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Perfume and the Language of Flowers

Discover the secret and intimate language of floral fragrances.

Why do we express love with roses or associate sensuality with jasmine? These connotations certainly aren’t new. In fact, by the 19th century floral symbolism was in full bloom, and plants exchanged hands as tokens and messages in all levels of society. As this 'Language of Flowers' gained momentum, it defined concise ways to read flowers depending on their color, cut and even whether the petals were open or closed.

Despite floral symbolism celebrating its peak 200 years ago, we still imbue flowers with meaning when we celebrate spring with daffodils, send red roses to a lover or give lilies in death. With these floral traditions still embedded in our consciousness, it’s interesting to see what our choice of fragrance says about us.

Keep the faith with Kerbside Violet

Once known as the ‘flower of modesty’ for the way it hid such beautiful petals behind heart-shaped leaves, the delicate violet flower has been symbolic of fidelity for centuries. In patriarchal society, its symbolism became particularly related to female faithfulness with renaissance writers like Shakespeare linking the flower to tragic and chaste women such as Ophelia.

Violet perfumes grew popular in the 19th century in France, where they were adopted by important figures like Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1936, Pierre Berdoues created “Violette de Toulouse” to commemorate the loss of a loved one, which renewed the international popularity of violet fragrances.

While violets have had their symbolism used as an image for the passive, faithful female for many centuries, the plants themselves are anything but dainty—violets (like women) are tough! Their roots are difficult to disrupt and they can survive in sparse, heavily urbanized areas. These tenacious flowers are one of the first to beat back the snow in the spring or break through the cracks in the concrete to greet us as spring approaches. Let us celebrate the sweet, green strength of this flower after centuries of misunderstood delicacy. Give the floral, grassy paradox of our Kerbside Violet perfume to someone who will love the scent of blossoming spring after a cold spell.

Set the mood with jasmine-filled Lust

Jasmine flowers are most often associated with sensuality and love. Their heavenly fragrance is strongest at night, which makes them perfect for romantic evenings spent in the garden, whispering sweet nothings under the night sky. Their reputation for being both relaxing and aphrodisiac makes jasmine a natural choice for planting just outside bedrooms—as night falls, their intoxicating scent makes its way in through open windows, setting the mood.

We’ve captured the complex, heady scent of jasmine flowers in Lust, a perfume that’s unabashedly sexy. Spritz on this sensual floral blend to feel bold, empowered and mysteriously magnetic.

For the love of Imogen Rose

Rose is one of the world’s most beloved fragrances. It can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians and the Romans who used rose water as a tonic and fragrance. This tradition gained popularity once again in the 17th and 18th centuries when roses or rose water were considered currency in royal circles.

For centuries we’ve associated rose with love. According to Greek mythology, the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, pricked her foot on the thorns of the flower and colored the petals with her blood, while Cleopatra perfumed her palace with an abundance of the petals to seduce a lover. Yet roses could also have dangerous political connotations, and for centuries were placed in rooms to impose secrecy and silence on committee members. A period of bloody civil war in Britain is even named ‘the War of the Roses’ because battling families each adopted alternate roses as their emblems.

The damask rose we use in our perfumes is wild and prickly for all its beauty and so our Imogen Rose blends layers of floral sweetness with deeper green notes. Give this nostalgic perfume to the person you love for all their complexities and hidden meanings.