Yet narcissus absolute is almost never used in industrial calibre perfumes because of its scarcity and minute yield, which makes the cost prohibitive. Once upon a time it entered such romantic compositions as Worth's Je Reviens, but certainly not any more.
Therefore, upon being informed that indie German perfumer and jazz musician Annette Neuffer had prepared her own version of this intoxicating spring flower which spots the fields of my homeland right about springtime, I was immediately reminded of the above trivia. Annette reassured me that the fragrance "actually srceams for you - the indolic flowers gal". Can you say I've made my proclivities well-known...The dice was cast and predictably I was toast upon the very first vapour.
Because you see, all-naturals Narcissus Poeticus is heady, bedazzling, Bacchic, mind-blowing and beautiful, there's no other way to describe it! The tale of Narcissus, struck by Nemesis for his egotistical admiration makes you understand well just how this little flower can truly madden! The fragrance by Annette blends luscious, vibrant, natural essences, weaved into a dynamic composition; I have had it evolve on my skin, and each day there is a new nuance to be revealed, one day it's the jasmine, another what I perceive as orange blossom absolute (the genius pairing first conceived for Narcisse Noir by Caron) and another yet I get lots of yummy tonka bean. The inspiration came through early botanical fragrant evaluation excursions in Annette's Grandma's garden: "I was about 1,5 years old then. In spring there were lots of narcissus, jonquils and violets in bloom and their scent fascinated me already in that very early age of about 15 months! My grandma told me that I never put the flowers in my mouth, like all little kids do, but picked and inhaled them. The garden was located between forest and river and the most exciting humid crisp green scents were wafting around and intermingled with the air of the flowers".
This spring awakening is translated into Narcissus Poeticus. "Galbanum is the personification of that fresh spring green elusion and matches wonderfully with the essence of violet leaf. And a little later on in the year the fruity and fresh black currant buds - I used the absolute of it very sparingly to give a hint of fruitiness". Those who are afraid of the bitter green tang of the exotic grass of galbanum should sigh with relief, here it's weaved in very smoothly without dominating. Narcissus with its intoxicating, sweet, yet at the same time almost smoky vibe, poised between jasmine and hyacinth, is represented in all realism here; as if the white blooms are sprouting in front of your computer-weary eyes from the landscape painting across the wall.
You'd be hard pressed to peg this fragrance only as a floral or a green, nevertheless; there is an intimate, unsettling (deeply sexual) vibe about it, like a warm pillow where a beloved head had slept on the night before and you're clutching it in the morning, the memory of the scent even more precious than the reality lived, to paraphrase Henry Miller and his sexy Tropic of Cancer. The inclusion of blackcurrant buds adds a touch of of naughtiness, buttressed by honey and ambrette seeds, two essences that speak in intimate, hushed tones of lust and shared moments. A floral exalted into an animalic that can still behave, meowing its yearning. The slight hint of a dark chocolate edge presents itself throughout, something that puzzled me, as I suspected patchouli in minute amounts. Annette confirmed that indeed it is the green leaves of this exotic bush that mollify the floral notes and extend them. Paired with the classic vanilla-sandalwood-tonka accord, the base of Narcissus Poeticus is veering into the comforting.
The version I have is ultra-smooth pure parfum (the new and improved version 2010, not her older composition) and the lasting power for an all-naturals fragrance is quite satisfactory, although don't expect it to outlast a spring day's welcome.
Notes for Narcissus Poeticus by Annette Neuffer:
Head: Bergamot, Clementine, Tunisian Neroli, Violet Leaf, Galbanum
Heart: French Narcissus Absolute, Tunisian Orange Flower Absolute, Indian Tuberose, Egyptian Jasmine*, Bulgarian Rose Otto*
Base: Vanilla Absolute*, Mysore Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vegetal Musk
*certified organic, organically grown
Narcissus Poeticus by Annette Neuffer is only available through her site, Opulentals at NaturParfum.net
For our readers, curious to experience this scent in pure parfum, a small decant will be given away to a lucky reader.
Related reading: Avicenna by Annette Neuffer
Painting The Loss of Virginity (or Spring Awakening) by Paul Gauguin via wikimedia commons. Pic of narcissi via ruhr-uni-bochum.de.
In the interests of full disclosure I originally got to test the perfume through the perfumer herself.