Caldey Island Lavender

I’m not the most settled of sleepers, so lavender is amongst many of my friends in trying to find a better shut-eye rhythm at night. Hops, valerian – you’ve had your turn too. So that, along with the five star rating from Turinia (thanks, Jonathan Meade), had me pop very few pennies for a bottle of Caldey Island Lavender. Seriously, this is one blind buy that’s easy on the pocket, but does it live up to its top rating?

For the length of time it lasts, yeah, just about. It opens crisp and bright, an anisic lavender almost as clean and refined as un Brin de Reglisse, the latest edition to the Hermessence line. It probably hasn’t had the same level of molecular refinement and resplicing that Hermes afforded Jean Claude Ellena, but does manage to be light and transparent in a similar way, and be some distance from the stereotypical old lady smell often assoiciated with the accord. As Turin points out, this is a blue lavender – crystalline, shot through with sunlight and probably not the best fit for soporific effect.

However, the drydown changes this, and it arrives, oh, ten minutes after initial application. Reminiscent now of Jicky,  it has a musky roundnes, a softness on the skin that some may find difficult to detect due to musk anosmia. It lingers, seemingly insubstantial, a spectre of itself, but nonetheless haunting for all that.

Perfume made by Cistercian monks? Well, who’d have thought it. I’m pleased with my buy, though it’s probably three stars for me. Short review for short perfume.

If you’d like to be in a draw for a decant of this, leave a message below. The winner of the Zizan, Elixir and LP No. 9 draw is Stephen. Stephe, you have mail.

  • Jen says:

    lavender always smelled good to me but that old-lady line is sometimes hard to define which sucks.

    would love to try this one out.

  • elizabeth says:

    Please enter me in the drawing too. Thanks. I read this blog all the time.

  • anna says:

    i love lavender as a bath soak or a home fragrance, it calms me down and helps to sleep better. I wonder if lavender perfume would have the same effect? Please enter me too:)

  • Lavandana says:

    I looooove lavender. I looooove Jicky. Please enter me in the drawing.

  • Vasily says:

    You don’t have to add me to the draw, I just wanted to let you know I’ve just purchased a bottle based on your recommendation and Turin’s description. The Jicky comparison tipped the balance for me!

    I’ve used valerian in the past, and have sometimes found Hyland’s Calms Forte helpful (a mix of hops, chamomile, passionflower, and oat extract).

  • sherobin says:

    Anything connected with a monastery is irresistibly evocative to me.
    Please enter me in the draw.

  • sunnlitt says:


    I sometimes use lavender oil at bedtime to soothe me into sleep. I would love to be entered in the drawing. Thanks.

  • Existentialist says:

    I would love to be in the draw. Thanks!

  • Laura Vale says:

    Yes, please put me in the drawing, also! Thanks.

  • MCW says:


  • maitreyi1978 says:

    Turin said it was the best lavender didn’t he. Please include me in the drawing.

  • annie says:

    :dOOOOOOO,Paris……eat ANYTHING for me!….Madini makes a really great Lavender…I’m now trying subliminal messages for sleep…will let you know how it goes…please do enter me in the drawing,and smooches to your doggie,of course:x

  • tante kat says:

    Please enter me in drawing I’ve heard lots of nice things about this lavender and it has been on my to try list. Thanks 🙂

  • Natalie says:

    I love lavender but am still seeking one that smells good — heck, I’d even settle for “not cheap ‘n’ nasty” — on me. Thank you for yet another wonderful review, and please enter me in the draw!

  • sarah says:

    after a long hiatus, I find myself craving lavender. I’m not sure when or how I fell out of love with it, but now my affection for it has been rekindled. Please enter me in the drawing. I’ve been using lavender hydrosol as a toner for my acne-troubled skin. Smells clean and lovely and I think it’s working.

    have you tried jasmine to help you sleep? there was some clinical study a few years back that compared jasmine and lavender for their effect on sleeplessness. Jasmine was shown to have a positive effect. I don’t usually have trouble sleeping, but I often apply a tiny dab of jasmine oil before bed.

  • pyramus says:

    Count me in on the drawing, please. I love me some lavender, and after reading about this in Turin and Sanchez’ book, I naturally went to the Caldey Island website: I was intrigued, but not quite enough to actually order some. Maybe a decant would change my mind.

