In the Search for the Perfect Daphne

Many years ago I told the story of me chasing Daphne Odora – both in perfumes and in real life. The plant that I got then didn’t survive. But a couple of years ago I got another one. And I kept dreaming about the perfect recreation of that magnificent aroma in perfumery.


Rusty and Daphne Odora


Soon after I published the post referenced above, Parfums DelRae released Wit, in which Daphne was listed as one of the notes. While I liked Wit, bought a decant (well, chronologically, I first bought the decant in friendly split, and then liked what I smelled) and enjoy wearing it in spring, it was a huge disappointment in my search for Daphne in perfumes: it didn’t smell even remotely like that wonderful plant, which surprised me since it was a local brand, so I expected them to be familiar with the plant and its scent.

At some point I concluded that it wasn’t probably meant to be, so I wasn’t actively looking for that note any longer when it found me: hajusuuri, a rare guest writer of my blog, shared with me one of the samples she got from a Sniffa event – a strange creation from the brand I had never even considered before, Antica Farmacista, “fragrance for the home and body” (sic) Daphne Flower.

I did read about it before and even attempted looking for it at the local Nordstrom. But since that particular scent wasn’t offered there, most likely I would have missed it completely if it weren’t for hajusuuri’s generosity.

Daphne Flower was probably the first perfume from that package that I tried without even thinking of running a paper strip test. I sprayed it on my wrist, inhaled and literally laughed with joy: it smelled exactly as I remembered Daphne Odora smelled! The next day a bottle was on its way to me.


Antica Farmacista Daphne Flower Perfume


I read a lot about Daphne Odora, so I knew that it was impossible to get any natural ingredient from it. But Antica Farmacista managed to recreate that scent perfectly. Official notes: Meyer lemon, dewy green accord, Daphne flower, sparkling orange blossom, honeysuckle, jasmine, Baltic amber, rosewood and clean white musk.

I do not see that “home and body” product on their site any more, instead now they have Daphne Flower Perfume, which, as they claim, “is created with a higher percentage of essential oils than most commercially made fragrances providing a longer lasting scent on the body (up to eight hours).” I’m not sure if it’s the same one as what I have (I asked through the form on the site and awaiting their reply), but mine does lasts for a very long time. And I love it.

… The replacement bush that I planted in my backyard is struggling despite all my efforts: it’s still alive but this year the only flower I could see there was my new Daphne Flower bottle. But Rusty and I keep an eye on it hoping for bloom next year (or maybe he hopes it’ll transform into a laurel tree that he could climb?)


Rusty and Daphne Odora


Images: my own


25 thoughts on “In the Search for the Perfect Daphne

  1. That perfume sounds gorgeous! I am not acquainted with the Daphne flower in real life, and didn’t care for the note in the only perfume I ever smelt that purported to have it in. Can’t recall the name now, but it was a sort of celeb scent – maybe even linked to Daphne Guinness???

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tried a couple before – not even close. So this experience was even more uplifting than it would have been otherwise: finding a nice rose or vanilla perfume is great but there are dozens of other great renditions for those notes. With Daphne it was a great surprise.


  2. YAY!!! I remember your story and am so happy it eventually had a happy ending. Love to think of you laughing when you tried it. What a great moment. Good work hajusuuri!


    • I was surprised myself! I remember thinking at the time: “that’s what they mean when they say that!” I’ve never had that reaction before. But it was so unexpected that it caught me completely off guard.


  3. I’ve always loved Daphne flowers too and can be found sniffing the air like a bloodhound when tracking down a hidden shrub! You’ve made me crave this now …..


    • Since it’s the U.S. brand, I doubt you can get it where you live. But I’m so impressed that you’re familiar with this plant that my sample (that I don’t need any longer since I’ve got a 15 ml bottle) is yours. I’ll check when my perfume mule has the next trip, so we risk only your internal PO hindering.


  4. Such an interesting place to find the scent. I have always liked their home scents but never tried and perfumes, in fact, I can’t say I knew they had them. I have never come across a daphne flower but now you have me curious. Maybe they don’t grow in hot Texas? Anyway, glad you met your match!


    • Daphne is so not interesting visually as a flower that I would have never known about it if it weren’t for that wonderful scent that led me to it. Now it is one of my most favorite blossom aromas: it is painfully beautiful, something that you want to capture and keep with you. There’s only one other scent that has a similar effect on me – linden blossom.


  5. Woo hoo! I have to search for my other sample! I got the samples when the Daphne Flower home fragrance was launched at Bergdorfs and I believe it was exclusive to BG, at least at that time. It was on the 7th floor with candles, home goods, restaurant and children’s wear. I’ve used the Antica Farmacista reed diffusers for years, always the Vaniglia, Bourbon and Mandarino in the half bath.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rusty is a little intimidated by the size of your cats (he overheard when I was telling my vSO about them), but promptly forgot about it as soon as I offered him a treat in your name.

      If you ever come across Daphne odora in February when it blooms, you’ll probably know that you’re smelling that flower: when I didn’t know what it was and tried looking for it, I smelled a dozen of other shrubs – and none of them smelled even close to Daphne, so unlike it happens with different fruit tree blossoms when each one is great but different, this plant stands out from others that look similar.


    • It’s too bad I cannot send you the flowers themselves (and not only because it didn’t bloom for me this year :) ), but you’ll get a sample of this perfume with the next package. I might even go for a bottle of what they call “perfume” because their response to my e-mail inquiry was that what I bought was a room spray usable on skin (hence “home and body”) but what they sell now is an actual perfume.


  6. Your daphne-centred musings are lovely, Undina. I am at this very moment intoxicated by the scent of fresh pink jasmine flowers. A bush blooms in my front yard, and a bouquet sits on my desk. I love these flowers and have looked long and hard for a perfume that comes close to their scented beauty. So far only a few have come even a little close. But the hunt is always exciting! I think Rusty would agree. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yeah, Rusty would agree: he loves hunting – spiders, flies and sun-rays.

      Perfumes, even the best ones, rarely smell identical to flowers, so it’s probably better to have complex perfumes that do not even try to resemble any one specific flower.


  7. Pingback: On Cloud Nine – Undina's Looking Glass

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