Legendary Perfume Houses of Europe

Knowing the history behind particular perfumes enhances the experience of wearing certain fragrances for perfume aficionados. And as anyone who truly appreciates perfume knows, many of the most popular brands are linked to venerated families whose lives were devoted to the craft of producing the fragrances that are household names all over the world. Knowing this history helps build an appreciation for the dedication and devotion that is involved in what is really an art form. This is why we know our readers will appreciate a look at some of the venerated perfume houses of Europe.

    • Chanel: The Chanel brand was created in 1921 by perfumer, Ernest Beaux for Gabrielle Chanel and has become the greatest selling perfume of all time. Its No. 5 is iconic and is rumored to be what actress Marilyn Monroe wore. In fact, Monroe is known for once saying, “What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.”
  • Coty: Coty was created by Corsican born Francois Coty who later moved to Paris in 1900 and released his first perfume in 1904. Cody was a pioneer in the use of designer bottles.
  • Galimard: One of the oldest and most august perfume houses of France is Galimard. This historic perfumery was started back in 1747 by Jean de Galimard who supplied his perfume to the court of Louis XV. The House of Galimard uses Grasses flowers in formulating its fragrances just as it has done for 250 years.
  • Penhaligon’s: A British perfume house, Penhaligon’s was founded in the late 1860s by William Henry Penhaligon who became a perfumer to Queen Victoria. Penhaligon’s has stores all over England including Covent Garden, the Burlington Arcade, Regent Street, Mayfair, Kings Road, Islington and the Royal Exchange. It also has shops in Paris, New York City, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
  • Floris:  Founded in 1720, this house is one of London’s best known perfume houses. So popular is Floris in London that it is a necessary stop for any true aficionado of fine fragrances.
  • Houbigant: Founded in 1775 by Jean Francois Houbigant, this house had among its clientele Marie Antoinette and Queen Victoria.
  • Molinard: Founded in 1849 by Jeune Molinard, this house began as a small boutique in Grasse. Today the perfumery is run by descendants of Molinard.

These are just a few of the great perfume houses of Europe. They have endured where others have not due to their dedication to crafting the perfect scent through trial and error. They have created a following among the public and continue to grow their base. Many of the houses also make terrific tourist spots for those perfume enthusiasts who are determined to know more about the origin of these houses. Or, in the alternative, the fragrances from these houses are also available here at Lily’s Direct.

Top Holiday Fragrances for Women

Running out of gift ideas for Christmas? Perfume gift sets are the perfect item to get for Christmas. Whether you are buying them for someone else or for yourself they have many advantages over other kinds of gifts. First, they won’t quickly be used up. Second, they can be easily purchased on or offline. Finally, they give the wearer the opportunity to experiment and perhaps change their scent for the coming New Year. For these reasons, fragrance manufacturers are keenly aware of the popularity of perfume gift sets. Here is a list of our favorite holiday perfume scents that can be purchased alone as a part of a gift set.

  • English Laundry No.7 Eau de Parfum Gift Set for Women: This gift set includes body lotion, a mini-spray and a 3.4 ounce perfume. The top notes of this fruity fragrance include sparkling pear, jasmine, melon and apricot. The middle notes are of gardenia, and toasted almond (giving it a slightly masculine musk). Finally, the base notes are of sandalwood, vanilla crème and musk. The result is a fun yet provocative scent that will entice the wearer to consider a fragrance change for the New Year.
  • Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Eau de Parfum Gift Set:  This set contains a body lotion, a full sized perfume and convenient purse-sized sprayer. The top notes of this fragrance are grapefruit and nashi pear blended with orange blossom and gardenia. Although this uniquely elegant scent makes the perfect holiday gift, it will evoke in the wearer memories of walks on the beach in summer.
  • Rituals Sakura Secret Gift Set: An extra large gift set, Rituals contains shower foam, body scrub, body cream, shower oil and body perfume. The top notes of this luxurious scent are an exotic combination of cherry blossom and rice milk resulting in a fresh, clean smelling aroma.
  • Michael Kors Wonderlust Eau de Parfum: The top notes of this stand alone perfume are mandarin sparkle with a dash of pink pepper. Other notes of this fresh, zesty aroma include: jasmine and heliotrope, soothing almond milk and a base of cashmeran wood and sandalwood. The result is a delicate and feminine aroma that is assertive yet doesn’t overwhelm.
  • Chloé Fleur de Parfum Eau de Parfum: This delicate, stand alone fragrance contains notes of milky almond, verbena flower and cherry blossom. The result is a fresh, light Parfum with a gentle scent.

