May Muguet Marathon: Final Round-Up

May Muguet Marathon: Final Round-Up

As today is the last day of my self-imposed May Muguet Marathon, I’ll do a brief wrap-up. Some of you who were reading this blog the last time I did this, in 2016, will know that I previously discussed some of the all-time greats among muguet fragrances. I did not repeat most of those, so I list them here if any newer reader is interested:

Diorissimo

Vintage ad and current bottle for Diorissimo eau de toilette, by Christian Dior.

Diorissimo, by Christian Dior.

Guerlain Muguet 2016

Bottle of Guerlain Muguet 2016 fragrance

Guerlain Muguet 2016

Coty Muguet des Bois

Coty "When You're in Love" ad for Muguet des Bois fragrance, by Eric

Coty “When You’re in Love” ad for Muguet des Bois

Caron Muguet du Bonheur

1960 advertisement for Caron's Muguet du Bonheur, with green and white lilies of the valley.

1960 advertisement for Caron’s Muguet du Bonheur.

Premier Muguet

Premier Muguet Bourjois

Premier Muguet by Bourjois

and some new classics:

Annick Goutal’s Le Muguet

Jo Malone’s Lily of the Valley and Ivy

Jo Malone Lily of the Valley and Ivy fragrance

Olivier Polge’s Always in Bloom

Always in Bloom fragrance by Olivier Polge for Longwood Gardens

Hermes’ Muguet Porcelaine

Bottle of Hermes' Hermessence fragrance Muguet Porcelaine

Hermes Muguet Porcelaine; source http://www.uk.hermes.com.

VCA’s Muguet Blanc

VCA Muguet Blanc

Ann Gerard’s Perle de Mousse

Perle de Mousse eau de parfum; fragrance by Ann Gerard

L.I.L.Y. by Stella McCartney

L.I.L.Y. fragrance based on lily of the valley or muguet, by Stella McCartney

L.I.L.Y. fragrance by Stella McCartney. Photo: http://www.boots.ie

Lily, by Lili Bermuda

Lily fragrance collector gift set from Lili Bermuda

Lily, by Lili Bermuda

Laboratorio Olfattivo’s Decou-Vert

Bottle of Laboratotio Olfattivoa eau de parfum Decou-Vert

Decou-Vert

Last, if you haven’t overdosed on muguet by now, here are Fragrantica’s picks in 2018:

Best in Show: Lily of the Valley

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down Muguet Lane! Thank you for joining me on the journey! If I’ve overlooked some muguet fragrances you’d like to suggest, please mention them in the comments!

May Muguet Marathon: Lily Hand Therapy

May Muguet Marathon: Lily Hand Therapy

Crabtree & Evelyn make some wonderfully scented products, many with floral fragrances. One of them is Lily Ultra Moisturizing Hand Therapy, a rich hand cream that smells like lily of the valley. The Lily fragrance also comes in a body lotion, bath and shower gel, and home fragrance. It used to come in an eau de toilette also, but I think the whole collection has been discontinued, so while it is easy to find the other products, the eau de toilette mostly appears on online auction sites.

The hand cream is excellent: it is in fact very moisturizing without being greasy at all. It sinks quickly into dry skin, but lasts a long time. The scent is very evident but does not overwhelm. Like most Crabtree & Evelyn scents, it is floral, light, fresh, and it gives a natural impression. I like it very much although I don’t use hand cream very often. The notes listed for the eau de toilette are: hyacinth, ylang-ylang, oak moss,  lily-of-the-valley, violet leaf, woodsy notes, musk and green notes. While. of course, these play differently in a hand cream formulation, the hand cream still has a green floral scent.

Crabtree and Evelyn Lily hand therapy

Crabtree & Evelyn hand therapy cream

The ultra moisturizing hand therapy line of hand creams is based on shea butter and macadamia seed oil, and its texture is silky and soft. Lily would make an excellent base to layer with other muguet-centered fragrances, as it will prolong the green floral notes. The style magazine Marie France Asia raved about the line, and had fun matching each fragrance with a different celebrity; Taylor Swift was their pick for Lily on the basis that it is a fresh and free-spirited woodland scent. I don’t know that I would necessarily associate her with a lily of the valley hand cream, but I would agree with their assessment that these hand creams are unusually appealing and effective.

