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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 11:26 GMT
Top noses to sniff island scent
Paperwhite narcissi
25 varieties are grown on the islands
Three fragrance experts are heading to the Isles of Scilly on a mission to capture and describe the scent of locally-grown narcissi.

The trio of noses will bring simple equipment to trap the scent of the flowers and describe them in detail.

They will then be able to define the smell in what is known as an "organoleptic" description.

That should help the island's growers in an increasingly competitive global flower market.

This exercise just might lead to the discovery of a whole new note, a unique new scent
Dr Hazel McTavish

Andrew May, who represents the island's growers said: "These days, there are so few flowers grown commercially that have a scent.

"We thought it would give us a real edge if we were able to describe the unique scents of our flowers in much the same way as the bouquet of wine is often described.

"It is time the scent of narcissi took its rightful place, recognised as one of the great fragrances of the world."

Near sub-tropical climate

Dr Hazel McTavish, an international expert in fragrance assessment and research, and two colleagues will take a whiff of four varieties during their visit.

Available from October through to March, the flowers bloom on the Isles of Scilly in a near sub-tropical climate.

About 25 varieties are grown on the islands, from the star-like Paper Whites to the larger Matador variety with yellow petals and an orange cup.

They all belong to the Tazetta group of narcissi, producing many fragrant flowers on each stem.

"This exercise just might lead to the discovery of a whole new note, a unique new scent," said Dr McTavish.

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