Alegria (Lili Bermuda)

Milky flowers luminous in the shade...
Dew pooling in waxy white petals....
Sunlight reflecting off of a thousand glossy leaves...
Rushing rhythms of wind and tide and breath...
A peaceful siesta in the midday heat, limbs heavy with lassitude as the sun wheels overhead...

In Spanish and Portuguese, the word alegría denotes an unquenchable zeal for living. A person who possesses alegría is merry, spirited, and fearless-- what Americans might call "game for anything". Alegría's musical equivalent, allegro, signals a brisk tempo, cheerful and bright. Imagine the music which fits that description -- all pattering rhythms and pizzicato strings. Busy, busy, busy; happy, happy, happy.

You're smiling, aren't you? Me, too.

Now imagine the moment just preceding the launch of all this frenetic activity-- or better, the moment just after, when it has ceased. Aaahhhhhhhh-- satisfaction. Like a good, full-body stretch, it leaves one feeling lazy, relaxed, fulfilled. In that instant -- so peaceful you can hear your own heartbeat (or that of the one closest to you) -- you realize that what you're feeling is joy.

It truly is the pause that refreshes.

That moment of stillness is captured in Lili Bermuda's new fragrance, the quietly blissful (or is that blissfully quiet?) Alegria. Demonstrating that there's no need to shout to prove that you're happy, Alegria balances each exuberantly zesty note with a gentler counterpart and gets them all waltzing with grace, ease, and precision.

Alegria announces itself with a tangy citrus flourish before settling down to the serious business of seduction. Its melange of heady white flowers-- tuberose, clementine, magnolia, plumeria and orange -- sings a self-assured harmony at a reasonable decibel level. But make no mistake, these are some heavy hitters. Without firm direction, any one of them -- or heaven forfend, all of them at once -- could hijack the whole concert with an overwrought solo increasing in pitch, volume, and hysteria until all enjoyment is lost.

Here's where osmanthus -- mellow and milky -- proves itself the unsung hero of this ensemble piece. By the strength of its even temper, it harnesses these powerful flowers and unifies their voices into an integrated chorus. Whenever I imagined myself about to be overcome by their collective hallelujah, mild osmanthus dimmed the house lights ever so slightly, permitting me a moment to breathe and catch up. Later -- just when I needed it to -- a handsome, blushing thread of cedar led me away to a vanilla-amber drydown as blessedly smooth as well-worn cotton against the skin.

Wearing Alegria put me favorably in mind of certain bygone fragrances such as Estée Lauder Pleasures-- but being modeled after well-established prior examples does not hurt it in the slightest. Though you've encountered this combination of notes elsewhere, so deftly-woven are they here that they resist coming off as formulaic-- and while butter, eggs, flour, and sugar can produce anything from flapjacks to Sachertorte, the citrus, floral, balsamic and woody notes which fail to excite in one assemblage can prove highly pleasing in another. In Alegria, they make the best sort of magic-- the kind that looks and feels effortless.

Easy does it.

Read an article about Alegria in the Bermuda Royal Gazette.

Scent Elements: Clementine flower, coriander, osmanthus, frangipani, magnolia, orange blossom, Bermuda cedar, tuberose, incense, patchouli, labdanum