Perfume Review : French Lily by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz : A Lily To Love

American Indie Perfumers, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, French Lily, Perfume Reviews

Have you been daydreaming recently and realised that while you may love a specific flower you don’t have a perfume to match? I like tiger lillies and buy them reasonably frequently. They have an endurance that surprises coupled with a gorgeous fragrance that permeates any room. The colouring is spectacular and they work well to brighten  spaces and provide a general happiness boost.

I wondered why I didn’t have any lily perfumes although I have enjoyed Lys Méditerrannée from Fréderic Malle that conjures the flower sprayed with sea foam and is one of the perfumes on my wishlist.  Lys Soleia from Guerlain is great too, although now annoyingly discontinued and unfortunately I don’t have a sample or bottle (yet).

One type of lily I do struggle with is the renowned lily of the valley  / muguet. ( French). Let’s just say we don’t see eye to eye although I’ve been lucky enough to see muguet grown in the Roudnitska gardens this year. Edmond Roudnitska is considered one of the best perfumers of last century and his Diorissimo for Dior is the  gold standard lily of the valley fragrance. His home now belongs  to his son Michel Roudnitska (also a perfumer) high above Grasse in the hills of Cabris and is a stunning place to visit to immerse yourself in perfume history so to speak. Here are the emerging sprigs of the flower pictured below.

Lily of the Valley blog

Recently I was incredibly blessed to receive a package from one of my favourite perfumers, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. Now Dawn is very prolific and I think of her as a scent artist and one of the great American indie perfumers. Thankfully now I am in the receipt of many of her new fragrances and feel like I’m getting up to speed with her work. I have written about Rendezvous (a retro animalic) and Giverny in Bloom (a spring green) previously, two fantastic scents from Dawn and definitely worth tracking down.

French Lily (Voile de Parfum): Nose : Dawn Spencer Hurwitz: Year : 2017 : Notes : Lily, green rose leaves, ambergris, ambrette, civet, beeswax, honey, musk, patchouli, lily of the valley, orris root, jasmine sambac, ylang ylang, aldehydes, bergamot, galbanum and Tunisian neroli. 

Amongst this lovely array of perfumes the one I noticed first was French Lily. It seemed serendipitous et voilà. French inspiration lies behind this scent and

is my homage to the “May Day” flower… to its fairy-like beauty, the earth beneath it, and the radiant contrast of white and green.” (Dawn Spencer Hurwitz  website).

Now this paean to lily of the valley is a soft touch as some fragrances that feature the flower make me feel like I’ve been walloped with a headache inducing soapy mix.  In this rendition we have a gentle scent of emerging sprightly flowers on the forest floor. Here the lily feels bright with a fresh smelling floral scent and a hint of greenery. It never feels like a soliflore which in my opinion is a relief. Now the interesting part to this fragrance is the way that it shifts to a warmer, almost honeyed fragrance as it wears on skin. At first you can almost sense pollen followed by hints of musky animalics and a saltiness, yet never in an overbearing manner. Instead there’s a warmth that seduces like an autumnal glow.

French Lily is a side step for me and a very pleasant one. I enjoy the development and the changes that come about in French Lily. A scent that is flecked with youthful ambition before fading to a more mellow resting place replete with the warm fuzz of desire.

Please do chime in with your favourite lily perfumes and lily of the valley  / muguet. Whether they’re a soliflore or main player, bit part etc as I’m keen to understand this flower and all its facets even though they can be rather perplexing in perfumery.

The Low Down :  A lily perfume that smells joyous and full of wonder that transitions to a warmer, autumnal glow. 

Read more about French Lily on :  Cafleurebon and I Scent You A Day

For where to purchase : Please see the Dawn Spencer Hurwitz website for further details. There are a variety of sizing and pricing options available. A 3ml spray can be purchased for US$6 and a 60ml voile de parfum spray is US$145. 

Notes : Images :  Megan In Sainte Maxime.

Disclaimer : Sample gratefully received from DSH. Opinions my own. 

10 thoughts on “Perfume Review : French Lily by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz : A Lily To Love”

  1. After years and years of trying to get behind white florals, I’ve realized I’m rarely a lover of LOTV. I wear gardenia, lily, jasmine about 20 times a year in one iteration or another, and my favorite lilies skew warm. In real life it’s different since I love flowers and gardening. But the rest of my perfume time is devoted to leathers, animalics, incense, chypres. This may be the one for me because of that honey! I love honey in a perfume and never get the cat pee note some do. It always goes honey on me, so I’m going to sample this. Thank you for the review–compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there! Yes it could be one for you. Florals can be tricky so tread carefully … It does have quite a warm honey phase so maybe. Definitely try it as it is a nice rendition. There are more perfumes from Dawn that I want to write about including Foxy and that one may be more your style.


  2. poodle says:

    I haven’t smelled this one. One lily I like is Charogne by ELdO. It does have a note of decay in it that some might not like. I have not found a lily of the valley perfume that smells like the lily of the valley in my garden.


    • Hi Poodle. It’s a difficult scent to replicate and I know the decay smell. There’s none of that here. Light and floral through to slightly animalic but not at all scary, very warm and cosy. Worth a try.


    • Have you tried any of Dawn’s fragrances? She makes some really interesting perfumes and this one is great. They are definitely worth seeking out.


  3. years ago i believe it was the company Coty that made a lily of the valley fragrance that I adored…drugstore cheap but so lovely…Muguet du Bois I believe was the name.

    DSH fragrances are so lovely…they are “complete” for lack of a better word…very refined and very polished….challenging to figure out which ones to try as the number of fragrances she offers is astounding!


    • Hi Lavender. I know it can be tricky to pick one as she is very prolific but she has a number of great retro animalic styled scents and her latest Japanese inspired perfumes are great too. I have them down on mh list to write about them at some stage soon …


  4. Pingback: DSH Perfumes: Mini Reviews – Poppy, French Lily, Foxy and Habibi | A Bottled Rose

  5. Pingback: May Day Muguet | Megan In Sainte Maxime

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