Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Rosier

Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Rosier

June is the month for roses and rose fragrances, so I have a few to review in coming days! On my recent trip to London, I was able to buy a bottle of an artisan perfume new to me, Nancy Meiland’s Rosier, from Rouillier White. (I cheated a bit — I didn’t go to the actual store, which is still on my to-do list; I ordered from their website and had it delivered to the serviced apartment where we were staying). The box has this to say:

Notes of Italian bergamot, tangerine and blackcurrant top ROSIER, denoting the moment a water droplet forms on a petal. A contemporary twist on the traditional rose scent, this is a soliflore, in which the whole flower is represented. Pink pepper acts for the thorns, while green galbanum is the leaves. Rose geranium, white pear, jasmine, peony, and violet are delicately strung together for the bud, and the endnotes evoke the image of a broken beaded necklace as the scent spreads beautifully on the skin. It is a landing both soft and reassuring, of buttery mimosa, tobacco, hay, and angelica seeds.

Notice that none of the notes listed include an actual rose note!  But the name is accurate: “rosier” means rosebush in French, and this scent evokes the whole rose, as described above. The opening notes are gorgeous, a lively blend of sparkling citrus and fruit that is not at all sweet. Next up, to my nose, is the galbanum, which I love. I like most green florals, and usually the greener the better. In fact, before I found Rosier, I had been idly wondering what fragrances truly combined sharp green galbanum with roses, so I was delighted to find this one.

The odd thing about Rosier is that I don’t get any traditional rose FLOWER notes at all. The heart notes are lovely, and they suggest a rose bud, as described, but there is no strong note of rose itself. That said, this is a truly lovely, different fragrance, rosy rather than rose-centric. The Perfume Society had an article about Nancy Meiland and her perfumes that noted:

It’s very much NOT your great-aunt’s rose – and Nancy observes: ‘I wanted to depict both the light and the dark shades of it, as opposed to this pretty, twee and girly rose that’s become slightly old-fashioned. I was interested in a soliflore of the rose depicting the whole flower including the very slightly “acid” moment the dew drop forms on the petal, the peppery thorns and hay-like buttery notes in the base. The result was something that turned out to have a touch of “bramble”, more reminiscent of a rose briar.

A longer article appeared in 2016 on the Scents and the City blog: Nature Girl: Interview with Perfumer Nancy Meiland. Nancy started out working for a bespoke perfumer in London and also taught perfumery courses. She is now based in East Sussex, and has released four fragrances of her own.

Perfumer Nancy Meiland testing fragrances

Perfumer Nancy Meiland; image from http://www.scentsandthecitylondon.com

Back to the fragrance! The blogger Persolaise commented that it is like a rose dipped in nitrogen, and he also noted the sharp green that I love. He also said that it dwindles into “soapiness” but the fragrance is “not without merit.” Here’s my take: I do get a period of soapiness in the middle of its progression, but it doesn’t last long on my skin. Then I get those beautiful base notes: mimosa, hay, tobacco, and angelica. I love the first stages so much, and find the end stage so soothing, that I am willing to live with a little soapiness in the middle. I do love traditional roses and rose fragrances, though; so I think I may try my precious Taif Roses attar layered with Rosier, just as an experiment.

Another interesting point to ponder: one of the most legendary hybridizers of roses in the world is the House of Meilland, based in France. The Meilland family has created hundreds of beautiful hybrid roses, including one of my all-time favorites, Eden. I don’t think Nancy Meiland is related to the French rose growers, but I enjoy linking her Rosier to their “rosiers”.

Collage images of Eden pink climbing roses, from the House of Meilland.

Collage of Eden roses; image from http://www.tovfone.com.

 

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: Miu Miu

May Muguet Marathon: Miu Miu

Fashion house Miu Miu launched its first fragrance in 2015, Miu Miu. According to Fragrantica, it was meant to emphasize lily of the valley:

The composition of the fragrance is signed by perfumer Daniela Roche Andrier, known for her creations for the house of Prada (as well as Bvlgari, Marni, Bottega Veneta). As Danielle explains it, the focus is on lily of the valley flowers supported with floral notes of jasmine, rose and green notes, as well as a special ingredient created by Givaudan, akigalawood, which develops the scent of patchouli, notes of pepper and woody aromas of oud. The composition of Miu Miu fragrance opens in a fresh and floral manner, and as it develops it begins warmer and woodsier, says Danielle.

