The Madonna and the Lily

Madonna Lily, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Happy Easter to all who celebrates!

White flowers symbolize purity in both Christianity and Judaism. The term “lily” as mentioned in the Old Testament, however, is obscure and it is still unclear which botanical species is referred to in the scriptures. The two names in question are “Chavaztelet” and “Shoshana”. The latter is often confused with rose by native Hebrew speakers and Bible translators. The correct name for rose in modern Hebrew is “Vered”. Both chavatzelet and Shoshana are most likely reference to bulbous flowering plants, and there are many ideas of what species it refers to. If indeed it is shapely white flowers – the possibilities could include narcissus or beach lilies - both very fragrant. Other possibilities include Netz Halav or wild hyacinths, which are blue and not particularly fragrant either. Although “lily of the valley” is mentioned in Canticles, it can be said with absolute certainty that this is not Convallaria majalis, a European plant that could not have possibly survived the dry conditions in the land of Israel.

Both the European Lily of the Valley and the Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum, native to the Balkans and West Asia), have developed into the Christian symbol of purity and chastity and is associated with Virgin Mary. Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum) is similar in shape and scent to the Madonna Lily only larger, and is native to Japan.

Here are a few perfumes to draw on those qualities within you and aspire for revival and rebirth of your internal life force and pure intentions at this time of the year:

Vanille Galante
Fresh , slightly watery lilies with cantaloupe and vanilla.

Lys Méditerranée
Easter lilies in full bloom, with pronounced orange blossom.

Awaken the goddess within yourself (Anais was a Persian goddess) with this classy green floral with fruity and clean soapy notes.

Lily Angel (Garden of the Stars)
Indulge in a big gourmand lily with chocolate and patchouli.

Lily notes seem to be having some kind of a vogue recently, as we can see form recent releases of other mass produced designer fragrances (Donna Karen Gold, Guess Gold, and Juicy Couture’s fruity-floral candied gourmand take on lily) as well as celebrity fragrances (i.e.: L – L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stephanie, in a similar manner to Juicy Couture but a little more watery).

Lys Méditerranée

Lys Méditerranée creates the illusion of inhaling a lush Easter lily (AKA Madonna lily), resulting in a pollen-dusted nose. Top notes of lily are followed by the drip of citrus-honey, light and juicy, and a warm, full bodied orange blossom and rose for a touch of pure elegance. The orange blossom makes this particularly cheerful and happy. The dry down is warm, rich and ambery yet somewhat dry with the prominent note being Peru Balsam oil (which is woodier and less sweet than the balsam itself).

The sweetness is intoxicating but never heady, as it releases itself in small spurts of nectar. Lys Méditerranée may start off as innocent as a Madonna Lily but continues on to an almost pornographic nectar-dripping seduction.

Lys Méditerranée was designed by Edouard Fléchier for Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums. Other perfumes by Fléchier: Une Rose for Frederic Malle, Dior's Poison and Tendre Poison, Christian Lacroix C'est La Vie, Montana Parfum de Homme and the reformulation of Montana Parfum de Peau.

Photo: The Secret Life of an Easter Lily courtesy of Steve Kirby.
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