Mary Cassatt, Lilacs in a Window, 1880-1883. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1997. 1997.207
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
— T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland (I. The Burial of the Dead)
If you asked me to name my favorite flower, or my favorite floral note in perfume, lilac wouldn’t be the first one I’d name. It might not even appear in my “top five.” Yet every April there’s a day when I have the opportunity to visit the blooming lilac trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and I suddenly want to spray myself with a lilac fragrance.
Here are a few recommendations, including three from independent female perfumers and one from a preeminent female “nose.”