I’m really enjoying this sample pack from Ineke, and I decided to do another one today. Released in 2010, Gilded Lily belongs to a family of fragrances called chypre, a term that dates back to the Roman era but is often credited to Coty’s iconic scent of the same name from 1917. (Guerlain actually had two pre-1917 fragrances with chypre in the name, but that’s another argument.) Basically, the classic chypre definition is that it’s a five-part harmony of citrus in the opening, plus floral notes, oakmoss, something woody that usually ends up being patchouli, and an animalic edge that comes from labdanum, musk, or amber. There is a great about the chypre fragrance family here, though I do have some minor quibbles with it in a few places.
Gilded Lily isn’t one where the stages of the fragrance are clearly divided. More than “I can’t detect this note until the drydown” as in some scents, the scent pyramid in this is more of a sliding scale. If I read the description, I’d expect to only smell the elemi resin, grapefruit, rhubarb, and pineapple in the opening, and that probably would have been off-putting to me. (Elemi sounds unfamiliar, but it’s often used in fragrance to balance out sweet notes. See also Spicebomb, where it cuts the sweetness of the tobacco note, or Eau Duelle by Diptyque, where it gives the vanilla its dry, resinous character that blends so well with the juniper and spices.) I do smell those notes in the opening, but I also pick up the lily heart, and hints of the labdanum, oakmoss, and patchouli. In fact, the spicy, earthy oakmoss that’s supposedly a base note is prominent throughout. I’m happy with that, because I’m a wearer of Chanel No. 19 and used to love Mitsouko with a passion before I quit smoking and my skin chemistry changed. If you’re not as familiar with oakmoss, though, it might be a bit intimidating, possibly even a bit old-fashioned to your nose.
Two sprays of it put the projection right at arm’s length, though I did get a compliment from a customer at work when I went to help her fasten a necklace. Like other Ineke scents I’ve tried, it lasted easily through an 8-hour workday, and was still detectable on my skin when I got home. I’m not as madly in love with this one as I am with Evening Edged in Gold, but it’s a beautiful fragrance and an excellent example of a modern chypre.
The technical stuff:
Perfumer: Ineke Ruhland
Availability: Ineke.com and select boutiques
Overall rating: 7/10