A Snapshot of Summer Air – Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia Perfume Review

Lys Soleia - An olfactory snapshot of summer air

Lys Soleia – An olfactory snapshot of summer air

Good lily fragrances are hard to find and I can only think of two that are really worth considering, both of which are at the far end of the price spectrum; there’s Frederic Malle’s Lys Méditerranée (über pricey) and Donna Karan’s Gold (cheap as chips). But now there’s a new kid on the block, a lily created by Guerlain meaning that it’s a high quality piece of fragrant art that you’re going to love.

Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria line was created in 1999 and is intended to be more accessible than the rest of the Guerlain collection thanks to its much lower price point. The Aqua Allegoria fragrances each take inspiration from nature and in true Guerlain-style they showcase some of the best quality ingredients that money, and serious Guerlain-klout can buy. Being the fool that I am, up until two weeks ago I had pretty much ignored the entire Aqua Allegoria line, which is particularly stupid when you think about their attractive price point and good reputation. But that soon changed when I stumbled upon the line’s latest addition “Lys Soleia”.

Lys Soleia is a damn good interpretation of one of nature’s most vocal flowers, the lily, and it manages to perfectly capture the scent of the flower in an addictively gorgeous fragrance. Guerlain describe Lys Soleia as “The spirit of nature. The spirit of lily” [1] but it is so much more than just the spirit, it is an olfactory snapshot of summer air, captured in an instant and saved forever.

The Aqua Allegorias

The Aqua Allegorias

The Notes

Top: Bergamot, Lemon and Palm Leaf
Heart: Ylang Ylang and Exotic Fruit Notes
Base: Vanilla Tuberose, Sun Drenched Notes and Tonkin Musk

How Does it Smell?

Lys Soleia is incredibly fresh and green during its opening. Sparkling lemon is paired with green, peppery stems and the first floral hues of lily to create a fragrance that is drenched in sunlight. The opening is a good prelude to what comes next; a bright and breezy white floral with tropical facets that feels sun kissed rather than vampish.

The lily at the heart of Lys Soleia is photorealistic, it has everything you would expect from the flower; crisp green-ness, salty hammy-ness and a big dollop of creamy floral sweetness. Guerlain have decided to pair the lily with “a note of ylang ylang” [2], and it adds a tropical feel to Lys Soleia, mainly in the form of a creamy unripe-banana vibe that also intensifies the fragrance’s green quality.

During my testing of Lys Soleia I had failed to notice that it contains a fairly strong amount of tuberose (shock horror I know) until Birgit of Olactoria’s Travels mentioned that it was quit prominent to her nose. This tuberose note is much more subliminal for me and now that I know that it is there I can definitely detect the rubbery texture that it adds  to Lys Soleia without taking over (thanks B!).

Guerlain is one house that well known for its beloved use of vanilla and Lys Soleia is no exception. In a surprising detour from its diffusive white floral sing-song, the base focuses solely on the most gorgeous, creamy and gourmand vanilla, with remnants of the spicy aspects of the lily giving the vanilla an unusual spiky quality before the whole thing softens to a clean, fuzzy white musk.

Lys Soleia was a surprise for me, it’s a high quality, complex white floral at an attractive price. The silage and longevity are moderate, I wouldn’t mind there being a bit more oomph in both areas (when do I not want more oomph?!) but a good few sprays will keep you sorted for most of the day. It’s safe to say that I’ve found my summer scent for 2012, all I need to do now is wait for that elusive British summer to turn up…


Lys Soleia is available in 75ml and 125ml Eau de Toilette with prices starting at £33.

The Aqua Allegoria line is known for its ephemeral editions, in the sense that fragrances can be added and disappear just after one season, who knows whether Lys Soleia will join the likes of Pampelune & Herba-Fresca and become a permanent addition to the lineup, one can only hope!


Sample via Escentual.com. Image 1 embelezzia.com. Image 2 parfumerie.nl. [1] & [2] guerlain.com. Notes via osmoz.com.


30 thoughts on “A Snapshot of Summer Air – Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia Perfume Review

  1. I tried a sample of this and really didn’t like it. But now that I’m reading your review, I think I need to give it another try. I really didn’t give it a fair chance, washing it off in the first 30 minutes, I never got to that delicious vanilla base. I’m not sure what weather I should give this another try in. Our summer has finally arrived with temperatures hovering around 32C. Wonder if I should try it now or wait til the temperatures drop back closer to a more tolerable 24C.

  2. I definitely need to check this out, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they have it at the airport when I’m travelling next week (my hometown beeing a Guerlain wasteland and all). Donna Karan Gold is my most recent perfume-love and the only one I’ve bought a back-up bottle of, the local beaty-store still had some bottles left.

  3. I’ve never found a lily to love but then I haven’t tired the Malle, which I should. This one sounds like a great holiday frag. I would imagine the AAs aren’t known for their drydowns so the vanilla base sounds like a definite plus point and so is the price.

  4. I have been dying to try this, and my local Sephora keeps, very stubbornly, not stocking it! I love a good lily, I finally broke down and bought Un Lys a few months ago. Am loving it’s photorealistic stargazer scent, and it has opened the door to further exploration of the note. By the way, is Lys Soleia stargazer, or something else?

  5. I will have to try this one again. At first whiff, I wasn’t that impressed. I am a big fan of Mandarine Basilic. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for this lily? I’ll have to give it another go – can’t be so dismissive, right?

  6. Sounds gorgeous. If you can be bothered, and can get a sniff, knowing your love of white florals, you might like Ylang Vanille. Admittedly, it is plasticky, and off-putting in a certain sense, but it is also rather gorgeous after the ten minute stage. I still love it, wear it, and procure old bottles of it all these years later. A 7/10 scent at best, but sometimes those are the ones that stay with you if you know what I mean.

    • I have a sample of Ylang Vanille and completely agree, it’s fabulous and I love that plasticky vibe it has. I totally get what you mean, some of the best scents are the ones that are just everyday kind of things.

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  8. I truly fell in love with this after reading Birgit’s affirmation of it, tried it, and fell crash bang for it wholeheartedly. The only other AA Guerlain I love is the Herba Fresca, deeply evocative of other wordly memories. I wish more than anything that there existed a scent like Lys Soleia with something of a drydown, but I know that this is the antethisis of AA.. I know the line and do love it for it’s own self, but I also crave a longer lasting feeling of this, what I can only describe, as a skin scent. It’s delicate and profound, but I do want “more” of it, to experience it in a sort of mutli-faceted way, long into the evening from the morning’s first spritz. I wany something I can taste, all of these elements, but …… more!

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  14. I meant to thank you a while ago for this review, that lead me to a bottle of LS. I *adore* lillies, and none of the lily fragrances I’ve found so far really work for me. (The Malle one goes screechy acid green on me after about half an hour. I was so disappointed by that. The two Tom Form ones I’ve tried vanish within quarter of an hour. Insane! I had such hopes for Lys Fume.) But I spotted a wildly discounted bottle of this at House of Fraser, remembered your review, and pounced on it. This is lighter than my perfect dream lily, but that that heart feels so true to the flower, and it blends prettily with all the other layers in there. So, thank you. I’d never even have considered this otherwise, and I’m enjoying it.

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