Scent Note: What does peony smell like?

Peony in perfumery

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The History of the Peony

Peony is a plant native to various parts of Europe and the Far East, with a significant presence in China, where it is associated with the city of Luoyang. It encompasses around forty different species. Peony is a tuberous-rooted plant that was initially classified in the Ranunculaceae family. However, since the 1950s, it has belonged to its own family, the Paeoniaceae. Its green leaves contrast with its ball-shaped flowers, which come in different colors depending on the species.

Peony was known to the Greeks as a remedy, particularly for preventing miscarriages. It was also believed to possess magical properties. Theophrastus wrote about the plant's importance of being pulled up at night; otherwise, one might risk losing their eyes or experiencing unwanted consequences. The Chinese believed that peony enriched the blood and consolidated the yin, regulating the liver and alleviating pain. Greek astrologers linked peony to the moon, suggesting that its many virtues were derived from celestial power. While these practices have largely disappeared, the plant's subtle scent remains appreciated today.

The Refined Scent of Peony in Perfumes

Peony is one of the most cherished flowers in perfumery, known for its floral and tender aroma. However, its natural scent cannot be captured directly from the plant and must be reproduced using other raw materials in the laboratory. The creation of peony's scent is quite costly, making it an ingredient exclusive to fine perfumery. In many ways, peony's fragrance is similar to that of a rose, yet it also possesses lighter vegetal accents reminiscent of lily of the valley or dew.

Today, numerous feminine perfumes feature this radiant flower. Some of the most famous perfumes containing peony include Alaïa Paris by Azzedine Alaïa, Amethyst by Lalique, Amor Amor Forbidden Kiss by Cacharel, and Ange ou Démon by Givenchy.

Fun Facts About Peonies

  1. Peonies are regarded as symbols of prosperity, love, and honor in Chinese culture, and they are often referred to as the "king of flowers."
  2. Peonies have been cultivated in China for over 2,000 years, both for their ornamental value and their medicinal properties.
  3. In ancient times, peonies were believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and protect against natural disasters.
  4. Peonies are the traditional flower for the 12th wedding anniversary, symbolizing love, happiness, and prosperity.
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