There are several major types of lilacs, that I studied last week.
- the very anisic type (like the anisic acetate and alcohol on a sweet background)
- the powdery heliotrope type
- the jasmine creamy, indolic and fresh but spicy
- the soft hyacinth, benzyl acetate and green
- the pungent terpenic and slightly green aldehydic - lily of the valley
Some types are very surprising, they do not smell like the "regular" lilac blossoms and I'm sure that on a blind test, they would be mistaken with other flowers.
Smelling lilacs and their shade one can understand the different accords in classic perfumery. One lilac, very humble and almost purple, has a special jasmine powdery note that recalls with precision 2 perfumes - Magie (Lancôme) and Charlie (Revlon). Others have a vanilla - foody note contrasted with very green shades.
In a bouquet, lilacs can do a magnificent scent when mixed with lily of the valley. They compliment each other and the rosy lemony muguet brings even more diffusion to the flower arrangement.
Lilac used to be a universal flower - it is an harmony of many different notes (unlike rose/violet/orange flower that are fundamental notes) and was used like "universal harmonizer" in complex compositions.
Lilac is not an easy theme today in fine fragrance. The note has been used so much in functional products and for white soaps / lotions that a new interpretation is very challenging. A modern type, very marine and almost not sweet is En Passant (Frédéric Malle).
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art