Happy Muguet-scented May Day.
I’ve been so busy elsewhere of late, there’s just time to slip in a beautifully perfumed selection from last year…
My favourite Lilies of the Valley, the most delicate and fleeting of flowers, ready for their foxtrot, paso or pas des deux.
Blooms for a Spring wedding or “La Fete du Muguet” perhaps, but as much about consummation and physical labour as matrimony and May Day, at least so far as The Perfumed Dandy is concerned…
Do you have any suggestions you’s add to the list?
1. Odalisque by Parfums de Nicolai
A strange way to start some might say, for Odalisque is an olfactory oddity: a muguet chypre.
The outsider intent of the scent continues in the blending too: it is so beautifully blurred that beyond the tart tangerine opening some people struggle to locate both lily of the valley and bitter oakmoss in this little wonder.
They are there however and in abundance; but the moss is softened to a lawn and the muguet, lifted slightly by jasmine and made more spreadable by orris root, assumes a cloud like composure floating above the composition.
Lacking the darkness of patchouli or the chilly chalk of galbanum, this could be argued not to be a true chypre at all.
Whatever the taxonomy, Odalisque is a truly engaging fragrance, with the sensation and refreshment of morning dew about it.
2. Lily of the Valley by Yardley
Quite simply citron presse meets lily of the valley.
This light, citrus, sharp yet slightly sweet muguet is a debonair, or perhaps, debutante’s delight.
It speaks of an uncomplicated antique freshness in a manner which is totally alien to tiresome modern laundry and ocean fragrances.
Sometimes it’s oddly sporting, in a lawn tennis and croquet sort of a way and on other occasions bizarrely soporific and a kind of ‘clean and ready for bed’ feeling abounds.
Frankly this is a bit of an all purpose spray for The Perfumed Dandy, though not one that takes itself or expects you to take it too seriously..
3. Silences by Jacomo
“Silences by Jacomo is a perfume that particularly deserves to be talked about, a hush that demands to be broken.”
But why you may ask would this glorious green be included in a list of lilies of the valley?
The answer lies in the vintage version…
“The opening itself is quite special, a surprising cool breeze of aldehydic muguet, shot through with sharp lemon. Be alert though, for in this changeable spring day of a scent it is gone tantalisingly too soon.”
That devilishly diverting opening would almost be worthy of a place in this set of sic on its own, but a little layering with a classic muguet takes this Jacomo gem into an entirely different realm.
Could Silences plus Yardley be the brightest, greenest lily The Perfumed Dandy‘s ever seen?
For more on Jacomo’s Silences do browse my recent review.
4. Diorissimo by Dior
“Diorissomo is one of the most discretely but decidedly sexual of all scents.”
If silences starts with a hint then this is a great mass of aldehydic muguet, the parfumeurs’ sleight of hand for the seemingly innocent Lily of the Valley.
“But like the flower carried by wealthy brides on their wedding day, this scent conceals deeper and more animal pleasures beneath its surface of propriety and cleanliness.”
I could wax lyrical all day about the naughtiness of this particular interpretation of virginal innocence, in fact I already have in my reflections on Diorissimo
Oh and what luck.. my new vintage supply arrived today!!
5. Forest Rain by Kiehl’s
Perhaps better known for their potions, lotions, conditioners and shampoos, Kiehl’s boast a small but now and again lovely perfume range.
Their “Musk” and “Fig and Sage” scents both feature in The Perfumed Dandy‘s personal collection and this forest floor floral is set to follow as soon as the pennies can be collected together.
It’s actually a pretty simple but rather unique and neat aroma.
An opening of vetiver and musk, with perhaps the merest hint of violet leaf and spice it gives way to a delicate skin scent muguet that proves a little more robust than its initially fragile demeanour would have one believe.
This could be one to convince gentlemen that who feel lily of the valley may not savage enough for them to give the flower a go!
6. Muguet du Bondeur by Caron
The thrice milled soapiness of Caron’s Muguet seems to send people speeding away from a scent they consider to carry too much of the maiden aunt about it.
I’m sure the fact that Queen Elizabeth II is said to have worn it on her Coronation Day over sixty years ago and that the 88 year old Sovereign still sports it today is unlikely to gain it much capital in the cool stakes.
Nevertheless, this is the royalty of savon scents, an immaculately made bath in bottle that is splendidly calming and always leaves feel regally clean.
The Extra Special Extra Scent… Muguet (2013) by Guerlain
Why not include the Guerlain in the main list?
Well, even though it officially contains only a single note, this once a year curiosity, released in a new flacon in time for the “Fete du Muguet” on May 1st varies from spring to spring.
Whether this year’s incarnation measures up to it’s predecessors is still, therefore, a matter of conjecture as at time of going to press I’d not scored a sniff. I was though rather a fan of Thierry Wasser’s effort last Spring.
So, The Perfumed Dandy can think off no more suitable a scent to celebrate that most ceremonially significant of flowers the muguet than the ultimate occasion fragrance.
So this year perhaps you should, as the fancier French do, buy a bottle for someone close to you this May Day?
And there we have it my lovelies.
The most delightful and yet most deceptive of scents, for remember there is no such thing as a true muguet in all perfumery.
No essence of Lily of the Valley exists, everything is a chemist’s conjuring trick!
So concludes second half dozen (plus one) from my seasonal selection.
Violets and Lilies of the Valley done, what note will follow next..?
There are still four more to come!
Here’s to a climatically more comforting week.
The Perfumed Dandy.