Lys Bleu Eau de Toilette (Prince Henri d'Orléans)

Today I'd planned a critical coronation for an entirely different fragrance, but a pretender to the throne has staged a royal coup. Please forgive Lys Bleu for jumping the line of succession, but once you hear its backstory, you'll understand why I pardoned its lèse-majesté.

On Christmas Day, I received a 5ml. mini of Lys Bleu from my mother-in-law, who scored it in an online auction without knowing anything about its provenance. I, too, was stumped-- but I can understand why this graceful little bottle caught her eye. Crèe par le Prince Henri Pierre d'Orléans, the royal blue packaging proclaimed. Frankly, I suspected that the Prince himself might be crèe par les relations publiques. Could he perhaps be a figment of the same imagination that cooked up Albert Fouquet, the hapless aristocrat of Eight & Bob fame?

Nope: this royal is real!

Born in 1933, Henri Philippe Pierre Marie d'Orléans is an author, artist, banker, war hero, Légion d'Honneur recipient, Comte de Paris, Duc de France, current claimant to the Bourbon throne... and perfumer! At this final goal, he's no pretender, for Lys Bleu (1980) turns out to be a lovely bouquet of hyacinth backed with the winning combination of moss and blackcurrant in the style of Magie Noire or Chamade. (Coincidentally, the latter happens to be the perfume I threw over for Lys Bleu today; I don't feel at all cheated in this exchange.)

According to a 1983 Sydney Morning Herald article, Lys Bleu is "a generous perfume composed of over 100 separate essences"-- presumably expensive ones worthy of a Prince of the Blood. (Look at that price tag! Even allowing for historical inflation and the US/Australian exchange rate, that's some chunk o' change!) Along with the aforementioned hyacinth and cassis, Lys Bleu features verbena, rose de Mai, tuberose, ylang-ylang, crocus, clove, "a most precious wood" (probably santal), ambergris and musk. If my nose can be trusted, there may also be narcissus, galbanum, and civet in there, as well as contrasting touches of salty lily and sweet muguet. I imagine the bottle is even prettier when it has a crystal stopper rather than plastic, but so what? It's the contents that give me joy.

My only question: does championing Lys Bleu make me plus royaliste que le roi? I trow a sample of Royalissime (d'Orléans' other creation) might impel me to swear eternal fealty on bended knee.

Scent Elements: Verbena, galbanum, rose, tuberose, ylang-ylang, hyacinth, narcissus, crocus, lily-of-the-valley, lily, iris, cassis, clove, woods, civet, ambergris, musk