Lilac-Sweeter-Sweetest- DSH White Lilac (2014), Heeley L’Amandière (2011), Soivohle Lilac & Heliotrope

I have been literally all about lilac these last few weeks. It’s a known fact that all lilac fragrances are made up of other things than lilac, that this particular flower which smells so very potent every spring, is not possible to extract… But, not one to simply believe what everyone says, I have tried to make a lilac tincture. So every second day for about the last week or so, I’ve collected lilacs when they were at their most fragrant and submitted them to 96% alcohol and an ultrasound machine. So far a beautiful albeit extremely short-lived fragrant lilac aroma has been the outcome, and hopefully, with this year’s cold spring, the lilac season is still long, and the outcome will have bit more longevity.

In the meantime, as it has been on my mind since my write-up last year, here are a few thoughts on a few more lilac perfumes.

First up there’s DSH perfumes‘ White Lilac, what I particularly like about this creation is, that despite Dawn calling it dewy, it really isn’t watery at all. No aquatic feeling like in many lilac fragrances, on the contrary it’s a very floral soliflore. I never feel crushed leaves, or meadows of wildflowers, but White Lilac is like bending a branch down to my nose inhaling deeply the sweet odor of lilac-time. The white lilac is known to be a bit more carnal in its scent than its purple counterpart, but I feel that it’s truly only is the tiniest bit more ‘impure’ towards the drydown, when the honey sets in, and so it really stays a pretty floral, with just a hint at flirt. WL is beautifully rounded and slightly honeyed sweet. It never even winks at functional fragrance or screechiness, and it also stays clear of any soapy or girly associations. WL is for you if you’re looking for an unadulterated beautiful lilac bouquet with moderate sillage so you’re still smelling just spring-like and lovely and not like a walking lilac bush.syren collage 003kopi

If White Lilac was tending on sweet, the next lilac[i] up is a little sweeter yet: L’Amandière by Heeley starts out on a crispy starch shirt and grassy note, but balances it with an almondy (heliotrope) note, which quickly turns into a pleasant lilac. It doesn’t feel like it’s aiming at the pretty romantic landscape and lovers under a lilac tree, but it manages to also stay clear of the functional fragrance-trap. It slowly becomes rounder, with sweet almond coming to the fore, while keeping a vivid greeness about it. I suppose it’s the lack of nectar and the metallic floralsy, which gives it a slightly more ‘cool’  touch. It’s quite close to a lilac jelly I have done in the last couple of years, a lilac jelly, sweet with a bit of tartness, in a hip shade of pink.

Last but not least is Soivohle’s Lilac and Heliotrope. This is a clear winner in the category ‘sweet-lilac’, it makes L’Amandière smell positively sour in comparison. The opening is a lot of heliotrope with a bit of lilac dusted on top. The heliotrope takes on a cherry like flavor scent, which made me think of some kind of liqueur. Not exactly Amaretto, but something in there feels a little boozy and made me think that I ought to do a lilac schnapps. From there it goes sweeter and sweeter until it feels like a lilac ganache, or perhaps before it turns into ganache, it’s was lilac macaron… All very nice and cosy, perhaps especially for a winter’s evening, when spring seems so very far away.

[i] By checking the notes afterwards I should warn that lilac is not listed, however, I would call this a lilac perfume, and I’m not sure how much one should pay attention to the notes as they list among others: faith, light, night, day, love…

for more reviews check out (White Lilac) Indieperfumes, CFB, EauMG (L’Amandière)also EauMG, CaFleureBon, CandyPerfumeBoy (L&H) I smell therefor I am

 

Pictures are mine, and the feature is a bit random but has got lilac.

 

 

Fig for Spring- Atelier Cologne, Figuier Ardent (2015)

I had started a few other posts, none of them seeming to want to finish themselves, when a small parcel from Atelier Cologne arrived, containing samples of their new line ‘Collection Azur’. Atelier Cologne has so far stood out by being a great entry-level niche brand, with accessible fragrances of great quality and beautiful design, perfumes with interesting twists on familiar themes, as well as already having a few fragrances asserting themselves as perfumista loves and stables. I expected these to be in the same vein, perhaps fresh summer colognes with a niche and Atelier thumbprint.

Of all of these fresh and summery looking fragrances, the only one that seemed to not be too opposed to the very showery Copenhagen ‘spring’ with the odd occasional silver-lining, was Figuier Ardent (Fiery Fig). Fig, for me tends to be too green and fresh, and even if I do like fig fragrances, I do not love Philisykos, Premier Figue, Figue Amere etc. So imagine my surprise, when the first sniff was pure and utter delight.

fig

Figuier Ardent doesn’t smell like the usual top note suspects of citrus and/or pepper, pink or otherwise. It smells straight off like Mediterranean green figs and fresh little fir buds. Something akin to really juicy greenness, with a sap like quality, and fluorescent green as only those first buds can be. Right underneath is a comforting fresh milkiness, not too sweet, mild rather, but invigorating and a little salty- somewhere between fig milk and fresh soft moss.