I was disappointed when I tried it, though I liked it, because to me the lily of the valley note was not evident enough. Miu Miu felt to me like a pretty, greenish floral, but I really didn’t experience it as a muguet-centric fragrance, in spite of the stated focus and the promotional materials featuring a gorgeous lily of the valley textile design.

Bottle of Miu Miu fragrance and lily of the valley textile

Miu Miu fragrance; image from http://www.internetwhatever.com

Next came Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue, in 2017. Ah, that’s more like it! The dewy greenness of this flanker correlates better, to my nose, to lily of the valley. The fragrance reads as crisper and greener than the original. Also, I greatly prefer L’Eau Bleue’s bottle over the first Miu Miu — the clear turquoise glass and light yellow top really appeal to me, and the brightness of the clear blue glass matches the brightness and transparency of this fragrance. It is a happy, cheerful, spring-into-summer fragrance. Later in the summer heat, I will probably want Un Jardin Sur le Nil, which is marvelous in really hot weather, but for spring and early summer, L’Eau Bleue is a lovely choice. Perfumer Daniela Andrier clearly has a way with floral notes; when I looked her up on Fragrantica, I was surprised to see how many of her creations I know and like, including many she did for Prada, like the marvelous Infusion d’Iris and dozens of others. (Ms. Andrier was also the perfumer behind Tiffany’s new fragrance, Tiffany & Co., an elegant floral scent launched in 2017 and a new favorite of mine).

Fragrance ad for Miu Miu L'Eau Bleue, with bottle and kitten

Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue; image from http://www.store.miumiu.com.

And now comes Miu Miu L’Eau Rosee. Yes, as the name suggests, it is pink. The muguet heart note is joined by peony and rose, as well as peach and pear, and this third flanker is more of a fruity floral than the first two scents. It isn’t sugary or sweet, though, and it has a pleasant gingery, spicy, light woodiness to its drydown, which lingers for several hours after first application. Like the other Miu Mius, it has a playfulness and sprightliness that is youthful and appealing.

Bottle of Miu Miu L'Eau Rosee fragrance with kitten

Miu Miu L’Eau Rosee

The lily of the valley note is present, albeit one created by hints of gardenia, tuberose, jasmine, and honeysuckle, according to the notes listed on the Miu Miu website, but the pink peony note is the most dominant. They blend well together, and this flanker retains the dewiness of its predecessor. It is also an appealing option for spring and summer, but if you really want muguet, you should look to L’Eau Bleue or some of the other fragrances in this May Muguet Marathon. Have you tried the original Miu Miu or either of its flankers? What did you think?

 

 

 

May Muguet Marathon: Meghan’s Bouquet

May Muguet Marathon: Meghan’s Bouquet

I took a short break from my May Muguet Marathon to travel to London — no, not to see the Queen or the recent royal wedding. But like many Americans, I followed the wedding hoopla with some interest and found myself surprisingly moved by the ceremony and service. While I am here this week, I am visiting some perfume meccas and will write about them soon. But today, we are continuing the theme of weddings and bridal bouquets that include lilies of the valley. They were one of several white flowers featured in Meghan Markle’s lovely bouquet, apparently as a way to honor Princess Diana, who had them in her own bridal bouquet.

Meghan Markle and her wedding bouquet of white flowers

Meghan and her bouquet; image from http://www.express.co.uk.

Town & Country magazine wrote a nice description of the bouquet, noting that, in addition to Princess Diana and Kate, now the Duchess of Cambridge, “other British royal brides who have incorporated the bloom in their bouquets are Princess Margaret in 1960, Princess Anne in 1973, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, when she wed Prince Charles in 2005.” All of the flowers for the recent royal wedding were stunning, and it makes them even sweeter to know that they were made into gift bouquets after the ceremony and sent to hospice patients and residents of women’s shelters in the area.

