Wild Fern (Geo. F. Trumper)
Lilac Vegetol Aftershave (Master Well Comb)
An Updated Opinion of Stirling Spice (Stirling Soap Company)
Citrus Musk (Pinaud)
Lilac (Demeter Fragrance Library)
"Be yourself. Please yourself. Reveal everything. Reveal nothing. Imagine anything. Dare anything. Remember what you please. Go where you want. Do what you want. Think your own thoughts. Smile to yourself. You get to choose. Make yourself happy. Then look around."
In other words, buy Demeter. Cheesy blurbs aside, my interest in their rendition of lilac flower stems (no pun) from the knowledge that lilac is akin to carnation, lily of the valley, and gardenia, a plant that poses problems for perfumers.
One can distill its essence, extract its oils, process it via enfleurage, and attain some degree of yield. But it'll be low yield, weak, difficult to use. A refresher if you read my recent piece on Pinaud's Lilac Vegetal - lilac flowers are mostly water, which makes breaking them down for use in perfumes almost pointless. Reconstructions are usually necessary for any serious attempt to replicate their smell. (To the perfumers out there who disagree, direct me to your lilac soliflore to make your case.)
My hope with Demeter was to smell a lilac reconstruction with a well-honed balance and an interesting array of constituent players. The experience has been mixed. I'll address the bad stuff first. In its initial five minutes, Demeter's Lilac smells like a chemical mess. Alcohol-laced, cheap, screechy, hairspray-musky with a nostril-singeing glue note, are all apt descriptions. Nothing remotely like lilac.
The star note appears on drydown. It remains lucid and all-lilac for about six hours, then fades to the smell of magazine pages. To me it conjures triple-milled gift shop bar soap. It's interesting because the main act is comprised of detergent-grade lily of the valley, disguised with a potently sweet musk. The result is "lilac," more so at a distance than up close. Lilac Vegetal smells more like lilac to me.
That said, this is a decent cologne. If you're into lilac, and are looking for something to go with Pinaud's product after a good shave, Demeter Lilac is a good bet. The synthetic aspect doesn't hurt; men do better with florals when they're soapy. I like this fragrance, but I don't love it. Perhaps it'll grow on me (no pun).