Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Divine Scent of Lilies of the Valley

The lilies of the valley (Muguet du Bois) are blooming. Their time with us each year is short, but they add such a beautiful burst of groundcover color and fragrance. I always have to stop and smell the flowers when they bloom. Fortunately, the rest of the year, there are some lovely fragrances to remind us of spring's lilies of the valley. Here are a few of my favorites.

Diorissimo has to be the classic keeper! Introduced in 1956, the fragrance continues to charm (and sell) with its notes of lily of the valley, Christian Dior's lucky flower, as well as ylang-ylang, amaryllis, boronia, and jasmine. It is feminine - and timeless. Saks just came out with Diorissimo Eau de Toilette ($89) in a new, updated bottle to make it look as good as it smells. Last week, I spritzed while in the store - Diorissimo on right arm, another fragrance on the left. Only Diorissimo sang to me hours later.

Don't laugh, perfume sophisticates - I know you'll gasp - but I still love Jessica McClintock's eponymous fragrance. Born in 1987-88, the Eau de Parfum Spray is a delicate white floral blend of bergamot, ylang-ylang, rose, white jasmine, and lily of the valley. Every time I walk by the store at the mall, I stop in for a spray. You can purchase it for $34.99 at, a significant discount over its mall store price.

Caron's Muguet de Bonheur is another oldie, introduced in 1952. Am I remembering mothers and grandmothers? Possibly. Lily of the valley was more popular in perfumes in the '50s than it is today. The top notes are neroli, bergamot, and lily-of-the-valley; the middle notes are jasmine and tincture of rose; and the base notes, giving it a bit of "sultry" that's different from the first two are musk, sandalwood, and heliotrope. You can find an Eau de Parfum Spray at Amazon for $37.95.

There are, unfortunately, a lot of cheap, cheesy, lily of the valley fragrances available - usually in lines known more for their soaps than desirable fragrances. Give one a spritz, and you'll smell unrecognizable synthetic lily of the valley. If you love the flower, try one of the classics!

Photos courtesy of, Saks, and Amazon


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Lisa said...

Lily of the Valley is my favorite flower! Wish I could grow it in Houston, but our winters are not cold enough. Will have to check out your perfume recommendations, they all sound great.

Hope your knees are on the mend, sounds like you have had a rough week. Hope the kitties have been looking after you!

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you, Lisa! Charlie did enjoy his free time snoozing with me while I stayed in bed a lot. :)

I was in Saks again today and spritzed with Diorissimo. I like their new bottle so much, I may have to buy another. I was there hours ago, and it still smells heavenly.

Anonymous said...

I grow Lily of the Valley here in Ontario, it spreads quickly from the roots and trying too find a florist who will buy them.