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.
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.
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.