May Muguet Marathon: Demeter Lily of the Valley

And now for something completely (okay, not COMPLETELY) different. From the heights of expensive perfumery and Muguet Porcelaineto the more prosaic and affordable Demeter Fragrance Library’s Lily of the Valley. I love the whole idea of Demeter Fragrance Library: that they try to capture individual fragrances of everyday objects, places or even weather, and you can combine those into whatever blend you like. From the company’s website: “Demeter was conceived in the East Village of New York City in 1996: a unique point of view about fragrance, a perspective that still remains unique, but that continues to expand. The original mission was to capture the beautiful smells of the garden and nature in wearable form. Consistent with that mission we took the Demeter name, inspired by the Greek Goddess of Agriculture.”

In 20 years, they have expanded their repertoire to include everything from soliflores like Lily of the Valley to funky concoctions like Laundromat, Gin and Tonic, and Pistachio Ice Cream. Not to mention their first three fragrances, Dirt, Grass and Tomato (the latter a creation of nose Christopher Brosius, a co-founder of Demeter and later founder of CB I Hate Perfume).

Row of Demeter Fragrance Library cologne bottles

Demeter Fragrance Library bottles; photo from

According to CEO and perfumer Mark Crames, in this interview with Fragrantica, linear scent design is a guiding principle of their scents and not a flaw or mistake. Mark just wants to make people happy through smell. And yes, true to that principle, Lily of the Valley is a completely linear soliflore and a very realistic evocation of the flower’s scent. There are not perceptible top, heart and base notes as far as I can tell: it is straight up muguet, right away, that slowly fades on my skin and finally disappears after about one and a half hours, not unexpected for a cologne. The good news is that like all the Demeter fragrances, Lily of the Valley is so affordable that I could spritz myself with it all day, every hour on the hour, if I wished; you can buy a huge 4 oz. bottle for about $20 but it also comes in smaller and even less expensive sizes. Mine is a half-ounce “splash” but it also comes in spray bottles.

Demeter Lily of the Valley

Demeter Lily of the Valley; photo from

I plan to have fun combining Lily of the Valley with other Demeter fragrances like Dirt. Have you created any favorite Demeter fragrance combinations? Please share in the comments!

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