Iris was huge during the Renaissance period when it first arrived from Florence, and it's making a huge comeback. Iris is the powdery flower par excellence and has a scent like fresh, velvety skin. There are two types used in perfumery: the pallida iris and the florentina iris, grown in Morocco and Florence respectively. It's the root that perfumers covet, because the smell is different from the actual flower. Once it's been treated, it actually smells more like violets.
Violets and roses are also blooming this season. Violet has a velvety, planty scent and was highly-prized in the 19th century. Violet leaves are also highly valued and used by perfumers, and their scent is extracted using solvents to produce a very green floral essence.
Roses, with their voluptuous fragrances, were big with the Romans. Two varieties are used in perfume among the hundreds that exist: Centifolia (also known as the Provence, cabbage or May rose, grown in the French Riviera and in Morocco, and Damask, grown in Bulgaria and Turkey). Rose-picking is a specially delicate task and is carried out from dawn onwards. The May rose is only harvested once a year over a three-week period.