Lily of the Valley is mighty tricky to turn into perfume nowadays, because the European Union, bless its cotton socks, is busy banning all the ingredients that make it smell good. I love the flower because as well as its demure, heady fragrance, it is one of the most beautiful plants in the garden, being daintily architectural and drop-dead stylish. It was also in my mother’s wedding bouquet and she always had a soft spot for it.
Anyone older than 30 might remember the original Diorissimo fragrance by Dior, the gold standard of (affordable) LOTV fragrance, it was what I wore during the 80s. Due to the International Fragrance Association banning a couple of the ingredients, today’s Diorissimo has been restructured and isn’t quite the same (although still lovely).
The nice people at Guerlain sent me a sample of Muguet, a limited edition LOTV fragrance that is launched for May Day every year (the French have a tradition of giving a small posy of lily of the valley flowers to loved ones on the first day of spring). Each year, the bottle is different and this year’s has a charming paper sculpture as a label, designed by French creative studio Créanog as well as one of those retro pear-drop shaped puffers to make you feel like you are a 50s starlet as you spray.
It’s a gorgeous perfume, starting as true lily of the valley hit and them warming down into a more rose-y finish. Sadly, due to its price (£355 for 60mls, 1,349 numbered bottles only) it’s unlikely I’ll be buying it, but I would advise anyone keen on lily of the valley to seek it out for a trial spray, exclusively at Harrods from 1st May.