Fragrances For… A Return to Happiness

We’re perhaps used to thinking of lily of the valley as a very traditional (even, whisper it, old-fashioned) perfumery ingredient, yet so many modern classics and contemporary perfumers use lily of the valley to magnificent effect in their compositions. We chose this symbolic flower – meaning ‘a return to happiness’ – eight years ago as our kind of unoffical emblem, and at our birthday launch we gave a precious beribboned posy as a gift to loved ones and fragrance industry friends.

If perhaps the stunning Guerlain Muguet 2022 we wrote about on the 1st of May was beyond your means, have a wander through these lily of the valley scents – yours to re-discover, or fall in love with afresh this spring…

 

 

 

MEMOIZE LONDON
ROSE LUXURIA
‘The essence of ultimate want and desire’ this intoxicating take on lily of the valley thrusts it betwixt a soapy rose, and creamy magnolia for skin-like sensuality, while orange flower and powder soft orris remind us of true romance. Fall in love with the floral bouquet, fall deeper for the warm, amber-rich base drizzled with benzoin, cushioned by velvety moss and rolled in precious musk and woods. Light and darkness juxtaposed to licentious yet luminescent effect!
£227 for 100ml Extrait de Parfum
perfumesociety.org

 

 

 

 

DIOR
DIORISSIMO

An eternal classic lily of the valley launched in 1956, according to Christian Dior, Diorissimo is the perfume of Edmond Roudnitska’s spirit, or, “the scented expression of his soul”. Green leaves and bergamot bring energy to the flower, while lilac adds further spring-like hopefulness. Sunlit jasmine, lily and ylang ylang beam becommingly as the gentle animalic purr of the base prevents this beauty being too cold and cut from marble.
£69 for 50ml eau de toilette
dior.com

BVLGARI
Rose Goldea Blossom Delight
Swapping out heavier scents for fresher fragrances feel like a proper escape from winter, an exuberant change in the weather here evoked by the delicacy of lily of the valley, powdery peony and a kiss of musk. This pretty bouquet is further refreshed ‘by incorporating the freshness of the rosebuds at sunrise, embraced by just-picked spring flowers.’ We’re dropping down the denier scale in olfactory form, wearing this joyous ode to spring.
£65 for 50ml eau de toilette
bvlgari.com

 

YARDLEY LONDON
LILY OF THE VALLEY BODY MIST
A charming bouquet that always makes us think of traditional English picnics in the woods, here Yardley entwines the heritage of their name and these delicate yet powerfully-fragrant flowers with a surprising note of juicy pear to add a modern twist on a traditional theme. Freesia and musk add a further layer of richness to this lighter spritz of a posy, perfect for layering while maintaining your skin’s moisture levels in the most elegantly fragrant way.
£6.99 for 200ml body mist
yardleylondon.co.uk

 

 

 

EIGHT & BOB
ANNICKE 1

Perfumer Albert Fouquet’s life was turned upside down one evening in the French Alps, where he attended a high society soirée and was introduced to the strikingly beautiful Annicke. Now this collection has been created as a contemporary tribute to his love, the first fragrance marrying lily of the valley, rosy notes of peony and intoxicating jasmine. Sparkling mandarin cuts through the heart, white musk and driftwood soothing the passion.

Try a sample in the Annicke Fragrance Discovery Set: £20 for 6 x 2ml eau de parfum

 

 

COLLEZIONE PRIVATA BY VALMONT
Collezione Privata Just Bloom
For the fourth fragrance in the collection, we’re presented with a stunning bouquet of white flowers, traditionally a symbol of femininity but chicly paired back, here, allowing the blossoms to fully bloom. CEO Sophie Vann Guillon’s favourite flower happens to be lily of the valley, so joyfully evoked in the top notes, and complemented by the creamy exoticism of gardenia in the heart. Finally caressed by the ethereal woodiness of ambergris, it’s a sun-dappled delight.
£230 for 100ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

 

 

 

