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Question about fragrance

Posted by musaboru (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 28, 10 at 19:44

Hi, I just got a Fragrant Plum just for the fragrance. It was the most fragrant I found at the local nursery.

I am wondering now, if I should get a David Austin rose for the fragrance. The only source I can see is online, so I wanted to ask, is Fragrance Plum pretty far behind or nearly as intense in scent as the David Austin roses?

Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Question about fragrance

Musaboru, that mainly depends upon YOUR nose and its chemistry. For example, a very knowledgeable and keen rosarian friend of mine and I have a friendly competition. Roses which are intensely fragrant to him, I can hardly smell, and vice versa. To me, Cardinal Hume has an intense scent of Red Hots, hot cinnamon. To him, there is virtually no scent.

Add to that how the oils and alcohols are volatized at different temperatures and humidities and it can make for some amazing variations. To be fair to all of the roses tested, you'd need to smell each one at precisely the same time and place and make sure each is exactly at the identical stage of development. Then, the results are only perfectly valid to YOUR nose. I dare say you will likely get many differing opinions from a group of people. While most would agree whether something is or is not fragrant, you'd likely get differing opinions as to which is of greater fragrance. So, if Fragrant Plum is wonderfully fragrant to your olfactories, as it is to mine, you probably don't have to get an Austin rose just for fragrance.

You may also take into consideration the type of fragrance the particular variety expresses. Many of Austin's roses have what he terms "myrrh" or a strong licorice scent. Some people can't smell it at all. To some, it is heavenly; others find it stinky. All personal taste and personal perception. I find hints of it enjoyable, though I can't tolerate the taste of licorice and many of Austin's roses which are considered the strongest scented of myrrh offend my nose. If you want to smell a rose scent which REALLY stinks, pry open a freshly expanding bud of Cressida and take a deep breath. It is one of the bitterest stenches I can think of. I love the flower and the scent once it's aged a while in the open air, but fresh buds of Cressida offend my sense of smell, they literally stink!

It will be interesting reading the other responses you will probably get to your question. Just remember, no one else's opinions about which has a greater scent are any more valid than yours, because it is YOUR nose you're trying to please! Kim


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RE: Question about fragrance

Greetings Kim.

What an interesting reply you posted. Thanks for mentioning the licorice bit. I have no idea what myrhh smells or even looks like. But I do know I hate licorice candy and the smell. That was really helpful.

Does Fragrant Plum rate pretty high among your list in terms of fragrance?


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RE: Question about fragrance

Thank you, and you're welcome! Yes, Fragrant Plum is one of the more fragrant Hybrid Teas I've grown in recent years. It's also mauve and "blue roses" were an early obsession in my rose odyssey. I had to grow them all, which I nearly did twenty years ago. Since then, the rose has to be quite healthy or very unusual to make its way home. Otherwise, the new ones are either ones I've bred, or seedlings friends have created and wish to try out in my climate.

You'll find the most descriptive, notice I didn't say "accurate", information about Austin rose fragrances on his web site. It's as if wine connoisseurs wrote the descriptions! Anything which mentions licorice or myrrh will probably not score highly on your fragrance preference.

There have been some wonderfully fragrant roses bred in the past ten years. After what seemed like an eternity of faintly scented roses, some real smellers are finally available. Many mauve Hybrid Teas are very well scented. Pinks and reds are often nicely scented while whites and yellows are more often less scented. Or, I should say, it appears easier to obtain nicely scented mauve, red or pink roses than it does whites or yellows.

The next time you're at the garden center, smell Neptune, Memorial Day, Radiant Perfume, Julia Child (not as licorice as you'll be led to believe), Pope John Paul II, and any others they claim are well scented. If you try to pick a day where the wind is fairly still, it's warm without being hot and there is a bit of humidity in the air, preferably early to mid morning, you'll find most of them more highly scented than later in the day, or when it's colder, hotter, windier or drier. There is that one perfect range of warmth and humidity where the oils and alcohols evaporate and express themselves without blowing quickly away. It's very much for the same reasons why some days your cologne remains with you all day and others, you can't smell it after a short while.

