Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Caldey Island Lavender by Caldey Abbey Perfumes

Total Reviews: 23
This smells like a natural, herbal lavender, with that slightly musty anisic edge that stops it smelling too artificial. Then it turns into a generic slightly sour soapy musk. This is a recent sample so I suspect it has been reformulated since the review in the guide.
26th June, 2018
To my nose, this is practically identical to Trumper's Sandalwood, for all intents and purposes. That is, it settles on the same, sole note: pure, unadulterated, reeking musk. Granted, the opening is quite different. As others have said, the opening is a very impressive, earthy, dirty lavender—not at all the sweet, clean, pretty or light lavenders one gets from less distinguished fragrances. However, this opening is so fleeting that it's barely worth noting. The musk fixative is so dominant and persistent that any other qualities go out the window.

Longevity and sillage are tremendous. I could smell this on myself all day long after what I thought was a sparing application. It is certainly a quality product, and a definite bargain.

Perhaps my take on this fragrance will change with time, but presently I must resolve that it is not for me. I was looking for a cleaner, more herbal lavender, or a lighter, fresher one, at least, and found Harris's and Yardley's offerings to be more suitable.
24th December, 2017
As with other reviewers on this site, I was led to Caldey Island by Luca Turin's five star review and such statements of his as "perfect lavender" and "the best lavender soliflore on earth."

I find it no better, no worse, than a dozen other pure lavenders I have sampled over the decades. It is soft and powdery as is my favorite lavender, Caron's Pour Un Homme, but lacks the persistence of that scent classic.

What is confusing is how other reviewers got their bottles as the Caldey Island site states it does not ship outside the UK. I sampled a one millileter vial from Surrender to Chance.

I give it a neutral as it is not great in my opinion, just competent, and lacks longevity.
13th March, 2016
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It's misleading to call this a soliflor because that implies a simple and linear profile. Instead, Caldey Island Lavender is more like a journey through different facets of the plant.

Hugo Collumbien composed this in the same way as a talented gardener tends their shrubs.
Anyone can lop off bits here and there, but the real skill is to work with the bush to highlight its beauty and leave no trace.

28th July, 2015 (last edited: 25th October, 2015)
I was a lavender lover looking for a perfect lavender fragrance to replace the one I loved for years. That was Crabtree and Evelyn's Lavender. But it went through a name and/or label change which caused me to buy their Lavender edt, which, confusingly to me, not only has a different label, but a different, and weaker formulation, which faded disappointingly. I since refound the original Crabtree & Evelyns, but for a while I was looking for a new lavender fragrance. That's when I tried Caldey Island.
This is a really good, authentic lavender. It is lovely, fresh, uplifting, aromatic and airy, like the flower. It is also, alas, fairly short-lived, another aspect that seems to go with the territory of authentic lavender. In Caldey Island this is dealt with by adding a soft lavender-herbal musky dry down, which blends quite well with lavender topnote to sort of 'extend' the lavender ambiance, all a lavender-lover like me wants or requires. The musk reacted well on my skin.
Though I really like it, my old standby Crabtree & Evelyn is much longer lasting, though not quite as soft as this one. It is a little sturdier, thanks to some fortification with other notes. But the result is so quintessentially lavender I don't really care what other notes are added. It's nice to know there's an excellent back-up, but it didn't displace my first love, king of all lavender fragrances to my nose.
04th February, 2015 (last edited: 16th March, 2015)
It just smells like a realistic pure Lavender and less medicinal than other typical lavenders. There isn’t much sillage as expected. There is a slight green natural floral leafiness and grassiness to it that makes it charming. It stays close to the skin and is excellent. It really smells of a pastoral setting almost like you’re outside in a country road near a lavender crop. This is really beautiful. There’s a slight musk basenote. It's my favourite lavender but unfortunately I can only import a roll on so I'll have to find a replacement.
23rd November, 2014 (last edited: 22nd November, 2014)
Genre: Floral

Lavender, pure and simple. Or is that Florida orange juice? (Egads – I’ve just aged myself!)

