In the Search for the Perfect Linden, Take 2


I’m not much of a spontaneous person, if you haven’t noticed yet. I try to plan most things in my life. It gives me the feeling of comfort and control. But, as with many other things we crave because we do not have them – straight/curly hair, lighter/darker skin, etc., from time to time I wish I would do something on an impulse, without going through every detail in my head first.

My vSO is even less spur-of-the-moment man. So when a couple of weekends ago he told me: “Let’s go to Santa Cruz mountain wineries!” in less than an hour we were on our way there.


I just couldn’t pass by a small boutique named Scentsations# – a tiny soap and cosmetics shop. An older gentleman, most likely an owner, peeked over the newspaper he was reading to greet me. A usual small shop small talk (as I keep sniffing different soaps):

– It’s a nice day. What are you doing today?
– Yeah, it is. We’re here for the wine tasting.
– Are you even old enough to drink?
– (I laugh: I know I’m old enough to have a kid of a drinking age but since he’s old enough to be my father I do not feel bad about his obvious flattery) Thank you, I appreciate it.
– Where are you from?
(my habitual answer to such questions) I live in the Bay Area, my accent is from…
– I thought so. You should try this one…

He hands me a bar of soap. It is tender green and smells of linden. On the paper wrap it says “Tilleul” and “Made in France”. How could I not buy it?

Linden Soap And Rusty

In my last year post I told the story behind my affection towards linden blossom and reviewed briefly perfumes that I tried while looking for the perfect linden-centric perfume: French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone, Linden by Demeter, Tilleul by Provence Sante and Zeta by Tauer Perfumes. I didn’t find the perfect perfume then so I kept looking.

Waltz No. 14 by Tokyo Milk – notes include linden, honeyed rose, wisteria petals and white musk. To my nose it’s a bitter green scent. I can smell what is supposed to be a linden note (it’s not a bad representation of linden if smelled alone without comparing to other takes on the same scent). I do not smell rose in Waltz – honeyed or otherwise. It’s nice and crisp on my skin for the first 10-15 minutes but then gets a little soapy for a while. Like most Tokyo Milk’s perfumes that I tried it doesn’t stay for too long. The sample sent me by Victoria of EauMG (thank you!) will stay in my scents library. Read her real review for Waltz.

Tilleuls au Vent by L’Artisan Parfumeur isn’t really a perfume, it’s a room spray but it usually doesn’t stop a real perfumista in the search for a perfect scent (thank you to Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume for sending me this sample). What can I say? It’s a room spray. Tilleuls au Vent is a very pleasant scent but it’s too single-dimensional and lacks depth.

La chasse aux Papillons by L’Artisan Parfumeur – created by Anne Flipo in 1999, notes include linden blossom, lemon tree blossom, orange blossom, jasmine and tuberose. I tested it for several times and even though I couldn’t smell too much linden in it, I enjoyed the scent. And then I read Victoria’s (EauMGreview for La chasse aux Papillons and now I cannot help smelling in it tuberose to which I didn’t pay attention before. I do not like tuberose and now it haunts me in this perfume. I’ll try to test it again in a while but for now a sample in my scent library is all I need.

Linden Soap And Rusty

Unter den Linden by April Aromatics – created by Tanja Bochnig in 2012, notes include linden blossom, mimosa, frangipani, honey extract, bergamot and gardenia. I haven’t heard about this brand until I read Asali’s (All I am – a redhead) beautiful review for Unter den Linden. Asali was very generous and sent me a sample. I’m very grateful to her but I’m not sure if I’m glad that I’ve got to try it. It’s a very pretty perfume and I take back my original impression that Unter den Linden smelled like a more lemon-y version on one of my favorites Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom. Unter den Linden is lighter, more refined and blended more seamlessly than French Lime Blossom (I still like the latter though). What makes me unhappy is the price: however beautiful, this perfume isn’t unique enough or using really expensive and rare ingredients to justify to me $7/ml price for EdP. But if it weren’t for that I’d love to add a bottle of Unter den Linden to my collection. I still might.

