NIGHT LILY ~ Lys Mediterranee Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

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Noël Cherubin was shy shopper, in fact he only felt comfortable going out at night to make his purchases, and to dine. To those who noticed the pale handsome young man as he passed, he seemed to float along the avenues of the Left Bank the bright cheery widows reflecting off of his dark glowing eyes.  On this particularly beautiful July evening he was on the hunt for a new perfume and had heard from some very old friends that there were now wonderful shops on this side of the river that sold the most interesting fragrances. What did they call them? Niche perfumes? He smiled at this new word for to him niche meant something quite different. Like a hiding place in a cathedral in the daytime.  He felt a small yet very sharp pang of hunger. He decided to wait to eat until after he had found his new signature scent. A late night supper was always more scrumptious than one just taken after sunset.  His thoughts returned to the task as hand, the perfume hunt. It seemed like he had been wearing Jicky for decades. Noël had a very poor sense of time these nights so in the end it might as well have been a hundred years or so since he last bought a new perfume.


He turned off Boulevard Raspail onto the charmingly austere Rue Grenelle. As he passed number 37 with an awning of the most perfect blood red he sensed something and turned back to look in the window. There was a low warm glow from inside the shop. Noël raised one hand to touch the black lacquered window frame. He stood a good five minutes staring in and feeling the sensation that had first grasped him as he passed.   She was glowing golden, the woman behind the counter. She pulsed with youth and life. She looked like a goddess to Noël, like an immortal being of pure light. He watched in fascination as she helped a young man and woman complete their purchase.

As the couple turned to leave Noël stepped back into the street and looked up at the awning which now seems to glow an oozy red of its own accord under a sad lamp in the dark street.  He saw the words, “Editions De Parfums Fredric Malle”. How perfect, just what he was on the hunt for. The door to the shop swung open and the young couple left leaving it invitingly ajar behind them. Every single floral, animalic, vegetable, and spice scent held captive in the shop shot out that door and washed over Noël with memories of life, love and desire.  In the clamoring center was one smell that nearly sent him into a swoon. The fleshy, earthy almost rotting lovely smell of the lily, the smell of death and rebirth in one, the scent of a woman or a man’s inner thigh. It was irresistible.  He opened the door and waited on the threshold until the beauty behind the counter looked up.


“Oh!” she was startled by his sudden appearance. “I didn’t hear you.”

He smiled showing his perfect white teeth. “Bonjour Mademoiselle May I come in?”

“Please do….” She said half mesmerized by how handsome he suddenly was.

“May I show you something? Is there a particular…..?”  He crossed the room to her so quickly it left her breathless.

“Lily.” He said leaning ever so slightly toward her over the counter. “I love a good lily perfume.”

She smiled and felt she could not take her eyes from his. “I have just the thing. Lys Mediterranee. It has a major lily note that is quite lovely and…..”  His cool fingers hovered over her hand as she reached for the bottle of perfume. “Would you like to try a sample?”  His hand infolded hers and the bottle of Lys Mediterranee at the same time. Slowly he drew her close to him.

“Mademoiselle, I would like to sample everything in your shop. And, I mean everything.”

“Yes… of course Monsieur it would be my pleasure.”

The shop seemed suddenly filled with the smell of lilies, lilies as white as his sharp beautiful smile.

“And maybe after, if you are free, you might join me for a little bite of supper?”

Noel the Vampire





Lys Mediterranee is a seductive, mesmerizing, bite of the night full of romance and a hint of danger. This perfume by Editions de Parfums Fredric Malle was created in the year 2000 by the nose Edoaurd Flechier who also created such perfumes as C’est La Vie by Christian Lacroix and Poison for Dior.  Here with Fredric Malle as in all cases with this perfume house the nose gets his or her name in lights along with the perfume. Usually the Parfumeur is never mentioned.  It is the house or the celebrity who gets the name in up front and center. So Bravo to Fredric Malle for giving the Nose its due.



The perfume is a sensual and subtle uni-sex fragrance that really is perfect on both men and women. There is a fleshy sexiness in the mix that I find most enticing. It opens with a salty wave of an oceanic note that is spiced up with a strong dose of ginger. This opening is as bright as a spring sunrise in Saint Tropez. It sparkles and jumps off the skin for a moment and then it sinks down very fast into the wet earthy heart of the perfume. Like a vampire at dawn, it goes to ground.

Here in the heart notes is the star, the lily full of fleshy ripe indolic sensuality. The note is ripe and rich bordering on the verge of a delicious sumptuous rot. Not to worry, it never tips into compost but stays airborne above the skin curvy and lush and ready for almost anything. It smells a little dirty too and naughty as well. This might be aided by the pungent dirtiness of the Angelica but never tips into nasty boy or slutty girl territory due to the buoyant beauty that comes from the water lily note and a sweet spray of orange blossom.


The lily note hangs in there throughout and into the dry down with finds its support from a curling and creamy vanilla that elongates the sultry aspect of the perfume. There is a musk note but it plays way in the back more as a longevity aid than anything else.

The projection on this perfume is not too strong. It is a romantic scent that demands closeness not a boisterous hey come up and see me sometime fragrance. More of a lets get cozy and intimate perfume. The longevity is very good at about eight to nine hours.

