Trumpeting Florals: Lilies

Bouquet from The metropolitan Museum of Art

Bouquet from The metropolitan Museum of Art

Big honking lilies and not those tiny little lilies of the valley, that’s what I’m referencing.  They’re not shy and they’re really not understated either, but the big lily’s smell can be beautiful.

They can also be great big honking hits with the public. Consider that billboard sized lily Cacharel’s, Anais-Anais.  Cacharel let Anais-Anais loose on unsuspecting mortals in 1978 and the beginning was a  heavenly whirlwind of florals: White Madonna Lily, black currant, hyacinth, lily of the valley, then a midsection crammed with even more flowers and woods.  Everything was stuffed inside Anais -Anais’s delicate skin, jasmine, Grasse rose, iris, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, vetiver cedarwood, oakmoss, patchouli, finally an almost apologetic ending trailing behind this monumental arrangement, a few leather streamers and a tiny bit of musk as though Anais had stepped out of one fragile leather slipper and left it behind. Continue reading

Annunciation Lily

annunciation People get tangled up in lilies.  Half the time they confuse little lilies of the valley with towering Regale lilies, and that is why you sometimes notice posters on perfume  websites complaining that a “lily perfume did not smell like lilies of the valley”. The scents are quite different.

But the world of lilies is almost as crowded as that of niche perfumes.  It’s not as though you simply have Easter lilies, or Asiatics, you also have Orientals, Tiger lilies, and a whole assortment of lilies from China, which usually have been hybridized to produce huge blooms and sometimes an even more ginormous scent, a miasma of perfume. Continue reading

Jaded

The flawless green perfume is something that I keep looking for year after year.  In a perfect world, there would be one fabulous, gem like scent a year to ooh and ahh over, but in this cold world of hot button politics, that’s not the case.

Green perfumes are not in right now.  The closest thing to a green hit that I can think of is Patricia de Nicolai’s Le Temps d’une Fête.  Everything else is just not a hit, or is not green. There are plenty of people out there who love green perfumes, but not enough it seems to spawn a genuine blockbuster.  Chanel No 19, which is sort of a paradigmatic green fragrance, remains a rarified taste, and both Private Collection and Alliage, are not the same formulas they were when introduced. Continue reading