40 Days and 40 Nights of Fragrance Notes: Lilies
Gilding the Lily
By Jessica M
For my last contribution to this “40 Days...” series, I thought I’d
write a few words about lily notes in perfume -- not to be confused
with lily-of-the-valley, which Patti has already discussed so
The lily is such a symbolic flower. The fleur-de-lys, or “lily
flower,” is an emblem of France. A lily often represents purity, and
in Christianity, it is associated with the Virgin Mary. It’s often
used as a sign of rebirth for Easter (very timely!) and for funerals.
Perhaps all this symbolism distracts us from the fact that the lily is
also a beautiful note for perfume.
sculptural lines and a cool, creamy scent. A lily can be almost too
perfect, like a Hitchcock blonde. I prefer lilies when they’re
slightly mussed up, with their pollen starting to fall in fine golden
dust and the very edges of their petals beginning to curl. In
fragrance, I like to smell a lily note brightened with leafy-green
accents or warmed with a hint of spice or a breath of salty air. Then
it feels a little more approachable, even a bit decadent.
I usually prefer lily (and many white floral notes, like gardenia or
freesia) in home fragrance, but in springtime, I often crave a
lily-inspired perfume too. Lily can feel polished but fresh, in a
very classic way.
Antica Farmacista Casablanca Lily
Donna Karan Gold
Frédéric Malle Un Lys Mediterranée
Penhaligon’s Lily & Spice
Serge Lutens Un Lys
Van Cleef & Arpels Lys Carmin
(Many thanks to Annie for inviting me to join this series!)
Disclosure: The perfumes mentioned in this post were purchased (or
sampled in stores) by the reviewer.
Reviewer: Jessica M
Photo Credits: White lily via Wikipedia. Paul Berthon, cover of
L’Ermitage, c. 1897, via Wikimedia Commons.
Graphic Credit: Melanie Parker