Lys Mediterranee is of the three S’s in my view, Sultry, Sensuous and Sexy. I find it to be full of life and utterly inviting. I must thank the charming and very beautiful Chase at Barney’s NY in San Francisco for leading me to this wonderful perfume and for sharing her expertise and time with me on the house of Editions de Parfums Fredric Malle.




  1. Well, guess who got a bed time story? And, a saucy one at that! I wonder if the lily smells a little like skin, and perhaps, a slight metallic, coppery, whiff of blood?

    • You know I always think of you when it is storytime! It does have a senusal skin like scent to it…so lovely you almost want to bite it.

  2. I do not like lilies in perfumes so Lys Mediterranee isn’t for me but I enjoyed reading the story. I like your style: every time you manage to wrap up the story while I still want it to go on… and on… and on…

    • Lily isn’t for everyone that is for sure. Thanks for the complement on my story. Like Mama Rose said in “Gypsy” “don’t give it all away, Leave them wanting more.”

  3. Another 5 gold stars story and it’s another 5 gold stars perfume for you. I have some lilies blooming in the yard but they are not of the wonderfully fragrant variety. I do love the smell of lily. The one really fragrant one I have isn’t blooming yet and hopefully it will since I’ve managed to keep the lily leaf beetles under control this year. This perfume sounds like its a bit on the light side. That’s concerning because my skin is like a vampire and it sucks the life out of light fragrances rather quickly. I will have to sample it sometime because I don’t have a really wonderful lily in the collection yet.

    • My skin is rather vampirish too with the lighter scents. And this is rather light but somehow it worked for me. I hope you do sample it just to get that wonderful fleshy taste of lily if even only for a moment.

  4. I love the smell of lilies — it’s one of my favorite floral notes — and I’ve wanted to try this for a while. But I’ve heard terrible things about its sillage and so-so stuff on its longevity. Given how my skin devours perfume, it’s put me off trying it at the high price of a bottle. Plus, I’m not a fan of super light fragrances. But with this review…… let’s say that you’re a terrible, terrible source of temptation, my dear! Lovely story, and lovely review!!

    • Well my dear don’t reach for the moon on this one. I hear that lots of people find the bite and the ecstasy of this lily fleeting. It did stay with me longer than I expected it to.

      • Yeah, I’m not going to expect much. BTW, may I recommend that you try Le Labo’s Lys 41? On some, it’s more tuberose but on me, it was equal parts Lily and Tuberose (then followed by jasmine and a tiaré note, which I didn’t like, and vanilla). I think you’d like it. It made me think of the old Grimm fairytale of the dancing princesses who sneak out at night. Anyway, everyone (but me) has crazy longevity with that one, with one person I know reporting 24 hours in duration!!! Naturally, on me, it lasted all of 4 hours, but I think you may well have better luck. And I think you’d adore it! xoxox

  5. while real lillies give me a terrible, diva-esque migraine, the “fleur de lys” in fine juices is a carnal, seductive snake in the grass.
    I adore these stories. this is what perfume is about: stories. (mostly stories of discontinued darlings when it comes to me, but alas, c’est la vie)

    • Thank you so very much dear Beauty…. I am trying to get more current scents in the mix these days. Lovely to have you along for the ride.

      • I’m thrilled to see what’s to come!

        Have you tried Humiecki&Graef, Excentric Molecules or Parfumerie Generale recently? Also Mr Kurkdjian’s own concoctions are quite worthwhile.

      • Not yet Beauty, but they are on my list! Yes, more fun to come!

      • Oh, and have you tried Kinsky? Gesa Schön made this eponymous perfume dedicated to Klaus K. It’s really artsy and somewhat weird.

      • Just as he was rather artsy and somewhat weird! No I haven’t but it is on my ever expanding list. Thanks!

  6. […] go on, more wordsmithery and more vampires! Here’s an ode to the Night Lily aka Lys Méditeranée by Frédéric Malle by the most enigmatic Mr. Lanier. Because this is what perfumes are really about: a fantasy. A […]

  7. we adore a Noel with an umlaut and a rain splashed parisian street.


    • Ever notice that an umlaut resembles the bite of a vampire? Thank you Team Gloria so happy to take you on a that walk down the rain splashed Parisian rue.

  8. Heya Lanier,
    You should write movie treatments. How is that not already in production?
    I love Lys Med, and you of course.
    Portia xx

  9. Who doesn’t love a little vampire story now and then? 🙂 Bravo, dear Lanier! Love the symbolic use of the umlaut!

    For some reason, I always seem to overlook Lys Mediterranée. No more. Will make a point to give it a good sniff the next time that I see it.

  10. Dearest M. Lanier
    The Dandy’s not sure how he missed this rather sultry review… perfect for a perfectly balmy night here in the City.
    ” The fleshy, earthy almost rotting lovely smell of the lily, the smell of death and rebirth in one…”
    What a line and what a scent from the sound of it. I must try.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Oh thank you! I think the Dandy may have been between P.C.s at the time this one was reviewed.

      • Dearest L
        That would explain it, so lucky I didn’t miss it forever.
        It’s a page sizzler!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

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