Come Into The Garden, Maudlin

We all like lilacs.  They are lovely and bloom for about two weeks in April and May and that is that, but as everybody likes lilacs, there should be a large number of lilac perfumes out there. Right?


There are comparatively few. The lilac note (which is an accord anyway, made from ylang-ylang, neroli, jasmine and vanilla) is a sort of smell judgment call, a little too much jasmine and everyone says, how sweet, it’s another lily of the valley. Too much vanilla and they say, oh it’s another orchid scent.

So, lilac notes are rather a headache for perfumers. This is not to say that there aren’t some soliflors on the market, they exist in small numbers, the chicest option is surely En Passant (Edition Perfums Federic Malle) but to my nose it smells a little thin and watery.  Lilacs smell best in composition with other floral notes I think, but there are few productions featuring it.  If you like to troll Ebay for past spendors, here’s a small list:

Vacances, 1936, Jean Patou (green floral)

Jour, 1984 Louis Feraud (floral)

My Sin, 1924 Lanvin (floral bouquet)

Quelques Fleurs, 1913 Houbigant ( floral bouquet,this has recently been reformulated)

Parure, 1975 Guerlain (animalic chypre)

Rose de Noel, 1939 Caron (floral bouquet)

Fete des Roses, 1936 Caron (floral bouquet)

(I think I’d better mention that the Carons are collector’s items if you find them in their extract bottles but that’s another matter.)

What is in production these days?  Not much. You can try the lilac in a bouquet in Chamade, (Guerlain), or in White Flowers and Omniscent (Yosh Han), but there are relatively few such floral mélanges on the market.  Apart from those, I know of Psychotrope (Parfumerie Generale), Coeur d”Ete (Miller Harris) and Petit Ange (Parfums de Nicolai).

Why are lilacs so fleetingly represented. I wonder?  It could be their dearth of sexiness.  I, for one, am glad of it.  We all need some relief from the parade of musks amber and tuberoses that are the perfume equivalents of leopard prints, sashaying their fancy pants down Olfactory Avenue.

The lilac floral never says that she’ll meet ya round the corner. in a half an hour, but then again, she can get rather sentimental.  She probably knows all the verses to My Old Kentucky Home, and sings them on Derby Day, and then positively refuses to bet on Pants on Fire or Mucho Macho Man.

This may be the reason for lilac’s absence from the scene these days.  She’s a Floradora girl in the age of the Kardashians.


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