Do you have a favorite scented hand cream? Floral or not? Why do you like it?

May Muguet Marathon: Virgin Lily of the Valley

May Muguet Marathon: Virgin Lily of the Valley

Eric Buterbaugh has long been a “florist to the stars” with a renowned flower shop in Los Angeles. Some years ago, he branched out (pun intended) into fragrances and other lifestyle products like candles and gifts. He launched his fragrance collection, EB Florals, in 2015 with eight scents based on the flowers he knows so well, one of which was Virgin Lily of the Valley.  And here is where I am very thankful, specifically, to Scentbird. I was able to snag a nifty 8 ml sprayer of it through my monthly subscription, which was the only way I was going to own it, as a 100 ml bottle retails for $295! So although I don’t own the gorgeous bottle — which is clear and curved like a large drop of dew — I do have enough of the fragrance to try it out really well. The Eric Buterbaugh website says this:

Pierre Negrin conceived this delightful Lily like a tower of glass, where all is visible from the start, from top to bottom. The tingle of a citrus, the beauty of the Lily and the softness of musks, are all present at once. The result is a Lily floating in the air, in all its white purity.

TOP NOTES
Linden, Quince, Litchi, Fleur de Narcisse Absolute, Nectarine, Natureprint
HEART NOTES
Fleur de Oranger Supra SFE, Fleur de Tiare, Jasmin Sambac Firabsolut
BASE NOTES
Osmanthys, Tuberose Absolute, Muscenone, Ambrox
Notice that neither muguet nor lily of the valley is listed, despite the fragrance’s name! This is a very dewy floral, watery and fresh, not intensely green. It is very pretty, but I’ll confess that I don’t smell much lily of the valley at all! So I think the name is misleading; this is a fantasy lily, not a muguet. Interestingly, the notes listed on Fragrantica are quite different, though I’ll take the company’s own website’s word for what they are. Fragrantica lists top notes as bergamot,  palisander rosewood, and orange blossom; heart notes of lily of the valley, ylang ylang, and amaryllis; and base notes of sandalwood, musk, and ambrette.

Scentbird had a brief interview with Mr. Buterbaugh earlier this year. He described the link between his floral designs and his fragrances:

I first look at a floral composition as an overall shape. For me, proportions matter most, which is why I mostly like to work with one or two species of flowers only in each composition. If you mix too many kinds of flowers, you lose control over texture, dimensions, proportions. I spoke at length with the Perfumers about this concept. It fits well with the idea we had from the start to celebrate one flower per scent. Which doesn’t mean creating monolithic soliflores. Our creations are layered and complex. But they are articulated around one specific flower every time.

The opening and early stages of Virgin Lily of the Valley remind me of Lily by Lili Bermuda, probably because of the fruit notes combined with flowers. As it dries down, though, I do smell the musky basenotes, including a semi-woody, herbal note that I think is the ambrette (or Ambroxan), and I like the combination.

However, I am really intrigued by EB Florals’ new “muguet”: Floral Oud Lily of the Valley, one of a collection of floral scents combined with oud. Here’s the description:

This union of opposites opens with a fruity/ spicy combination of bergamot and cassis buds, but the lily soon starts weaving its way into the mix, supported by a subtle hint of Tuberose. The oud is there almost from the start, but tamed in a way that allows for the floral notes to breathe and blossom.

The rest is amber and sandalwood, all the way to the end.

A delightfully original creation.

Original indeed — who would think to combine muguet with oud? And talk about a gorgeous bottle:

Black bottle of EB Florals by Eric Buterbaugh, Floral Oud Lily of the Valley

EB Florals, Floral Oud Lily of the Valley; image from http://www.ericbuterbaugh.com

So now, having satisfied my curiosity about Virgin Lily of the Valley, I can only hope that Scentbird arranges to carry the new Floral Ouds, especially this one. Because I am really interested in trying this combination! Have any of you tried any of the EB Florals, and especially the Floral Ouds?

