Serge Lutens Un Lys

I couldn’t mention Un Lys in a recommendations list without doing an actual review of it. But the truth is, Un Lys is a pretty lily soliflore that leads the way in pretty lilies. It’s rocketed itself up my personal favorites list to number two, just behind the ever beautiful Spiritueuse Double Vanille.

Un Lys

In Bottle: Cuts the chatter and gets straight to the lily. This is a soft, creamy, gentle lily fragrance. Unmistakable and hard to miss or confuse the notes in this.

Applied: Well, considering there’s really only three notes in Un Lys, and considering the fragrance’s name you expect there to be lily and that’s what you get upfront. It starts off sharp and green and leafy with the lily gaining way over the sharp greenness until it takes over the stage. This is a white, soft and dry lily fragrance that lilies it up from the get-go and keeps going for a few hours time before meeting a vanilla note and clean musk at the end where the lilies keep living until its time to fade completely. Utterly beautiful and fabulously done lily fragrance.

Extra: Un Lys is an interesting contender in the Serge Lutens line where most of their fragrances tend toward heady, rich and deep, Un Lys is the sweet top floating floral t.

Design: Un Lys is bottled in the same way other Serge Lutens fragrances are. A thin, simple, glass rectangle. It’s done well, done elegantly and without flashy gimmicks. And, if you line up a bunch of Serge Lutens bottles in a row, it looks quite nice.

Fragrance Family: Soliflore

Notes: Lily, musk, vanilla.

I love Un Lys, but then, I also love lily scents and love floral scents in general. Un Lys is a particularly well done lily that should be a big hit to anyone who favors the fragrance.

Reviewed in This Post: Un Lys, 2010, Eau de  Parfum.

Prada Infusion de Tubereuse

Being a big fan of a couple of Prada’s other infusions (d’Iris and d’Homme), I went out looking for the newest releases. Infusion de Tubereuse looking forward to a light, airy tuberose treatment and Prada delivers yet again.  Infusion de Tubereuse

In Bottle: Very faint, light tuberose, green and almost fresh and clean like tuberose that’s been run under some water and scrubbed for presentation’s sake.

Applied: The infusion of this tuberose are a bit heavier and more literal than what I experienced in d’Iris. Infusion de Tubereuse puts a very gentle, very mild note in there that’s hard not to like. It’s an easy tuberose to wear, as it’s very clean and soft. It’s practically the polar opposite of most tuberose scents that tend to capitalize on the flower’s ability to dominate a perfume. There’s a slight sweetness and crispness lingering around in this scent to further clean it up as Infusion de Tubereuse rounds itself off with a dry down that’s green and only a touch bitter.

Extra: Tuberose is a perennial flower with a juicy, sweet, heady floral scent that some people equate to smelling like rubber. Tuberose is most often used as a middle note in perfumery.

Design: Infusion de Tubereuse is bottled similarly to d’Iris and d’Homme. There’s a little more detail going into the packaging with a design focusing on the purple fragrance rather than just solid colors. The simplicity of the Infusions’ packaging is fantastic and I’d love to line them all up in a row.

Fragrance Family: Soliflore

Notes: Indian tuberose, petitgrain bigarade, blood orange, dynamone.

Petitgrain bigarade’s an interesting note because it’s one of the most prominent scents in this fragrance. It is, essentially, the green leaves of a bitter orange tree. I guess that explains it.

Reviewed in This Post: Infusion de Tubereuse, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Guerlain Nahema

Released in 1979, Nahéma is like an ode to the rose. Nahéma is a rose explosion that calls up the vision of what a rose is supposed to be. Nahema

In Bottle: Lush rose in that familiar Guerlain smell. Beautifully dense and musky delicate roses. So sweet that for a moment I’m thinking I smell cherry or anise instead but it’s all rose from here.

Applied: Big and fantastic and familiar. The rose goes on strong, comes out of the gates yelling and makes itself known. This is what a rose is supposed to smell like. A little sweet, a little floral, clean and dewy. Tea rose is what I’m smelling, and tea rose to me has a lighter, sweeter fragrance often used as a subtle addition but in Nahéma is the primary focus. I get roses for hours and hours as Nahéma has some fantastic staying power. The dry down is a lovely sweet rose on woodsy base and that familiar Guerlain scent.

Extra: Apparently, Luca Turin in The Guide shares with us a little rumor. That Nahéma, the greatest rose fragrance in perfumery, was made without any rose oil.

Design: The image in this post is not the bottle design that I’m talking about in this section. The modern Nahéma bottle that I held and sprayed is a mostly flat, rather boring bottle design whose shape is reminiscent of Tommy Girl except lacking that third dimension. It’s dull, drab and uninteresting and I wish they hadn’t changed it from the old bottle. But the bottle certainly is functional at least.

Fragrance Family: Soliflore Oriental

Notes: Rose, peach, vanilla, woods.

Even if you hate roses I highly recommend giving this a sniff. If not so you can find the perfect perfume but to know what conceptual rose smells like. If the rumor is true, that Nahéma doesn’t contain any actual rose oil then the mind-boggling alone is worth a smell.