There you have some excellent gift ideas for you or that special someone. Buy a perfume gift set or standalone perfume and you may be introducing yourself or a loved one to a whole new fragrance profile for the New Year.


7 Vintage Fragrances that will Never be Forgotten

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – John Keats, Endymion

Classic fragrances are eternal. They never lose their power to inspire and attract despite the deluge of new fragrances that come onto the market daily. They linger in the minds of men and women and evoke memories of the past that are as fresh as the scent that wafts through a field of roses and is carried into the ether. In fact, so revered and respected are some of these fragrances that it behooves everyone who calls himself a genuine perfumista to familiarize him/herself with these perfumes and colognes. Here is our pick of fragrances that will linger on.

Bourjois Soir de Paris (Evening in Paris): This enchanting fragrance, which contains top notes of bergamot, apricot and peach, was created back in 1928 by Ernest Beaux. The result is a powdery, floral scent. Unfortunately, the classic version was discontinued in 1969 but a new version was reformulated in 1991.

CK One by Calvin Klein: Pure and sensual this unisex fragrance has notes of bergamot, cardamom, pineapple, papaya, amber, and green tea and was introduced to the market in 1994. It was one of the first major fragrances marketed equally to women and men.

Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger for Women: This fresh, floral fragrance contains notes of camellia and black currant flowers, mandarin, tangerine, Cherokee rose, desert jasmine and butterfly violets. Tommy Girl was released to the public 20 years ago.

Hermes Bel Ami: This enchanting fragrance, which is a bold mix cardamom, amber, patchouli and leather, was created back in 1986 by Jean-Louis Sieuzac. More recently the scent was updated by Jean-Claude Ellena.

Lucien Lelong Indiscret: Launched way back in 1936, this feminine fragrance has top notes of mandarin orange, galbanum and bergamot; middle notes are tuberose, iris, African orange flower, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose and geranium.

Chanel No. 5: Launched in 1921, this cologne was equally famous because of some of the people who wore it. The legendary actress Marilyn Monroe was among the celebrities who wore this timeless perfume.

Blue Grass by Elizabeth Arden: Launched in 1936, this perfume has a fresh, floral aroma and contains notes of lavender, jasmine and bergamot. The result is a fragrance reminiscent of a trip to the countryside.

Yes, a classic scent never loses its appeal and while many of these fragrances are still available, others have been reformulated for new generations. However, through their growing interest in retro fashions and styles, many younger people are discovering these vintage fragrances and perhaps even wearing some version of them without even knowing it.

Fragrances and the Thanksgiving Holiday

When it comes to holidays that are associated with certain fragrances, Thanksgivings Day tops them all. Thank about it. Scents wafting from the kitchen on that day of thanks include the sweet aroma of pumpkin pie and/or sweet potato, the earthy scents of cumin and cardamom and other seasonings associated with that big, succulent bird and the woodsy scent of chestnuts. This Thanksgiving, why not indulge in a bit of seasonal whimsy by pairing your fragrance with the scents of the upcoming holiday? Below are some fragrances that are perfect matches with the aromas that will pervade most homes in America this Thanksgiving and that are also evocative of bygone holiday seasons.

