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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Three Days of Lily Perfumes. Day One. The Un-lily-like: Calypso St Barth, Marina de Bourbon, Parfums 06130

Writing the review of Amoureuse made me realize that the last white floral bastion has fallen: the lily note, which used to be one of my biggest enemies, has become one of my favorite perfume ingredients. No, Amoureuse did not bring the change along; it simply reminded me how much I adore lilies. I think that if there is just one fragrance responsible for turning me into a lily-fan and perhaps even a white-floral fiend in general, it is the beautiful, creamy and slight spicy Antica Farmacista Casablanca. Granted, even in my lily-hating days, I used to like Angel Lily and Lutens Un Lys, however, the former is really not a lily soliflore by any stretch of imagination but rather a gourmand floral with an obvious likeness to its Big Mamma Angel, and the latter is, to me, a lily scent for the lily-phobic. But more on Un Lys later. I knew that my transformation into a white-floral lover has been complete when one of the scariest white florals of them all, Malle’s Lily Méditerranée, suddenly became breathtakingly exquisite and what’s more important - wearable, on my skin. More on Lys Méditerranée on Friday. Today I am talking about the lily scents I don’t like. As much as I love the note, not all lily scents have been created equal, and this post is about the ones that cower at the lowest stratum of my Lily Hierarchy.

Calypso St Barth Lily. I seriously, seriously dislike this one. I am actually not sure why it is called “Lily”, as the list of ingredients doesn’t even seem to include the note. What it includes, and what I smell, loud and clear, are roses, a generous helping of extremely sweet berries and fruits (black currants, peach, mandarin) and some sandalwood. If I put my imagination into the work-hard mode, I can sort of, kind of envision that the creators might have been trying to suggest the heady sweetness of lilies rather than to go the straightforward route and actually put some lilies into a scent bearing the name “Lily”. They are being creative and kudos to them for that, but the end result is, on my skin, a cloying, syrupy mishmash of fruity notes.

Another “inventive” take on the theme is Lys by Marina de Bourbon. Marina de Bourbon’s signature fragrance is one of my longest standing holy grails, and, out of sheer loyalty (and masochism), over the years I’ve been seeking out other scent from this obscure line. Unfortunately, apart from Marina de Bourbon EDP, the perfumes are nothing to write home about…unless you are writing a lament about the lack of beauty, refinement and originality in modern perfumery. Lys’ long and impressive list of notes (fig, passion fruit, plum, tagette, apple, rose, mimosa, jasmine, cinnamon, cypress, cedar and musk) does not include any sort of lilies, and I cannot in all honesty report that the scent which, two-thirds through its development, does evolve into a cold, somewhat sharp white floral, smells of lilies. What I mostly smell is harsh, robust jasmine which makes me think of Diane Von Furstenberg’s white floral monster that is Tatiana, but sweetened considerably by fruits aplenty. Those fond of figs might be delighted by the figgy- green beginning of Lys, but the note is very short-lived. The fans of dry woody base notes will feel at home at the drydown stage of Lys. Lovers of lily scents should look elsewhere.

Yet another unappealing and, to me, rather un-lily-like lily scent is Lys by Parfums 06130. I tried it a while ago and wrote a review. Having re-sampled it recently, I can say that my opinion hasn’t changed. The scent is as pale, dull and strangely reminiscent of (although much inferior to) another of the brand’s offerings, Yuzu Rouge, as I remembered it.

Tomorrow, the lily scents that are OK But Not Stellar, and on Friday, the post on Lily Perfumes to Die For.

Calypso St Barth Lily is available at Luckyscent, $90.00 for 100ml. Marina de Bourbon is sold at FragranceX, $25.95 for 100ml. 06130 Lys can be found at Aedes, $90.00 for 100ml.

The painting is Lilies by Walter Crane.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh, I love this idea! All I can say about the ones that are named Lily or Lys and do NOT actually have any lily in them is: Off with their heads! I think I am the number one Lily fan of all time, and I get very cross when faced with a misleading "lily" perfume... ;-)

1:37 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Count me in, Marinochka...
Yeccch !
[Or, as we say chez moi, "FEH !"
BTW- 'meh' speaks for itself, but "FEH !" ... is serious business.]

6:55 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I'm w/ Flora - I'm mystified as to why you would have a lily fragrance w/ the complete absence of a lily note. Seriously - why? Did one of the marketing people hope to seduce some hapless woman named Lily by naming a scent after her? Or were they just on the usual drugs?

7:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Okay, can't wait for Lily to die for Friday! :)

8:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Off with their heads indeed! I like that. That would teach them :-)I would be very curious to know what you think of st Barth Lily. For all I know it DOES smell of some lily variety,. If so, I don't ever want to encounter that variety :-)

8:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree, FEH is much stronger than MEH. I say FOOOOO. :-)

8:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Maybe it was named after a the way I love the name Lily and wish it was my name :-) Or Eve. I like Eve too. But I digress. Yes, but then why there are lilies on the bottle? So misleading.

8:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, they will be the usual suspects. You could guess the names right now :-)

8:24 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I am still trying to process your metamorphosis into Floral Girl.:) Despite my nickname, I have no strong feelings one way or another about lily. I don't hate it, but the only perfume I can think of that I really love with it is Passage d'Enfer. Of course, I don't think I've even tried your lilies to die for, so I will wait until Friday. . . .

8:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Have I not ever sent you Casablanca to try? I am not saying it is a masterpiece of perfumery, but it is just so gorgeous. I must send you some asap.

8:27 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

No rubber feet? ;-)

I think I liked the Marina Lys better than you did, but maybe I was just in love with that bottle.

Looking forward to seeing how many of the DKs you're doing, if any, she really works the lily. It's not my favorite note, but I admire it. Bad lily is awful, though.

PS Ina asked for a samp of Black Sea last week, which is how she got the Courtesan. And now she's blogged on it and I'm all filled with ... euphoria? ;-) Can't wait to see what you think.

8:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

i am only reviewing one DK. The liliest of all her lilies :-)
If both you and Ina loved Courtesan...well, I shuld pretty much order a bottle right now, shouldn't I. :-)

8:41 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll learn to love lily through you, my blossom.

Psyched for Friday.

8:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Have you tried Lutens Un Lys? it might gently and softly turn you into a lily lover :-)

8:51 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Ava Luxe Lily, which is the only lily soliflore I own. I do want to branch out and discover others. I am looking forward to Friday, so I can read about which scents I should look into. BTW, beautiful painting.

9:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I've yet to try that one. is it a "cold" (read, non-sweet) or a "sweet" lily?

9:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just went and spritzed some on. It's not that sweet. Just the natural sweetness of the flower. It's slightly spicy, as lilies are. But, it dries down powdery and musky, and I'm not sure you would like that sort of thing. Do you?

9:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I tried the Marina de Bourbon Un Lyse and yes absolutely no lilies, rather it turned into Light Blue on me. I've so far tried two Ava Luxe Lily scents: Madonna Lily (think of it as the Lily version of Kai) and Stargazer Lily (more in the family of Donna Karan Gold, this is even more intense).

9:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't mind powdery, unless it is hyper-powdery, a la Teint de Neige. Those kinds of scents give me an awful headache for some reason. but I am sure this one is not like that all.

9:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I should check out AL's site, sounds like she has lots of lilies.

9:38 AM EDT  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

I LOVE LILY!! So I'm loving this!

OK, M, inspired by you, I've just gone & dabbed myself with a sample of AF Casablanca that I've had sitting in the sample queue for a while. Mmmmmmm, this is bee-yoo-tee-ful. I'm thinking this is the lily analogue to Jasmin de Nuit -- it's a little spicy so far. I'm imagining wearing this outside on a hot day, how the scent would curl up all around me in a steamy lily cloud. Yummy.

I like a great big whack-you-over-the-head lily-- I love Lys Med. But I have been noticing lately that some of my frags with very prominent lily notes seem to annoy my sinuses a little. Anyone else have this? I've chosen to ignore it, because I'm not going to give up my lily frags, but it would be great to find a truly wonderful one that doesn't give me the prickles.

10:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Casablanca is gorgeous stuff! I think it's the cloves that you are smelling when you smell something spicy there.

I think the lily that won't irritate your sinuses is Goutal Des Lys. It's quite delicate, but in a sense that it is too subtle.

10:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes - Un Lys is the one white floral so far that I well and truly get...

11:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Ah! It confirms my suspicion that Un Lys IS the white floral for white floral non-lovers.

11:13 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I love lily scents, but I hate it when they muck it up with too much other stuff (or worse, don't have it at all)

11:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I couldn't agree more! :-)

11:53 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

CSB Lily sounds horrible, thank you for saving me the trouble of trying it! Totally agree on 06130 Lys -- huge disappointment.

12:01 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I just couldn't stomach the CBS one. There is something in there that makes me extremely uncomfortable when I try to wear it.

12:03 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Marina de Bourbon needs to work on the box too. It looks like a box of tampons to me.

Oh, and our own dear Marina, I didn't get back to you on my first impression of Diorissimo because I came down with a virus. Here is my experience with Diorissimo: "Oh, how beautiful! Oh, it's gone!" Ten minutes tops. And it was the extrait. At least I've smelled it now.

3:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Tampons! *snickers*
Aw, sorry Diorissimo wasn't long-lasting on you. Amd extrait! Bugger. It does last very well on me, in EDT.

3:06 PM EDT  

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