Tag Archives: lily of the valley

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

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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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Premature Muguet Elation… Muguet du Bonheur by Caron The Perfumed Dandy’s Scent Today

IMG_20140405_104959 Okay. OK!

One admits it’s not May….

And therefore technically not the season for lily of the valley. IMG_20140405_103915

But heavens to betsy, on occasion one simply can’t resist!

And what’s perfume for if not to play with the seasons anyway? IMG_20140405_103233

In vintage cologne form, Caron‘s Muguet du Bonheur is a golden bar of gently aldehydic faux florality.

Antique, fleeting, savon pur and utterly, if momentarily, prepossessing. IMG_20140405_102106

There’s the usual talk of soapy, dusty, short-lived and, at once, elderly.

Nothing of the sort.

As light and bright as late Spring sunshine filtered through white blossom, this is nonchalant perfume for longer, warmer days and walking with no purpose other than being outside.

A scent worthy of its golden lid and splendid insignia. IMG_20140405_111206

Whilst I have chosen my own aroma on this occasion, another opportunity to place a new perfume on The Dandy‘s skin will arise with the next instalment of The Perfumed Dandy’s Hit Parade.

In the meantime if you would like to thrust forward a fragrance for future fame on The Hit Parade simply visit ‘Suggest and old scent or recommend a new one’ and leave your suggestion there.

IMG_20140405_114238

Have an especially fragrant day.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy. The Perfumed Dandy

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The Devil has all the best tunes………. The Perfumed Dandy’s Guilty Pleasures Hit Parade

Heavens above!!!

Or should that be hellfires below!?!

Satan, so they say, has all the most enviable songs… but does he have the best scents as well?

To kick off our little trip to the dark side in “The Perfumed Dandy’s Guilt-Free Guilty Pleasures” season a poll…

No, not the heathens-dancing-to-their-doom-around-a-maypole sort of poll… a vote… an election.

A Special Edition of The Hit Parade!

From the cornucopia of questionable perfumes you mentioned in the recent grand confessional of clandestine fragrant passions I have selected a dozen favourites.

Cast your three lucky votes for any of the tantalizing twelve scents below to decide which diabolical aroma The Dandy will wear this Friday 14 March 2014.

Charlie by Revlon

Musk by Jovan

Purr by Katy Perry

Lily of The Valley by Crabtree & Evelyn

Joop! by Joop

Fame by Lady Gaga

Tweed by Lentheric / Taylor of London

Midnight Fantasy by Britney Spears

Red Door by Elizabeth Arden

Chance by Chanel

Brut by Faberge
(Vintage & Wild Card Entry)

Dolce and Gabbana by Dolce & Gabbana

You have until 1200 hours, that’s midday in old money, Greenwich Mean Time Thursday here in London to cast your vote.

The winner will be announced around the same time on Friday!

In case you’re thinking there are a few of your favourite guilty pleasures missing from this pick… it’s surprising just how many of them you’ve already voted to the top of The Hit Parade!

Not so secret after all it sems…

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Quiet Scientist… Silences by Jacomo The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter 

She made for quite a sight hurtling down the hillside on her sledge long after the snows had gone.

She didn’t care.

Her sleigh, as she had taken to calling it, was the fastest way from home to forest whether it was the ice of winter or the wet grass of spring under her.

Its hand polished soft wood frame, lustrous with the cool green lemon resin that she lavished upon it, cut a seamstresses swathe through the fields. She took the shortest route in the least time so as to waste none of the fabric of the day.

April showers and unseasonal warmth had brought forth a scattering of lily of the valley: with an outstretched arm she snaffled a few and tossed them into her basket without stopping or even deviating from the line of descent.

Arriving at the woodland’s edge she dismounted, wiped the cold compressed grass from her trusty steed’s blades, inhaled its bitter and brand new odour then wrapped the handful of green into tissue paper before placing it beside the muguet.

Once beneath the canopy, in dappled light and shade, her search began in earnest.

It was time for the first bluebells of the year, and she had determined to find them.

Hyacinthoides non-sctipta (how she preferred the old name of Endymion), always smell best when caught early, as though the first flush having pushed themselves so forcefully to the front are breathless and exhale their scent with a more serious ardour than later blooms.

She chanced upon them almost immediately, their hue picked out in bright watery sunlight, glowing in an otherwise out of focus glade.

She held them to her nose and was not disappointed, an innocent and uncloying sweetness, that charmed instantly. Carefully she consigned them to her carry all and prepared to climb home with her precious haul.

Then something tugged at her sense: a shaper darker smell, of trees and roots, growth and decay.

Extracting the scalpel from her lab coat pocket, she scraped a little moss from the base of a great oak, careful not to take too much, careful not to disturb the fragile colony too much lest she destroy it.

No need this time take the crop close to her face, its pungent scent reached her from the basket where it now sat.

There was another aroma too, besides the unseasonal tea rose and the wild yellow iris, but it was not until the rain came, brisk and businesslike, that it revealed itself. As she trampled a path through the undergrowth, she flattened, with the purpose of disarming them, a small cluster of nettles.

They responded not with a stinging rash, but an early smell of the next season. The scent was savoury, sodden yet sun bleached, swarthy and still clean: it was the presentiment of an English summer.

She longed to take armfuls back, but contented herself with a gloved handful or two.

And so she began her return: clambering through the already tall meadows, deep in thought as wild grasses brushed against her.

All the time considering how to turn these things collected from nature into chemicals and then how to compose them into black bottled magic.

Silences by Jacomo is a perfume that particularly deserves to be talked about, a hush that demands to be broken.

It is a glorious green, replete with floral abundance, a masterful but restrained use of moss and an uncontained herbaceous feature that is more centrepiece than border.

It is an exercise in apparently effortless formality and clear-sightedly brilliant composition.

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.

Before any hint of disappointment can possibly set in at the loss of this commencement a tiered heart begins to emerge.

First the green chalk sour of galbanum arrives, only to be splendidly offset by the slight sweetness of hyacinths and more distantly rose and little iris.

Shortly after a late developing but rather beautiful and restrained oakmoss makes its entrance, providing a benign bitterness that allows the other notes to float more freely above.

Then, a product perhaps of this combination, or of the appearance of vetiver, cedar and ambrette in the base, a wonderfully natural accord of summer undergrowth, of stinging nettles in particular, comes to the fore.

This is a truly evocative aroma that carries with it the alternate heat and downpours, pleasures and pains of a temperamental temperate summer.

Silences, then, is a scent that contains two seasons, in one day and a single flacon.

And there we have a statement that should give you an impression of the tremendous scale of this achievement.

Sledges, forests, amateur botany and professional chemistry are pass times as fit for boys as girls.

With special thanks to the dear correspondent who provided The Dandy with a sample of this perfume in the vintage formulation.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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