Happy Spring! Seven Lilacs (perfume reviews)

Lilacs are my favorite part of Spring. As mentioned before, I'm a bit of an idiot because even though I am riotously allergic to them, I sniff them constantly when they're in bloom! When I am near a large lilac bush, I happily clip big bunches of the blossoms and display them all over the house. And take a lot of antihistamines!

The lovelies over at Basenotes did another sample pass (remember the 30 Roses?), this time with lilac perfumes. Did I want in? And how!!

I reviewed 5 scents from that pass and added two others here from my own collection.

  • Highland Lilac of Rochester - pretty damn authentic lilac. A bit of greenness, maybe a a bit of spice? Smells closest to the real deal.

  • French Lilac (Pacifica)- strong lilac. Dabbed it's much more subtle - sprayed it's heady, intense, easily overdone. I have a spray bottle and it's best sprayed and walked through in my opinion, though I enjoyed it dabbed- maybe I'll decant some. Confession: I spray this on my curtain sheers when the window is open!

    Notes: Lilac, Magnolia Leaves, Heliotrope, Ylang Ylang, Hyacinth and subtle notes of Nectarine.
  • After My Own Heart (Ineke) - Soapy lilac and...? It's light and airy. I don't get "raspberry" but this is a slightly fruitier lilac than the others. A little more shrill than the others and turned a bit sour after awhile.
    Notes: bergamot, raspberry, green foliage, lilac, sandalwood, heliotrope and musk.

  • Lilac (Demeter) - like the Pacifica, but softer and a bit more rounded; pretty darned good!

  • Lilas (Cote Bastide) - this one is pretty soft unless really layered on. I wonder if that changes if you spray it (vs. dabbing from tester)? When applied fairly heavily, a somewhat spicy, sultry nuance is apparent. A dirty lilac? Who would have guessed?!

  • Lilac (Elizabeth W) - sour lilac; green underthing. Green fades to bring a more authentic lilac forward. A higher pitched scent than the others, though.
    Notes: A single note from boughs of springtime lilacs brightened with subtle hints of jasmine, neroli, and freesia.

  • En Passant (Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle) - soft and fresh lilac with a watery nuance and a bit of yeasty depth. Not bread, really. Yeast. It opens the scent up and makes it light and airy. (My earlier review)
    Notes: lilac, orange leaves, cucumber and absolute wheat.
    Perfumer: Olivia Giacobetti

Final Thoughts:

The En Passant is definitely my favorite. I find that I tire fairly quickly of a straight-up soliflore of any kind. Adding a little something (that yeasty note and wet, open feeling in EP, the spice and darkness in Lilas) seems to be the key in my opinion. The Demeter was my favorite straight-up lilac, and the Highland Lilac was the most authentic. I may try to find the Lilas somewhere and add it to the collection; the En Passant is a sure thing. It's one of those "stays on your mind" perfumes for me.

Do you like lilacs? Which is your fave?
How do you feel about soliflores?
Which is your favorite flower (perfume or real)?

Note: The pictures on this post are of my lilac, which is young and small (they grow so slowly) and not quite in bloom yet.

Disclosure: the Elizabeth W scent was a bottle provided to me by the company
a few years ago for my other blog (here's the review I did at the time);
the En Passant was a sample vial purchased by me;
the other samples are part of the swap and were consequently
mailed to another Basenotes member after I finished sniffing them.


  1. I JUST ordered the Ineke and the Highland - will sniff soon and report back. Thanks for this post - I feel springy!

  2. I too am usually turned off by soliflores and solinotes and tend to avoid lines that base all their scents around one or two notes (see Jo Malone). That said I certainly like and wear a few soliflores. My favorite floral note, if I only get one, is definitely tuberose. I also love the smell of roses (as in Tea Rose), but never wear rose soliflores.

    I haven't tried any of these lilacs except En Passant, which is lovely!

  3. En Passant, hands down, such ethereal beauty. I enjoy simple lilac soliflores too, but En Passant is ART.

  4. I love lilacs. As in flowers. This is one of a few things that I miss from my "previous life": it's almost impossible to come accross lilacs where I live now, I saw them two times in flower shops with a price tag... around $40 for a single (and not too spectacular) small branch. So I enjoyed your pictures. Thank you.

    As to the perfumes... I keep trying to find one I would like to wear but none of those where I can smell this note as a standing out one plays well on my skin.
    Out of those I tried so far (Pacifica's, Ineke's, FM's and not mentioned here Jo Malone's and Ives Rocher's) Ineke's After My Own Heart was the best... but unfortunately only in 4 to 5 hours after the application. If only I could skip those initial hours. But I still plan to sample more (your choices are noted) and will try to find "my lilac".
    In the list I compiled over time in addition to already mentioned there are: Soivohle Lilacs & Heliotrope, I Profumi di Firenze Lilla, DSH White Lilac and Patou Vacances.

  5. Jen --

    I just ordered the elizabethW, so I'll let you know what I think. I personally love Ineke's After My Own Heart. I haven't tried En Passant. I need to get on that.

    Also ,you won my March drawing, so send me your address! :)


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