fragrance

EauMG’s Guide to Lilac Perfumes

Lilac Perfume Guide

One of the many reasons that I love spring is because of lilac and the blooming of other “purple flowers” like iris, heliotrope, wisteria and hyacinth. Lilacs are exceptional. These shrubs bloom with abundancy with an aroma that can fill an entire neighborhood. Their fragrance is almost more jasmine than jasmine. It’s honeyed and indolic

I once had a neighbor with a back yard with a few old growth lilacs in both purple and white. And a sin I did commit, I coveted my neighbor’s back lawn, a hideaway of pastel purple and white petals. I’d open all my windows just to try to be a part of that. One day we were engaging in some small talk and she dropped something on me that I wasn’t ready for. She said she hated the lilac trees and their “awful smell”. Out of all the things in the world to complain about! My grandmother always said lilacs scared away ghosts and negative spirits. I knew there was something up with this neighbor.

It’s my belief that the best aromatics are surrounded by the most lore. If we go by my beliefs, then lilac is one of the best. This is a flower shrouded in mythology (Fragrantica has a nice overview). They represent beauty and rebirth in many cultures, a welcoming of spring. and new life¹. Another thing my grandmother said, if you drink the lilacs, you’d be joyous. I’ve always wondered what she was mixing it with…

This is my comprehensive guide of perfumes that I’ve tried that predominately showcase lilac. Most of this guide of 24 perfumes features straightforward lilac soliflores. However, I included some that I think display (a lot of) lilac in a clever way. From fresh to green to powdery, this guide should have your lilac needs covered!

purple lilacs

Under $100* Perfumes:

BPAL Les Fleurs du Mal perfume oil – Apparently Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a few lilac-centric perfumes; however, this is the only one that I’ve tried. It’s like little rose and lilac guest soaps. Retails for about $18 at BPAL. Full review here.

Demeter Lilac Cologne – This one reminds me of the Pacifica one but with an arguably shorter “lifespan”. However, it’s still a good lilac soliflore that smells like an idealized version of lilacs in bloom. Retails for $20 at Demeter. 

Pacifica French Lilac EDP – This is one of those simple lilac soliflores that I love. It reminds me of lilac and its cheap. The downside is that it doesn’t last on the skin very long but that doesn’t bother me. I also like to layer it over its corresponding layering products like lotion and bar soap. Retails for $22 at Pacifica. Review here.

Yves Rocher Un Matin au Jardin Purple Lilac EDT – It’s a good lilac soliflore that wears more like a body spray. I don’t mind spraying it with abandon because that makes me feel really indulgent. Retails for $28 at Yves Rocher.

Elizabeth W Lilac EDP – This is a sharper, greener lilac soliflore paired with tartness of a citrus-hued neroli. Retails for $35 at Elizabeth W.

Sage Machado Amethyst Perfume – Amethyst is one of those powdery “purple florals” that I love. It’s like a sweet yet powdery blend of lavender, violet and lilacs. It manages to simultaneously remind me of tea party biscuits and vintage cosmetics. Retails $45 at Beautyhabit.

Parfums de Nicolai Petit Ange Cologne – No joke, this is meant to be for babies and kids. But, guess what? You can wear it too. It’s a light, sheer angelic lilac with darling clementines. It’s great for summer. Retails for $45 at Beautyhabit.

Highland Lilac of Rochester EDP – This is one of those old school, thick and luscious lilac soliflores that smells realistic without smelling wispy. This is my favorite beefed up lilac soliflore. Retails for $50 at Highland. 

DSH Perfumes White Lilac EDP – White Lilac is a pretty ethereal lilac with sour apples and musk paired with lilac. I’ve always thought of it like a ghost lilac. Retails for $70 at DSH Perfumes. Review here.

Ralph Lauren Lauren EDT – This is such a good green, crisp floral that reminds me of how many excellent designer perfumes there out there that I accidentally ignore. There’s a lot in this, including a rather gorgeous, indolic yet woody lilac. Retails for $80 at Nordstrom.

