I ran across the mention of this one back when I was doing that post on lilac scents, and since I couldn’t find a sample anywhere, I went ahead and sprang for a small 1 oz bottle at an online discounter. Helg at Perfume Shrine loves this thing – here’s her review – and mentions it in comments to a post on wisteria notes by Octavian at 1000 Fragrances. At the time I bought Tocadilly, my neighbor’s lilac and wisteria bushes were merrily blooming, and I was stopping my car in her driveway every day, just to have a good sniff (thanks, Debbie!).
Despite the dire warnings of March at Perfume Posse, who calls herself a victim of that Perfume Shrine review, I yanked Tocadilly out of that garish box and sprayed it on. Lavishly. Which is not like me, but I had been terribly disappointed by the utter evanescence of En Passant the previous week, and I was determined to actually smell a lilac perfume before the lilac blooms fell.
Tocadilly, with notes of cucumber, lilac, coconut, hyacinth, jasmine and sandalwood, is actually very pleasant. It is only like En Passant for a very brief moment in the opening, when I smell that watery-cucumbery note over the lilac, and then Tocadilly’s other components settle in. Where En Passant is transparent and light as air, Tocadilly is clean but more opaque, like the frosted glass of its bottle. The fragrance is quite congruent with the colors used in the packaging – lavender, blue and green, and although I still hate the cap as much as I hate it on That Slut Tocade, the colors are just right and the bottle feels wonderful in my hand. There isn’t much relation to Tocade, by the way, other than a tiny tiny hint of Tocade’s smoky vanilla way down in the base of Tocadilly, and a similar light-hearted, “just for fun,” attitude.
If I hoover my wrist, I can detect a pretty lilac note that – miraculously! – does not make me think of air freshener, and a quiet jasmine. There is also something else vaguely floral which I can only assume is the wisteria note (glycine). The effect is of very muted, light florals with an aqueous cast. Helg mentions pear in her review, but I don’t smell that note which I love so much in Goutal’s Petite Cherie. I don’t smell Calone in there either, but I tend to like Calone in small quantities anyway, having missed the Calone Overdose Years in Perfumedom. If you are sensitive to watery notes, you’ll probably want to give Tocadilly a miss. I suspect this watery cast is what many perfumistas, being tired of the plethora of marine fragrances, dislike about it. There’s also a faintly spicy flavor to the florals here, an almost clovey-anisey angle that I smell in live lilac and hyacinth blossoms.
In the base, and wafting up through the misty florals, is a milky, powdery musk. I don’t smell the kind of oily sweet coconut I associate with suntan oil and pina coladas, but I am sure the coconut note is providing this smooth milky quality. There’s also a light woody vanilla note; if there’s real sandalwood in there, I’ll eat my straw hat, but whatever synthetic sandalwood Tocadilly uses, it’s gentle and soft. Most notable to me about the base is the quality of the musk. It isn’t listed in the notes, but trust me, it’s there, and it seems to be the same kind of musk that I like so much in Gres Cabaret: cushiony and comfortable while managing never to make me think of detergent. I have a special dislike for the flat harshness of “laundry musk,” which ruined Ineke’s lilac fragrance After My Own Heart for me, but Tocadilly’s musk I find very pleasant.
The general effect of Tocadilly is of a garden full of lilac and wisteria blooms, just after a rain, when the air is full of moisture and the wafting odors of the blossoms. I like it very much. It’s refreshing and gentle, and I have enjoyed wearing it to work several times this spring. An informal poll indicates that my family, friends and coworkers find it attractive, with no one disliking it. The descriptions ranged from “flowery” to “clean and fresh.” Taz said “not bad,” an accolade from him, and Gaze said it was “not very exciting, but nice anyway.” (I have high hopes for that boy’s tastes.)
Lasting power is fairly good for an eau de toilette, probably due to that pillowy musk. I get about four to five hours’ worth of ride, with the gentle type of sillage I like best. Tocadilly’s getting hard to find, but it was well worth the $19 I paid for my small bottle. I’ll be wearing it frequently.