Lily of the valley lowdown
If you think of florals in perfume what immediately springs to mind? The obvious one is rose, but there are other bouquets you should give a go if you want something a little different.
Lily of the valley is among them because it isn't easy to categorise. That's because there tend to be two types of flowers used in perfume; white ones are sensual and animalistic, while things like roses have a crisper vibe. But lily of the valley sits in the middle of these, so it has a mixture of all those scents. The flower is also very delicate, so it can be hard to extract the scent from it and it's impossible to recreate its bouquet artificially.
Lily of the valley is particularly prevalent in Asia and Europe where it has different associations depending on the country, among them love, innocence, sorrow and tenderness. There are also many legends surrounding the flower, with one in Russia about a sea princess who was in love with a man who chose another woman. She decided to come onto land from the sea to mourn and as she did she cried lily of the valleys. In France, the flowers are given on May 1 to wish luck and joy.
It's also thought to have some health benefits and has been linked to a strong heart and memory - even though it's a poisonous flower. Look for additional notes of bergamot, musk and citrus as they all work well with the fragrance.
If you want to explore further try one of these options:
This is probably the most famous lily of the valley perfume and is viewed by many as the gold standard among them. It was first made in 1956 of pretty much entirely the flowers, which were the favourites of designer Christian Dior. This is the one to go for if you want an unadulterated lily of the valley scent.
Penhaligons Lily of the Valley Eau de Toilette
20 years younger than the Dior version, this is another classic. Experts tend to opt for this because it offers a full-bodied take on the flower. Also included are citrus, rose, ylang ylang and jasmine notes, among others.
Dolce & Gabbana The One
This is the new kid on the block and is a blend of the fruity and floral. Top notes include bergamot and mandarin orange, then there's lily of the valley in the heart and vanilla and musk in the base notes.
Annick Goutal Le Muguet Eau de Toilette
Go for this option if you like your perfumes a little fresher. The whole plant is used to make this, meaning it's not as floral as some of the other options and instead smells a little greener.
Yardley London Lily of the Valley
This is another light option and it's got notes of white flowers and fruit pears, with a musky base. A great one for anyone looking to test a lily of the valley perfume without splashing too much cash.