If you cut just opening buds and open them indoors, you'll likely find roses you thought weren't as well scented to be much more fragrant. Inside, it's "closer", warmer and more humid so the scents express themselves better. Gene Boerner, Papa Floribunda, the breeder for Jackson and Perkins who defined the floribunda class, used to pick flowers and put them under his hat where the heat and moisture from his head would help the scents express themselves, to check for fragrance.

There are a few older Hybrid Teas which I've found, in my climate, to be highly scented no matter what the time of year, temperature or humidity. The old Lemon Spice; Jadis; Double Delight; Fragrant Cloud; Touch of Venus and Typhoo Tea have never failed to deliver a real "snoot full" when I've poked my nose in them. Kim


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RE: Question about fragrance

I think Fragrant Plum, Fragrant Cloud, Double Delight are all more fragrant than or at least equal to, say, Gertrude Jekyll, Jude the Obscure or Benjamin Britten. So, David Austin is not necessarily more fragrant than some of the fragrant HTs IMHO.

Also, I recently learned that the fragrance called "Blue" has been identified from the roses whose flowers are commonly considered to be blue like "Blue Moon". Since then, I became very curious about this "Blue" fragrance. In the near-by rose garden, I can only find "Fragrant Plum" and "Lagerfeld". Both have very strong and intoxicating fragrance which I can not even express in words (maybe, some kind of fruity?). Especially, that of Lagerfeld stuck in my mind (nose?:). Does anybody know these are considered to be "Blue" fragrance?

Also if the "Mirrh" of David Austin is the same as Anise or Licorice, is David Austin's "Old Rose" fragrance is the same as Damask fragrance?

It is so confusing because each rose breeder has his own names for different fragrance.


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RE: Question about fragrance

Interesting, sage_co, I've not heard of the "blue" fragrance. Lagerfeld to my nose was more citrus, sometimes even lemony. Old Rose fragrance may resemble Damask sometimes, but is honestly different to my nose. More cold cream like. Damask is often what you smell from roses like Oklahoma and Mr. Lincoln, often what many term "red rose fragrance". There really is a standard for fragrances, but describing them is very difficult because few have just one scent, but are combinations of scents, many of which express themselves at different times. So, at one time the rose may have a strong orris scent, then citrus, then Damask and it depends upon when you smell it and what YOUR nose is most sensitive to as to what you call that scent. You might enjoy this article, written by a woman who knew the Old Garden Roses. Kim

http://www.rdrop.com/~paul/main_october.html

This one lists basic fragrances.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/roses/fragrance.html


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RE: Question about fragrance

I'll chime in for all the fragrance-challenged people. Some of us just can't detect scent from most roses. Tea scent just doesn't exist for many of us. Most of my roses have little fragrance for me. The roses that work best for me are Rose de Rescht and my Rugosa Rotesmeer. Surprisingly, I can smell a sweet scent from Knock Out.

Yet, my sweet viburnums, lilacs and butterfly bushes provide powerful olfactory gifts which can overwhelm me with just a few blooms present.

If you are seeking fragrance, don't buy it because "they" told you it was fragrant.


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RE: Question about fragrance

I can tell you that as an allergy sufferer and smoker, sometimes my sniffer fails me. However, I can always detect a scent from all of my roses except for a few of my mini's, which are totally unscented.

I have noticed a "blue" fragrance in the few that I've poked my nose into. To me, it is best described as lemon cold-cream, and it is by far my favorite scent. It makes Blue Girl my favorite rose, even though its fragrance is by no means powerful. I just adore it.

I also have Tahitian Sunset, which has a hint of the licorice scent. I love it, too, because of its ability to stand out in the garden or in a bouquet due to its scent.