Fragrances Associated with Thanksgivings Day                        

Un Jardin Apres La Mousson by Hermes: This fragrance with is a blend of cinnamon, amber and incense, is a sweet and spicy unisex aroma that has subtle floral undertones in its cologne for men and women. Thanksgiving is the season of spices and Un Jardin Apres La Mousson pairs perfectly with the holiday.

Serge Lutens- Five O’clock au Gingembre: Evocative of spicy pastries, afternoon tea, and the snugness of the season, this perfume was launched back in 2008 and is also a unisex fragrance. Its main notes are of tea and bergamot; middle notes are ginger, cinnamon and woodsy notes and its base notes are cacao, honey, amber, patchouli and pepper.

DSH Perfumes Épices d’Hiver: The top notes of this 100% botanical fragrance are Davana, Pink Pepper, nutmeg. The middle notes are Stargazer Lily (accord), Jasmine, Benzoin. Finally the base notes are Patchouli & Botanical Ambergris.

Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger: These two aromas are inseparable from the pies and other sweets that are associated with Thanksgiving. In this case of Jo Malone’s Nutmeg and Ginger, however, the aroma that is produced is distinctive but not overwhelming. The notes included in this fragrance are Sandalwood and cedar wood accompanied by nutmeg and vibrant ginger.

How to pick a Thanksgiving Fragrance

When experimenting with fragrances that work well with Thanksgiving think of the aromas that will be wafting around the house. Chances are scents such as cinnamon, ginger and cardamom will be dominant. Think then of wearing a fragrance that are spicy and have as their primary notes these scents. Vanilla based fragrances also pair well with scents that permeate the home. Finally, you may even wish to go in the opposite direction and wear neutral scents that will not clash with strong Thanksgiving Day aromas. Lily Direct has a cornucopia of fragrances that blend well with all holidays. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving this year!

The Top Celebrity Fragrances of 2016

Branding is a huge part of being a celebrity in today’s world. In fact, many times celebrities lend their names to products whose sales rival or surpass their own record, movie or sports deals. Meanwhile, some of these products – which range from items such as shoes, dresses or even home décor – are often just brand extensions that lack any real quality or distinction, some are of high quality. This is particularly the case when it comes to fragrances. Many celebrity perfumes and colognes now rival famous designer fragrances in quality and popularity. Here are a few of the most popular celebrity fragrances.

White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor: No list of top-selling, quality fragrances would be complete without the one that started it all. Back in 1991, creating fragrances was something that celebrities just did not do. Legendary film star Elizabeth Taylor changed this with the introduction of her signature perfume which eventually became a line. White Diamonds is a sophisticated scent featuring top notes of bergamot, neroli and lily, followed by heart notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, and patchouli.

Curious Eau de Parfum Spray for Women by Britney Spears: Although the pop-star’s career has faltered somewhat in recent years, her signature fragrance has not. Curious is affordable, sexy and has a freshly-showered scent.

Notes Eau de Toilette Spray for Women by Celine Dion: This Canadian songstress has an entire line of perfumes but Notes is her most well-known fragrance. The perfume is an understated blend of peony, vetiver, mimosa, woods, and orchid and is best worn on casual occasions.

Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift: This fragrance – which is reminiscent of summer – contains strong top notes of raspberry and green tea, heart notes of honeysuckle, and peach on the base. The ornate, glittery bottle itself is almost as distinctive as the fragrance itself.

Pure Honey by Kim Kardashian: Launched back in 2013, Pure Honey is – as you would expect – a mix of honey, beeswax, and rose and is Kim’s sixth entry into the fragrance market.

Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker: The top notes of this perfume are rose and nectarine, followed by white daffodil and apple. All of these lend themselves to a woodsy, citrusy fragrance.

For these and other celebrities, fragrance creation has become more than simply a way to extend their brand. Sure, some of these fragrances go on to make these stars millions apart from their professional careers, but many create unique fragrances as an expression of their own taste.

