Ask the Perfumer Sunday May 6, 2012

There's still a little bit of rose centifolia wafting over from last week.  Ian of Shirley Price Aromatherapy sent a detailed comment to the blog after hours.  You might like to read it here.  Just scroll down the comments to find Ian's comment.

My garden is alive with the fragrance of so many gorgeous blooming plants right now!  All the jasmines, the Brunfelsia (nighttime clove/carnation scent), the Tahitian and Vietnamese gardenias, and of course, the dependable Aglaia odorata - Chinese Perfume tree.  It sometimes seems this tree only takes a tiny break between flowering.  The Full Moon certainly brought it to full flush.

Last night I attended a memorial for Bob McCulley, the gardener who took care of my plants.  I introduced Bob to the Aglaia, and he started to introduce them to gardens all over Miami Shores and North Miami.  He grew to love this carefree fragrant tree as much as I did.

This lemon/floral-scented beauty is a tidy small tree with glossy green foliage and very few or non-existent pests or diseases, at least according to my experience.  I never give it supplemental irrigation or fertilizer, and still it thrives.  Even if you live in a cold climate, it's easy to grow in a pot and it will fill your house with fragrance.  To see how tiny the flowers are, click here.

What are you planting for your fragrant garden this year?  Any special plants that you care to share?

Of course, this is a weekly forum for perfumery questions, so feel free to inquire on any aspect of perfumery.

Aglaia odorata flowers in Anya's Garden


  1. Hi Anya

    Thanks for all the centifolia information. Damask is my favorite, but I'm now intrigued and will try to get samples of centifolia to compare.

    I'm interested in growing the aglaia tree. How large do you think it can grow indoors in NYC?

  2. Can you tell me the ratios of top middle and base notes in a perfume versus those in a cologne?

    Sarah B

  3. Hi Rick:

    I think it can grow very big. The only limit would be the height of your sunniest window.


  4. Hi Sarah:

    There is no "one" answer for that question. It all depends upon the intensity and drydown times. Vary the ratios by making time-sensitive mods and find the combo that makes you the most satisfied.



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