Lilac smells floral, sweet, intense, and almost cloying. The scent is dominated by blooming flowers with a syrupy nature sweet or spicy depending on the type of lilac it’s made from.
Lilac is one of those floral scents that is almost impossible to accurately describe without actually smelling it. This is a flower of many nuances. It’s either sweet-smelling (if it comes from Syringa vulgaris_ or spicy-smelling (if it comes from Syringa vulgaris).
What is lilac?
Lilac is an ornamental-aromatic plant that originates in the Balkan region of Europe. It was normally planted as an aromatic tree next to the house in many countries of this region. Today, it is still mostly found next to homes or in areas that used to have a house where its fragrant odor used to linger in the air as the lilac flowers blossomed in the spring.
How Does Lilac Smell Like?
Lilac has an intense floral smell that is dominated by the almost cloying sweetness. Lilac smell has various undertones depending on its species which vary from sweet to spicy or lavender-like. All types of lilac scents have high to very high projection.
Lilac grows in trees or shrubs with minimum to no watering. This means it has an intense smell that is highly characteristic of flowers that grow on shrubs that are located on hills or mountains.
Lilac petals are easily turned into essential oil. Lilac essential oil is used in perfumery as well as in aromatherapy. Its smell is memorable and feminine, ideal for mature women.
Lilac smells floral
The floral nature of the lilac smell is its most important characteristic. The flowers of lilac grow in clusters and they dominate all other flower scents in the area when grown next to a house or in the garden. The flowers of lilac can be purple, white, yellow, or pink. All these variations tend to smell similar with only small aromatic differences.
Lilac smells sweet
The common lilac used in perfumes and candles for aromatherapy smells sweet. In fact, it smells so sweet that’s almost headache-inducing. The sweetness of the lilac flower odor is reminiscent of candy. It’s a sweeter scent than the smell of honey.
This is what determines who loves the smell of lilac and who doesn’t. Women who love sweet smells typically love the smell of lilac. Other women find it cloying.
Lilac has an intense aroma
The intense aroma of the lilac smell is almost unmatched in the floral world. The Lilac flower smell has very strong projection. A single lilac flower can be smelt from a f ew feet away. A single lilac flower can fill the room with its floral-sweet aroma within minutes.
The intense nature of the lilac flower also means hundreds of flowers aren’t needed for a single bottle of perfume. Similar to jasmine, the lilac smell is very potent and often mixed with other floral notes in perfumer for complex fragrances.
Lilac can also smell spicy
Some types of lilac (Korean Syringa vulgaris) have a spicy smell. This smell has some sweetness to it. A less common type of lilac popularly known as Japanese lilac (Syringa reticulata) only smells sweet and not floral nor spicy. The Japanese lilac has a candy-like sweetness aroma that is rarely used as much in perfumes as a common lilac essential oil.
Lilac smell lingers a long time in the air
Lilac has a very strong projection. It doesn’t need wind to be smelt from a considerable distance. However, the springtime breeze often takes its smell to the immediate vicinity of the shrub or lilac tree. Lilac smell tends to become very potent in the evening and early night hours.
Is lilac smell still desirable?
Lilac was one of the main notes in the best perfumes for women. It stood its ground against more popular floral notes, particularly the Bulgarian rose or Jasmine Sambac. Time has passed and lilac started to become less desirable due to its common nature. Its smell was used in all types of soaps, cosmetics, and cleaning products which didn’t make it feel any special when used in perfumes.
Today, lilac is not as popular in women’s perfumes as it used to be. Its smell is limiting, often seen as old-fashioned. However, lilac can still add projection to floral perfumes and depth to wintertime perfumes for women or to fall perfumes for women.
Benefits of lilac
The lilac smell has its perks. Unlike other smells made from expensive and rare flowers, lilac has its page in the history of perfumes.
- Unique intense floral-sweet aroma
Lilac is very intense. Its floral smell is ideal for just about any woman who likes to smell very good and to be in the center of attention.
- Relaxing nature
Lilac might be strong but it has a calming effect on people who like its scent. Since most types of lilac perfumes are made from sweet lilac, there’s no reason to doubt its therapeutic-like effect on the mind.
- Concentrated formulation
Lilac has very strong projection and it doesn’t need too many flowers to recreate its smell in a perfume bottle. This can’t be said about many other floral scents.
- A low-cost method of smelling very good
As a concentrated potent intense smell, lilac is harvested in small amounts compared to many types of rose, peony, and other flowers. This means it’s an affordable ingredient as well.
Drawbacks of lilac smells
There are a few drawbacks to smelling like lilac. First, bees will like you. Many bees are attracted by perfume, particularly by strong lilac perfumes that are easy to sense. Lilac can also make you smell a bit old-fashioned, especially as a woman in your teens.
Lilac smells distinct and very memorable. It’s often said a person that has smelt lilac once can never forget its intense aroma. The problem with such floral intensity is that not everybody loves it. As a distinctly feminine scent, lilac is often overlooked given it isn’t as popular today as it used to be. But it still has its role in perfumery in a world where molecule scents and notes made from synthetic ingredients are dominant.
Does lilac smell feminine?
Lilac is a feminine scent and it can’t work in a fragrance for men. Its floral scent is like a cliché which means there’s no room for interpretation. The intense lilac note is often used in the best perfumes for older women.
Is lilac old-fashioned?
Lilac is not old-fashioned by modern standards. Its overuse as an aroma for household cleaning products doesn’t help its case anymore. Still, lilac is used as a supportive note in other floral perfumes.
Do you get a headache from lilac?
You can easily get a headache from smelling lilac too much. Its sweet aroma is cloying to some people and it’s high to very high projection can cause nausea in extreme cases. This is the main reason most gardens with lilac trees only had one tree in them.