Oh yes, back to the fragrance: Caldey Island lavender is the soft, simple essence of lavender, unencumbered by the civet and vanilla that flesh out my two benchmark lavender fragrances, Jicky and Caron Pour un Homme. This is the scent I get when I rub a freshly plucked stalk of summer lavender and rub it on my bare arm, and hence ideal when the real thing is out of season.
11th June, 2014
I have to admit I have only worn this one a few times - and yes, I bought it on the back of the Turin review.

The EDT came in a simple glass bottle with no atomiser. I don't like "dabbing" fragrances onto my skin so I decanted part of the contents into a new bottle with atomiser and use this to apply the scent.

The initial scent of lavender is the purest I have smelt - outside of a lavender field, of course. But its not that far from Caron's Pour un Homme. If you love lavender, like I do, then the first hour is great. It very quickly fades though - as lavender tends to.

At first I found this one hour of pleasure unsatisfactory - in terms of longevity. However, having worn a few times since I have come to enjoy the quiet musk dry down that is revealed after the lavender has diminished. It is very faint but lasts for six hours or more; occassional wafts of a gentle and sweet musk. The remnants of the lavender seem to sweeten the musk. I now look forward to this stage more than the initial lavender phase.

Apart from the initial top notes, this is a very subtle fragrance. It has low projection and intensity. The majority of the beautiful lavender is gone within an hour. However, what is left works very well for me. Only recommended for people who can enjoy skin scents. I will always keep a bottle in my fragrance collection.
30th March, 2014
I expected to like this as I'm a big fan of Caron pour un homme, I read the Luca Turin 5-star review and like lavender scents in general... but I can't stand it.

The lavender is nice enough but doesn't last long before a monstrously ugly musk takes over and dominates proceedings. Unfortunately its one of those very basic, brutal laundry-style musks... in fact it smells like a big basket of laundered clothes washed in an industrial strength product.

That's not the kind of smell I want to walk around's bad enough when other people's clothes stink of washing powder. I think it's a very crude perfume, badly constructed and can't see the attraction or understand the appeal.

03rd March, 2014
Elzéard Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Not at all what I expected, and yet far better than I could have ever hoped for. The musk and lavender present an aura of absolute serenity.
27th December, 2012
A graceful, musky lavender from the monks of Caldey Island. The lavender is minty bright while the base (a musk called 'Exaltolide', according to Luca Turin) is smooth like soiled velvet. Hugo Collumbien, the creator, has managed to anchor the ephemeral lavender note without drowning it. A divine scent at a bargainous price.
30th August, 2012
An evocative and wonderful lavender, but as someone brought up on Yardley Lavender eau de toilette and soap, I fear my nose has been spoilt. Caldey Island isn't a 'pure' lavender , the minty metallic scent of the shrub, but a more complex fragrance, I guess to give it 'staying power'. If one regards Caldey Island lavender as a scent with lavender in it rather than a soliflore, its easier to understand. I like it, but not for evenings or social occasions. Best kept to at home days when it's lovely.
20th December, 2011
I don't hate this, but honestly, the musk is far too strong. It seems oddly unbalanced, it should smell more like lavender.
25th September, 2011
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shamu1 Show all reviews
United States
I just recently sampled Caldey Island Lavender, and I agree that it is one of the best lavenders I've ever tried. The real accomplishment here is that the perfumer managed to iron out all of the rough edges of the lavender, while still retaining its bracing rawness and purity. It has the rawness and earthiness of French lavender, but also has the softness and delicacy of English lavender. That is no mean feat.

Like all the best lavender fragrances, this is for lovers of real lavender scents, not those that hide the lavender under piles of other notes. Of course, longevity isn't too good, but I don't care. This would be a pleasure to reapply during the day.

I'm not likely to buy this because I already found my favorite lavender in Agua Lavanda, but Caldey Island Lavender is an outstanding alternative for any lavender fan. Bravo!

16th May, 2011
Again - high expectations, lowered thumbs. The musk of mine (2010, full bottle) is way to strong. The Lavender is gone within about 30 minutes when the musk takes over. As reported by Luca Turin the musk is exaltolide. Its odor strength varies from individual to individual and too with every person by time. That has been scientifically approved.