The Best Places to Apply Fragrances

Including places you may not have considered

Most of us will give a lot of thought over which cologne or perfume we will select to become our signature fragrance. We’ll scour over the latest online fragrance reviews, or we’ll allow ourselves to be spritzed at the counter of our favorite store or we’ll follow the recommendation of a friend in making this important decision. Yet, as careful as some of us are in making the choice of what fragrance to wear, many of us won’t even think twice when it comes to where to apply our favorite cologne or perfume. We all know that the common places to apply fragrances are the wrists, ears, neck, etc. However, by limiting the application of your fragrance to these areas you may be missing out on some other enticing possibilities. Here are a few other places to apply fragrances that many experts recommend.

  • In Your Hair: Perfume applied here (lightly so as not to dry out the hair) latches onto hair fibers which in turn makes the scent last longer.
  • Inside Your Elbows: This pulse point is a nice change of pace from spritzing the wrist yet it is just as effective.
  • Behind Your Knees: Veins are particularly close to the skin in this area of the body thus it is a pulse point that generates heat. This heat helps to project the scent outwards.
  • In Your Belly Button: The navel radiates heat and this is essential for pushing the scent of colognes and fragrances outwards.
  • Down Your Calves: Try spritzing your favorite fragrance on the sides of your calf. The friction cause by your walking about will help to radiate the scent. This spot is also particularly effective if you wear shorts or a skirt.
  • On Your Feet: This off sounding place is not so odd when you think of it. Your feet are in motion during most of the day, so what better way is there to leave your scent gently wafting behind you as you travel?

In a nutshell, giving a little more thought to where you apply your fragrance will help in several ways. The first is that it will make the scent all the more potent if you maximize your body’s pulse points, etc. The second is that it can make your fragrance last longer and therefore give you more “bang for the buck”. Finally, by following some of these suggestions you will be following tried and true methods that many experts have researched and have found to be maximum application points.

The Top Unisex Fragrances of the Year

When it comes to fragrances most of us, l were taught to think in delineated terms. There are scents for men and there are scents for women and that’s all there is to it. In other words, gender is the line in the sand that fragrance buyers dare not cross. However, some fragrance makers have made great strides in erasing that line by developing and introducing to the market fragrances that are gender neutral. And while every fragrance buyer may not yet accept this idea, many have. This growing acceptance of gender neutral fragrances is why some are calling 2016 the year of unisex fragrances. Here are a few of the most popular fragrances in that bold, new area.

CK2 by Calvin Klein: As early as 1994 fragrance giant Calvin Klein had a hit in the unisex fragrance category with CK One. Repeating the success of that gender neutral fragrance is CK 2. CK2 top notes are mandarin and violet. Below that are notes of vetiver, incense, and sandalwood. All this results in a fragrance that is sweet but not cloyingly so

Tom Ford Black Orchid: This fragrance, although heavily marketed to women, is also being worn by men. It is comprised of French jasmine, black truffle, ylang-ylang, black currant and effervescent citrus all producing an alluring aroma that is luxurious and sensuous.

Valentino Uomo: “Uomo” in Italian literally means “man.” However, don’t be fooled by its moniker. It’s understated, leathery aroma appeals to men and women. It contains notes of bergamot, coffee and hazelnut.

Unbreakable by Khloé and Lamar: This fragrance was introduced back in 2011 by Khloé Kardashian and quickly took it place among the unisex scents released that year. Its top notes include green apple, apricot, bergamot, saffron. Its other notes are Lily, geranium, jasmine, and red berries.

Yves Saint Laurent Tuxedo: This scent is one of several fragrances inspired by Yves Saint Laurent clothing. The key to this fragrance is that while it has bold masculine notes such as black pepper and smoked patchouli it also has a feminine edge with notes such as bergamot and lily of the valley.

Gucci Guilty Pour Homme: Although this entry appears to have a seemingly masculine aroma with notes of cedar wood and patchouli, it is softened with feminine notes of Amalfi lemon and lavender. The result is a complicated, citrusy aroma.