World War II Memorial is classified as a mauve, but from a few feet away it appears white in my garden. It is one of the strongest-scented roses I grow right now. Garden Party is also quite strong, but never appears purely white. It's always a cream, ivory, or slightly yellow shade. Those are 2 roses that 'sorta' bend the rules about fragrance in white roses, but Kim's right; generally they aren't the strongest.
---Laura


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RE: Question about fragrance

Aren't the fragrance impressions interesting? LOL! To me, myrrh is bitter. I am a bitter taster. I teacher friend has always used the taste strips to test for bitter tasters as a science experiment in his classes. It tests for the gene to allow you to taste bitter tastes and shows how genes work in families. I tested positive for the bitter taste and my preferences in food and fragrances bear this out. I hate bitter. Bitter fragrances I avoid. Bitter tastes are even worse.

"Tea" fragrance in roses has always been Orthene, Dawn and clean Tupperware to me. I can smell tea leaves and "Tea" in roses is NOT that. Many roses which are supposedly fragrant smell "green" to me, but then tastes and scents have always been intimately intertwined in my head. My description of Cardinal Hume and Purple Button's fragrance as being "Red Hots" is an example. It was always that way in my family. "This tastes exactly like that smells!" It's interesting you find a scent from the Carpet roses. I only get a mild waxy apple smell, which should be appropriate as that is the fragrance associated with Wichuriana, the species responsible for its creation.

Tropicana to me is scentless, other than waxy green, yet it is lauded for being a heavy raspberry scent. OK, that explains it. Until a year ago, raspberries tasted green and wet with a bitter taste from their seeds. Artificial raspberry scent I could taste and it is awful. Oddly, I have recently begun tasting that taste from fresh raspberries.

Your description of lemon cold cream for the blue scent I think may be pretty good sniffing! The lemon or citrus scent has frequently been used to describe the fragrance of mauve roses. It makes sense. R. Foetida is heavily expressed in mauve roses. All of the modern mauves have multiple doses of Foetida in them and the fruity fragrances first arrived in roses once that species began spreading its influence across the family. The growth parts of Foetida have always impressed me as smelling like Juicy Fruit gum! That plant scent has been expressed many times in its offspring. The next time you have new growth tips and fresh sepals on buds, walk through your garden and gently rub the tips and sepals then smell them and your fingers. I'll bet you'll be quite impressed with what you discover!

I grow a number of roses simply for that reason. The found rose, Grandmother's Hat, is intensely fragrant. Even better is the sweet pepper-cedar scent from the new growth, sepals and peduncles. It is so lasting, it scents my hands for hours after I groom or "molest" the rose. Gloire des Rosomanes expresses that sweet pepper cedar, too. Mutabilis has a peppery scent to its peduncles, too, though the flowers are virtually scentless to me. Touching the plant releases the scent and it is marvelous! I grow R. Fedtschenkoana because its new grow tips, peduncles and sepals are scented of Noble Fir with hardwood fire smoke. Breeding with it has modified that into juniper and pine. If there is one near you, visit a garden full of Old Garden Roses when there is new growth available. Rub every one and catalog the scents. It's actually rather amazing!

I can also become overwhelmed by lilac, viburnum and butterfly bush, which is why they have always been in the garden. Gardenia, a few azaleas which express a lovely honeysuckle fragrance, several types of jasmine (not the bitter type like polyanthum, but the orange blossom scented types like nitida, sambac and officinale), and citrus blossom are all heavenly. I love scented foliage, too, so anything with a pleasing scent to the plant parts usually finds its way home. A cousin used to tease that I was the only person she knew with a scratch and sniff garden! But, why shouldn't that be so? Fragrance is not only available from flowers. Many plants are fragrant to the touch and release that fragrance when brushed or bruised. Simply walking through the garden can release their scents to compliment what you get when poking your nose into blooms. I love to put aloysia citrodora (lemon verbena) in bouquets so unscented flowers all smell like lemon zest. The Eucalypts are beginning to bloom here in Los Angeles and that sweetness is absolutely over powering to me.

So, you see? It doesn't matter whether it's an Austin rose; an Old Garden Rose or modern, nor really what color it is. It all depends upon YOUR nose and what YOU find pleasing.


