40 Days and 40 Nights of Fragrance Notes: Lavender
The Lavender Hill Mob
By Jessica M
The smell of lavender is so familiar that we don’t always appreciate
it. Sometimes we write it off as commonplace, old-fashioned, even
boring – but I’m taking this opportunity to reconsider it with an open
mind (and an open nose!).
Lavender oil is produced from the stalks and flowers of the lavender
plant, and it smells herbal and slightly flowery at the same time.
It’s a versatile essence for fragrance, since it combines well with
citrus, floral, and woodsy notes. The lavender scent of many ordinary
body products has a soapy, synthetic effect, but true lavender
fragrance is greener and feels more “alive.” It can be work by men as
well as women, and although it’s known for being relaxing, it also has
something rejuvenating about it.
mint family of plants, and its botanical name comes from the Latin
verb “lavare,” to wash – since the ancient Romans valued it for its
disinfectant properties. In the Middle Ages, lavender was praised in
early herbal studies for its healing effects on the body and the mind.
The Elizabethans scented their homes with sachets, potpourri, and
pomanders containing dried lavender flowers. Lavender was a key
ingredient in the first Eau de Cologne blend, created by Jean-Marie
Farina (1709) and in Guerlain’s original Eau de Cologne Impériale
(1853), and Napoleon is said to have enjoyed wearing lavender water.
We still use lavender as it has been used for many centuries – to
scent our bath, our linens, and ourselves.
some trouble finding one. Lavender-scented bath and body products
were everywhere, of course, but actual lavender fragrances were harder
to locate. (Remember, this was also before internet-shopping took
off!) I did come across Geo F. Trumper Lavender Water at the men’s
counter in Barneys, but that blend was still slightly too woodsy and
masculine for me. My search was rewarded with a Lavender eau de
toilette from the original Demeter fragrance line (when it was a small
indie brand created by Christopher Brosius, who later founded CB I
Fortunately, there seems to have been a small lavender revival over
the past decade, with several classic, mainstream, and independent
perfume houses adding lavender fragrances to their product catalogues.
I like having a lavender perfume handy for warm days, or moments when
I feel a bit tense, or times when I just want to wear something simple
and fresh and timeless. Anyone looking for a “clean”-type scent
should remember lavender: it set the trend, a very long time ago!
Here are some lavender-based perfumes to try and enjoy:
Crabtree & Evelyn Lavender Water
Crabtree & Evelyn Lavender Eau de Toilette (new, with a lovely bottle)
Caron Les Plus Belles Lavandes
Elizabeth W Lavender Eau de Parfum
L’Occitane Eau de la Recolte Bleue Lavender Harvest
Roxanna Villa / Illuminated Perfume Vera
Tauer Perfumes Reverie au Jardin
Disclosure: The perfumes mentioned in this post were purchased (or
sampled in stores) by the reviewer.
Reviewer: Jessica M
Title: the name of a movie from 1951, starring Alec Guinness, Stanley
Holloway, and Audrey Hepburn.
Photo Credits: Lavender flowers, via Wikipedia. “Lavender, Temple
Bar,” by William Marshall Craig, from “The Cries of London,” 1804, via
Graphic Credit: Melanie Parker