Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Lime Flower

Tilleul (tee-LOO).
Tilia vulgaris, etc.
The lime- or linden blossom.
The tisane savored by Proust’s (namesake) narrator.
Remedy for hysteria.
A spoonful of honey.
A hotel soap.

How to describe it? Fragrant. Sweet. Old-fashioned. The sort of thing I’d imagine in one of those bottles on Clarissa Dalloway’s vanity. Complicit with orange blossom, rosemary, lavender, and bergamot (and about 10 other ingredients) in Guerlain’s Eau de Cologne Impériale, created in 1853 for the Empress Eugénie. While hats go off to the much later Eau de Guerlain (1974; I would come along about a year later) for its high-octane lemony zing, there’s something about EdCI which refuses to get all worked up. It’s a cool house in the Ile-de-France on a hot summer day; a bed on which the white linens have been pulled tight; afternoon naps; the chequered shade of the garden where, in a few hours, the family will gather for lemonade and cookies.

Eau de Cologne Impériale is one of my few personal extravagances. It gets its own pocket in my summer tote, and frankly I don’t care if a person on the subway stares me down for spritzing myself. The way I look at it, he’s the one making good on his 2-buck Metrocard swipe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So then would you say that EdCI is also a cure for hysteria? Just wondering...

I love Tilleul. D'Orsay's is my favorite. Walking in a Linden Wonderland...

In true cologne fashion, this vanishes before it even lands on my skin. Unfortunate...

Eau d'Orange Verte is my cure for summer hysteria. And winter too, come to think of it...


April 17, 2008 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

LOL... the hysteria fad ended quite a few years ago, but it gives this one a certain neurasthenic patina. Yes, it IS fleeting, which might explain why I keep the bottle on my person at all times from late June through mid-September. As for the EdOV line, the staple there is the soap. I took it to Turkey last November and right into the hammam. I mean, I love olive oil products but let's be serious about our bath!

April 17, 2008 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

Excellent, isn't it? Love your image describing the proceedings it evokes. Its clarity and translucence are welcome in the hectic hotness of summer ~it's already becoming like this I fear in my own little corner of the world ;-)

April 21, 2008 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Beloved of all in my house, which is on a linden-lined street.

Eau de Ciel is a lindeny delight.

April 23, 2008 at 12:51 PM  

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