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RE: Question about fragrance

Kim,

Thank you for the great information on fragrance standard. I also think there are individual differences and preferences. However, it is nice to have some kind of rose fragrance standard so that people may be able to communicate with each other in the world.

This "Blue" fragrance information came from a Japanese research on rose fragrance. See below.

There is another site by the chemist who researched that explains more.

According to this,
1. Damask-Classic (Cecil Brunner, Granada, SDLM, Tiffany)
2. Damask-Modern (Papa Meilland, Yves Piaget, Margaret Merill)
3. Tea (Lady Hillington, Garden Party, Royal Highness)
4. Fruity (Double Delight, White Christmas, Harmony)
5. Blue (Blue Moon, Blue Perfume, Charles de Gaulle, Sterling Silver)
6. Spicy (Dainty Bess, some Rugosa roses)
7.Myrrh (Glamis Castle, Tamora, Septer'd Isle)

What do you think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Blue Fragrance


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RE: Question about fragrance

Interesting sage_co, thank you. Sitting here remembering the fragrances this researcher lumped together, many don't seem even similar to me. Yves Piaget, Papa Meilland and Margaret Merrill aren't that similar to me, or at least to my memory of them. Most likely it's due to their being combinations of Damask and other scents.

Lady Hillingdon has always been a favorite because in addition to her clean Tupperware, Dawn and Orthene scent, I honestly do detect a slight, ripe apricots scent and others have also when I've asked them to sniff it. It's very fleeting and conditions have to be perfect, but it's as present in LH as it is in the apricot colored Primula. Garden Party and Royal Highness don't impress me as anything resembling Lady Hillingdon. At least, not to MY nose. Your mileage may vary...

Double Delight has no fruit to it to me at all. My description is heavy, sticky sweet and people to whom I've introduced the scent have said the description fit well to them. The "Blue fragrance" isn't the same for all the blue roses listed. The first three do have citrus tones to them, but Sterling Silver has a musky, musty, sweet fragrance, as it affects me bronchially like dried Eucalyptus stems in florists and craft stores do. The others don't. Dainty Bess may be some type of "spice", but it is nothing like Rugosa to my nose. Rugosas are heavy clove to my sniffer. All the myrrh ones are more accurate as they are all bitter and licorice to me. I love Tamora, rust and all, but I don't stick my nose in it as frequently as I KNOW what to expect from it.

As you stated, there ARE individual chemical differences as well as sensitivities and preferences. And, as I started out with, they're really only valid to the nose of the one sniffing. Thanks! Kim


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RE: Question about fragrance

I seem to recall reading somehere that fragrance has often been lost in a trade-off for health. Certainly some of the tougher roses I have do not have much discernible scent to my nose. Is this just a rumour or is there any truth in this. And if so, what would be your priority - perfume or vigour?


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RE: Question about fragrance

I have heard the same thing; I believe Palatine has information regarding this in their catalog. Certain Kordes roses, in particular, are listed as being bred for disease resistance, but are therefore lacking in fragrance.

To me, it doesn't really matter. I figure if I have enough roses (eventually, lol), I'll have some that are fragrant, some that are super-hardy, some that are unique/odd, some that are disease resistant. I'd spray the ones that were more susceptible to disease. Then again, everything in the humidity pail of Central Illinois seems to get a bit of ick sooner or later. Even Knockouts get ravaged by mid August.
---Laura


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RE: Question about fragrance

There may be others, but the only genetic link I know of between fragrance and disease is the one between the heavy Damask fragrance, garnet red color and heavy velvet texture being linked with weak peduncles and mildew proclivity. You can have the color, fragrance and texture WITH mildew, but not without. Breeders have been trying to break this one for generations with no luck.

I'm not sure that hardiness and scentless flowers are necessarily linked. It's probably more that once you get the trait you seek, messing with accompanying traits fouls up the desired results. It's difficult enough to get a good plant, but trying for as good a plant as possible AND fragrance, particularly since we don't really understand all the factors associated with it, often seeems impossible. Even Ralph Moore used to admonish, "Create a good plant first, it's easy enough to hang a pretty flower on it later". A "pretty flower", but not necessarily a fragrant one.