I’m unsure about when I was last so enthralled by top notes straight out of the sample vial. I went to instantly look up the notes, and it ‘clicked’- whatever gives the fir buds-like scent, those are not in the notes, but perhaps only in my imagination[i], this is however a fig-iris fragrance[ii]. If you like those two notes, well, chances are you’ll love this. I feel like there are all different layers of the fig as well as of the iris, each bouncing beautifully off each other, green to green, white to white, softness and edge in perfect measure.

There are supporting roles too, of bergamot to the fig, or cardamom to the milkiness, and even a little anise which in this combination reminds me just the slightest of the dreamlike quality in lends to Après L’Ondée. However to me none of these are very discernible but, like the perfect supporting actor, there to add layers to the leads. Only very late in the development, do I detect sweet powder zooming in and out between the basenotes. At this stage the cedar becomes ever more prominent, and even if I normally have a problem with some aspects of cedar notes turning a little rancid and too oily to/on me, here it makes perfect sense and gives a mossy feel, and is, again, a great platform for the smoothness of the iris powder and milky fig to stand out from.

Figuier Ardent, is a parfum concentration, so it has a lot of character and tenacity, but stays relatively close to the skin.

If, like me, for a while you’ve been sighing for an iris fragrance paired with something new and exciting, or indeed a fig fragrance with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, well here it is, and whereas it might not exactly be fiery, it certainly is one of the most unique and delightful fragrances that Atelier Cologne has produced thus far. Spring will smell great this year, come rain or come shine.

 

The feat by me, and the stunning tableau by Atelier Cologne.

 

[i] Having sniffed Figuier Ardent, and looked up the notes, I took out the Atelier design postcard from its envelope, to discover that although fir or spruce might not be in the pyramid, it’s on the gorgeous tambleau depicted on there. Perhaps I’m not all that crazy then.

[ii] My second thought was; why has no one done this combo before, because what perfumer Ralf Schwieger does with his two protagonists smells like perfect ‘twosomeness’. Well, somebody did have the idea before. Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Figue-Iris from 2000, but it seemed to play more to the green in the fig, and the light floralsy in the iris violet, before turning into Meterorites. Nice, but this one goes the whole way.

Seashells at the Seashore- Profumum Roma Acqua di sale (1996)

‘The sun sets, behind your cheek

You are a little silly and will probably fall asleep soon

We have played like crazy all day, and had a ball

We were at the beach, and even talked of sleeping over,

But now it’s too windy, and it’s bloody cold,

And soon the sun will go to sleep’

by ‘Shit & Chanel’ 1978.

 

No matter where in Denmark you’re never far from a coast, and one of my favourite things to do is going for a walk on the beach on a sunny day long before or after the water temperatures become something you can bathe in.

A friend of mine alerted me to Acqua di Sale by Profumum Roma, which reminds me of just that; a walk on the beach when the weather gets warmer, and yet is far too cold once the sun sets.

shit og chanelThe song quoted above is a Danish pop song written by 1970s all female band ’Shit & Chanel’[1]. Quite a few of the band members are still active musicians and still very popular, which doesn’t make this old hit less famous. Apart from the catchy 1970s singer-song writer style and tune, I believe it’s the touching lyrics, sung by the lead singer to her daughter, which makes it so vastly popular. We that grew up with these songs as the soundtrack of our early childhood, and went to the beach similar to the description, remembering the cold air sneaking in upon a sunny day, the first day of bare feet in the sand, and sleeping soundly from the fresh sea air, to us the song is not just a musical flashback, but perhaps at that moment the composer/singer were singing our collective memory of a day on the beach.

Acqua di Sale with its official notes of salt, myrtle, cedar wood and seaweed, smells like a memory of a day on the beach, sea swept, salty hair and lips, sand in the shoes, warm cheeks. It has the unmistakable oceanic smell, yes also as in a ‘marine chord’ and what you might find in various ‘clean’ fragrances, but thanks to the saltiness, the herbs and a whiff of old salty algae, here it’s right, it belongs and becomes truly marine as in sand, shells and shore.49904

It was probably meant to be evoking Mediterranean shores, rather than Baltic ones, and the style for sure is Italian in its temper[2], but to me it might as well be a northern coast with its gushes of cold wind carrying the scent of sea air and minerals and the cries of sea gulls. Although Acqua di Sale is in many ways bottled memory, it still manages to be also a perfume, it never become just a ‘smell’. To me that’s important, it’s as with the song and text from before, something which awakens a memory and yet becomes its own thing; a sea song? A new memory perhaps?

 

 

[1] On a perfume related note, you will probably have noticed the proper female propagandistic band name ‘Shit & Chanel’ (one album even called Chanel no 5, even if this wasn’t their 5th album), while catchy and very 1970s red-stocking movement and all, in Paris Chez Coco, one did not find this amusing, Chanel threatened to sue, where after the band changed its name to ‘Shit & Chalou’

 

[2] Meaning; do not overspray, or the ocean might overwhelm you with ‘marine’, as it did me on first application.

Feat pic by me, Shit & Chanel from vinylpladen.dk, uncreditable picture from beach nær Greve in Denmark.