Finally, if you are a hold out to the notion that gender lines should not be crossed when it comes to fragrances then hopefully one or some combination of these fragrances will help change your mind. Many have come around to the idea that gender neutral fragrances are appealing and are on par with many gender specific labels.

America’s Top Fragrances

Given that there are countless fragrances on the market today, there are bound to be a special few that stand apart from the rest. These perfumes and colognes have scent combinations that captivate the public’s imagination in a way that their competitors do not. And although selecting a fragrance is a uniquely personal choice, the general public has reached an almost universal consensus as to the power and appeal that certain perfumes and colognes possess. With these, fragrance buyers have in a sense voted with their noses on which are the most popular colognes and perfumes in the country. Is your perfume included among America’s most popular fragrances? Here is a list in reverse order of popularity.

  • Angel Thierry Mugler for women: This uniquely sweet smelling perfume comes in a very distinctive looking, star-shaped bottle. It blends together notes of coconut, melon, jasmine, honey, blackberry, peach, rose, amber, vanilla, caramel and chocolate.
  • Guilty by Gucci: Gucci is a name that is synonymous with elegance and taste. This 9th place entry blends different floral notes including pink pepper, lilac, mandarin, peach, geranium, patchouli and amber.  It was first released in 2010 and continues to stimulate the senses of fragrance aficionados.
  • La Vie Est Belle Lancôme: Released in 2012, this perfume has as its main note iris and mixes with lower notes including jasmine, orange blossom, pear, black currant, and other aromas to create an awe-inspiring smell.
  • Burberry Brit Burberry: Created in 2003 by Nathalie Cracia-Gett, Burberry Brit combines notes of white almond, frosted pear, green lemon with lesser notes including mahogany and amber.
  • J’Adore Christian Dior: Created in 1999 this perfume has as its spokesperson actress Charlize Theron. It is composed of mandarin orange, plum, jasmine, rose, orchid all of which create a distinctive floral scent.
  • No.5 Chanel: A staple in most top fragrance lists, Chanel No. 5 has long been one of the best selling fragrances in the world.
  • Miss Dior (new version) Dior: Created in 2012 by Francois Demachy, this perfume combines Italian mandarin, Egyptian jasmine, rose, patchouli with musk.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue: This fragrance, which first appeared in 2001, is composed of Sicilian lemon, cedar, bamboo, apple, bellflower, rose and is evocative of summer.
  • Flowerbomb Viktor & Rolf: Released in 2005 by Olivier Polge, et al. is a combination of orchid, jasmine, rose, freesia, African orange flower, patchouli, green tea, bergamot and musk
  • And the most popular fragrance in the nation isCoco Mademoiselle Chanel. First launched in 2001 by Jacques Polge, the main notes of this fragrance are mandarin orange, bergamot, orange flower, vanilla and other scents including musk.

Finally, the most important thing to remember is that when choosing your special scent you are doing so for yourself and perhaps a loved one. Fragrances that are popular and that appeal to many people are nice but you should not use this as the sole criteria for choosing a cologne or perfume. After all, everyone has a different body chemistry, tastes etc.

The World’s Most Expensive Perfumes

In 2011 history was made in the fragrance industry. One bottle of DKNY Golden Delicious – sold for a whopping $1 million. This makes it the most expensive cologne ever sold. This astonishing record also demonstrates the importance that fragrances have held in world history. They are more than aromas that we react to positively. They have long been symbols of status and indicators of a person’s taste and breeding. In ancient Egypt, for example, they were once offered as tribute to rulers and conquerors having equal value with gold and other precious metals. Moreover, religious leaders have in the past used fragrances as critical components in their ceremonies. So it is little wonder that some people are willing to pay what are for most of us exorbitant prices for certain fragrances. Here is a list of some of the most expensive fragrances in the world so sit back and imagine yourself as being one of the few people in the world who can afford these liquid treasures.