Honey Blossom by Aftelier Perfumes – created by Mandy Aftel in 2010, notes include linden blossom, orange blossom, ambergris and benzoin. It is not a linden perfume. For my nose it’s a very sweet honeyed floral bouquet, warm and soothing scent. I like smelling it from my wrist but I do not want to wear it as a perfume. It makes a perfect sleep scent for me though. So once my small parfum sample that I’ve got from Mandy via Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) – thank you both – is gone I’ll probably buy the next one. For a real review read Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmin) Aftelier Honey Blossom : Natural Fragrance Review.

Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour by DSH Perfumes – created by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz in 2012 for the YSL Retrospective Collection, notes include bergamot, lemon, ozone, Bulgarian rose absolute, Dossinia orchid, French linden blossom (accord), honeysuckle, linden blossom absolute, lily of the valley, sambac jasmine, wisteria, ylang ylang, Australian sandalwood, civet, East Indian patchouli, musk and vanilla. This perfume got me by surprise: it was the last perfume in the collection and I didn’t expect it to be a linden scent. I like it. Will Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour become a full bottle in my collection once I’m done with the sample sent to me by Dawn (thank you!)? I don’t know yet.

Linden Soap And Rusty

I still can’t say that I found the perfect linden perfume but I will suspend my search until I get a chance to smell a real blossoming linden tree to re-acquaint myself with the aroma of my youth. On my recent trip to Baltimore I saw those pre-bloom linden trees and almost cried – two more weeks and I could have smelled something I hadn’t smelled in 15 years. Maybe next year…

If you are looking for a linden-centric perfume definitely give a try to Unter den Linden and Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour and judge for yourself. You might just fall in love.


# Address for Scentsations: 402 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, (831) 423-8900


Images: my own


42 thoughts on “In the Search for the Perfect Linden, Take 2

  1. Funny, I was just raving about the linden blossoms on the tree outside our house last night! Nothing like that smell! A perfect linden perfume would be great.


  2. I’ll be following your search closely as I’d love a linden perfume (so far, no luck for me – and I am very familiar with the smell of linden flowers).


  3. So the search for your ideal linden perfumes goes on, I take it. But Rusty looks like he’s found his perfect linden scent in that soap (he almost looks like he wants to eat it!) :)

    Yesterday my husband and I went shopping at an upscale grocery store we don’t shop at too often, due to its location, and when we got out of the car, he said “What’s that smell?” It was glorious … a linden tree heavy with blooms. Wish they had been in bloom for you when you were in Baltimore.

    You’ve got me curious, since you’re in the Bay area … are you privy to the boxwood trees, and do they smell as beautiful as people say? Parfums delRae Amoureuse supposedly celebrates the scent of the boxwoods, and that perfume is a favorite of mine, so that’s why I ask.


    • I do not plan to conduct an active search any more but whenever I hear about the next one, I’ll make sure to try it. As to Rusty, he enjoys sniffing many things I try and he’s not shy of my perfumes (though I noticed him running away a couple of times from what I assumed was an unpleasant for him scent – I can’t remember what it was).

      Sorry, I can’t help you with boxwood: the closest I came to knowing this tree (shrub?) was in the form of a necklace ;) I’ll try asking around (and will definitely smell Amoureuse the next time I’m at the store).


  4. I was interested to read this latest instalment in your linden quest – looks like you have discovered some pretty scents along the way, but the HGLS continues to elude you. I quite agree about that L’Artisan room spray I sent you – it is nice but one-dimensional and doesn’t feel like a proper perfume to my mind.

    And Unter den Linden is more like a perfume, but didn’t blow me away, certainly not for the price. Ajne Printemps is about lily and linden, and might be worth a sniff if you are in Carmel (also fiendishly dear, and a bit like Diorissimo in 3D…with linden). That Naked Honey one I think I may also have sent you was more honey-forward, possibly like the Mandy Aftel you mention.

    Yes, it is a tricky one. But it looks as though Rusty is fully on board with the ongoing search for the sublime lime!


    • “sublime lime” :)

      Naked Honey is good on its own but too much honey for my purpose.

      I’ve been to Carmel several times and had no idea about Ajne showroom (it was in my pre-perfumista times). The next time I’ll try to visit it.


  5. Eh, I want some La Chasse and I’m not letting Victoria dissuade me; I’m haunting eBay for a used bottle. I can’t say I ever noticed linden in it before, though; now you will make me look for that!

