Today 4th July, is Independence Day in America, so a happy holiday to our American friends. In Northern Europe this period stands at the edge of summer. The end of June and the start of July being the time of Lime trees. This Lime tree, Tilia, and not the citrus Lime is a fantastic wood to work, having almost no grain. For many years, piano harmonium and organ keys were made from it as it was so regular to work.
So it is that yesterday and today, the elusive perfume – beautiful and heady – is captured by columns of air and then hangs in the warm atmosphere, some distance from the tree itself. Experience it before it has evaporated. It is magical. It is a singular perfume. It has no bitter bass note. It is similar to both Lilac and Honeysuckle but again, only those types which are not possessed of a dark and unpleasant background odour.
The Lime tree is often called the Linden in Europe. The word ‘Linden’, until about the 1700s meant “made of Lime Wood”, and was an adjective like “Oaken” and “Leathern” – meaning made of Oak and Leather, respectively.
If you didn’t catch the Lime tree perfume yet, try and seek it out. You may not see the tree at all but you will happen unaware upon a scent – mysterious and alluring, sweet but not sickly. Just enough to tantalise the senses. There are about three days in the year when it is present. Always towards the end of June and the start of July.
Francois Mauriac wrote about this scent from les tilleuls too. He too was struck by this heavenly fragrance.
Now I wonder, if it is preserved in a bottle somewhere…