Frangipani (Plumeria) flowers grow on trees as white, yellow or pink flowers. Their scent is often reminiscent of something exotic, tropical and sultry. This is unsurprising given that these flowers are native to tropical regions of South East Asia, the Caribbean and Brazil. Like jasmine and tuberose, these flowers are most fragrant at night. This is mainly to con pollinators into pollinating them as these flowers do not produce any nectar.
Frangipani in Perfumery
The scent of frangipani is best described as exotic, tropical, heady, ‘solar’ (sun-kissed), lactonic, jasmine and tuberose-like, and sweet; with notes of apricot, peach and hints of lemon. The reconstitution is most often used in perfumery using blends of lactonic fruity notes, such as coconut; ‘solar’ notes, such as salicylates, and white flower notes. These flowers are usually solvent extracted to obtain the absolutes as with most white flowers.
The term ‘frangipani’ actually comes from the name of a perfume created by a 16th century Italian master glover-perfumer. The perfume was created with a mix of orris, spices, civet and musk – no actual Plumeria flowers – and mixed in wine to be used on scented gloves, known as ‘Frangipani Gloves’. The Plumeria flowers were named frangipani after a French colonist happened upon them in the West Indies and noted that the scent of the flowers were reminiscent of the Frangipani Gloves.