Not exactly along the lines of fragrance and disease resistance, but if you haven't discovered it and might enjoy it, this is an article I wrote in response to one written blaming breeders for "deliberately breeding OUT fragrance" some years ago. It gives documented sources of information concerning what fragrance is, how it expresses and traits which accompany it. Enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fragrance - Much Ado About Nothing?


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RE: Question about fragrance

I can't get to your link, roseseek.It just sends me to the start of the thread again. Help, please


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RE: Question about fragrance

Try this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kim's Ezine article


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RE: Question about fragrance

Thank you, Kathy. Things get a bit frazzeled sometimes with barking dogs and a forgetful 92 year old! He's a good guy, though and almost as much fun as the yappy dogs!


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RE: Question about fragrance

By chance, I found a very cheap David Austin rose at a home improvement store. The variety is called Windermere and I read is suppose to be mildly fragrant. To me, it's not as strong as Fragrant Plum, but I kinda like it. I am sniffing the flower every so often for the last hour, while being hard to describe, I am detecting notes of ginger and lemon grass among a light fruity background...

Interestingly, on an online catalog it was described as
"fruity essence zested with grapefruit overtones."

For the Damask type scent, can anyone here describe what it smells like? I don't think I've ever come across it before.


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RE: Question about fragrance

Musaboru, have you ever stuck your nose into Mr. Lincoln, Papa Meilland, Josephine Bruce, Velvet FragranceOklahoma or any other medium to very dark red, intensely fragrant rose? More than likely THAT was Damask. This site http://www.rose-gardening-made-easy.com/hybrid-tea-roses.html lists Bewitched as moderate Damask; Memorial Day as an intense Damask scent; Fragrant Cloud as intense Damask (I'm not sure I agree with this one, but that's MY nose). This one http://www.harlequinsgardens.com/plants/roses/eves-favorite-fragrant-roses/ states Barrone Prevost is intense Damask; Rose de Rescht particularly strong Damask; Sydonie (HP)"exquisite Damask".

I'd like for others who know of Damask scented roses to add to this list so musaboru can search them out and smell them. That's why I tried to compile an assortment in hopes some would be easily found and sniffed. I honestly don't have any idea how to describe it other than it's very much like Wizard American Beauty Rose air freshener and I'm sure if you went to a Bed Bath and Beyond you'd find candles or soaps supposedly scented of "Damask Rose". I hope it helps! Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Historic Roses article on fragrance


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RE: Question about fragrance

I know I'm going to get absolutely slayed for this one, but I'm going to say it anyway.

For me, Damask reminds me of grandmothers. Maybe it's a personal thing going back to my childhood, but the Damask scent invokes memories of going to anyone's grandma's house. Particularly, the item in those houses that MOST smelled like Damask roses to me was the old toilet paper from the 1970's that was scented and printed with roses. I can't help but stick my nose in a Damask-scented rose and think, 1970's CHARMIN!

Perhaps I was dropped on my head as a child... :)
---Laura


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RE: Question about fragrance

I think most of us were probably dropped on our heads as kids, Laura! LOL! Scents and things we associate them with are intensely personal. There are some I avoid like the plague because they associate with unpleasant experiences and people, and others which take me to my "happy place", like anyone's grandmothers to you, because they associate with happiness. My grandmother's sister's husband was not a very nice man. She was wonderful, always having rhubarb from the garden and something wonderful made from it. They always had a jar of whiskey with those old, enormous peppermint sticks dissolving in them to give to any of the grand nephews and nieces who had fevers, coughs, teething, etc. It was SO wonderful, we'd cough just to get a spoon full! LOL! To this day, peppermint is one of my favorite tastes and scents. He smoked cigars and burned incense. I associate both with him and can't stand even a whiff of either, though I smoke so it isn't the smoke itself, it's the stench.

A scent can more quickly take us somewhere good or bad, than anything else.


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RE: Question about fragrance

I have been trying to master Damask fragrance for many years. It is such a rose-beginner's fragrance that I should know by heart with 100% accuracy.

