There are a number of linden trees on the street where I live now in Northern New Jersey. They have one of the most distinctive growth patterns of any tree, always densely pyramidal, and along about late May, always the buzzing meeting place of bees. Their flowers are spreaders of a soft and pervasive perfume that smells faintly like honey. It is one of the very best fragrances of late spring.
My sister loves the perfume of lindens possibly more than any purely floral perfume. Every year when the lindens bloom I remember this fact, and every year I know she’ll ask me if I know of any good linden perfumes, and every year, I seem to get stuck on this subject. It’s not that there are no linden scents around, they exist alright, it’s the descriptive “good” that worries me. Are any of them any good? I’m not sure.
L’Artisan parfumeur has got L’Ete en Douce, and that ought to be good, but somehow misses the boat for me. It is altogether too sweet and fuzzy a scent, which smells of clean musks, and doesn’t evoke linden, so I find myself not recommending it.
Why a fragrance named for linden should smell of watermelon I have no idea, but unless you like watermelon, this one also misses the mark. I will recommend something else to my sister.
Andy Tauer did a linden and orange blossom scent a couple of years ago called Zeta*. Now this one is much closer to the idea of linden. The top notes of it- to me- really do smell like the tree in blossom, and this is one that I would put in a limited number of samples for my linden loving sister, but I do not know if it’s nuanced. The Tauer perfume strikes me as being rather linear.
There are two other choices here, neither of which is new. The first is the old Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel. That one is a pure evocation of linden, iris and rosewood. It does smell remarkably innocent and in keeping with some of the earlier Annick Goutals, has a trick of recalling the preoccupations of childhood.
It is well named, and reminds me of summer afternoons spent staring upwards, and wondering if it was at all possible to fall up, and exactly what would happen to you if you did. I have not smelled Eau du Ciel for years, and have noticed that it has become rare in the US. Luckyscent still has it, but you will pay $US 135.00, so it is no longer a reasonably priced scent.
Finally, I have to mention the Parfums Delrae scent Debut. This has been described as being Michel Roudnitska’s re-interpretation of his father’s great masterpiece, Diorissimo. This may be true, and having smelled lots of different versions of Diorissimo down the years, I will say that Debut is not as beautiful, but also has different intentions than its parent scent. There is something about innocence and experience being described here, to judge by the heavily indolic note that occurs about halfway along in the composition. Before that, it smells very green with a pronounced lime note. Then it smells like the most indolic white flowers you can think of, and if any Roudnitska perfume came to my mind, then it was Le Parfum de Therese, and not Diorissimo.
Or to explain this more clearly – the first part of this fragrance smells like Diorella, the second briefly like Diorissimo, and the third like Le Parfum de Therese. Debut is really a very interesting perfume and a fine choice for anyone who likes Roudnitska compositions, but it is complex, and is not as immediately likeable or comprehensible as the others. On the other hand you won’t get bored of it, because of all its twists and turns. I hope it is doing well with the public, because it strikes me as being one of the most interesting perfumes Michel Roudnitska has done, but who knows, maybe it is less popular than Bois de Paradis, which smells like a very odd variant of Femme.
Of all these linden options, I suppose I would give my sister the Tauer perfume and Eau du Ciel as being the best versions of linden out there, but I would also enclose Debut. Probably she wouldn’t like it, but then again, as with the falling up scenario, you never know for sure.
*For my sample I am indebted to the generous Undina!