Late summer and early fall are the season in the South for white ginger lilies, hedychium coronarium. They are tall, tender perennials with long, sword-like green leaves topped by fluttering white flowers whose large petals inspire the plant’s other common name: white butterfly lily. Our next-door neighbor has a magnificent clump, which sends its perfume floating over both of our gardens. I have tried to grow it myself, mere yards from his thriving specimen, without success. The white ginger lily is fickle by nature. But oh, that perfume! Many scents have been called intoxicating; the ginger lily’s fragrance truly is. Designed to lure pollinating insects at night, the white flowers’ scent intensifies in the dark humidity of Southern summer nights.
Imagine my anticipation, then, when I learned that Jo Malone has a cologne named Dark Amber and Ginger Lily. I looked it up on Fragrantica.com and realized that it has notes of ginger, and water lily, but it has nothing to do with ginger lilies. It sounded lovely, though, and I had a sample from a purchase of Tudor Rose, so on my wrists it went. Mmmm. I don’t often like Oriental spicy perfumes, but when I do, I really do. And I really like this one. Warm, soft, a whisper of cardamom with the ginger top note, a floral bouquet for a heart, a touch of glove leather in the base notes. Definitely on my wish list. But nothing to do with actual ginger lilies.
My curiosity piqued, I decided to explore further. And voila! Continue reading