Flowers given to hospice patients

Wedding flowers donated to hospice patients; image from http://www.independent.co.uk

What scent might a bride wear while carrying a bouquet of lilies of the valley? I wrote a while ago about a Brides magazine article that paired fragrances with various bridal bouquets: May Muguet Marathon: Perfume/Bouquet Pairings. No one seems to know for sure what Meghan wore on her wedding day, but it is known that she favors Jo Malone scents such as Wild Bluebell and Wood Sage and Sea Salt as her everyday fragrances. Apparently, the British perfume house Floris, which has a royal warrant, has created a bespoke fragrance for her, according to Marie Claire magazine. It is meant to be unisex, with notes of bergamot and orange flower. It sounds delightful, and as sunny as the gorgeous weather the happy couple (and happy onlookers) enjoyed in Windsor last weekend.

I have a soft spot for wedding bouquets with lilies of the valley, as I carried them in my own bridal bouquet (and grew those particular blooms in my own garden). I think I also wore Diorissimo that day, as that was one of my two regular fragrances at that time (the other being Chanel No. 22) but can’t say for sure. No matter! My wedding day was fragranced with muguet, and that is a very happy memory for me. May the lilies of the valley in her bouquet also bring great happiness to Meghan and her Prince!

 

May Muguet Marathon: I Love NY for Earth Day

May Muguet Marathon: I Love NY for Earth Day

I haven’t tried many Bond No. 9 fragrances, partly because of their prices, partly because they sometimes seem a bit gimmicky, and partly because their bottles don’t appeal to me. I don’t often think of myself being that affected by a fragrance’s bottle, although I really love some of the beautiful bottles one sees and can sometimes be swayed to buy a fragrance because of one (have you seen the adorable new Nina Ricci Bella? I’m hoping they will do a coffret of minis with the other “apple” bottles!). But I’ve rarely felt put off a fragrance because of the bottle. Daisy is another bottle that doesn’t appeal to me AT ALL, though I love the Daisy Dream bottles. I’ve successfully resisted buying any of them, though.

Bottles of different Bond No. 9 I Love NY fragrances

Bond No. 9 I Love NY fragrances; image from http://www.parfumo.net

Today’s fragrance with lily of the valley in it is Bond No. 9’s I Love NY for Earth Day. I found it at a great discount at a local store, with I Love NY for the Holidays, and thought, why not? So they both came home with me. I lived in New York for several years, and grew up outside The City, as we called it, and I do appreciate how Bond No. 9 has worked to create scents that capture various aspects of New York life and different New York neighborhoods. I really enjoyed For the Holidays and have been looking forward to trying Earth Day.

Here’s the thing: Earth Day is a lovely fragrance, very floral, but I get almost no lily of the valley from it! From reading other reviews, I know that my experience differs from others’, as a number of commenters and reviewers have said they found the lily of the valley to be very prominent. My experience of the fragrance was much more like the review by John Reasinger at CaFleureBon: all about the tuberose. And in fact, this seems more like what its creators intended, based on this excerpt from their promotional materials when Earth Day was launched in 2011, which I found on The Candy Perfume Boy blog:

“Like New York, this lush green tuberose is also sophisticated and assured. Its wakeup opening notes, sprightly tangerine and orange flower water, blended with more tropical orchid, segue into the heart of the scent: a stunning floral composed of intoxicating tuberose, lily of the valley, and orris. Base notes of durable musk, amber, oakmoss, and sandalwood sustain this heady bouquet.”

So now that we’ve put the muguet to bed, so to speak, what is Earth Day like? To me, it is very tuberose-forward, teetering on the brink of too much without tipping over the edge. If I applied more than a couple of modest sprays, though, I think it would overwhelm. Tuberose is such a complicated fragrance note: in real life, the flowers’ scent is intoxicating, so much so that an oft-repeated legend is that in some countries, young women were forbidden to walk among gardens of tuberose lest they be overcome by lust! Perfumer Pierre Benard spoke at length about the note with Fragrantica, and the interview is well worth reading, as it leaps from science and chemistry to perfume to history: Tuberose: Flower, Scent, History, and Perfume.

