Comme des Garcons – Lily
I debated whether to include this scent in the Lily of Valley Week or to wait till the Lily week (yes, it’s coming, as well as Gardenia, Tuberose and Jasmine weeks…do you see a trend here? ). Lily of the Valley won, because, although I smell both flowers in Comme des Garcons surprising creation, lily of the valley is much more prominent. I say “surprising creation” simply because this rather conventionally pretty, frankly unexciting scent seems rather out of place in the brand’s quirky lineup of fragrances. It starts with a very green muguet, and that is the stage I enjoy the most; the scent has a dew-drenched feel of an early, cool spring morning…then the perfume grows considerably sweeter and stronger, this is when I smell lily (maybe Casablanca lily) and freesia. The latter adds an unwelcome pink heaviness to the blend; it seems incongruous in this ethereal white-green composition. After going through the very sweet phase, the scent does a full turn and becomes fresh and green again, but to me the freesia-laden heart is a good enough reason not to ever want to own a bottle of Lily.
Floris – Lily of the Valley
First created in 1847, Floris’ Lily of the Valley is the oldest of the muguet scents I am talking about this week (Guerlain’s Muguet was originally released in 1906). The title note is indeed very prominent here and is at the center of the composition, but I almost hesitate to call the perfume a soliflore. The rose is particularly strong; it is sweet, juicy, and very life-like. I imagine Floris’ creation to be a lovely bridal bouquet made of delicately-pink roses and dazzling white lilies of the valley. The scent is very pretty, very easy to wear, but it has too much rose for me to absolutely love it.
Jessica McClintock – The Fragrance
Again, this is not a soliflore, but the lily of the valley is prominent enough to warrant the perfume’s inclusion in the muguet week. The beginning is citrusy, slightly herbal, almost a little peppery, with the green basil note serving as bridge of sorts to the green lily of the valley, which will become apparent in the heart. Jasmine is almost as strong as muguet, but not quite; on my skin, lily of the valley is the dominant floral element of the blend. The drydown is softly woody, delicately sweet. The scent makes me want to don a white sundress …maybe even a sundress with ruffles…and to act all demure and a little coquettish, in other words, completely out of character…I am considering buying a bottle.
Les Parfums de Rosine – Le Muguet de Rosine
It is rather sad that Parfums de Rosine decided to focus on rose scents only, as the now discontinued perfumes, the opulent, fruity-ambery Coupe d’Or, the fresh and creamy tuberose Mea Culpa (one of my favorite tuberose scents of all time) and Le Muguet, are as beautiful as the rose perfumes in the collection. Le Muguet is a tricky one for me. It likes to play with me; on some days, it is green, green and green, with fresh lilies of the valley and lots of grass and not much else. On others, it is a fragrance of considerable depth and breathtaking complexity. On those days the jasmine becomes very prominent, bringing with it a vaguely indolic quality, and the rose adds to the scent a wonderful honeyed aspect. The drydown is musky and slightly resinous. An interesting, sophisticated rendition of lily of the valley, and it truly is a shame that it is now practically impossible to find.
Parfums de Nicolai – Eclipse
There are many "light-green" renditions of lily of the valley, Nicolai’s is "dark-green". It has sumptuous, peppery greenness of basil and oakmoss. Because of the presence of anise, lily of the valley here has sweet spiciness… or spicy sweetness. I strongly believe that there is rose somewhere in this beautiful composition, as I sense rather than distinctly smell a presence of its bordeaux-colored petals among the greenness. Much more than simply a muguet soliflore, this is a very elegant, very sophisticated blend that possesses the sort of creamy sumptuousness that I came to associate with the work of Patricia de Nicolai.
Comme des Garsons Lily and Parfums de Nicolai Eclipse are available at luckyscent.com, $68.00 and $70.00 respectively; Floris Lily of the Valley is sold at florislondon.com, $45.00-$70.00; Jessica McClintock can be found at jessicamcclintock.com, $48.00-$68.00.
We take a break tomorrow for Tom's report on L'Eau du Jatamansi. Lily of the Valley will be back one last time on Friday.