More of the World’s Most Expensive Fragrances

  • Baccarat Les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes (USD $6,800 per ounce): Sold at Harrods in London, this fragrance is so rare and expensive that it is actually sold in minute amounts of less than an ounce (0.25 oz).
  • Chanel Grand Extrait (USD $4,200 per ounce) First made in 1921 by perfumer Ernest Beaux this fragrance is made from Rose and jasmine from Chanel’s own custom fields in France.
  • Clive Christian No 1 (USD $2,150 per ounce): This perfume is a bold combination of vanilla, sandalwood, concentrates of ylang (a tropical tree that originates in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines) et al. In the early 2000s it was considered to be one of the most lavishly scented fragrances available. The bottle is also decorated with a 1/3rd ct precious stone on the neck.
  • Hermès 24 Faubourg (USD $1,500 per ounce): Created in 1995 by perfumer Maurice Roucel, this uncommon blend of orange bloom, jasmine, tiare blossom, patchouli, ylang, iris, vanilla, ambergris, and sandalwood had a very limited production run. Only 1,000 containers were ever constructed.
  • Caron’s Poivre (USD $1,000 per ounce): Launched in 1954 by Michel Morsetti, this fragrance is based on pepper and is said to appeal to both sexes.

Yes, most of us can only imagine owning these rare fragrances as they are often limited in release and always priced for the most extreme fragrance aficionados. Many of us can only imagine the aromas wafting from these often bejeweled bottles of perfume. However, take heart in knowing that are many more affordable fragrances on the market that are exquisite nonetheless and that won’t cost you a fortune to posses.

More Favorite Fragrances for Fall 2016

All around us the sights, sounds and fragrances associated with summer are waning as the fall makes its return. In fact, fall asserting itself in a big way symbolizes how change cannot be overcome. But why try to fight change? Why not take this cue from nature to make some changes starting with the choice of a new fragrance? Why not take your cues from fragrance makers who are retaining and mixing some of the notes of summer with fall fragrances to make exiting new colognes and perfumes? Here are some more favorite fall fragrances for men and women that do just that.

Fall Favorites for Women

Downtown Calvin Klein: The entry mixes floral notes with woody notes resulting in an understated fragrance that still delivers a lovely, delicate scent. Contained in this warm, light fragrance are notes of green pear, watery plum, pink peppercorn, gardenia and violet leaf.

Boucheron Place Vendôme: A warmer, sexier, more aggressive scent than Downtown, this entry is characterized by its classic feminine scent. The top notes of this entry are more floral than woody with notes of honey, jasmine petals, cedar, and benzoin.

Katy Perry Killer Queen: The pop star’s first two fragrances were sweet and candy scented but this one is more a mixture of floral and woody notes including wild berries and plum plus patchouli, and cashmere. The result is a more seductive, less playful fragrance than her first two entries.

Fall Favorites for Men

Maison Martin Margiela “Replica – Jazz Club” Men’s Cologne: This masculine fragrance is characterized by base notes of vanilla and tobacco leaf mixed with top notes of pink pepper, lemon and neroli oil. It asserts itself without being overwhelming.

Tom Ford ‘Tobacco Vanille’ for Men: Containing notes of ginger, tobacco leaves, vanilla, anise, coriander and more, this cologne is inspired by the old world men’s clubs.

Dior ‘Sauvage’ Eau de Toilette: The entry has won awards from men’s magazines for best fragrance and is one of the more affordable men fragrances out there. The top notes of this fragrance include Reggio di Calabria bergamot and Sichuan pepper and a base of ambroxan as its middle notes.

Yes, this fall provides the perfect opportunity for men and women to embrace a new fragrance while at the same time retain some of the notes of summer. Fall is here so why not experiment with these bold new fragrances some of which mix the brightness of summer aromas with the warm notes of fall?