Hermes Muguet Porcelaine : Perfume Review

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Last week I talked about perfumery as “the art of fortunate proportions,” and one of the best examples for this idea is the newest fragrance from Hermès, Muguet Porcelaine. Created by Jean-Claude Ellena just as he prepared to give over the reins of the house to Christine Nagel, it feels like a recap of his work over the past few decades. Ellena is not leaving Hermès, and he will be delighting his fans with other perfumes, and yet, there is something nostalgic in Muguet Porcelaine, a tender lily of the valley.

muguet-porcelaine

Muguet Porcelaine is also a tribute to a legendary perfumer who influenced Ellena, Edmond Roudnitska. Ellena, however, denies it, commenting that it was time to create lily of the valley for Hermès’s portfolio, but it’s hard not to spot the parallels between the two. In my review for the Financial Times’s HTSI column, I follow the clues. Muguet Porcelaine is delicate without being precious and ethereal without being evanescent. It lingers for several hours and creates an illusion of a springtime breeze.

“It is with Muguet Porcelaine (£171 for 100ml EDT) that Ellena references Roudnitska most memorably. Lily of the valley, a delicate blossom with a potent scent, is impossible to capture by anything other than a perfumer’s imagination. Roudnitska kneeled at the lily of the valley patch near his house in Cabris to study the fine nuances of the aroma, reminiscent of pale rose petals, green sap and clove. In Diorissimo (£82 for 100ml EDT) he evokes the fragile beauty of May flowers, damp earth and vibrant greenery. The idea is elegant but dramatic. To continue reading, please click here.”

Have you tried Muguet Porcelaine?

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80 Comments

  • Grey Gardens: I hated it, all I got was melon and cucumber, terrible! Guerlain muguet 2016 reorchestration is prettier and more feminine. May 30, 2016 at 7:27am Reply

    • Victoria: At 430 euros, I’d have to pass on Guerlain Muguet. May 30, 2016 at 1:14pm Reply

      • Grey Gardens: Personally I no longer buy perfume like I used to, and it’s a large size bottle it’s going to last a long time, I didn’t mind spending that much for once.
        On the other hand it’s not like the Hermessence muguet is on the affordable side either! I didn’t find it good for me, I hate melon and cucumber in fragrances. May 30, 2016 at 1:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: Frankly, I could care less how others spend their money, as it’s a personal decision. And I’m not trying to convince you on Muguet Porcelaine; if you don’t like a perfume, it doesn’t make sense to buy it. Enjoy your Guerlain Muguet! It’s a lovely perfume, and this year’s bottle is gorgeous. May 30, 2016 at 1:47pm Reply

          • Grey Gardens: I wonder how many out there can afford to buy Hermessence bottles, but I’m glad you enjoyed it and saw what I failed to see blinded by my own judgments towards the Hemessence line and dislike for melon notes in fragrances. May 30, 2016 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Annie: I just bought a bottle! Since Diorissimo doesn’t smell the same anymore, I’ve been looking for a lotv replacement. Muguet Porcelain is it. May 30, 2016 at 7:37am Reply

  • Austenfan: I’ve yet to try it, but it sounds very interesting. I was curious to hear what you had made of it. It sounds like he did well on his last Hermessence. May 30, 2016 at 8:01am Reply

    • Hamamelis: Happy to send you a sample. May 30, 2016 at 9:49am Reply

      • Austenfan: Oh, that would be lovely. And it has reminded me that I need to go and post your sample ASAP. It’s ready, just needs an envelope and a stamp and it’s set. May 30, 2016 at 10:47am Reply

        • Hamamelis: Will do! I bought the travel spray on Ebay, very satisfactory. My Aylah had a coincedental meet up with Doortje (with my husband) and they got along very well. Hope your exams will go well! May 30, 2016 at 11:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I believe that you’re a big fan of Ellena’s work, so you will find this addition interesting. Lily of the valley is difficult to compose today, since so many essential materials are restricted, but he did a great job. Worth trying for this reason alone. May 30, 2016 at 1:16pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I think that what I admire the most is that he sticks to what he feels is his style. But yes, I like his work, for the most part.
        And it seems like I’m well on the way to be able to try this. May 30, 2016 at 3:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: He’s one of the few perfumers who have a luxury of cultivating their style. It’s impressive how coherent the Hermes collection feels. May 30, 2016 at 4:05pm Reply