I know that I can tell the similarity among Mr. Lincoln, Memorial Day, and Rose de Rescht. But I can't pinpoint or associate with, like florabunda with 1970's CHARMIN.

It is easy for me if the fragrance is fruity. I can associate with raspberry, apple, pair, lemon and grape. But nailing down Mr. Lincoln is not easy. I am thinking of acquiring some perfume or cologne bottles that labeled Damask just to learn.

I read about how people smell. When you smell a rose, there may be several fragrance signals reaching to your limbic system in the brain. Then the brain tries to sort out from the past memory data base and decides what is the closest to it.

Unfortunately, some people genetically don't have some genes to detect a certain smell. For example, I heard some people, genetically, can not smell Asparagus in your urine after eating it. It is true that they lack that receptor.

I am hoping the Damask receptor is in my gene pool. If not, what can I do? :)


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RE: Question about fragrance

sage_co, I haven't read of people missing the gene to SMELL the asparagus, but it is documented that some lack the gene to CREATE the smell once the vegetable is ingested. Much like lacking the gene to taste bitter to the extreme. I have the bitter taste gene, seeminly to the extreme. I have the gene for asparagus scent, though being an insufficient metabolizer, I lack those necessary for metabolizing pharmaceuticals, alcohol and other toxins. The old liver works perfectly as shown by every test, but OTC remedies knock me unconscious for days, as do prescription ones metabolized by the liver. Alcohol puts me down like a bullet! I can trace the lack of the enzyme for three generations from my maternal side of the family. Much like I can trace the propensity to rust through Playboy and into many of its offspring!

I have not been able to smell or taste fresh raspberry until this year. It's only taken 50+ years for those olfactory sensors to begin functioning. Until now, it's always been "green and wet". The scent in roses identified as raspberry was perceived as ths same, green and wet.


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RE: Question about fragrance

Kim,

>I haven't read of people missing the gene to SMELL the asparagus, but it is documented that some lack the gene to CREATE the smell once the vegetable is ingested.

Maybe, I misunderstood when I read that some people can't smell asparagus in their urine after eating it and then going to bathroom. Are you saying some people do not have that typical odor of asparagus in their urine at all after even ingesting it? Sorry, I have to know. :)

Also, cruising the net, I encountered the wave theory of smell by Luca Turin, compared to the smell particle theory. The smell travel to the nose by this wave of certain frequency rather than the particle itself traveling to the nose. See below.

Although it does not matter to me how the smell travels to the nose, I think it is interesting to know, I digress :)

Here is a link that might be useful: The science of scent


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RE: Question about fragrance

Interesting sage_co, we both remembered correctly! 40-50% of the population contain the gene to break down the chemicals into the sulferous compounds and only some people have the gene to permit them to smell it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Wise Geek Asparagus scent


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RE: Question about fragrance

Kim,

Thank you very much for the information on asparagus smell. My eyes are wide open now. It has been something I thought everybody is the same genetically in smell. Now I understand how difficult it is to communicate on a certain rose fragrance with others, let alone the standard of rose fragrance.


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RE: Question about fragrance

Update: I finally have a blooming Abraham Darby. Boy, were my expectations shattered. Beautiful flowers. But to my nose, the scent was mediocre compared to Fragrant Plum. I purchased a few other DA's that have yet to bloom this year, but I think I won't be ordering anymore based on the scent rating alone. Kim is right, it really does depend on your individual senses. Abe Darby is ranked pretty high in scent but it doesn't ring true in my recent experience with it.

I just got 'Sweet Chariot' and this is described as a damask scent. I must say this is one of the most intensely fragrant flowers I have ever smelled. I love it very much and found it is way more fragrant than Abe Darby. The strength of Sweet Chariot's scent can change throughout the day, but when it's at it's most potent, it really knocks my socks off. It's hard for me to describe, but I detect a woodsy note in it. I've never smelled anything like it before. I felt like I could have died a happy death as soon as I opened the box with Sweet Chariot blooming (I ordered it from High Country Roses by the way).

`


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