CHANEL
N°19
Sparkling and vibrant with every elegant spritz, it’s daringly green but still supremely wearable. The snapped-stalk freshness of galbanum is balanced with soft, powdery iris, heady ylang ylang tempered by a shiver of spring air in lily of the valley and luminescent rose. Exciting and immediately mood-lifting, if N°5 wasn’t for you, try this joyously energising fizz of freshness as a pick-me-up.
£107 for 100ml eau de toilette
chanel.com

Guerlain’s divine Muguet – lily of the valley, the flower of May & our birthday

It’s now a much-anticipated tradition that, on the first of May, Guerlain release their exquisite Muguet – a limited edition, beautuifully Bee-bottled fragrant homage to legends surrounding lily of the valley. Indeed, we were so taken with the traditions of exchanging bouquets for friendship, and the new begginings represented by the flower, that eight years ago, we officially launched The Perfume Society on that date!

Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’. With so many of us perhaps preparing to travel again – planning trips to see loved ones or simply the joy of a holiday – that happiness is expressed in fragrant form, and just so beautifully bottled. Here, Guerlain explain the many lovely traditions around the world surrounding lily of the valley, and why they, too, are so taken with the delicate flower…

‘According to legend, if its white bells drop their heads on their stems as though they were weeping, it is because they were born from the tears of Eve when she was expelled from the Garden of Eden. For the Greek, it was the god Apollo who scattered the flowers on the thick green grass of Mount Parnassus, so that the Muses wouldn’t hurt their feet. In the forests of Ireland, their bells chime when fairies climb their poetic ladders to weave their iridescent cradles…

“Gentle fairies, hush your singing:
Can you hear my white bells ringing,
Ringing as from far away?
Who can tell me what they say?
Little snowy bells out-springing
From the stem and softly ringing–
Tell they of a country where
Everything is good and fair?”
Cicely Mary BARKER (1895-1973)

A flower of a thousand tales, lily of the valley owes its French name, muguet, derived from musc or muscade (“nutmeg”), a sweetly scented spice, to its delicate, penetrating fragrance. Evocative of springtime, the season of love, muguet gave its name in the 16th century to young swains who spent their time flirting… As for the custom of offering it on May 1st, it was born in 1561, when King Charles IX of France was offered a sprig during a visit to the Dauphiné. He was so charmed that each year, on the same day, he offered lily of the valley to all the ladies of his court.

 

 

 

 

During the Belle Époque, couturiers gave it on May 1st to their seamstresses and clients… Perfumers strove to capture the scent of the fleeting flower. Among the hundreds of tributes inspired by the white bell over the century, one was authored by a young perfumer called Jacques Guerlain. In 1908, he composed the House’s first Muguet, inaugurating a fragrant tradition that has gone on, from spring to spring, for over 110 years. Recreating the lily-of-the-valley fragrance is a genuine olfactory feat as it is known as “mute”. Composed by the Master Perfumer Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s Muguet takes on green and rosy facets that form a vernal setting for the lush floral materials that enrich his composition: jasmine sambac absolute, rose essence and absolute. At the heart of the bouquet arises the strikingly olfactory illusion of a freshly picked sprig. A true olfactory jewel, to celebrate the rites of spring at its apogee.

It is the most poetic rendez-vous of spring. An encounter of the art of the perfumer and the very best creators flower. The kind of match that only the House of Guerlain could orchestrate. Each year, the new adornment of the iconic Bee Bottle of Muguet is released: the stunning outcome of innovative artistic collaborations. For its 2022 Edition, a delicate sprig of lily-of-the-valley is turned into a jewel, set with glittering crystals by the magicians of the Parisian jewellery studio Atelier Truscelli.

 

 

 

Italian by birth and Parisian by adoption, Francesco Truscelli has been fascinated by jewellery since his childhood. In 2003, he founded his own studio in Paris, where tourmalines, sapphires, turquoises, garnets, aquamarines, pearls are set into shimmering, colourful hand-crafted designs in many different styles. A specialist in one-off pieces and bespoke jewels, Francesco Truscelli still loves, as he did when he first trained, giving a second life to family jewels by redesigning them.

