The absolute of frangipani comes in a jar; the true fragrance from my side yard in the early morning and early evening. Also known as plumeria, it is an amazing tree with a luscious tropical fragrance that is strongly floral and just slightly fruity. It has just the slightest hint of the decadence that characterizes some tropical flowers. The one above is my favorite and was grown from seed pods scavenged at a local nursery. Another planting yielded a more familiar yellow and white variety that also smells lovely with a slightly stronger hint of peach. The branches seem to be quite fragile and I will sometimes find them broken off and growing leaves as they lay on the ground beneath the tree. Since this is Florida, such things happen.
As with many tropical flowers the fragrance is heady and narcotic when in full flower. It’s not sweet so much as rich and full. The fruity part of the fragrance is not at the forefront but acts in the background giving it a fresh complexity.
The fragrance of the flowers from the frangipani tree is obtained through solvent extraction. The concrete is the first product from solvent extraction and it is washed with alcohol to yield the absolute of frangipani. With a small sample of the concrete, absolutes from two vendors, and a nicely aged 10% dilution I look forward to this evaluation.
Both samples of the absolute begin just a bit understated, sort of creamy and tropical. It doesn’t take long for the full effect of the lush tropical floral to come through. Both samples were very close to each other while the aged dilution was more fresh and refined, definitely close to the fragrance of the flowers. It went on to become gardenia-like, rich and fruity. The fruit aspect of frangipani is often described as reminiscent of peach, which is accurate, but it’s a really wonderful and rich peach that is fully ripe and warmed in the sun.
I often like concretes at least as much as their absolutes and find them different in a very lovely way. This time I found the concrete to be a somewhat pale imitation of my favorite frangipani absolute. It has a lovely and clean fragrance that is a bit sweeter but less complex somehow. The drydown, however, is quite similar and very lovely. The two would complement each other nicely in a soliflore.
Frangipani lends itself nicely to enfleurage and I have captured the scent this way getting a true but very light fragrance in the alcohol wash. However, I have enjoyed the tree too much and have allowed it to grow too tall for easy harvest. And there is just nothing like the fragrance of the tree in full bloom; I guess it will be my private perfume right here.
One of my favorite notes, I could wear this alone and enjoy the lovely complexity. Do you have the tree? Do you use the absolute?
Read more about frangipani and other tropical flowers in my ingredients post at CaFleureBon from 2012.