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

Dear Friends

It was always my intention to turn my musings to muguet.

Then dear Ginza at The Black Narcissus sent through an invitation to dance that I simply couldn’t refuse.

Hence here are my 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…

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 of the perfume composed by Thierry Wasser and available in just a few days will measure up to it’s predecessors is still, therefore, a matter of conjecture.

However, 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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29 responses to “Spring is in the air… Part II: Lily of the Valley… The Perfumed Dandy’s Seasonal Selection

  1. Lilybelle

    Mr. Dandy, I can barely contain myself, reading about those, and that’s putting it mildly. I don’t think I will be able to resist treating myself now to something muguet this May 1st. It won’t be the Guerlain (*ahem* $$$$). But look at how the green silk is threaded around the neck of the bottle. Is that not a sight for sore eyes?! It makes me sigh just to see that. 🙂

    • Dear Lily
      What will it be?
      They are all lovely in their own way, as are those that mentioned over on The Black Narcissus.
      I’m relaxing now with vintage Diorella on one wrist and Diorissimo on the other… it’s a hard life!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        Vintage Diorella! There IS no other Diorella. And Diorissimo on the other side. Lucky Dandy! I don’t know which muguet it will be for me. I’ll take a peek over at The Black Narcissus (thank you!). Maybe a box of beautiful muguet soaps. I don’t have any of those.

  2. Beautiful dance between the two of you.


    • Dearest Sylvia
      Why thank you!
      Do join in, I’m sure you have a muguet or two you could suggest…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Diorissimo… I am guessing this requires some research and finding older versions for sale in the alluring corners of the world wide web? That you think the ones on contemporary store shelves are not even close to the real deal? Oui? I must go for a more advanced treasure hunt?

      • Well Dear Sylvia
        The Dandy for one doesn’t think that the current Diorissimo is that bad at all, though it is a lot lighter and whiter than older versions.
        Fear not, however, as there are examples a plenty on the world wide web and just one iteration back our scent is much greener with a distinct air of the forest about it.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  3. rosestrang

    Such pretty artwork on the Guerlain. I like a little soapiness myself at times and I know what you mean about the simple appeal of Yardley and its ilk – Crabtree and Evelyn and so on. Happy springtime sniffing Sir Dandy!

    • Dearest Rose
      The embossed artwork on the Guerlain is simply splendid… but I fear I will be admiring it from afar!
      I’ve always been a fan of the simple florals from the soap makers, I think Bronnley are rather special, but so difficult to get hold of these days.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Beautiful, as expected, and unexpected choices to boot.

    What next: are we doing the carnation gavotte; the courante narcisse? the hyacinth jive?

  5. Dear Perfumed Dandy,
    Your writing on Lily of the Valley most definitely makes me wished that the first of May were here now as I have reserved a bottle of the 2013 version of Muguet by Guerlain from my favorite local Guerlain counter.
    “Could Silences plus Yardley be the brightest, greenest lily The Perfumed Dandy‘s ever seen?” I’ll find out how this combination works on my skin tomorrow morning since these two fragrances have been sitting on top of my highboy waiting for me to wear them, and together this time. I certainly wish to see the brightest and greenest tomorrow as the weather here had really been too gloomy for Spring.
    Yours truly,

    • Mr Chau!!
      I knew that my favourite Guerlain-ophile would have this on order!!!
      You must let us all know how it is, though I am committed to getting a few sprays on my wrist before the scent disappears for another twelve months.
      Oh, and do report back on your experience with the layering. Having only tested the vintage Silences that has that distinctive opening note, I wonder if this will work with all the other versions…
      Combining perfumes is such fun!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Dear Perfumed Dandy,
        My start of the day with Silences and Yardley might not be the brightest and greenest; however, it was certainly fresh with greens and florals plus a slight touch of sweetness and a very faint tinge of tartness. I used the same amount of Silences Parfum de Toilette and Yardley Lily of the Valley EDT for this particular layering and the result came out to be a more floral and green scent than wearing Silences alone. Silences certainly added complexity to the Yardley alone and made it a more interesting fragrance. As I really love how Silences works on my skin alone, I would prefer to wear this fragrance by itself and will probably try to find another match for the Yardley.

      • Dearest Marco
        Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the layering.
        Having tried again I think I would generally prefer the Silences on its own too, but sometimes when I want my greens crystal sharp and sparkling I will certainly give this another go.
        It has encouraged me too to try and find partners for my Yardleys… April Violets with Jolie Madame was too much, but I wonder if it would work with Azuree or even Bandit as a means to recreating something of the latter’s vintage depth…
        So much fun to be had.
        Oh, and Roudnistka though that Diorissimo was ideal for layering too…
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Miss Misty

    Looks like I need some Yardley to team up with my Silences. And Kiehl’s Forest Rain has been on my wish list for an eternity.
    My favorite Lily of the Valley is Gucci’s Envy in which it is paired with hyacinthe. A flower that is probably next on your springtime flowers list?

    • Dear Miss Misty
      Do you know the note I mean at the start of the wonderful Silences?
      It seems to me that the Yardley extends this into the perfume, adding a different edge and making it another perfume.
      Fascinating, though I thing I probably prefer the Jacomo on its own most of the time.
      Yours, ever in gratitude,
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. brie

    I have been extremely curious about the Kiel’s Forest Rain for quite some time (loved the original Musk). Now I will surely seek it out after this review!

  8. Reblogged this on The Perfumed Dandy. and commented:

    Happy May Day or better still Bonne Fete du Muguet.
    A little re-posting in tribute to the fabulous French tradition of giving Lily of Valley on this day.
    Have a Diorissimo of a day!!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Dear Dandy,
    Lovely post! Can’t write too much now as I’m out the door to pick up my gallon carafe of Diorissimo! Back shortly! 😉

    PS – My daughter’s name is Lily.

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