Old Rose, Tea, Fruit, Musk, Myrrh – fragrance & unlocking the secrets of the rose

A wonderful article and blog post about roses and their fragrances, by Robert Calkin: “after leaving Cambridge, Robert Calkin embarked on a long and successful career as a ‘nose’ for parfumiers. Since retirement, he has used his expertise to help David Austin in connection with the scent of roses, and, in particular, to assist with the correct description of their individual fragrances.”

The Teddington Gardener

Princess Alexandra of Kent Princess Alexandra of Kent

This article is by Robert Calkin, originally published in The Royal National Rose Society Historic Rose Journal Autumn 2013. If you are not a member of the Historic Rose Group, articles such as these are just one reason to join! All the photography is mine.

The weather this afternoon is so foul, I’ve enjoyed the excuse and opportunity to transcribe the article and choose a few photographs from my ‘back catalogue’ to brighten my day.

The description of fragrance is fraught with difficulty. To begin with there is no definitive vocabulary of smell in common use, as there is for example for colour; we can only describe a fragrance by association. But this in itself raises a problem in that people have both different perceptions of small and different associations based on past experience. In trying to describe the fragrance of a rose the problem is…

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