Annick Goutal – Le Muguet
Le Muguet is a Limited Edition soliflore scent released by Annick Goutal in 2001. It is said that the company will reissue some of the other soliflores, but Le Muguet doesn’t seem to be included in the list, which is sad, because, along with Le Jasmin, it is my favorite in the series. I have read many reviews that note a harsh, almost carbide-like note in Le Muguet, so perhaps the scent wasn’t so popular as to warrant a reissue. On me, it is one of the most beautiful lily of the valley scents from beginning to finish, and yet I do see how it can possibly leave a sharply-chemical impression. The lily of the valley note here is so incredibly realistic and sumptuous, like sticking one’s head into the huge bouquet of freshly picked flowers, and the smell of real lily of the valley does in fact have that strange …metallic? gas-like? even almost garlic-like?...characteristic. As I said, I can sense a hint of that natural weirdness of muguet in Goutal’s rendition but it enhances my enjoyment of the scent rather than turns me off it. Lily of the valley perfumes in general are not ones that I would ever characterize as sweet. Having said that, Le Muguet, is perhaps one of the sweetest, I guess due to the fact that it also features a rose note. It is not a strong note, but it does make the typically virginal lilies of the valley exceptionally luscious. Honeyed, so very life-like, lilies of the valley are so appealing here, I could just…bite them.
Art of Perfumery – 3
Said to have been created to evoke “a feeling of serenity”, to be “a perfume refuge”, 3 is a little bit of a paradox in that it manages to be simultaneously clean and rather sweet. The clean aspect is achieved through the use of a prominent aquatic accord, and the sweetness is caused by the presence of melon and orange. Unlike Goutal’s rendition, which makes lily of the valley so real that one feels transported to a forest-glade all white with muguet and sees oneself lying among the flowers, intoxicated by their silvery smell, 3 is not nearly as realistic. Wearing 3 is akin to being in an elegant spa, with the lily of the valley candle burning somewhere in the distance. It is lovely and indeed serene, but rather tame and “sterile”, and not the kind of “refuge” I would ever choose.
Caron – Muguet de Bonheur
There was time when I used to dislike lily of the valley note in perfume, and during that misspent and misguided phase of my life I used to think that all lily of the valley scents smelled the same. How wrong can one be? Trying muguet fragrances side by side reveals an astonishing variety of very different renditions. Caron’s version, first released in 1952, is perhaps one of the most refined lilies of the valley…very ladylike, very proper, white gloves and lacy handkerchiefs, modesty and chastity. It is so dainty and innocent, it feels almost out of place in our rather graceless time…But an old-fashioned feel is not something I would ever resent in a fragrance, quite on the contrary, I think that Muguet de Bonheur’s wistful patina of old-worldliness is its most charming characteristic. Neither do I mind a distinct soapy undertone of the fragrance; I feel that it only adds to the maidenly charm of Muguet de Bonheur. What I don’t like about the scent is the abundance of heliotrope. Heliotrope and I are bitter enemies, and the doughy rascal of a note has spoiled many a scent for me. Objectively speaking, heliotrope is what makes the potentially sharp lily of the valley so delicate and soft here, and those who don’t mind the copious amounts of heliotrope and those who are usually wary of the high-pitched forcefulness of lily of the valley, should find Caron’s Muguet very delightful and very wearable.
Le Muguet seems to be available at overstockperfume.com, $59.99 for 1.7oz. 3 can be bought directly from Art of Perfumery, at artofperfumery.com, €59.00 for 1.7oz. 1oz of Muguet de Bonheur in Parfum is right now sold at Parfum1.com for only $85.95, 1.7oz of Eau de Toilette costs $29.95, also at Parfum1.com.