Lily of the valley

The lily of the valley is The Perfume Society’s ‘adopted’ flower:  we simply love the French tradition of offering nosegays of this delicate nodding white bloom on 1st May to people you love and admire.  (And we’ve adopted it ourselves.)  The tradition goes back centuries – to Charles IX, who inaugurated it in 1561.  Since then, lily of the valley has also made its way into countless bridal bouquets (including that of Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince Willliam);  in many countries, it’s linked to this day with tenderness, love, faith, happiness and purity.

Almost spicy, so green and sweet, with hints of lemon:  that’s lily of the valley – and a more spring-like scent it’s hard to imagine.  The flowers themselves are really mean with their oil, though, and synthetics are more often used to recreate lily of the valley’s magic:  Lilial, Lyral and hydroxycitronellal are among them.

As well as featuring widely in ‘soliflores’ (so-called ‘single note’ fragrances, which are often actually a lot more complex than that), lily of the valley works its magic in many other fragrances, used to ‘open up’ and freshen the other floral notes in a blend – as a clever writer on the Perfume Shrine blog puts it, ‘much like we allow fresh air to come into contact with a red wine to let it “breathe” and bring out its best’.

Smell lily of the valley in:

Dior Diorissimo
Dior Hypnotic Poison
Floris Lily of the Valley
Goutal Paris Le Muguet
Guerlain Idylle
Woods of Windsor Lily of the Valley
Yardley Lily of the Valley

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