Moonflower: Mystery in the form of a perfume
In the Amazon, there is a flower wrapped in mystery. A species that blooms only once every year, in the light of the full moon, exuding a very expressive scent. The Moonflower enchants many researchers. A white flower with a red stem, it is an exuberant species, which grows on the black water riverbanks of the Amazon, and which now serves as inspiration for a new line launched by Natura Ekos.
Technology, a lot of research, and a touch of art were needed to create a fragrance for the new Ekos cologne. Through a review of the literature, documents and stories about the species of Selenicereus, the Bio-agricultural sector of Natura found, that the botanical name Selene, means Goddess of the Moon. The research also detailed the botanical description of the plant and the scent exuded by the Moonflower (*). The British illustrator, Margaret Mee revealed the flower’s beauty by devoting her life to drawing species of Amazon Flora. "We knew of Margaret Mee’s work and her commitment to the conservation of the Amazon Forest. We also studied the work of a researcher who made a detailed description of the plant’s scent. The perfume is only exuded at the moment in which the plant blooms and for a very short period. All these references were paramount when planning the project," says Deborah Castellani a Natura Bio-agricultural researcher.
There were some particular difficulties in working with the Moonflower. Due to all the characteristics that make the plant so unique, it was not feasible to use it directly as an ingredient in the product. "We are talking about a species that only exists in the region of the Rio Negro, which blooms at night and only blooms one night out of the year. Margaret Mee waited for many years to be able to see the flower and inhale the scent only once," explains Deborah. But it was possible to get a composition of ingredients that could reproduce the scent and mysterious atmosphere of the plant. This was the mission of the perfumer Veronica Kato. "My idea was to try and interpret the moment in which the flower blooms and permeates its surroundings. I wanted to express in a fragrance all the sensations of that place, not only within the flower, but also its surroundings, the moment in which it blooms, uniting the plant with the mystery, the sensuality, the river and the night in an aromatic medley," explains Veronica.
With the help of scientific research information and from data which analyzes the chromatograms of the Moonflower (*) the Natura perfumer developed a unique fragrance, "The chromatography is produced using a device that captures the scent and parses its components. We studied the article of a researcher who used a chromatograph at the time in which the Moonflower bloomed allowing him to describe the major scents in the highest concentration, amongst other data," explains Deborah. With the information about the Moonflower, the Forest of Igapó, the black water riverbanks and the artistic touch (which cannot be left out), the perfumer Veronica Kato arrived at a formula. "In the world of perfume, everyone says that making a perfume is a mixture of art and science. My work was not only to reproduce a smell, but to translate the whole atmosphere around that plant into a differentiated fragrance," the perfumer emphasized.
After a year of hard work, the Moonflower fragrance is the signature scent of a new Ekos line. "It is a white flowery fragrance that replicates the scent of the flower while causing an inebriating feeling. We used spicy notes from the Amazon region to reproduce the mystery of the unfolding flower. Notes of vanilla represent the sensuality of the night and its surroundings, while green notes represent the river and the forest", describes Veronica. We feel as though another mission has been accomplished with the scent of the Moonflower in the air. "Because the world of perfumery is subjective whenever we start on a new project we have butterflies in our stomachs, things are not always concrete, but we had great results with this fragrance, people loved it," concludes Veronica.
(*) Barthlott, W., Porembski, S., Kluge, M. et al. Pl Syst Evol (1997) 206: 175. Doi:10.1007/BF00987947