Saltwater Lily – Review: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee

It was one of my previous misconceptions, that I don´t particularly care for flowers. Not the real thing of course, but floral notes in perfumes. I am fine with the soft, delicate ones, no problem there. But the big, white, super florals – I always thought they were not for me. But as so many things get thrown over in my personal perfume world, this concept had to fall too. It is not that I am all over every screaming tuberose and indolic jasmine I can find, but I do not dismiss them either any more.

My introduction to white flowers was one that I still think of as “intermediate level” white floral – the lily.

A lily, in my eyes, is right between a delicate bloom like lily of the valley (but we know how that can turn out in certain hands) and a sillage thrower like jasmine.

Lys Mediterranee was my first lily perfume and it is still one of my favorites.

Created by Edouard Flechier in 2000, Lys Mediterranee includes notes of water-lily, ginger-lily, lily of the valley, angelica root, orange and ambrette seeds.

For me it smells like a lily. Surprise, you say, but what I mean is not a bouquet of lilies, artfully arranged, and often reminiscent of death with its funereal associations, but a lily in nature. I can smell the flowers itself most prominently of course, but then there is its green stem, a touch of earth, and most importantly the wind that comes in from the sea – the eponymous Mediterranean – that softly brushes past with its salty tang.

The scent is heady, but not too much, has good sillage, but not too much, is a perfect balance of sweet and salty. There is an initial sharpness that mellows in seconds, bringing out a pure, white unadulterated lily, it is big, but, again, not too much.

It is just right. It is probably a favorite of Goldilocks. (The bears wear Muscs Kublai Khan :)) It has a presence that is not to be ignored without being overwhelming.

The drydown is musky, in a vegetal way, by which I mean the fine line between animalic and clean that is so hard to toe. Lys Mediterranee does it perfectly. Staying power is very good, I get easily six to eight hours out of it.

I have been going through three samples already, come spring or summer at the latest, this will be full bottle worthy, no doubt about that.

Goldilocks would approve.

Picture source:,, some rights reserved, thank you!


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24 Responses to Saltwater Lily – Review: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee

  1. Tara says:

    Lovely review. “The bears wear MKK” – love it! I’m not a lily fan myself but this does sound really high quality and well done, as is typical with the Malles.

    Jasmine will probably always be my fave flower, however I got my sample of URC last night and boy am I in trouble! I wasn’t sure on the opening as I was waiting for that rich damascena rose I love so much from the essential oil but, after 10 minutes or so, out it came and got stronger and stronger. Need to keep testing but so happy I think I’ve found my rose. Sorry for hijacking your lily review 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Another great Malle, indeed.
      I am glad you like URC. The Tauers are like a journey, when you think you know it, there is still something new happening. I love to discover them anew, every time I wear it.
      No problem, I am up for a Tauer discussion anytime 😉

  2. Tarleisio says:

    Consider the lily…my very favorite flower. But not just any lily will do. I like most lilies and not a few lily perfumes, but the ones that do my favorite lily – madonna or Easter lilies, as they’re sometimes called (the one you’ve used to illustrate it!) are very hard to find, and of them all, Lys Mediterranee comes very, very close.

    The closest was an early 90’s creation by Laura Biagiotti called ‘Fiori Bianchi’, that popped up, was available for about a year or so, and then disappeared. Then, there are other lilies…Donna Karan Gold – which is Casablanca lily, and borderline over-the-top – and Serge Lutens Un Lys, which is stargazer lily and completely over the top, just like the flower itself.

    I like lilies, and I love Lys Mediterranee because it’s not just about that super-sensual flower, but about all those green facets hiding underneath, and we Green Fiends know what we like! 😉

    I own only a small decant, but come summer, a full bottle can’t be too far behind…:D

    • Olfactoria says:

      Here is another scent twin indicator! 😉
      So you think Un Lys is totally over the top? Darn, I should have known, it is a Lutens after all. I only smelled the wax sample, there it is so lovely, but it is probably very subdued. But I hoped it would be one of those Lutens subtlety surprise scents like Bas de Soie or my beloved Iris Silver Mist, which are not exactly subtle I know, but they possess an entirely different quality than the morrocan bunch. I don’t want an over the top lily! Must get a real sample somewhere…

      • Tarleisio says:

        Don’t take my word for it, B, but really, Un Lys is…stunning. Breathtaking, even, in just how much of a hyper-real stargazer lily it is, and yes, it is opulent and glorious and not for the faint of heart, just like the flower itself that can completely take over a room. I would recommend, though, that you try it first! It’s a Lutens – and it might surprise you! 😉

  3. ashleigh17 says:

    Lovely article! lilies are one of my absolute favorite flowers- to look at and to smell. I must try this one.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi, Ashleigh! Mine too! It is the most beautiful lily perfume I have found yet, because it is not overpowering like many lilies can be. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  4. Victoria says:

    I like this fragrance very much also, which borders on marine for me. It is really the scent of sea breeze, so beautiful. Similar idea to our other favorite, Un Matin d’Orage, I find.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It borders on marine in a good way, the salty , tangy way, not ozonic and hyper-fresh that I always associate with the word ‘marine’. It is indeed similar to Matin, I am craving the sea at the moment 😉

  5. malsnano86 says:

    I like lilies too – but then I’m a fan of most white flowers. (Exception jasmine grandiflorum, which can get all, um, dirty-panties on me in high concentrations, urgh. Patou Joy is utter skankfest, and it’s not the civet, trust me on this, it’s the jasmine. Jasmine sambac presents no problems.)

    I do love DK Gold’s Lily Overload. Un Lys is beautiful too but I found I preferred the salty sea air of Lys Mediterranee to Un Lys! You can even feel the wind in it.

  6. Marina says:

    Such a lovely review.
    I am all over every screaming tuberose and indolic jasmine 🙂 Lilies not so much, but this one is an exception.

  7. deeHowe says:

    I’m still in “intermediate level” white floral, and in, for the most part I run screaming from them. With the exception of DK Gold, which I happily own and wear, and Nuit de Tueberuse (which hardly counts), I have a really hard time with the white flowers. I want to like them. I keep trying to like them. I’m just not there yet 😦

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  9. I like this one. It wears “marine floral” on me, something that I usually detest, but this one is done so right. It’s “airy”, like a marine breeze instead of clean aquatic. Lilies, as a note, are really growing on me. I always thought of them as too “feminine” for me. I think I need more exposure to them.

    • Olfactoria says:

      If you ever encouter Un Lys by Lutens on your lily exploration, please let me know how you like it! 🙂
      Lys Mediterranee is really lovely indeed, love the salty breeze.

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