There are several things worth noting about Ineke Ruhland's newest perfume, Gilded Lily. It's described as a fruity chypre, but just as Elena of Perfume Shrine commented earlier today, Gilded Lily doesn't seem to have much in common with either the chypres of yore (if you want a true homage to the classics get the divine Mata Hari by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz), or with the modern ones. There's something in the way the perfume develops that might be the ghost of a chypre, but honestly, this label might be doing this lovely creation a disservice.
Then there's the issue of the gilded lily. I'm not the biggest fan of lily perfumes in general because they are just too big and floral and I'm just not the soliflore type. But there's no overwhelming feeling of petals and pollen here, no forced femininity (I actually find Gilded Lily to be perfectly unisex) and absolutely no gilding. Which leads us to my last point- Ineke has shown us here that one can compose a minimalist perfume that is not watery or boring. Gilded Lily doesn't suffer from the unbearable lightness of most minimalist perfumes (yes, I'm giving the stinkeye to Jean-Claude Elena and his followers). It's streamlined and almost stark- even the pale fruity opening doesn't bite or tries to take over- and I admit I'm having a hard time noticing where the pineapple and rhubarb come into play. It's more like a dried and slightly sweetened pink grapefruit rind. Later it becomes all about an abstract floral and pale woods, the cleanest (but not neutered) patchouli base with a tinge of pale green (I guess that's what was left of oakmoss in modern perfumery) and an overall quiet elegance.
If you spray enough, Gilded Lily will remain on skin for about 6-8 hours. You can actually really go to town with this one because it's relatively quiet and doesn't try to intrude on anyone's personal space. I would easily recommend this for what is called "office-wear" and for anyone who wants to be eased into indie perfumes but is having a hard time dealing with more assertive compositions.
I've come to really enjoy Ineke's style and Gilded Lily is no exception. The thing is that wearing it reminds me of sitting on my cherry-red sofa in my somewhat quirkily decorated living room while reading an interior design magazine dedicated to urban minimalism. I love looking at photos of city apartments with windows that take up a wall or two, stark white furniture with dove grey accents, glass, metal and a kitchen that appears to never ever be used for actual cooking. There are usually modern-cut crystal vases with a single lily or orchid in them providing the only splash of color in the room. It's gorgeous, enviable and utterly not me. But sometimes it's fun to pretend.
Gilded Lily by Ineke ($88, 2.5oz) is available from BeautyHabit and ineke.com. The 7 piece sample set ($25) is highly recommended. This review was based on a press sample provided by the company.
Art: Stargazer Lily by Declan McCullagh