WTD, Episode 3.4: In the Search for the Perfect Linden

Early summer of my High school graduation year. Blooming linden trees in the downtown of the city where I lived. Bitter-sweet scent fills the air. Bitter-sweet feelings overflow me: I’m done with all the tests and school is almost over; he doesn’t love me anymore and isn’t coming to my graduation party. Even though I asked him to do it as a favor from a friend; even though I wasn’t creating any drama and behaved very mature (well, that was how I imagined behaving mature): most of our mutual friends had no idea we broke up more than two months ago, we didn’t want to complicate the group’s dynamic.

My heart was broken; it felt like the end of the world. And at the same time I fully realized it wasn’t the end of the world. But I hurt and it felt lonely and empty at the moment.

I remember walking the streets, inhaling the bitter scent of linden blossom and wanting to be happy… It was a very abstract thought. I didn’t define what exactly “happy” would mean, I didn’t have any specific wishes; I just wanted to change that one component of my life. I was longing for a combination of a warm evening, problems left behind, wonderful bitter scent of linden and a feeling of a complete happiness.

Many years later, while I still knew almost nothing about perfumes other than that I enjoyed using them and a couple of the most known brands and names, I thought it would be great to get a perfume that smelled like linden. You can imagine how much luck I had in late nineties asking SAs in department stores for this specific note in perfumes. Several years later I tried running Internet searches for that scent and again didn’t succeed.

French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone – created in 2005, notes include bergamot, tarragon, French Lime Blossom and some generic “floral notes”. This was the first Jo Malone’s colognes with which I went beyond samples. I bought a small 9 ml bottle of it. I do not remember if I liked it the most out of all I tested then or if I just happened to get a good deal on it, but I got it and enjoyed it … for a year (or even more) before I learned that the perfume I liked was actually based on the note I was looking for. I had no idea that French lime blossom and linden blossom were synonyms. I won’t even claim English not being my mother tongue because as I’ve learned since then many natives think French Lime is just some variety of citrus. Does it smell citrus-y? Not at all. But I wasn’t analyzing the scent, I liked it and wore often. I didn’t recognize it but after I knew what it was supposed to be, I could agree that it somewhat reminded me of a linden blossom. French Lime Blossom has an average sillage and a surprising tenacity – it stays on my skin for more than 8 hours with a very distinct smell, not just the remaining base notes.

This month I again decided to combine my Weeklong Test Drive and Single Note Exploration posts, so here are several more linden-centered perfumes I had a chance to test.

Linden by Demeter – as many Demeter’s creations this one is a soliflore. I couldn’t find any information on when it was created. All I can say, it’s an uncomplicated, slightly chemical scent that survives for two-two and a half hours on my skin. It’s too simple for me to want to wear it alone but I found at least one interesting combination for it.

Tilleul by Provence Sante (EauMG – thank you for the sample) – no information on notes or creation date available. This perfume doesn’t work for me. On my skin it smells too sweet. For some reason when I smell it I think of pollen. Tilleul lasts for about three hours and then goes away leaving just that slightly nauseating sweet scent. Since I read many good reviews of the perfume I assume it’s my body chemistry to blame.

When I first read about the upcoming release of Andy Tauer’s linden blossom theme perfume I was very excited. I didn’t have a good reason to expect to like it (since so far I found just one Tauer’s perfumes that works for me out of five I tested) but I had a hope. I was lucky to win a sample from Scent less Sensibilities (Tarleisio, thank you – I enjoyed the excercise) and was waiting anxiously for it to arrive, I even postponed this post to allow myself to wear it two-three times before reaching a verdict.

Zeta by Tauer Perfumes – created in 2011, notes include lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, ylang, orange blossom, neroli, linden blossom, rose, iris root, sandalwood and vanilla. The first time I applied it I was very disappointed: it smelled nothing like linden blossom to me (I’m not sure why I was surprised since for the life of me I cannot smell lily-of-the-valley in Carillon pour un Ange). But I was insistent. I kept trying it again and again – alone and alongside with other linden perfumes. I still do not smell enough linden but I rather like the scent than not. It’s the best perfume – as a perfume – among all I tested for this post. It’s very complex, unique and fascinating. As many (all?) Andy’s perfumes are. I like it as a scent that I test. I’m not sure if I want to wear it as a perfume. And I am sad: I like that green pentagonal bottle and really hoped I would love the scent enough to warrant a full bottle purchase. I didn’t. In addition to everything said, Zeta completely dies on my skin after just four hours of wearing. All five previously tested Tauer’s creations “wore me” (I don’t remember who was the author of the phrase but when I read in some blog “I wasn’t wearing the perfume; the perfume was wearing me” I felt it described exactly how I felt for most Andy’s perfumes and especially those that didn’t work for me).

