Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Pretty, classical, romantic… Un Lys is somewhat of a wallflower next to the quintessentially dark and cerebral Serge Lutens blooms like dramatic Tubéreuse Criminelle, voluptuous Fleurs d’Oranger, animalic jasmine of Sarrasins, or even dusky Bois de Violette. Yet, what Un Lys lacks in drama, it more than makes up by its bright, uplifting character. It is a fragrance I reach for when it has been raining too long or when I crave a waltz, for Un Lys is truly the olfactive equivalent of Strauss’s Blue Danube, given its radiance and romantic elegance!
Un Lys opens up on a crisp green leafy note, which gives it a vibrant, springtime reminiscent feel. The fragrance, its name meaning lily in French, is based on an accord of rose and muguet (lily of the valley). This basic accord in perfumery can be altered to create a whole range of florals, from rose to tiare, and in Un Lys, its creator Christopher Sheldrake manipulates it to suggest a multifaceted flower. One moment, the earthy almond note of lilac is very strong, only to oscillate into the direction of fruity jasmine and then into the indolic Casablanca lily impression.
The backdrop of the fragrance is accented with vanilla, which considerably softens the whole structure and gives it a smooth, lustrous impression. A lush dose of vanilla takes Un Lys from the ethereal realm of lily of the valley fragrances like Diorissimo. It also gives it a seamless appearance, both a hallmark and a drawback of Un Lys, because while the rough edges are nowhere to be seen, the character of the composition is slightly compromised. It is not the most memorable of Lutens’s fragrances, but in this case, I do not mind it, just like I do not mind the lack of drama. Some fragrances are so pretty that they should be allowed to be just that.
Un Lys is sold in the export range. The export line fragrances are available from Aedes, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and from some Neiman Marcus locations.