Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Soivohle' Lilacs & Heliotrope

Liz Zorn, the nose behind Soivohle, creates some truly unique and artisan fragrances. Sometimes, in the case of Underworld, Oudh Lacquer and Purple Love Smoke, it takes a fragrance connoisseur to appreciate the brilliant twists and turns of her work. Other times, Zorn creates beautifully rendered true-to-nature scents; such as Acoustic Flower, Grand Canyon, Violets and Rainwater and today’s focus: Lilacs & Heliotrope.

When I heard Zorn had created something called Lilacs & Heliotrope, I couldn’t wait to try it. I knew from wearing many of her other scents that she could do this like nobody’s business. I knew the lilac would be ethereal and true and never glance towards air-freshener-land.

Lilacs & Heliotrope (L&H) is a slightly green tinged pillow of lilacs floating in a sky made of marshmallow heliotrope clouds. It begins with the emphasis on lilac blooms and leaves over a billowy heliotrope note. L&H is relatively linear on me, except that it begins with mostly lilac but ends with mostly heliotrope. The lilac here is subtle and there is a whiff of green leaves keeping it from becoming cloying. The base of heliotrope, musk and benzoin reminds me of LT Piver Heliotrope Blanc, which is my very favorite heliotrope fragrance. The heliotrope in L&H is of the floral variety, not the foodie sort. If you’ve ever smelled real heliotrope blooms or LT Piver Heliotrope Blanc, you’ll understand the difference (there is no candy or syrupy-sugary sweetness here; this is all floral sweetness). Once dried down L&H becomes a delicate balance of heliotrope, soft white musks, benzoin (which smells like vanilla to me) and the slightest sprinkling of earthy moss.

Lilacs & Heliotrope is gorgeous. In fact, I’ve decided I must carry this at The Posh Peasant. Our Soivohle stock has dwindled and it’s time to restock some of her older classics as well as her lovely new offerings.

Notes (from Soivohle website): green tinged lilacs in full bloom, settling to a rich heart of white and purple lilac, a touch of orchid, the slightest hint of rose melding into heliotrope with a base of mosses, soft musk and benzoin.


Mals86 said...

Glad you reviewed this! I ordered a 5ml unsniffed, and was a tiny bit disappointed to find very little in the way of greenery - on me, it's all heady blooms, no leaves (and no foody sweetness). I'm thinking it will be just perfect on those gray winter days when I'm staring out the window and longing for flowers...

Sadly, Violets & Rainwater is just sugared violets on me. Where's the dirt? I wanted a bit of dirt in there. My favorite Soivohle so far is Daybreak Violin, and I'm finding myself wishing that I'd ordered that instead of the L&H. I admit that I also ordered a sample of the Lilacs and Roses and didn't much care for it - I thought it was musty and potpourri-ish. The L&H is much nicer.

chayaruchama said...

I find this lovely , especially for bedtime.

The new Geranium Rose Mint dries down to a terrific scent- reminds me of a more current Caron Royal Bain de Champagne .

ScentScelf said...

Right now, in my home, it's the season for lilacs. Armfuls of Miss Kim cut and put into pitchers up, down, all around. :)

Hmm, I haven't tried this one...interesting. Of course, whenever a hint of green comes in, I handle a floral much better. Candied versions? Not so much. (Therefore, good to know candy isn't in play here.)

On the Violets & Rainwater front, I have to note that it took MANY wearings before the dirt came out. I have no idea why. A friend who is passionate about it says, of course, that the dirt was there all the time. All I can do is shrug my shoulders, and say I'm glad it finally showed up...and once it did, I find it almost every time.

I'm a particular fan of LZ Green Oakmoss, Journeyman, and Jasomyn...which are three very different kinds of "families." Then there's yet another kind of something, Love Speaks Primeval, which says "NO" on paper and "yesssss" on my skin. And I've had an opportunity to sample Anniebelle's Rose, which is coming this summer...I really, really liked it...but my sample wandered off. Will have to report more fully later.

Abigail said...

I am completely daft. You know I just realized you are Muse in Wooden Shoes blog. I read your round-up on lilac scents before writing this review and noticed there are lots of lilacs I need to try. Very lovely blog you have there.
re: Violets & Rainwater. There's very little dirt for me, if any. And it's fleeting. But maybe it's because I'm biased and (mostly) love Zorn's work but I still love V&R. It's so true and honest this one.
I didn't care for L&Roses either. I expected to love it but it was also potpourri-ish on me. The way L&H is truly about Lilacs & Heliotrope; L&R isn't about Lilacs and Roses (at least on me).

I wore L&H to bed last night. ((sigh)) such sweet, cuddly, happy dreams :)
Geranium Rose Mint you say? Need that.

I'll have to keep looking for the dirt in V&R I guess! Because I know I'll like it more if it's there.

I envy your home full o lilacs. Gosh that's breathtaking ain't it?

I lovelovelovelove Zorn's Green Oakmoss, too. It's so mossy yet fresh and alive. Lasts well, too.

La Bonne Vivante said...

This sounds absolutely gorgeous. I'll have to try some soon!

Thanna said...

I've only recently discovered Soivohle - in no small part because of your reviews! I didn't love LH though. Beautiful opening but the drydown was too much "Egyptian musk" on me. For lilac I prefer Ineke's After My Own Heart. That said, I LOVE Moroccan Orange. All herbal goodness on me and one of my go to scents this Spring. Also tried Geranium Rose Mint which ended up smelling like the live child of Doublemint and Double Bubble!

Martha said...

Ooh. I was vaguely aware of this house's existence, but didn't realize that it had so many interesting scents.

I'm excited about the idea of Violets & Rainwater. I love violets in real life, and have yet to find perfume that gives me even a hint of real violet. I more or less gave up the quest, but I'm going to try that one. And a non-candy heliotrope also sounds very tempting.

Lucy said...

BTW - aren't the titles of the perfumes just fantastic?

Mals86 said...

Thank you for the kind words, A.

I may have to go dig out V&R again and really try hard to sniff out the dirt. I wonder if it hasn't been humid enough when I've worn it - humidity seems to "open" up fragrances, so that I smell elements that I missed before. When I first started wearing L'Arte di Gucci from the mini I bought on ebay, I thought it was a nice gardeny rose. Then came a rainy day, and I fell SO HARD for all those "difficult" things (cassis bud, castoreum) that I had never smelled in it before.

Scentomatic said...

didn't they just use the Malle's En Passant idea of the lilac-heliotropIN (let's be frank) idea? or Ineke's After my own heart...

Abigail said...


I don't think any fragrance house "owns" a specific combination of notes, so, no, I don't agree with you at all. If I were to follow that logic, why bother having any new fragrances whatsoever? Everything has essentially been done before.

Ineke's After My Own Heart smells like air freshener to me so they didn't get it right anyway.

Flora said...

Oh, lilacs, is there anything more fleeting and hard to capture in a perfume! This sounds very promising.