Chloe, Love Chloe EDP – This is one of those simple, elegant florals that reminds me of lilacs and rice powder. It’s a powdery, cosmetic-like lilac. Retails for $90 at Nordstrom. Review here.

Neil Morris Rainflower EDP – This is a melange of spring florals like lilac that are peppery and mingling with dirt. Retails for $95 at Neil Morris. Review here.

INeKE After My Own Heart EDP – This is like a fruity lilac that leans a little more “soapy fresh”. It’s one of those more complex lilacs that is still very much a lilac…but not at all boring. Retails for $95 at B-Glowing.

white lilacs

Over $100 Perfumes:

Guerlain Idylle EDP – This is one of those that may be a slight stretch to be included in a soliflore guide… Idylle is fresh yet creamy floral with powdery lilac. It has really grown on me throughout the years. Retails for $104 at Saks. Full review here.

Bruno Fazzalori Seyrig EDP – Seyrig is one of those aldehydic, soapy versions of lilac that feels vintage. It’s a classic floral with a punk twist. Retails for $110 at Bruno Fazzalori. Full review here. 

AERIN Lauder Lilac Path EDP – This is a pretty good lilac soliflore. It’s rather sheer and frankly, reminds me of the Pacifica one. But, it’s still good even though I complain about the price. Retails for $110 at Nordstrom.

i Profumi di Firenze Lilla Serenella EDP – I think this is an excellent lilac soliflore. It’s light and airy like a spring breeze but it has enough body to it to actually last on the skin. Retails for $110 at Beautyhabit. Full review here. 

YOSH White Flowers EDP – But, it’s called “White Flowers”, right? It’s more like fresh spring flowers with crushed greens and earth. It’s like lilac and lily of the valley. And like I’ve already said, sometimes lilac is more jasmine than jasmine. Retails for $110 at B-Glowing. Full review here.

DSH Perfumes La Belle Saison Parfum – This botanical lilac soliflore smells delightfully vintage with a bright citrus opening, indolic florals and a skanky dry-down. It’s amazing. Retails for $130 at DSH Perfumes. 

Comme des Garçons EDP – The weirdest lilac ever and I love it! It’s an industrial lilac with so many delightful synth accords like leather and glue. If you think of lilacs as “old fashioned”, you need to try this. It’s FUTURISTIC OUTERSPACE LILAC! Retails for $140 at Beautyhabit.

The Different Company Sublime Balkiss EDP – This isn’t as straightforward as many in this guide, but it belongs here. It’s like a dry, green floral with forest berries and flowers. I love it. It’s like a cold spring day and lilacs. Retails for $165 at Beautyhabit.

Frederic Malle En Passant EDP – This is my favorite complex lilac. It’s sort of weird (like yeast and cucumbers in a floral)  but still a really pretty, green and sheer lilac. Retails for $175 at Editions des Parfums. 

Amouage Lilac Love EDP – It’s a powdery gourmand floral that tricks you into thinking it’s a lilac because of the jasmine and the purple bottle. It’s really enjoyable but pretty pricey (like close to $400). I don’t think it’s in the US yet. 

JAR Jarling – And while we’re on the topic of pricey…Jarling is a rich lilac and almond that is strangely, almost edible. And it’s JAR so it’s probably crazy expensive. And you can only get it at JAR boutiques.

When it comes to lilac soliflores, I’m starting to think I have a curse. Every single lilac perfume that I love gets discontinued – Roja Dove Lilac Extrait, Phaedon Lilas du Rue, Jo Malone London White Lilac & Rhubarb, Soivohle Lilacs & Narcissus  and Diptyque Jardin Clos. And why is Caron Nocturnes so hard to find now? The worst part is that I don’t have full-bottles of most of these. Now when there’s a lilac that I love, I buy it. I try to learn from my mistakes.

