May Muguet Marathon: Premier Muguet

Premier Muguet by Bourjois is a bit of a mystery. The nose behind it is listed in many places as Ernest Beaux, creator of the legendary Chanel No. 5 and Chanel No. 22, among other Chanel fragrances. Bois de Jasmin has a wonderful post about him, which is mostly in his own words, a magazine article he wrote about perfumery, translated from French. M. Beaux created a few perfumes for Bourjois (a cosmetics house whose early, but not first, owners were the Wertheimer family and which was sold just last year to Coty), including an early favorite and perhaps their most famous fragrance, Soir de Paris,  or Evening in Paris. He is supposed to have created Premier Muguet for Bourjois in 1955, during the same decade when others were creating muguet fragrances like the legendary Diorissimo and Caron’s Muguet du Bonheur.

UPDATE: the master and perfume legend Luca Turin, now blogging on WordPress at perfumesIlove, sent me this information which he kindly solicited from perfume historian Will Inrig: that Premier Muguet was in fact created in 1955 by Henri Robert, the nose behind Coty’s Muguet des Bois, who had recently joined the house of Bourjois-Chanel (they were jointly owned at that point). I have a small bottle of what I believe is the eau de cologne of Premier Muguet, full and in its original box and bottle.

The box says “perfume” but the juice is a light yellow-green and the consistency is more like a cologne. The bottle I have is in perfect condition, complete with its little Bakelite cap modeled on the bell-like flower of the lily of the valley, and a separate little plug that has kept the fragrance fresh. Mine looks like the bottle in the middle, below, but it is full.

Bottles of Bourjois fragrance Premier Muguet.

Bottles of Premier Muguet; photo from http://collectionsautourduparfum.jimdo.com/bourjois/

I have not been able to find any online source that describes Premier Muguet’s notes other than “lily of the valley”, and my nose is not trained well enough to detect them. There is a fresh, citrusy opening but it is very subtle and does not smell like bergamot to me. It is quite green, too, and reminds me a little of celery leaf. The lily of the valley note emerges and it is strong and soapy. The fragrance lasts quite well and is  very pleasing.

If you know more about Premier Muguet, please tell!

Cosmetic blush by Bourjois Paris with illustration of Eiffel Tower

Bourjois Paris

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