From the archives: Spring is in the air… Part II: Lily of the Valley… The Perfumed Dandy’s Seasonal Selection

Dear Friends

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

IMG_20140405_102106

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.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “From the archives: Spring is in the air… Part II: Lily of the Valley… The Perfumed Dandy’s Seasonal Selection

  1. Bonne fête du muguet! :) Lovely selection you’ve got there, and perfect timing too ;) Vintage Diorissimo! You lucky man!

    • Dearest Vagabond
      Your splendid package has arrived… and what a true bundle of joy it is!!!
      We shall keep it as our surprise, but a certain perfume will be making an appearance here in just a few days time.
      Thank you, gentle sir, for kind words and a wonderful prize!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Lilybelle

    How nice to see those again! I have yet to sample Caron’s and I’d probably like it the best. I’m enjoying Caron lately. Muguet is the perfect bath & bed scent, I think, (another one is lavender), and for me the simpler and *uncooler* the more tranquil and blissful the repose. The only thing nicer is a small vase of the cut blooms to contemplate.

    • Dearest Lily
      Too delayed a reply… The Dandy has been on the road and in the library. My noble nose assaulted more with the odour of musty books that fine fragrance of late.
      But, thankfully, the sunshine and some degree of freedom has arrived and I am returned!!!
      I do think you would like the Caron, especially in the cologne, though it is far from simple, muguet predomintes, but above a pleasant spring bouquet.
      It’s lovely for bed, but then lavender (and Caron or Caldey Island) have my heart in that regard).
      So good to be back in touch.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Nena

    Happy May Day! I am currently regretting wishing that it was autumn, so maybe I should get one of these to remind myself of spring?

    • Dearest Nena
      So sorry for the delayed reply… I do hope Autumn hasn’t already turned to winter where you are.
      But yes, scents can change the seasons, so do get these to take you to that time of year when the trees are in bud and flowers bloom.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Nena

        It’s definitely getting winter-like here, much to my poor kitty’s annoyance. Still, I can now wear my heavier scents (like L’Agent and my new bottle of Cartier La Panthere) without feeling like I’m overwhelming the people around me.

  4. Marco Chau

    Happy May Day, Mr Dandy! It is great that you bring this write up back from the archives. On May Day, among the few fragrances that I have about Lily-of-the-valley, several you have carefully selected, I have chosen this year again to wear the Muguet by Guerlain but the latest interpretation from 2014. To me it is identical to the version from last year which is green, fresh, aromatic, sensual and a true representation of Spring.

    Yours truly,

    Marco

    • Dearest Marco
      Too late in replying I’m afraid, for I have been unexpectedly away.
      But in that short hiatus I have had the chance to try the Guerlain Muguet for this year and yes, I agree, I believe it to be Wasser’s formula from last year re-packaged.
      Still a delightful scent, but slightly disappointing as one thought the point was a different play on muguet each year. Perhaps we will get something new next year!
      I hope all is well with you.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Mary E.

    Going to go look for some vintage Caron Le Muguet du Bonheur then pick up my new bottle of Guerlain Muguet 2014!

  6. Ah Dear Dandy, I wore Diorissimo yesterday! Unfortunately, I don’t have vintage anymore. But I love it anyhow.

    • Dearest Annina
      Isn’t Diorissimo a delight!?!
      Even though the vintage still has the edge, the latest version is more faithful to the original than some of the others and nothing could be more perfect at this time of year!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. Come B A C K!!!!

    Are you alright? Just busy with your projects?

    I miss your wisdom and wit.

    • Dearest Ginza
      How could one resist such a request…
      A re-blog today to celebrate a friend’s appearance on the radio.
      Then new things from tomorrow… ahead of a trip to Paris for inspiration!
      The Great War, even at this remove, is most consuming.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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