I haven’t found the perfect linden perfume yet and I’ll keep looking. But recently I bought a nice tea with linden. It reminds me of the linden flower tea that my grandmother used to harvest from the linden tree in her garden. In my childhood it was used as an herbal analog of Theraflu.

Read more: French Lime Blossom review at I Smell Therefore I Am, Tilleul review and Loving Linden from EauMG; reviews for Zeta at Perfume Shrine, the Non-Blonde, Perfume Posse and WAFT.

Image: my own

As always, feel free to post a link to your blog’s post(s) related to the topic.

See all episodes:
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 3: Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.1: Kohdo Wood Collection by Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.2: Tea Fragrance Blends by Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.3: Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Lime Basil & Mandarin and Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.5: Orange Blossom by Jo Malone


30 thoughts on “WTD, Episode 3.4: In the Search for the Perfect Linden

    • I remember exactly how a violet looks but I can’t remember even approximately how it smells. Does it really smell? I have to find a real flower and sniff it.


  1. You’ve hit the nail on the head with how I feel about some (not all) Tauer scents, too. I really love some, but some are a little too much for me. Your description is a good one.


    • Well, we’ll have a chance to see if any of his new “collaboration” perfumes work better for us.

      Have you tried Carillon? If yes, do you smell LotV in it? I’m curious if it’s just my handicap.


      • I’ve only briefly sniffed Carillon in-store. I have thought about ordering samples of the Tauers to have for reference, but haven’t done it.


        • I still plan to try the rest of the line even though I gave away my samples (bought!) of Carillon pour un ange and Le Maroc pour elle – that was how much I was frustrated.


  2. Hi Undina!
    I really enjoyed reading the post. It is an amazing journey to look for something that you really enjoy! Linden blossom is a beautiful note. Have you tired Tokyo Milk: Waltz? It is has that fresh/herbal note of Linden with some soft florals.


    • Su, nice to see you here.

      I haven’t had a chance to try a single Tokyo Milk’s perfume yet but I’ll remember the name (I just saw it a day or two ago mentioned somewhere) and test it soon. Thank you.


  3. I had a chance to try Zeta last night. It is pretty, but it has a smoky base on me when I wore it. I got more of an incense-lime-vanilla. But, I only tried once.

    The Provence Sante is a “body splash” really. I don’t think it is you, I believe this one is very sweet, pollen-ish. More like when linden blossoms are about to die or whither. It also reminds me more of linden honey.

    Oh, I just read about one the other day, can’t remember, but it’s a small company. I’ll let you know if I think of it :)


    • Now, when you mentioned it, I agree – it does remind of linden honey.

      Honney Blossom by Mandy Aftel is supposed to have linden note in it (it was her take on it in response to Andy’s Zeta, if I’m not mixing things up). I wanted to try it and even went to Essenza (since you mentioned they carried this line – thanks for recommendations, btw). There were seven or eight Aftelier Perfumes’ fragrances but no Honey Blossom.

      Let me know if you think of another one.


    • You did the most important part: gave me names for the couple of good shops and told me that Nordstrom carried Exclusifs (I got four samples!!!). With the Internet the rest was easy. And yes, it was a great trip. I liked Seattle and will be visiting it again.


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    • Hi Laura,

      I’ve heard about it but haven’t had a chance to test yet. I’ll probably start getting the next set of linden scents and once I get at least 3 or 4 I’ll run the comparison test again.


  5. Lovely post, Undina.

    I haven’t tried any of those fragrances, but I am very intrigued by descriptions of linden blossom enough to try one.

    I’d like to try Zeta. The two Tauer fragrances I”ve tried already didn’t work for me, but maybe that one will.

    I hope you find your perfect linden some day!


  6. Thank you, JoanElaine.

    I believe there is a perfect linden our there and sooner or later I’ll find it.

    I’ll have samples of Jo Malone’s and Demeter’s perfumes for your next package if you want to try these two.


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  10. I feel much better now for not knowing French lime blossom is actually linden. :)
    I tried several linden perfumes but so far no luck in finding one that I would actually love to wear.


    • Please try this one! It’s not a perfect linden scent (real thing is sooo much better!) but it’s a very good rendition of it in perfume. And it won’t cost you arm and leg (if you have Jo Malone counters).


  11. I have the large bottle of French Lime Blossom and maybe a third is left. I love it, year round. Looking at the Jo Malone site quite recently I see that it is only available in fragrance and not even the small bottle (just the large 100ml)…when I bought my 100ml bottle years ago there were many other offerings including the body cream. So this leaves me to believe that they might be discontinuing it…just as they did with Anise & Vanilla, Vetyver, Blue Agave & Cacao and Cassis & Fig (my absolute favorite fig)….why do they do that?????


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