The old saying about a rose by any other name smelling just as sweet may get some tweaking soon, if a “fragrance legend” and “horticulture pioneer” have their say.
Over the weekend, The New York Times Style Magazine profiled efforts to reinvent the perfume rose by Francis Kurkdjian, the “celebrated nose” who created such classic scents as Narciso for Her and Gaultier’s Le Male, and sixth-generation rose grower and breeder Fabien Ducher.
“Whereas cut-flower farms experiment constantly with new hybrids in a range of sometimes-unnatural colors, and large-scale nurseries perpetually tinker with new cultivars, from climbing varieties to the sorts that bloom even in the shade, today the perfume industry mainly uses just two sorts of roses for fragrances,” writer Nancy Hass explains, “the spicy Rosa damascena, or Damask rose, and sparkling, tangy Rosa centifolia, sometimes called May rose.”
So far, Kurkdjian and Ducher have spent six years “ferreting out the ancestral chains of Damask and May roses to develop their hybrid, which they call Nevarte.” The pair currently has 50 plants (enough for about 1,000 roses next year or a shot glass worth of rose oil) and is looking for places to begin “cultivation on a larger scale.”
Look for the latest innovations in cut flowers in the November issue of Floral Management magazine, where we’ll profile the winning entries for SAF’s 2015 Outstanding Varieties Competition.