  • Elle says:

    I am w/ you on not being one of the world’s natural sleepers. Even as a child it took me centuries to fall asleep and I’ve never been able to sleep solidly through a night (and have tried and used probably every single natural supplement/food/remedy known to mankind for sleeping). I don’t do particularly well w/ most lavender scents, but I’m thinking this sounds lovely for spraying on my pillow.

  • Esri Rose says:

    Have you tried 5-HTP for sleeping? You can get it at health-food stores. Two pills usually knocks me out.

    I’d love to be entered in the draw, thanks!

  • Joe says:

    You had me at “almost Brin de Reglisse” (even if fleeting). Yes, please enter me.

  • sweetlife says:

    So nice to see you back here on a regular basis, Lee. Throw my hat in the ring, please.

    Do you know if this available anywhere in the states?

  • dleep says:

    Since I have only slept a few hours for the past three nights, I would LOVE to try this as I find the scent of lavender so soothing. Thanks.

  • MBDDevine says:

    Monastery perfume??? Have several old one buried in a drawer somewhere. Reminiscent of Jicky? I am so in this drawing.

  • tmp00 says:

    I’d love to give this a try, even if it resembles Jicky which doesn’t love me at all.

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    Lee it’s so good to see you! And it’s not just because you made me laugh with ” molecular refinement and resplicing,” honestly. 😡

  • helenviolette says:

    ;;) Lee! I have gone to the website and almost purchased this one, but was concerned about the shipping issue…so yes, please do enter me into the draw.

    p.s. the Poivre is fantastique!

  • Lora says:

    Sounds interesting … lavender is not a huge favorite of mine, but I’d love to try a sample as this sounds nice.

  • Shelley says:

    Have been a fan of liquids concocted by monks for a while. Would love to try one that I would keep with the perfumes instead of in the bar ;)– especially since I do like lavender. Please enter me in the draw.

  • Ben A says:


    Excellent review…though I’d probably splurge and give CIL a fourth star. It’s a truly wonderful lavender (and I love lavender), but as you note it is extremely fleeting. As a result, I hardly ever reach for my bottle. However, I’m going to the gym later than usual today and your review made me realize that this is the perfect scent to put on this morning. By the time I get to the gym, it will be gone.

    (Since I already own this, you can leave me out of the drawing.)

  • erin says:

    Yes, please. Enter me in the drawing.

  • Nancy says:

    Thanks for the review. I have an association from my childhood to a small gift shop with overpowering lavender. Please enter me in the draw, I’m coming around to lavender again. |-) and use the essential oil as first aid.

  • Musette says:


    Good morning! I just wanted to say hi and am soooo jealous that you and CC are going to see each other – wish I could see you both (email to you, D, shortly). I love lavender, in the flower or scenting sheets/curtains, etc -have yet to find a lavender that smells right on me. Ya nebber know, though, so I would love to be in the draw.

    Have some chocolate sables for me at Pierre Herme, please? I’m getting hungry…….


  • Eileen says:

    Lee, sorry to hear about another member of the Restless Sleep tribe! I wish I could do something productive with the time I spend in bed not sleeping..

    No need to enter me in the draw; I like lavender but my bedmate does not. Snuggles vs. lavender? Not a choice!

  • March says:

    Isn’t this the one Luca Turin waxed all poetic over in The Guide? My book’s upstairs somewhere…. it sounds loverly.

    Have a delicious vacation. You and Carmen eat some macarons for me, okay? 😡

  • cjj88 says:

    Hi Lee…

    This is twice in 3 days I’ve heard mention of this perfume. I’m a huge lavender fan and have been craving it lately. Please put me in the draw:)

  • Louise says:

    So nice to wake up to you >:d< I generally find that most lavenders hate me, but am willing to try anything that will help chase my insomnia away... Have a big time in Paris,with a hug to CC, and a nod to Serge :)>–

  • dinazad says:

    As a lavender lover who’s still mourning the demise of Guerlain’s Lavande Velours and Goutal’s gorgeous Eau de Lavande, I’d love to be in the draw.

  • carmencanada says:

    Lee, could you possibly transport a few drops of this to Paris? Don’t forget to get in touch with me so we can see about seeing each other (best time is Friday afternoon for me).

  • violetnoir says:

    Lee, I love this post! It is indeed a short review for a short perfume.

    I am not a big lavender fan, so I just wanted to say “Hello!”