hellish inspiration

by Boujee Creative Director, Nick Gilbert

With Hellflower, the name from a tatty old sci-fi novel from the 1950s that I found online after reading about stories based on smells. The idea was that people across the solar system were addicted to the smell of 'hellflowers' (the hero had to stop their distribution network to redeem himself) but the book barely tried to describe the smell at all.

I loved the name, though. It's super evocative. And so I asked our Perfumer, Pia: if a flower was growing in a hellscape, how would it smell? 

Since a lot of images of hell use brimstone and fire, it was obvious that sulphur was key to the fragrance. And a little known fact: the earliest flowers to grow on Earth were magnolias, arriving at some point during the jurassic period, we imagined they would survive perfectly in that environment - if they could survive lava floes and dinosaurs, they could survive hell. Magnolia has a slightly citrus character - and in needing that sulphuric aspect - we concluded that combining it with grapefruit was the perfect foundation for the fragrance. In order to make grapefruit smell really sparkly, you need to use the sulphuric effects - tiny amounts of 'imperfection' or 'foulness' help to make beauty stand out even more. 

So we took that magnolia and grapefruit aspect, and amped it up, made an abstract floral that is not recognisably magnolia more white floral and jasmine-like - and a went for a pink grapefruit effect that hovers between realism and surrealism, with a hint of minerality: flint and smoke.

Image from Uilke on flickr.