The last day my Lily of the Valley week.
Penhaligon’s – Lily of the Valley
Penhaligon’s call their Lily of the Valley “fresh and green”. On me, it is a rather sweet and creamy scent, certainly possessing a strong lily of the valley note, but with various other, some of them rather unexpected, notes. Firstly, in the very beginning I smell what I think is narcissus and a delicate rose. As the scent progresses, it acquires a hay-like aspect on my skin, and even – I swear!- a vaguely leathery undertone. I read reviews that said that the scent was very subtle, but on me Penhaligon’s muguet has a surprisingly substantial, “thick” quality. An intriguing scent, which I would like to own one day.
Severnoe Siyanie – Lesnoj Landysh (Northern Lights – Muguet de Bois)
A kind friend sent me a sample of this vintage Soviet perfume, and I thought it was remarkable. Of all the lily of the valley scents I reviewed this week, this one has the most forceful personality. It is not a loud scent, not heady, in fact it smells, for the lack of a better word, rather austere. Its unsmiling, commanding charisma that is truly striking. The scent has a strong chypre vibe. Lily of the here is not nearly as prominent as the woods and the oakmoss. Instead of a forest-glade white with muguet and some trees in the distance, I see an image of dark, tall, powerful trees, and in their brooding shade, one fragile lily of the valley. If I knew where to get some more, I would have gotten a bottle of Lesnoj Landysh in a heartbeat. (A note: I am pretty sure that the bottle I picture here is not the right one, but rather that of a new and most probably rather different reformulation or maybe even of a different company, it’s hard to tell and impossible to find the right one).
Shiseido – Koto
Another very charismatic, if slightly less severe, chypre lily of the valley scent, Koto has a very dry, herbaceous beginning, a complex floral heart, with lily of the valley being the strongest but by no means the only flower in the blend, and a warm, resinous, slightly leathery base. This lily of the valley should be worn to the most important business meetings. It has an imposing, although not overwhelming, presence and the kind of stern elegance that would go to so well with a sharply-tailored power suit.
Taylor of London – Lily of the Valley
Like Coty’s Muguet de Bois, this Taylor of London’s scent is the proof that sometimes the loveliest scents can be had for the smallest amount of money. A true soliflore, it is the scent of muguet with a dash of green leaves and not much more. Simple, effervescent, joyous and juicy, this is a delightful tribute to spring. A bargain at $17.00 for 1.7oz.
Yardley – Lily of the Valley
Yet another cheap find ($11.75 for 1oz), Yardley’s muguet is as appealingly straightforward as Taylor of London’s and just as enjoyable. It is a slightly greener, more “high-pitched” lily of the valley with a very subtle apple-like undertone. Easy, breathy, beautiful and ridiculously affordable.
I would like to conclude the Lily of the Valley week with a hit parade of sorts. Here are the scents I reviewed in order of preference, from most to least favorite:
1.,2.,3. – all bunched together as I can’t choose- Annick Goutal le Muguet, Coty Muguet de Bois, Dior Diorissimo
4. Guerlain Muguet
5. Severnoe Siyanie Lesnoj Landysh
6. Shiseido Koto
7. Les Parfums de Rosine Muguet de Rosine
8. Jessica McClintock
9. Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley
10. Parfums de Nicolai Eclipse
11. Floris Lily of the Valley
12., 13. Taylor of London Lily of the Valley, Yardley Lily
14. Caron Muguet de Bonheur
15. Comme des Garcons Lily
16. Art of Perfumery 3
Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley can be found at penhaligons.co.uk, $70.00-$90.00, Shiseido Koto is often sold on eBay, Taylor of London Lily of the Valley is avialable at shoplondons.com, $17.00, and Yardley Lily of the Valley at shop1.mailordercentral.com, $11.75.