Ylang ylang: 12 posts

Le Labo Ylang 49 : Perfume Review

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Andy takes Ylang 49 from Le Labo to task.  

I sprayed on Le Labo’s new Ylang 49 with many expectations. As my first introduction to the Le Labo line, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate. But surely, with a brand name that evokes scientific paraphernalia and sterile-looking packaging to match, I reasoned, this “floral chypre” had to be some kind of cleaned-up, angularly modern twist on the classic genre. As it would turn out, I was pleasantly surprised—instead of whisking me through a laboratory, Ylang 49 took me on a nostalgic walk through a shady, rain-drenched garden on a spring morning.

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True to its name, Ylang 49 opens with a glimpse of its namesake note, pairing the spicy floral with a touch of rose and some cool earthiness. I am reminded of the damp scent of a garden after a rainstorm, but as the fragrance warms up on skin, the rose takes center stage, and the damp earth transforms into a hint of warm, slightly mossy patchouli.

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Diptyque Eau Moheli : Perfume Review

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“A poor man’s jasmine” is ylang-ylang‘s unfair moniker, but to me, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Ylang-ylang essence, obtained from the fragrant flowers of the Cananga odorata tree, shares some facets with jasmine, but it’s even more dramatic. The icy cold top notes of wintergreen are contrasted with the apricot jam sweetness in the heart, and the whole smells more luscious than a flower is allowed to be.

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Enter Diptyque Eau Moheli, which not only promises to give us a new ylang-ylang interpretation, but also features a refined new version of this classical perfume material. Several years ago, Givaudan, a company that manufactures fragrances as well as many of the raw materials used in flavor and fragrance blends, started a project on the island of Mohéli in the Comoros. The quality of commercial ylang-ylang oil has declined over the years, and the idea behind Moheli’s project was to regenerate the production of ylang-ylang. The result was a high-grade essence, with nothing poor about it.

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Parfums de Nicolai Eau Soleil : Perfume Review

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The first time I tried Parfums de Nicolaï’s Eau Soleil I was surprised. I expected a walk in a Sicilian orange grove perfumed with the zesty freshness of orange flowers and crushed green leaves, but instead of a gauzy, sunlit vision, the fragrance opened on my skin with a peppery, bitter tang. My orange blossom garden fantasy was nowhere to be found.

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The mark of a good perfume is its ability to hold your attention. However different Eau Soleil was from my expectations, it followed me throughout the day. I would catch myself stealing little sniffs from my wrist or else enjoying the herbal and green scent that hovered around me. The next morning, I reached for the same scarf I wore the day before and for a few minutes I stood with my face buried in the silk scented with white flowers and soft musk. Eau Soleil courted me successfully.

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Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia : Perfume Review

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An announcer on the Belgian weather channel–wearing sparkling eye makeup and a deep-cut sweater–says with a pout, “Le temps est exécrable” (The weather is awful). There are several ways to deal with Belgium’s dreary weather–to complain, to approach it with a sense of humor, or to ignore it. Belgians are good sports about it, and on any given day, as long as it’s not raining, the outdoor seating at cafes is full, regardless of the chill.lys-soleia-guerlain

I don’t fancy eating dinner in 40F weather outdoors, but I have my own ways to add a splash of sunshine to a grey, overcast day. Over the years, I’ve cultivated a little winter perfume wardrobe to which I add a new favorite from time to time. Last year, Guerlain Lys Soleia from its Aqua Allegoria collection became my cold weather staple. As its name promises, it’s sunny and bubbly.

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Ylang Ylang : Perfume Lexicon & Fragrance Language

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Some perfume materials have an unwavering place of honor—rose, jasmine, sandalwood. Ylang ylang, on the other hand, has often been called “a poor man’s jasmine” and given various inferior descriptors. Today, of course, that proverbial poor man must be swimming in cash to afford ylang ylang oil in his perfumes, but ylang ylang still loses in a competition with jasmine. I would like to come to its defense and explain why ylang ylang is such a fascinating material that should be compared to nothing but itself.

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