain Vol de Nuit, Armani Armani, Lancôme’s Climate de Collection, and Hermes Amazon.
It takes 500 kilograms of flowers to produce 300 grams of ‘absolute’, making it an expensive oil! (2)
The use of narcissus in perfume isn’t a modern day haute couture occurrence.
The narcissus was used in ancient Rome for the creation of a fragrance called Naricssinum. Arabs used it in their perfumery, as well as to cure baldness. In India, narcissus oil is applied to body before prayer. It was used in cosmetics as an additive to powders, soaps and lipsticks. (2)
The name narcissus itself was probably derived from the Greek word ‘narke’ and later adopted by Romans as ‘narce’, meaning ‘to be numb’, referring to the narcotic effects of narcissus, which can sometimes be overwhelming. A bit like when one wears too much perfume! (2)
The cultivated narcissus come in three different varieties.
The Daffodil: Featuring four to six flattened, grass-like leaves and a flower stalk bearing asingle flower with a long, trumpet like ‘corona’.
The Jonquil: Featuring two to four narrow, cylindrical, rush-like leaves and a flower stalk bearing two to six relatively small flowers with short ‘coronas’.
The Narcissus: Similar to daffodils, but its flattened flower stalk bears four to eight flowers with short ‘coronas’.