My personal favorites in this guide: Highland Lilac of Rochester, i Profumi di Firenze Lillas Serenella, The Different Company Sublime Balkiss, Sage Amethyst, Malle En Passant and Comme de Garcons. I also love the cheap thrills of Pacifica French Lilac and Yves Rocher Lilas Mauve.

If I had to choose five from this guide to help someone experience the different angles of a lilac soliflore, I’d recommend the following:

INeKe After My Own Heart – A breezy greener lilac with fruits.

Malle En Passant – Sheer, aquatic white lilac. Like a lilac by the sea.

Highland Lilac of Rochester – Because it’s an old school lilac soliflore that smells really lilac-y

Chloe, Love Chloe – Powdery lilac floral that’s modern.

Comme de Garcons – Because it’s the “weird” one.

When I do these guides, I always miss something. If you have a lilac-centric perfume to add, please mention those in the comments. And if you tried any lilac perfumes, which are your favorites? I feel like I’m always on the search for lilac perfumes.

*Prices are as of early 2016 in US dollars for a small full-size bottle.

¹And apparently it’s associated with death because Victorians didn’t want us to enjoy anything. More here. 



*Yves Rocher, Beautyhabit, Saks, B-Glowing and Nordstrom all contain affiliate links. Thanks! Pics from freeimages.com.

26 thoughts on “EauMG’s Guide to Lilac Perfumes

  1. I love this guide! And I love that so many lilac perfumes are actually quite inexpensive. Affordable luxuries, and all that. And of course, I always push BPAL’s “The Lilac Wood” too, that’s one of my go-to lilac perfumes. It’s a green, bright lilac and I wear tons of it this time of year.

    My grandparents’ house in Pennsylvania bordered an alley full of lilacs. I always think of spring visits to them when I think lilacs. Someday I want a back yard like your former neighbor’s!

    1. You need to keep pushing them! I’ve added those to my cart before, get distracted. And that’s why I haven’t tried those yet! It sounds perfect.

      Just don’t complain about it! I mean, what a thing to complain about. That was like a magical pixie back yard.

  2. I once lived in an apartment on the first floor of a Victorian house. In the backyard were 25 foot lilacs and I fell in love with them. I cut as many as I had vases for and the entire place had that lovely aroma. Thanks for reminding me of how much I love lilacs. I ordered the Pacifica so I can remind myself more often!

    1. That sounds heavenly!

      That’s why I keep the Pacifica one around. It reminds me of spring and pretty blossoms. My mother-in-law loved my bottle so much (instant memories for her too), that I bought her one.

  3. I love lilacs too, although in the short time span I wear them, I’ve come to only keep the lilac perfumes I truly love. Amongst them: Vacances. Obviously I love the vintage version, and I can see why you wouldn’t want to add it here as it’s so hard to come by, however there is the new version too. It’s very lilacy, even if nowhere near as interest as its predecessor. Did you try it?

    1. In the US, any bottle of Vacances is difficult to come by! I have smelled vintage because a lovely friend has an amazing collection of vintage perfumes. And you’re right. It’s stunning. It has a very prominent heady lilac in it.

      I don’t know what is going on in the US with perfumes. For example, Caron Nocturnes, even the new version wasn’t too bad as a “lilac”. Now I can’t find Caron easily. These classics are getting harder and harder to find.

      1. Yes, Caron… I thought many of the urn frags had been dc’ed. It turns out you ‘just’ need to go to one of their urn shops in person, or write to them and tell them which perfume you want. That is if you know which perfume you want, because many of them are not even on the web site…
        If you know where to buy Nocturne online in EU and you need a Nocturne mule to forward it, you can always contact me.

