NEW YORK -- The IFF experiment started simply enough -- with a rosebush and a rocket ship.To send one of its rosebushes on a NASA mission to see how it would fair without gravity, International Flavors & Fragrances scientists had to eliminate the traditional potting soil because of bacteria it could carry. A hydroponic solution was fashioned. The plant would be grown in water with water-soluble vitamins, surrounded by pebbles to support it. That was 1998.The rosebush grew so well, Dr. Braja Mookherjee, vice president and global director of natural products research, a 37-year IFF veteran, persuaded the company to cultivate waterborne flowers in its continuous pursuit of discovering new flavors and fragrances to offer clients. "Not only did it grow more, but it gives a better odor," said Mookherjee. Plants grown in water, IFF scientists found, gave off cleaner, fresher, brighter fragrance and provided viable new scent alternatives. Breaking down the scent formula for a soil-grown rose, IFF scientists found a 9.96 percent citronellol level, a chief contributor to scent. In a hydroponic rose, the citronellol level was much higher, at 13.34 percent.Coty Beauty has once again stepped up to embrace IFF's hydroponic offerings. This September, the mass-market fragrance leader will introduce its third "waterborne" scent under its The Healing Garden collection. A pair of fragrances introduced last fall -- The Healing Garden Waters Pure Joy and Perfect Calm -- have become the second-best-selling fragrances in the mass market, according to Coty marketers. Sales of the scents are split nearly equally. To complement the duo, Coty is adding The Healing Garden Waters Sheer Passion, a romantic fragrance described as a fruity floral oriental. "With the success of Pure Joy and Perfect Calm, we began to look at other desired states of well-being that are essential to women," said Anastasia Ayala, senior vice president, global fragrances at Coty Beauty. "The passion and sensuality are very important. It's about who we are as women and sensual beings."Coty Beauty president John Galantic expects sales of Sheer Passion to match those of Pure Joy and Perfect Calm. Coty marketers declined to provide sales numbers, but sources predict first-year retail sales could hit $15 million to 20 million.Sheer Passion, as well as Pure Joy and Perfect Calm are also considered body treatments because of the moisturizers and vitamins they contain. Sheer Passion includes vitamins C and E. The nutrients are suspended in ionized water with humectants that act like magnets to retain moisture on the skin.In Sheer Passion, citrus nectars -- pink hyacinth, orange and grapefruit -- are combined with fresh cucumber to create a sparkling sensation. Then there is a floral blend highlighted by Living Golden Sundust Orchid with moonflower, jasmine and tuberose. The scent is finished with sheer wood notes, musk and moss.Available in a 1-oz. bottle for $17.50 or 3.4-oz. size for $27.50, the fragrance was designed by Yves Cassar at IFF. The bottle is the same as for Perfect Calm and Pure Joy, but the juice has a lavender tint. The outer box is pale shades of lavender, blue and pink inspired by a Hawaiian sunset.Print advertising, which shows an embracing couple, is designed to inspire romance."

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