May Melange Marathon: Lily

May Melange Marathon: Lily

Parfums Christian Dior is responsible for possibly the most famous muguet fragrance of all time, Diorissimo. A less-known, discontinued muguet fragrance by Dior is the lovely Lily, launched in 1999. The perfumer behind it is Florence Idier, who also created Comme des Garcons’ Series 1 Leaves: Lily, another lily-of-the-valley fragrance. There is another fragrance called Lily Dior, but the one I have is just called Lily; it is an eau de toilette.

Advertising illustration for Lily eau de toilette by Christian Dior
Lily, by Parfums Christian Dior; image from Fragrantica

Fragrantica (which has a photo of the wrong bottle on this fragrance’s page, btw; it shows 2004’s Lily Dior) lists its notes as: Top notes are Green Notes, Fruity Notes, Bergamot and Brazilian Rosewood; middle notes are Lily-of-the-Valley, Lilac, Lily, Jasmine and Rose; base notes are Musk and Sandalwood.

I acquired my bottle of Lily within the past year, so it has never featured in my frequent “May Muguet Marathon.” It wouldn’t be May for me without some reviews of muguet fragrances! I like Lily very much, and if I didn’t already have several true-love muguet fragrances, it would be among my top dozen. Even as a vintage eau de toilette, its top notes are clear and strong, with a noticeable fruit note at the start that reminds me of a green pear. The only listed top note that I don’t really smell is the rosewood; the opening is very fresh and green.

The lily-of-the valley note steps forward quickly and it is very natural-smelling (although LOTV notes famously rely on clever combinations of other substances, as the flowers’ natural essence cannot be extracted). The companion notes of lilac and jasmine are evident, with the lilac slightly more obvious than the jasmine. At this stage, Lily reminds me a lot of the 1998 version of Guerlain’s Muguet, which was created by Jean-Paul Guerlain and launched the year before Lily.

Hmmm. The list of notes for each fragrance is almost identical, according to Fragrantica. The clear presence of both lilac and jasmine in the middle stage, as part of the evocation of lily-of-the-valley, is very similar in each fragrance. Lily‘s opening is distinctive, though, with that green pear note that gives it some zing together with the bergamot. I’m going to give Parfums Dior the benefit of the doubt here, though: Christian Dior’s association with the muguet, his favorite flower, goes back decades and prompted the creation of Diorissimo; the flower appeared regularly in Dior fashions: dresses, scarves, hats, jewelry, and apparently he had a tradition of giving sprigs of lilies-of-the-valley to employees every May Day, which the fashion house continues to this day. Don’t you just love this hat?

Hat decorated with artificial lilies of the valley silk flowers
Lily of the valley hat by Christian Dior

The Christian Dior name is also attached to a wide variety of household goods featuring lilies of the valley as his signature flower, everything from sheets to fine porcelain. A new collection of muguet-themed housewares was launched by Dior last year, and they are quite beautiful.

As my regular readers know, I truly love muguet fragrances. I struggle to grow them here in the South, as it really is too hot and humid here for them, but I have a few plants I have nursed along in dedicated planters on the shady edge of our front terrace, where I can keep them well-watered and mulched with the rich humus compost they love. Lily is very true to the natural scent of lilies-of-the-valley and it doesn’t smell soapy at all to my nose, unlike some LOTV fragrances. It doesn’t last more than a few hours, which is the norm for most muguet fragrances, especially in eau de toilette concentrations. While it lasts, though, it is very pretty. However, most of the prices you will see online for Lily are too high, considering that one can easily find lovely, newer, muguet fragrances that are more affordable, or at least fresh (see my “May Muguet Marathon” posts for some suggestions!).

For a lovely post on lily-of-the-valley scents, check out one of my favorite blogs, Bois de Jasmin. Its author, Victoria, mentions Dior’s Lily briefly in the comment section. She writes about muguet fragrances pretty regularly, as it is a favorite scent of hers. I know lily-of-the-valley scents can be polarizing; people tend to like them very much, as I do, or not at all. How do you feel about them?

My bottle of Lily, in front of my muguet

Scent Sample Sunday: Lady Stetson

Scent Sample Sunday: Lady Stetson

I have decided to seek out, proactively, some black perfumers and black-owned fragrance brands to highlight periodically, because I’ve been so concerned about the racial tensions in my city, state, and country lately, and this feels like something positive I can do through my little blog (I regularly encounter and try to handle issues around racial justice in my actual job). And someone I have recently discovered is Howard Kennedy, a longtime perfumer and “nose”, who created Lady Stetson and won five FiFi awards for “Fragrance of the Year” during his long career. He is one of the rare black perfumers recognized as having made important contributions to fragrance in the 20th century.

Today’s “Scent Sample Sunday”, then, will be Lady Stetson. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau du Cloitre

Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau du Cloitre

Whew, almost missed posting today! We had some viral drama here this morning but all is now well. To go with the sense of serenity I am trying to cultivate, today’s rose fragrance is Le Couvent des Minimes’ Eau du Cloitre. The box translates that into English as the “Botanical Cologne of the Cloister.” Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Elisabethan Rose 2018

Roses de Mai Marathon: Elisabethan Rose 2018

Two years ago, I received Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose 2018 for Mother’s Day. I’ve mentioned it before, as a rose scent I like to wear around Christmas, but I haven’t given it a review of its own. And this year happens to be Penhaligon’s 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated in various ways throughout 2020, so here we go! Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rose Goldea

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rose Goldea

Some fragrances just make you happy, from their packaging to their perfume. Bvlgari’s Rose Goldea is one of those for me. I love the color pink, but I especially love the less purply pinks, and I really love light pink with a sprinkle of gold. Ka-ching! Rose Goldea comes in the most beautiful boxes and bottles, with just that shade of pink; and the right fragrance to match. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rosabotanica

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rosabotanica

Rosabotanica, launched by Balenciaga in 2013 after Florabotanica, is a little odd but quite appealing. It is odd, because despite its name, I find it less “rosy” than its predecessor. I remember having that impression when I first tried them both a few years ago. Rosabotanica opens with a prominent fig note which never really dissipates. Balenciaga’s copy described it as a “spicy rose”, but I would call it more of a “green figgy rose.” Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Evening Rose

Roses de Mai Marathon: Evening Rose

One of my goals in writing daily about rose-centric fragrances during this “Roses de Mai Marathon” is to cover a wide range of scents: niche, mass market, designer, etc. Naturally, this also means covering a wide range of prices, from “bargain beauties” to stratospheric. I should note that I myself am unwilling to pay stratospheric prices for almost any fragrances. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau Rose

Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau Rose

Diptyque’s Eau Rose is one of its line of eaux de toilette, but the same fragrance is available in several different formats. I have a sample of the EDT and a bottle of the hair mist. This is a very appealing, fresh rose. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Clair Matin

Roses de Mai Marathon: Clair Matin

Les Parfums de Rosine is, famously, a perfume house dedicated almost entirely to the scent of roses. Every one of its fragrances has a central rose note, even if it is named something like Le Muguet de Rosine. Most are openly rose-centric. The line has an intriguing history, described in this article in Vanity Fair: Les Parfums de Rosine: A Beloved Parisian Import. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Epine Mortelle

Roses de Mai Marathon: Epine Mortelle

So this Roses de Mai Marathon has finally inspired me to try a fragrance I’ve had in my collection for a while: LM Parfums’ Epine Mortelle. LM is Laurent Mazzone. The perfumers with whom he has worked include Jerome Epinette and Richard Ibanez, though it’s not clear which one worked on Epine Mortelle. Continue reading