I personally don't like exaltolide. It is strong, dirty and long lasting. Frequent reapplications of CL as to refresh the lavender part will eventually lead to a guy who thinks of himself in "blue heaven". His surrounding may think of a muskrat instead. On the other hand, a dirty lavender - if You like to feel as a monk from time to time - why not?

24th April, 2011
Pure, clean, unadulterated lavender. Longevity is only around 15-20 minutes, but you'd expect that with nothing else to really support the top notes. Great for spraying on before bed (or on your pillows) to let the lavender scent calm you to sleep.
06th April, 2011
Well Luca Turin calls this the best lavender soliflore on earth so this made me curious to try it out and compare it with Trumpers and Caron Un Pour Homme as well as Oxford & Camebridge by C&S. I ordered 100ml of the EDT.

Well I received it today and gave myself four sprays and let the lavender scent envelop me. First thing I noticed was this does not slap you in the face as a lot of Lavender fragrances happen to do. To my nose it is a warmer more aromatic lavender and though I can detect a bit of methol in its notes its not overwhelming.

It is very lovely and pristine though it does stay close to the skin and I find the lavender to be more flowery compared to the stringent herbal lavender that has a sharp medicinal quality to it that seems to be part of a lot of lavenders.

As time goes by it does dry down to a musky accord and it's this that makes the lavender feel warm. There is at the centre of the lavender a pure uplifting aromatic quality to it that I find enchanting.

I prefer it to the Trumpers and Caron Un Pour Homme and I think it's on par with the Oxford & Cambridge and I say that because the oakmoss and peppermint in that scent does make that one a special lavender scent.

A thumbs up for me.
17th February, 2011
NevilleM Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Perfect Lavender. Like the lavender flowers in the garden (I have 20 varieties).
Top is lavender; base a little musk so just a solifleur. As there's nothing in the middle it doesn't last on the skin beyond 20 minutes - so try a few drops on collar or sleeve. At these prices you could bathe in it.
I keep a bottle by the remote control, and at the end of the day it overcomes those drydown blues - just a litlle every time you change channel.
03rd October, 2010

Caldey Island Lavender is a beautifully clear and clean lavender fragrance: It presents a pristine lavender note, and I thrilled with this because lavender is one of those notes that has been punched and prodded, bullied and brutalized, synthesized, bastardized and mongrelized in so many fragrances that I can barely tolerate the usual offering of lavender in a general, run-of-the-mill fragrance. …But not this one: This one is beautiful. It’s clean and pure to the point of its possessing an ethereal earthiness – very much like the lavender flower itself. I can only hope that the Caldey Island monks will now try their collective hand at creating a clean and pristine violet fragrance…

21st April, 2010
bokaba Show all reviews
United States
I recently added Caldey's beautiful Lavender to my wardrobe. I had been working with some samples over the past several months and finally decided to purchase a bottle. To my nose Caldey emphasizes the softer more floral side of lavender using primarily lavender absolute along with other oils in a nearly all-natural composition and as such is fleeting. Caldey's lavender oils meet or exceed those in Royal Scottish Lavender and Caron PuH without any of the vanilla, woods, and ambergris. The lavender note here is crystal clear. The heart is a tad gamy and grassy perhaps owed to the use of hay absolute. The only draw back in the synthetic musk base but it does warm the composition to some degree and is immensly better than any of the laundry detergent musks used in mainstream perfumery today. Caldey Island Lavender is a remnant of 19th Century floral waters. At such an affordable price, it certainly worth a try!
07th December, 2009 (last edited: 11th June, 2011)
Airy and breathless and PERFECT lavender. Wonderful for summer and early Spring evenings. Alas! On my bod longevity is non-existent and constant re-application is required. Worth every minute of it.
27th November, 2008
With its appealing heritage aura, and given my own fondness for lavender, Caldey Island Lavender promised to be a winner. But while the initial application is appealing enough, it didn't last on my skin above a quarter hour.
10th September, 2008
A very pure and pleasant lavender with a slightly musky dry-down. I enjoy it on days when Caron Pour un Homme is just too much and when I'm not in the mood for vanilla.
25th December, 2007 (last edited: 03rd April, 2016)