Reviewed in This Post: Nahéma, 2003, Eau de Parfum.

Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion

I suppose spring is coming to my nose, that means breaking out the florals and readying the fresh for summer. Gardenia has a sweet fragrance with that similar greenness to it that I notice in a lot of flowers. To me, it’s a crisp, young reminder of warming temperatures and budding leaves. Then you have Annick Goutal’s Gardenia Passion, the fragrance with the deceptive name. Gardenia Passion

In Bottle: Gardenia Passion is tuberose. Predominantly tuberose. So tuberose, in fact, that in the bottle I smell nothing but tuberose. Tuberose, tuberose, tuberose. This is so tuberose in the bottle that it beats out By Kilian’s Beyond Love. Though it lacks the finesse and gentle greenness of Beyond Love.

Applied: Strange sour, almost vinegar-like, note upon spray that lingers for a few minutes after application. That sour note is mixing with the sweetness in this fragrance and the powerful hit of tuberose. This makes for a pretty wickedly strange blend of sweet and sour florals. The sourness does go away eventually, letting tuberose shine through. I’m searching the murky waters of Gardenia Passion for its namesake but aside from that sweetness–which could be from the tuberose too–there’s not a whole lot of it to be had. I feel a little cheesed, honestly, because a fragrance named for gardenia should either have gardenia in it or at least have notes that illustrate the concept of gardenia. With the way this is going, it should have been called Tuberose Passion. Or Tuberose to Eternity. Nothing wrong with tuberose, just, where’s the gardenia? I get no mention of that elusive gardenia on dry down either. It’s just lighter tuberose with a vegetal background.

Extra: Now, I like tuberose. I think it’s an interesting blend of screech and whisper. Tuberose is a sweet, almost tropical scent. Sometimes, people mispronounce its name saying, “toober-rose“. It is actually, “toob-rose“. As for Annick Goutal, the company was started in 1980 by Annick Goutal and had a skin cream line prior to branching off into fragrances.

Design: Placed in a beautifully textured bottle with a ribbon tied to the neck. From that ribbon dangles a paper label with the name of the fragrance and house on it. The cap is colored gold, very lightweight, but comes off the sprayer nozzle very smoothly. The sprayer works just fine.

Fragrance Family: Soliflore

Notes: Orange blossom, tuberose, jasmine, gardenia, herbs.

It’s almost funny that this should be a soliflore, given the fact that its focus is on the wrong flower. But maybe that was the point. Maybe I’m just smell blind to whatever gardenia was used in this fragrance. Maybe I’m just nuts about tuberose and it is the only flower I will ever smell again.

Reviewed in This Post: Gardenia Passion, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Van Cleef & Arpels Gardenia Petale

Citrus, green, very fresh and floral. Gardenia, obviously, is the impression I’m supposed to take away from this. A fresh, crisp, dewy gardenia fragrance that I’m tempted to pinpoint as a soliflore. There’s other florals in here, of course, to deepen the fragrance and take it beyond just plain old gardenia. Jasmine, ever the staple, is present as is lily of the valley. All this coming together to support the gardenia and really make it bloom. Gardenia Petale

In Bottle: Sharp and crisp citrus notes right up top. They sort of mask the gardenia and the rest of the florals as they hog up most of the olfactory real estate. Very interesting for a fragrance that focuses on gardenia. There’s sweetness in there too, and I get the distinct impression of dewiness.

Applied: See you later, citrus. The florals bloom immediately on my skin as the citrus notes fly away after leaving their initial almost disinfectant impression on my skin. It’s as if they came out first to scour the canvas before the florals get there. I smell dewy, flower petals. I smell gardenia and jasmine slowly unfolding in a light green, freshly misted bouquet. Gardenia Petale is extremely soft and very airy. The dry down becomes quite interesting as the gardenia is joined by something equally green and just a bit mossy. There’s also something lightly musky about this too as the dry down starts to deepen and the florals lose a little bit of their bloom, letting in smoother mossy notes.

Extra: Van Cleef & Arpels is a jewelry, watch and perfume company founded in 1896. The collection Gardenia Petale is a part of is called the Collection Extraordinaire.

Design: Gardenia Petale, like the rest of the Van Cleef & Arpels collection is bottled very simply in a rectangular glass vessel with a black cap. There’s a little charm thing dangling from the neck which gives the bottle a bit of added flavor. Otherwise it’s very standard and, honestly, standard looks work when they are done right. This bottle design did it right.

Fragrance Family: Soliflore

Notes: Citrus, lily of the valley, gardenia, jasmine, musk.

I often find myself judging soliflores a bit harshly. This is because I really expect them to not only illustrate the experience of what it must be like to smell this flower but to see it and feel it too. Gardenia Petale is a wonderful fragrance that’s really good at all these things, particularly in the seeing sense as I can smell the greenness of the leaves but never lose the sense of white petals.

Reviewed in This Post: Gardenia Petale, 2009, Sample vial.