It is May 1st, and I'm wearing Diorissimo extrait to celebrate whatever this day is supposed to stand for; but more personally because it's a lily of the valley scent that I have a strong personal connection with. I worn it on my wedding day, and to me it will always symbolized non-compromised happiness. Besides, I believe it's one of the best perfumes every made (alongside others by Edmond Roudnitska: Le Parfum de Therese, Eau Sauvage and a few Guerlain classics - Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, l'Herue Bleue) that are reclining comofrtably in a special case dedicated for emergency evacuation); but also because I don't own any other lily of the valley fragrance.
There are some great Lily of the Valley classics that I owe it to myself to wear and experience and give more proper attention - Coty's Muguet de Bois, Caron's Muguet de Bonheur Guerlan's Muguet. If you have more lily of the valley perfumes that you think are exceptional, please leave a comment. The note used to be far more popular as a stand-alone theme in the olden days; but it lost popularity greatly because of its functional fragrance usage - namely masking the stench of the French metro systems; and other bathroom fresheners, soaps and the like. Basenotes only lists about 27 perfumes with the name "Muguet" in them; and 25 with the word "Lily of the Valley". Not insignificant, but not even close to how popular rose or jasmine themed perfumes are. Many of them have also been discontinued, a sign that this note belongs to another era. There are other lily of the valley dominated perfumes, of course, such as the classic Joy and the more modern musky floral Idyle. So I'm sure we won't be running out of lilies anytime soon... And there are even natural lily of the valley inspired perfumes, such as Urban Lily and Grin.
Most of the other less worthy of mention are sitting in my sample catalog pretty much untouched, and I revisit them occasionally only to come to the conclusion time and again that really Diorissimo is my true love. There can be a very conformist, agreeable yet boring air to them and a very flat, interest-lacking evolution. I am quite certain that should there have been a little extra jasmine absolute and rose otto in them to give them depth and naturalness they would have faired better - in my personal wardrobe, SmellyBlog entries, as well as sales wise. i.e.: Muguet Eau Fraiche (Yves Rochas) is a soapy clean, with modern musks and Iso E Super that bring to mind Thierry Mugler's Cologne of all things. Crabtree & Evelyn's Lily of the Valley, which comes in all the matching ancillary products from body lotion, triple-milled white soap to scented talcum powders - has been promptly returned to the store because it just has no personality whatsoever - flat, synthetic molecules with plenty of headiness and little staying power. Yardley's wasn't much better off. All three were to me what you'd call "scrubbers".
Muguet de Bois (Coty, circa 1949), on the other hand, requires some immediate attention on this beautiful warm spring day: It opens up sparkling and refreshing, with notes of lemonade and fresh-crushed green leaves. It has a fully developed heart phase that's definitely lily, but not just that: it is a tad spicy and more rounded floral than how I experience the fresh lily of the valley flowers to be. I detect resinous styrax and lilac, rose and hints of jasmine. The "Bois" (or woods) part is subdued, and is interpreted as a woody base of sandalwood and musk.