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”  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.
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” , 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.  &  guerlain.com. Notes via osmoz.com.