Well, if you needed proof that I read and take to heart comments on the blog, here’s my proof (Yes, I am going to blame y’all for my shopping addiction. Take responsibility? On what planet?)
Our own cinnamon on a comment on my last post mentioned Caldey Island Lavender and of course I reacted like Pavlov’s dog, immediately going down the rabbit hole of the interwebs to try to find it. I did, but the shipping was just a bit too dear for me so I just kept surfing until I came across Woods of Windsor.
W of W apparently started in the 1700’s in England and eventually was bought by the parent company of Yardley who owns them today. That’s the Evelyn Wood version, anyway. I have no particular enmity towards Yardley (I think it may be regarded as rather fusty in the UK, but could be wrong) so I just popped for a bottle of “For Him” on eBay and a small Lily of the Valley on Amazon.
“For Him” arrived first (quotes are mine.) The website lists:
Head notes: Lemon, Orange, Bergamot, Nutmeg, Clove
Heart notes: Herbs
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Patchouli
I will write that this is very English (Or what we Yanks think of English from watching years of “Masterpiece” and ignoring the recent “Crown”) in that it’s very self-effacing. It seems to almost excuse itself before radiating anything as obtrusive as smell. When it does I don’t get as much of the citrus opening as I do a faint, surupy immortelle: not the glottal hit of AG Sables, more like her late, lamented Eau de Monsieur. This may be the “herbs” in the middle and I am very glad it’s there. The drydown has what passes for Oakmoss these days, still the (faint) immortelle and a hint of mint and I’ll take it, those and the patchouli are certainly nothing that’s going to frighten the horses. It’s one of those soft scents that make a guy (or a girl for that matter) just seem ”finished,” like having a good haircut or nicely shined shoes. Not flashy, just.. finished, in that suave, buttoned-down English way that people who douse themselves in the latest RL Eau de WASP will fail to accomplish. Were it terrible I would think “oh well, it was only $20,” as it is it’s so good I feel like I stole something.
Being Amazon, where you pay through the nose for Prime Shipping, Lily of the Valley was late.
The website lists:
Head notes: White Lily, Mimosa. Lemon, Orange
Heart notes: Lily of the Valley, Geranium, May Blossom
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Amber Musk
Now Lily of the Valley is one of my all-time favorite scents in real life. Growing up in New England, it was a sign of spring when it would pop it’s head out of lawns and people would carefully mow around the shoots rather than risk cutting them back. That smell still smells like spring to me and that (and Lilac) is something that we don’t get in SoCal and I miss.
I also was told that there is no way to tincture this particular scent: whatever version of it we have in perfume is entirely artificial, which can be forthright (and fantastic) as in Commes des Garcon Leaves or as heart-rendingly real as the old Diorissimo.
With Lily of the Valley the initial blast is all about the citrus and the mimosa. It’s very green and a little bitter. You don’t really get the lotv until later, and then it is a little swamped by the other flowers (as it would be in a spring garden I suppose.) It actually has kind of an odd echo effect- just when you’re thinking “this ain’t lotv” out its little head pops. Likely not the first thing I would reach for when I needed a fix of lotv, but it cost ¼ what Diorissimo goes for these days, and I am dead sure that the Dior likely doesn’t smell like the Dior of my memory.
I will also admit that I just like the name. “Woods of Windsor.” It just seems so veddy English. Like I should be taking the Corgis out for a walk wearing old tweeds while Sneaves has the oil changed on the Daimler. Or the England of E. F. Benson: Miss Mapp might use Lily of the Valley as a reminder of her youth in her dear Aunt’s Mallards, while Mr. Georgie would feel very daring putting on “For Men” for his two-handed duet with Lucia.
Major Benjy would, of course, upon smelling him mutter “milliner” under his breath and Quai Hai for and yet another Whiskey and soda..
These two are available at various places on the interwebs: I purchased “For Him” off eBay ($20ish for 100ML) and Lily of the Valley at Amazon ($22 for 3.3oz)
Have any of you tried any of these? Any other suggestions for the cheap and cheerful? Let us know in the comments.