 

 

 

 

May Day and the heralding of Spring is celebrated in many cultures, but we are especially fond of the French custom of presenting your nearest and dearest with a sprig of lily of the valley. For those that want to go several scented steps further, you’d best not delay. These breathtaking bottles are limited edition pieces for collectors of course – this year there are only 5,000 bottles released worldwide, priced at £540 and available at their Covent Garden Boutique, Harrods, and at Guerlain.com.

Guerlain’s Muguet Millésime 2018

In France, May 1st is celebrated with a public holiday – officially called La Fête du Travail (National Labour Day) but also known as La Fête du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day). It comes from a tradition that supposedly dates back to the reign of King Charles IX, when in 1561, the King was presented with a bunch of muguet (lil of the valley) flowers as a token of luck for the coming year. Courtiers were so charmed by the token, they began gifting each other sprigs of the flowers, and so the tradition grew, remaining to this day a way of wishing loved ones a properous and joyful year ahead.

Incredibly, for 110 years now, Guerlain have presented their own fragrant token, in the form of an exquisite (and highly collectible!) limited edition bottle of Muguet – a practice initiated by Jacques Guerlain in 1908.

For 2018, Guerlain have decorated the emblematic ‘bee bottle’ design with a kiss of frost (how fitting, for our currently freezing weather), and as Guerlain explain, ‘…the Bee Bottle contains in its heart the Muguet note, reinterpreted by Thierry Wasser, whose bergamot, jasmine and rose accents announce Spring.

Top notes: green notes
Heart notes: note of lily of the valley, lilac
Base notes: rose, jasmine

To magnify this exceptional piece, Guerlain has called on Maison Guillemette, one of the reference addresses in Paris for jewels and head accessories. Guillemette, founder and creator, celebrates the Muguet with a floral ethereal finery.

A lucky charm of exception that celebrates with refinement Lily of the Valley and the beginning of Spring.

Each year the Muguet eau de toilette is magnified in a bottle sublimated by the know-how of a craftsman to become an exceptional piece.

This year, Maison Guillemette, a Parisian creator of accessories, has imagined a voluptuous and delicate floral finery. It is adorned with a bunch of organza petals cut and sewed by hand; a true prowess of meticulousness and creativity.’

Collectors, Guerlain-a-holics and lily of the valley lovers, form an orderly queue – we’re right behind you, and desperately hoping this heralds the proper start of Spring…

Guerlain Millésime Muguet 2018 £370 for 125ml eau de toilette
Available at Harrods and Selfridges

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

It's our THIRD birthday! To begin the celebrations, we pay homage to our symbolic flower: lily of the valley…

Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’. For the French, May 1st traditionally represents the start of gifting bouquets of “muguet” to loved ones to signify the regard in which they’re held and as a token of prosperity for the year ahead. A tradition supposedly begun when King Charles IX was presented with a bunch of the delicate blooms, and decided to gift the ladies of his court, too.

In Europe, ‘bals de muguet’ were historically held – lily of the valley themed dances that offered the tantalising prospect for young singletons to meet without their parents’ permission.

With the young gals dressed in white gowns and the dapper chaps wearing lily of the valley as a buttonhole, we’re sure there was many a ‘return to happiness’ on such evenings… Now the custom is tied in with France’s Labour Day public holiday, and the tradition of giving lily of the valley to loved ones during May still holds strong.

No wonder that three years ago, we chose this delightful, flower-filled date in the calendar to launch The Perfume Society – running hither and thither all over London handing sprigs of lily of the valley to fragrant friends.

And my, how our friends have grown in this short time! With a readership that stretches around the globe and our Instagram followers now topping 21K, we have been delighted with some of the truly beautiful pictures some of our followers have been sharing there. Just feast your eyes on the stunning pictures we’ve sprinkled throughout this post…

With your help we’ve come so far already, and we have so many more exciting things to share with you in the weeks and months ahead. We wish we could come and give every single one of you a sprig of lily of the valley to show our heartfelt appreciation for all your support, but for now, accept this symbol of love and luck, from us to all of you…

Written by Suzy Nightingale