Lilac: 5 posts

L’Artisan Parfumeur Oeillet Sauvage Fragrance Review

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Soliflorals, fragrances based around a single flower, have a school-marmish reputation. Orange blossom and tuberose have been made trendy (Jo Malone Orange Blossom) and chic (Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower), but the idea of wearing a straightforward rose or lavender perfume still doesn’t excite many women. One might as well ask them to don an apron over a house dress and host a tupperware party. Carnation perfumes fare worst of all. Take a look at any consumer survey at fragrance marketing departments, and you’ll see all sorts of derogatory adjectives next to this classical note–“dated,” “fusty,” “old-fashioned,” or the ultimate insult, “boring.”

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Oeillet Sauvage -  100ml

This is a shame, because it means that those of us who love carnations for their opulent spicy scent get a short shrift. I’ve collected a number of classical carnation perfume bases (mixtures of natural and synthetic notes that are used as building blocks in fragrance compositions) and have been on a permanent quest to find as many interesting carnation perfumes as I can. L’Artisan Parfumeur reissued Oeillet Sauvage just in time for my mission.

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Lilac Perfumes for Spring

Patricia mentions 10 lilac fragrances to brighten up these cold spring days.

Throw open the windows of your dwelling and breathe in the fresh air, roll down the car windows, take a walk around the block, read a nature poem by Mary Oliver, and move the orientals and ambers you’ve been living in to the back of the closet. Spring is finally here! And spring always makes me think of flowers, my favorite of which is the heavily scented lilac. lilacs Lilacs, a member of the olive family were first introduced to Europe at the end of the 16th century by the Ottomans and came to the American colonies in the 18th century. Since the blooming season is but a short few weeks in late spring, I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect, most realistic lilac fragrance to wear during the long 50 weeks without them. There are a number of lilac fragrances of varying price points to choose from, but whether all of them transport me to a lilac garden is another question. Below are my 10 mini-reviews:

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Lilac : Perfume Note That Smells of Almonds and Roses

My childhood smelled like crushed strawberries, dirt caked fingers, freshly baked sugar buns, sun dried linens and lilacs. Those few days in the spring when the lilacs would bloom profusely and fill our house with their heady perfume were enough to leave a lasting memory for years. So whenever I see a lilac bush in bloom, I can’t resist burying my face in the thick foam of its tiny blossoms.  Lilac smells of roses, milky almonds and green leaves. The first whiff is citrusy and fresh; a deeper inhale reveals its haunting accent of decay and mothballs (indole, the same aromatics that give jasmine, tuberose and orange blossom their seductive timbre).

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Serge Lutens Un Lys : Fragrance Review

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Un-lys

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!

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Frederic Malle En Passant : Perfume Review

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Vrubel_lilac_olga_gallery

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Attempts to capture rain often result in something limpid and pale. Or worse yet, artificial and sharp. Water smells of nothing, yet rain is not mere water. It blends the scents of soil, leaves, flowers, with individual aromas blurring into an abstract perfume. Created by Olivia Giacobetti in 2000, Frederic Malle En Passant is one of the most successful “rain” scents after Guerlain’s enchanting Après l’Ondée (1906). Giacobetti captures the Impressionist vision of the scent of raindrops trembling on the lilac bushes. All notes reveal themselves at once conjuring a vision of passing a lilac bush in full bloom, dropping a confetti of tiny blossoms into the puddles on the pavement.

When selecting an image to accompany my discussion of this particular fragrance, it is not accidental that I chose a dark and somewhat ambivalent painting by Vrubel, depicting a dark figure against a large lilac bush, with the dusky shadows slowly creeping from the corners. Contrary to the expectations, En Passant is not a sunny heady lilac, but rather a scent of air still bearing traces of the rainstorm that ravaged the lilacs, tearing off their blossoms and leaving the ground covered with a haze of flowers. Although the rainstorm is over, En Passant hints at its distant rumblings.

Notes: white lilac, rain accord, cucumber, wheat, orange tree leaves.

Painting: Lilac by Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910), one of the greatest Russian painters, founder of Russian Art Nouveau.

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