One thing’s for sure: dahlias don’t smell as blowsy as they look. It’s the leaves and the stems which are used in fragrance, giving a slightly bitter note. Originating from Mexico, Central America and Columbia, and then hybridised by clever Dutch plant breeders, dozens of species of tuberous dahlia now brighten our summer gardens. (They’re deeply alluring to slugs, as gardeners know.) The dahlia fragrances on the market, we’ve a hunch, are inspired by the show-stopping appearance of this flower, rather than its scent: it’s not about to take over from jasmine and rose in the perfumer’s arsenal, anytime soon.
Smell dahlia in: