Three Days of Lily Perfumes. Day Two: Jill Stuart, Crown Perfumery, Yves Rocher, Donna Karan
Today I am focusing on the lily scents that are more to my liking than the ones I discussed yesterday, but, with one exception, don’t quite reach the level of full bottle worthiness. In other words, close but no cigar.
Jill Stuart Night Blooming Lily aka Stuart’s answer to Lutens. In my opinion, Night Blooming Lily strives to achieve the same soft, velvety effect as Un Lys and ultimately fails, simply because it overloads on vanilla and caramel, which take the emphasis from the floral aspect and push the scent into the realm of gourmand. While at the beginning the lily note is very apparent (and very pretty), it soon becomes overwhelmed by the vanillic sweetness. Not even the piquancy of carnations can cut through the sweet fluffiness of the foody accord. Don’t take me wrong, this is a lovely, extremely wearable scent, but caramel and vanilla make the potentially so very elegant lily note smell…for the lack of a better word…common, and I find that disappointing.
Crown Perfumery Alpine Lily. I couldn’t decide whether to talk about this scent during the lily of the valley week or to include it into the lily days. The muguet, which is declared in the notes, is quite strong, but alongside its cool floral verdancy I also smell a stronger, high-pitched, colder – and “whiter” - flower, which I can’t help but think of as white lilies. Dabbed on, Alpine Lily is refreshing and airy, absolutely non-sweet, a welcome break from the many vanilla and/or fruit laden lily renditions. In the heart, I smell slight booziness of roses, which adds a little bit of warmth to this chilly composition; the base is woody and dry. When sprayed or over-applied, however, the scent becomes sharp and dusty. Still, it is a beautiful, refined take on lilies (and lilies of the valley), and I might eventually get a bottle.
Yves Rocher Pur Desir de Lys is a bargain of the bunch – if you can manage to obtain it that is, because it seems that the American branch of Yves Rocher does not carry it or perhaps it has been discontinued altogether. The scent is uncomplicated, fleeting but very pretty, a fresh, green lily rendition, which too seems to include a good dose of muguet (noticeable in the very beginning) and quite a lot of green, grassy notes. A small amount of vanilla softens the sharp accords but does not add any sweetness to the blend, which is a plus. Pur Desir de Lys is a little too simple for my taste, but I find it much more appealing than some of the overpriced, overly sweet lily scents out there (yes, I am talking to you, Calypso St Barth Lily).
Donna Karan Gold. Karan is famously enamored with Casablanca lilies and uses them in her scents as often as she possibly can, and Gold is built around the intoxicating aroma of these heady, nectarous flowers. My relationship with the scent evolved from the acute desire to, following the application of Gold, crawl out of my skin and run away shrieking in horror to the yearning for a full bottle. In fact, Gold’s inclusion among the OK But Not Stellar lily scents is unfair and I would like you to consider it as the prelude to the Friday’s Lilies to Die For. I actually think that it is a composition of rather magnificent beauty. In fact, I want to use this opportunity and to applaud Karan and the perfumers, Yann Vasnier and Rodrigo Flores-Roux, for creating a scent that is – gasp!- neither fruity nor aquatic nor gourmand, but, in our puerile and politically correct times, is a rare species indeed – a luscious, sophisticated floral blend. The fragrance of Casablanca lilies, enhanced by cloves (which underscores the spicy aspect of the lilies) and amber, balsam and acacia (which add a warm, resinous undertone to the composition) is so opulent and somehow effervescent, it makes me giddy. The dry, slightly earthy patchouli in the base is an unexpected and welcome twist…it is like a lecherous gleam in the eyes of a regal beauty dressed up in a magnificent dress of dazzling white and shining gold…Unapproachable and majestic by day, she sneaks out at night to dance naked under the light of the full moon…and to generally get up to no good. There is most definitely a bottle of Gold in my near future.
Where to find the scents discussed today: Night Blooming Lily at Beautyhabit, $62.00 for 1.7oz; Alpine Lily at First in Perfume EUR89.00 for 3.3oz; Pur Desir de Lys sometimes on eBay, inexpensively; Gold at Saks, $95.00 for 3.3oz.