        1. Really?! I had no clue. That’s crazy. Of course, they aren’t going to sell now if they are that limited. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy of discontinuing these…

          Oh, that’s really nice to know! Hopefully, this year I will have an Euro trip and be able to pick stuff like this up. That’s a good enough reason, right? 😉

  4. Hey Victoria,
    The neighbours across the road had a hedge of lilacs that would be cut back every year to 5 foot stumps. It was part of the yearly cycle of seasons in our street. I loved the flowers but not for their fragrance, it was for the multi flowered stems. It always seemed like such an abundance of flowers.
    It wasn’t till South Korea a few years ago that the scent captivated me. Lilacs grow around one of the Art Galleries in Seoul and their fragrance seemed so out of place there that it surprised me. Stole my heart.
    No, I don’t have any Lilac fragrances.
    Portia xxx

    1. I guess I’ve never really understood disliking “good” smells since I’m so used to disgusting city smells or visiting in-laws in rural Nowheresville downwind of hog farms…

      A city contrast is the best 🙂 This is why magnolias have grown on me!

  5. Love love lilac. Have one double pinkish white one and am putting a second one in this weekend. I really like the one from either Bourbon French or Hove in New Orleans. Pure and simple lilac. I have a decant of the Malle and for the life of me I just don’t get it. I was thinking doughy, but yeasty might do. Or maybe it reminds me of something that would be appropriate for a funeral. An odd one. Must try again. Like the Pacifica and no it doesn’t last, but cheap so spray away. Would love to try the Amouage. But ouch that price if I like it. I’ve gotten to try a number of the line and luckily only really like Fate and Ubar. Maybe not so luckily. Won’t even think about the JAR. La-la-la, hands over the ears.

    1. Oh, yeah! I totally forgot about the Bourbon French one, which I really do like (need to add that and I remember there’s a House of Cherry Bomb one that’s good).

      The Malle one is really gothy or moody. I have yet to review it, but there’s something “off” about it but that’s why I like it. So many of the lilac soliflores are prim and proper. The Malle one isn’t.

      With the Pacifica and Yves Rocher, I don’t care about the price. I just spray away (even use as a linen spray). And the body products in both of those are very nice.

      I only tried the Amouage because a local friend and perfume lover bought it on a trip. It’s very, very nice but the price…I need more time with it to figure out if I think it’s “worth it”. First impression, it’s really pretty but that price…same with JAR! I love JAR but yeah, la-la-la drowning my own voice out!

      1. Ohhh and the lilac candle that Voluspa made. I still have one which has a bit of scent left. They don’t make it anymore. Jeezz I wish they did. That was wonderful. Even my hubs liked it. And he’s not much of a candle guy.

        1. Why do they stop making all the best lilac fragrances? I don’t think I’ve tried that one. I currently have this B&BW lilac candle that I bought on sale last summer. It’s actually really good. It’s more of a powdery, indolic lilac which may explain why I like it. It’s almost gone though.

  6. My mother’s signature scent when I was very young and even before I came along was Ralph Lauren Lauren. I *think* I have faint memories of what it smelled like but would love to smell it again. Though, I’m sure a new bottle wouldn’t smell the same as a bottle of it when it was originally introduced. I remember playing with the bottle because I loved the square shape and holding the bottle up to the light so I could see the light shine through the red glass. She switched to Clinique Aromatics in the mid 80s which I also have fond memories of.

    A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to snag a bottle of Chloe Love Chloe at a Ross of all places and it was even on clearance! I always loved the ads for it, very chic 70s vibe. I love the bottle and the box color too.

    Those are the only two on your list that I have any experience with, I’m sorely lacking in the lilac department apparently. I would love to sniff Comme des Garçons EDP, it sounds so interesting! Great list!!

    1. My mother also wore it. I remember she had what was like a travel or purse one too. I was fascinated by it because it looked like a burgundy dagger. I was obsessed with it.

      Wow. I never find the good stuff when I randomly go in. I adore the bottle, the colors, the fragrance. I rarely reference the ad when reviewing but I had to with Love Chloe. It was truly perfect and conveyed the beauty of the fragrance.

      My own collection is lacking because I snoozed on buying the ones I liked and now they are discontinued and stupid expensive. I like the CdG because it’s just so darn CdG-ish.

Comments are closed.