    Damn, could Rusty BE more photogenic? I swear, he should be earning his keep in movies or something.

    Also: you intrigue me with that soap. :-) We perfume fans do tend to love the soaps, no?


  6. Rusty- the movie :-D I think if you try to ask him again, once he has had the time to consider…
    Thanks for the nice mention <3 I'm glad you ended up liking UdL, even if it's pricy. She does do perfume oils in 10ml, but I don't know how they compare to the edp, and although they are cheaper, of course per ml, it's more expensive.
    mpbha is great, I might need that too- at some point anyway:-) It's such a hassle buying US perfume and have it send to Europe, so it does require something quite special to go through with it.
    Thanks for summing up your quest, I have been following it with great interest.


    • For some reason WordPress thought that your comment was spam! Grrr! I found it there only today.

      I think that Rusty can be persuaded to do many things provided proper incentives (read “food”) ;)

      I don’t like oils so if I go for that perfume it’ll have to be an EdP.

      I agree about difficulties with sending perfumes overseas. But you can’t complain! Most perfumes are rather available in Europe. US is “special” only with indie perfumes (it seems we have much more of those). But if you even need help with those just let me know.


    • Is it the one by Bourjois? I haven’t heard about this perfume until I ran a search today. But I do not see linden among its notes. Is the impression created by other notes?


  7. I’m on the same search! So far I’ve found “Eau de Ciel ~ Annick Goutal” to be a warm linden flower. And “D’Orsay Tilleul” to be fresh take on it. I prefer Eau de Ciel so far.


  8. This is a note that I do not have expertise in, so I always enjoy reading your posts. What a disappointment that you missed the trees in Baltimore! Are there none at any garden shops in California?

    (P.S. I have figs on the tree in my “garden”!)


    • I need to investigate if I can get a linden tree here – I was just planning to get a couple of trees next to my house.

      You have to take a picture of your figs!


  9. I haven’t found a linden perfume that I love yet, but I’m addicted to Roger and Gallet Fleur de Tilleul body lotion and soap. They are becoming harder and harder to find. They offer a natural linden blossom smell. So natural that the other day I got a huge whiff of very familiar linden and was baffled b/c I knew I had not used the lotion in weeks. I looked up to find I was standing under an enormous linden tree :)


    • :) It’s a great recommendation. But you’re right, it’s really hard to find now (I spent probably 30 minutes searching Internet). I’ll keep in mind this name – just in case I come across it somewhere (saved search on eBay).


      • My usual internet source for the “Doux nature/Gentle Nature” R&G line [in rectangle bars] no longer carries it, but in recent months I found it at the perfume corner dot com. I wonder if that whole line is being phased out. I rarely see it at pharmacies in France in recent years. :(


  10. Okay, this is bad. Your blog is so darn awesome! I just saw my first cat + perfume/soap pictures, and think you are super awesome for doing them, but… being a photographer (and having 12 cats) I am so tempted to occasionally do this (or with my 3-legged dog). But I’d feel like a thief…. The dilemma!

    Really love the idea though; had to pop on and say so. :)


    • Melissa, you should definitely persuade your cats to pose for your blog’s pictures! Think about it: there are dozens (and then some) professional pictures of perfumes, creams, soaps, etc. Unless you have a studio, all paraphernalia for taking perfume pictures and all the bottles your pictures won’t be better than those that already exist. But if you introduce a cute cat (or dog) to the picture it immediately gets a unique character.


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  12. Lindens–great stuff–Arnold Arboretum, Boston–large collection of different species of linden(Tilia species), where you can compare and decide which linden if your favorite.

    In your descriptions of linden scents above, you, in conclusion, wrote:
    “On my recent trip to Baltimore I saw those pre-bloom linden trees and almost cried – two more weeks and I could have smelled something I hadn’t smelled in 15 years. Maybe next year…” That is the magic of plants and fragrances for humans, no? They hypnotize in the most pleasant manner. And by this time, my words of description are meaningless in relation to the desire to be under the lindens once again.


    • A year after this post I got my wish granted: I went to Europe just when linden trees were in bloom and smelled it in Ukraine, Austria and France.

      Thank you for the information about Arnold Arboretum – I’ll try to visit it one day – either for linden or for lilac.


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