Wind in the Lindens

LindenThere 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.

Then there is D’Orsay’s Tilleul.  Now this one really should smell of linden, and I find does, until…you run into a large and inexplicable watermelon note.

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!

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20 thoughts on “Wind in the Lindens

  1. I am not as familiar with linden as I probably ought to be, having only smelled it once or twice – but it is lovely, a dreaming sort of smell.

    I tend to do very badly with perfumery linden – a number of fragrances purporting to contain the note smell strikingly like Comet on my skin, which is comPLETEly unacceptable to me. Zeta is, unfortunately, among this number, as well as anything I’ve ever tried under any variation of the name “Tilleul.”

    DSH LiLi (lily and linden) is quite nice, though not a linden soliflore. And I like Eau du Ciel very much, but to me it smells like sheets dried on the clothesline in the sunshine, in summer, when grass is being cut for hay nearby (a wonderfully evocative smell, both clean and lazy). Debut I did not like but can’t remember why; on the other hand, Amoureuse’s honeyed floral seems to come close to the luxuriously blossomy linden smell, though it’s considerably heavier than the waft from the tree.

    • Zeta was a bit too much for me, though thankfully I didn’t get Comet from it. Yeesh!

      And I know why I did not go for Debut despite it’s being a sort of Roudnitska retrospective, it’s the ho panties thing. You know the note you mentioned in Joy? Well, my version is 1/2 through Debut, and it’s not what you’d want to wear. Amoureuse I haven’t smelled in a long time but remember it being uber feminine and lovely. May be I should have included it in the Linden line up?

      • I don’t remember Ho Panties in Debut, but I might be misremembering, too.

        I mentioned on my blog once that Amoureuse reminded me of linden (not that it smells exactly like it) and was immediately chastised for the suggestion, so you might want to throw it in but with a caveat.

  2. I love linden herbal tea. We have a huge linden tree in our garden, so we are never deprived of its sweet and aromatic taste. After you make it, as time passes by it becomes darker, acquiring a red shade, without leaving its subtle flavour. I would love to capture this aroma in a perfume, and your suggestions will be taken into account seriously! Thanks!

    • Oh now I’m worried that the suggestions won’t stand up to your beautiful tea!
      But I think the best option is Eau de Ciel, Zeta is a bit less natural smelling, and less subtle. Delrae’s Amoureuse is another one to try but it is a powerful perfume, one spray is enough.

  3. April Aromatics Unter den Linden is another linden perfume to add to your list. I’ve been playing with some samples from AA this week and am having a difficult time picking a favorite. Liquid Dreams, Unter den Linden and Rose l’Orange are all gorrrrgeous!

    After reading this post, I spritzed from my bottle of Zeta on one hand and Unter den Linden on the other for a quick comparison – they both have the linden/honey thing going on, but Zeta is more powdery, rosy – much softer in feel; UdL is sharper and brighter. Fortunately, they both smell lovely to me and I don’t get any of the “comet” smell with Zeta that Mals referred to. Unfortunately, UdL is different enough from Zeta that I’m probably going to “need” to buy it, too! Dang!

      • It is a very flowery perfume that really does smell of lindens. On my list of recommendations for my sister the linden lover.

    • April Aromatics sounds like a really intriguing brand. Having read your comment I went over to their web site to try and see what was in Unter Den Linden. They sound very pricey but worth it if you really find something to love in the line.
      I like natural perfumes when I can find one that doesn’t smell like Fig Newtons-my short hand for a dense perfume-not that I don’t love a Fig Newton or three.
      Thanks for sharing the info and Zeta comparison on this one.
      Listen folks, there’s another option out there and better yet, it’s organic!

  4. My favorite linden scent is Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom. A year or so ago I was looking to find a linden-centered fragrance after experiencing the amazing scent of the trees during a trip to Berlin in June. O.M.G.! The scent was mesmerizing and mystical.
    Anyway I discovered that Linden trees are also Lime trees (not to be confused with Lime the fruit) From Wikipedia… “Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. They are generally called lime, linden, or basswood in English.”
    Linden essential oil is amazing! It can be found online. I prefer the Linden Blossom from naturesgift.com (not affiliated) :-)

    • Kicks self for having forgotten Jo Malone AGAIN. Why do I do that? They are unfailingly nice over there, and you can have fun layering the scents.
      So I entirely forgot it, and have not smelled it in such a long while, that I will have to take a little time and see what it is like now.
      You’re right too, that you can simply go the route of buying the absolute from various oil suppliers on line. I’ve never tried this, although I do it regularly with rose and sweet orange absolutes. Also, a more economical option than some of the more expensive scents listed here!

  5. Since linden is one of my most favorite scents I’m on a continuous look-out for a perfect linden perfume.

    So far my absolute favorites (after two rounds for my Single Note Exploration series) are Jo Malone FrenchLime Blossom, April Aromatics Unter den Linden and DSH Perfumes Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour (from YSL Retrospective Collection).

    • Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour was a very pretty one and reminded me of something, another scent I had smelled. Would like to say that it was Deneuve, but probably not and Deneuve was not a linen scent.

      That’s two people who like April Aromatics Unter den Linden. Getting very curious about that line.

        • They must be a really fabulous line then, because you can generally tell something is all natural from ten paces away.

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