Scent Sample Sunday: Lazy Sunday Morning

Scent Sample Sunday: Lazy Sunday Morning

Yes, I’m having one of those: a lazy Sunday morning. And this week, I also took part for the first time in a “freebiemeet” on Now Smell This, an amazing fragrance blog and community. So in honor of that, and with gratitude to kind NST member Katrina, who offered up a “mystery grab bag of samples; some mainstream and some niche. Absolutely no rhyme or reason in what’s in the mix!”, here are my thoughts on one of the several she sent me: Maison Martin Margiela’s Lazy Sunday Morning, one of the Replica line of fragrances. It was such a treat to open the package and discover what was inside — it really made my week, which was somewhat sad because of the unexpected news the week before of the death of a former student, and planning a memorial with his friends.

Lazy Sunday Morning is meant to evoke the sense of awakening on a sunny morning in a bed of white linen sheets, skin warm, in Florence, Italy. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting Florence, so I can’t speak to that, but the fragrance includes notes of iris, the quintessential Florentine flower. However, for me the dominant floral note is lily of the valley, or muguet, which I love. That is one of the top notes, with aldehydes and pear. The combination of a soft, light, fruity note with muguet reminds me a bit of Lily, by Lili Bermuda, which combines pear with lily of the valley among its heart notes.

The aldehydic opening is light but noticeable, then the scent moves quickly into floral fruitiness that stays light and fresh. It’s very pretty, but it doesn’t smell to me like Sunday morning in bed, unless one’s bedroom window opens onto a bed of lilies of the valley and one wakes up to a glass of fresh-squeezed juice. (Which, by the way, I wouldn’t object to finding by my bedside …). However, if I am spending a lazy Sunday morning in bed, I’m much more likely to have coffee by my side, as one Fragrantica commenter noted!

Lazy Sunday Morning also reminds me a bit of Jean-Claude Ellena’s last Hermessence fragrance for Hermes, Muguet Porcelaine. I would say that it is brighter, less of a subtle wash of watercolor, and with fewer nuances. In fact, the image that comes to mind is a set of bed linens by Lilly Pulitzer, the quintessential Floridian brand with its bright pops of citrus-inspired colors on its fabrics, which ties in nicely with the orange flower that is also a heart note in Lazy Sunday Morning.

Pillow cases and bed linens by Lilly Pulitzer with lily of the valley print in bright colors

Lily of the valley bed linens, by Lilly Pulitzer

I really don’t smell rose or iris at all, even as it dries down, although they are also listed as heart notes and other commenters have felt they come through strongly. The white musk that lends a “clean laundry” aura to Lazy Sunday Morning emerges during the drydown and is very soft. All in all, this is a very pleasant, fresh fragrance. It doesn’t remind me of my own Sunday mornings in bed, but it is very pretty, and I’m happy to have a sample of it! Thanks, Katrina and NST!

Any other thoughts on Maison Martin Margiela’s fragrances?

Perfume samples in glass vials

Perfume samples

May Muguet Marathon: Lily, by Lili Bermuda

May Muguet Marathon: Lily, by Lili Bermuda

One of many beautiful, interesting places to visit on the island of Bermuda is The Bermuda Perfumery, home of the brand Lili Bermuda. The perfumery was founded in the 1920s. Today, its staff creates particularly beautiful floral perfumes as well as other scents, and you can tour part of its operation in historic St. George’s, which is where I discovered Lili Bermuda several years ago.

The Bermuda Perfumery in St. George's, Bermuda, with pastel houses

The Bermuda Perfumery. Photo: http://www.foreverbermuda.com

I came home with two fragrances: Lily and Coral, both of which I love. Lily is a pretty white floral with several fruity notes that work surprisingly well with its strong note of muguet. According to FragranticaLily’s top notes are clementine, tamarind and fresh mint. Heart notes are: lily of the valley, calla lily, guava and pear (I’m confused by the “calla lily” reference, as I don’t think calla lilies have a scent). Base note is a simple white musk. What I enjoy about Lily is the unexpected juxtaposition of the fruits with lily of the valley, especially the citrusy opening. The clementine appears very clearly, with its sweet, light tones of orange balanced in a  nice contrast with the slightly astringent tone of the tamarind and the fresh green hint of mint. The lily of the valley note makes its presence known right after that and never really fades away. The fruit notes are succeeded by guava and pear — again, light and sweet fruit scents that have no sourness at all. The white musk base grounds Lily but never dominates. Although it is a light, white floral, I find that Lily lasts for several hours on my skin, wafting up with scented reminders of its beautiful island home.

Lili Bermuda’s owner, Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, seems to be a remarkably creative lady. Continue reading