tuberose flower

Tuberose flower; image from http://www.attarperfumes.net

Earth Day is supposed to be a unisex fragrance, but to me it is very feminine, because of its strong floral nature and the voluptuousness of the tuberose. I don’t think of men as “voluptuous”, although that may be my own limitation more than anything else! And this is a somewhat voluptuous scent, though not languorous. The city of New York has an energy and liveliness that is captured in this fragrance. What comes to mind? Princess Giselle in Central Park, in the movie Enchanted:

Princess Giselle in Central Park, NY, from Disney movie Enchanted

GIselle in Central Park; image from http://www.disney.com

Not a muguet, but definitely a happy, lively, green floral scent, with, as another reviewer said, a “sprightly tangerine” opening. It is very appealing on the right day and in the right weather, which to me would be spring and summer. Try it! But not if you dislike tuberose. Have you tried any other I Love NY fragrances? Which do you like, and why?

 

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: The Nuptial Bouquet

May Muguet Marathon: The Nuptial Bouquet

It seems fitting that there is a lily of the valley fragrance called The Nuptial Bouquet, given how often lilies of the valley appear in bridal bouquets. Atkinson’s fragrance by that name includes notes of lily of the valley, violet leaves, myrtle flower, sandalwood, and musk. It is supposed to refer to the flowers carried by Queen Victoria in her own bouquet at her wedding to Prince Albert. From the website:

A cherished bouquet of ardent Romance composed of the very blooms Queen Victoria carried down the wedding aisle to her beloved Albert. Hearkening back to a time when flowers, steeped in meaning, spoke volumes…
A fragrance for royal romance, a retro contemporary interpretation of Queen Victoria’s bridal bouquet: the green and white loveliness of lily of the Valley, violet leaves and exquisite myrtle flowers enhanced with delicate white musk and sandalwood.

It’s a lovely story, but I can’t find any reliable source that confirms Victoria carried lilies of the valley on her wedding day. In fact, although the inclusion of myrtle has taken on a life of its own as a royal tradition, that too may be a myth. While it is true that there are myrtle plants in royal gardens descended from one planted by Victoria, it seems that was NOT in her own bouquet but was from a gift to her by Prince Albert’s grandmother. Nevertheless, it is true that royal brides from the 19th century forward have had at least a sprig of myrtle in their own bouquets, including Queen Elizabeth.

In fact, since Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in 2011, and The Nuptial Bouquet was launched in 2013, I think its floral notes refer more directly to Kate’s bouquet, not Victoria’s. And we DO know that Kate carried lilies of the valley.

Kate Middleton's wedding bouquet of lilies of the valley.

Kate Middleton’s wedding bouquet; image from http://www.TheKnotNews.com

The Nuptial Bouquet is a very lovely muguet fragrance. It opens as a light, green, lemony muguet, the green also coming from the note of violet leaves, which lend a certain crisp freshness. It is very much a bouquet of spring flowers, without being overly sweet. Its floral notes don’t last terribly long, but they do last for a while, and the drydown, which is a green-tinged musky sandalwood, lasts a long time as a skin scent.The myrtle note adds an herbal aroma that I find very appealing. I prefer aromatic florals over fruit florals; this is not a full-on aromatic floral, but it is definitely not “fruity”. It is a feminine floral, light and fresh, with a sheer, floating airiness that reminds me of a bridal veil.

Speaking of veils, wasn’t Kate’s veil gorgeous? As we have another royal wedding coming up next weekend, let’s bask for a moment in the beauty and artistry of the craftspeople whose work will be on display. Kate’s veil was of silk tulle, embroidered by hand with garlands of flowers by the Royal School of Needlework. I was able to see the veil, and her dress, and other accessories, when they were on display at Buckingham Palace after the wedding, and they were simply beautiful. My only disappointment was that I wish the embroidered flowers had included lilies of the valley, which I did not see in the garlands, as there are many truly lovely lace and embroidery patterns for lily of the valley blossoms.

Detail of vintage lily of the valley lace pattern

Lily of the valley lace; image from http://www.sovintagelinensnlace.com.

A minor matter! If a bride wants the effect of a sheer, lacy, floating lily of the valley on her wedding day, she  might be very pleased with The Nuptial Bouquet. I am!