  • cookie queen.: A stunning, rich green melon opening, and a quite intense lily touched by the warmth of the early summer sun. Beautiful. May 30, 2016 at 8:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Such a poetic description. 🙂 May 30, 2016 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Neva: Lovely review Victoria! I like JC Ellena’s work very much, especially Declaration and the Jardins series and I have high hopes for this one. I think it will always be compared to Diorissimo in all of its versions so let’s try it and see for ourselves.
    I hope the longevity is better than most of the perfumes from the Hermessence line. I must have a justification to buy such an expensive perfume in case I’ll fall in love with it 😉 May 30, 2016 at 9:20am Reply

    • Victoria: It lasts really well on me, better than most Hermessences, but of course, it’s important to try on skin and see how it fares. It has quite a good sillage, its delicate character notwithstanding. May 30, 2016 at 1:17pm Reply

  • Eva: How does this compare to Rosine’s limited edition Muguet? May 30, 2016 at 9:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried it, so perhaps someone who has can comment. May 30, 2016 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: I like it very much. It reminds me somewhat of Un Jardin Apres La Mousson, it must be the melon note. Un Jardin Apres la Mousson needs warm weather to flower on my skin, it is so lovely when I wear it in Spain but refuses to lift when I wear it here at home in the Lowlands.
    Muguet Porcelaine is Dutch weather proof, it soars. Lovely. May 30, 2016 at 9:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Dutch weather proof is such a great expression! Yes, it brightens things up considerably.

      Un Jardin Apres la Mousson received mixed reviews, but I liked it very much. It’s probably my most worn perfume from the Jardin series. May 30, 2016 at 1:19pm Reply

    • SilverMoon: Oh, very well said, Hamamelis. 😀 I think the same expression would suit England. I’m looking forward to testing this one, and your comment about it blooming even in our type of weather is very encouraging. June 4, 2016 at 7:20pm Reply

  • Erry: Beautiful review, as usual. How does this compare to Delrae’s Debut? It is the lotv fragrance that I, finally, can enjoy; I’m considering an FB. Most lotv fragrances are headache inducing; Diorissimo, crabtree and evelyn, Kate Spade Walk on Air, and many more. I’m curious about this one. May 30, 2016 at 10:46am Reply

    • Victoria: Debut is much greener and sharper. Muguet Porcelaine is more transparent, and it has a melon-like note that gives it freshness. Debut is a mix of stems, leaves and flowers. May 30, 2016 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Carolyn Middleton: I’m looking forward to trying this. My first ‘grown-up’ perfume, a small amount left in a bottle given to me by a much loved aunt, was Diorissimo in the mid 70s. Since then I have occasionally indulged in Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley, which is gorgeous. May 30, 2016 at 11:10am Reply

    • Victoria: Yves Rocher Lily of the Valley is also beautiful. Not expensive, but it’s very well done. May 30, 2016 at 1:21pm Reply

      • Carolyn Middleton: Oh my goodness, Victoria, I used to use Yves Rocher products many years ago, but never the fragrances. Thank you for the tip – it might be worth revisiting. The company used to have lots of shops dotted around the UK, but shut this side of the business many years ago, & I haven’t had a look at their website in years – it’s on my ‘to do’ list now, though, thanks to your response. May 31, 2016 at 5:48am Reply

        • Victoria: They also have great body creams and shower gels. Yves Rocher’s Lilas (lilac) and Mimosa were some of my favorite takes on these flowers. May 31, 2016 at 3:03pm Reply

          • Carolyn Middleton: Have had a look at their website, & some of the products I used to use are still available, including the Hamamelis skin care range which I remember well. Am killing time waiting for a 3:45am taxi to the airport, so not worth trying to sleep! Visiting friends in Texas for 2 weeks, & their local mall has a Nordstrom which wasn’t there on our last visit, so will be interested to see what’s available that hasn’t crossed the pond to the UK, or if it has, it’s only available in Harrods, Harvey Nicks, Selfridges or Liberty, all of which are 500 miles away from my own location in the north east of Scotland. May 31, 2016 at 5:53pm Reply

            • Victoria: Enjoy your time in Texas! I hope that there will be lots of blossoms in time for your visit. June 1, 2016 at 10:39am Reply

              • Carolyn Middleton: Thank you, Victoria. June 1, 2016 at 11:38pm Reply

  • Nick: Muguet Porcelaine, to me, is a meditation on the plant as a whole, and not just the scent of the flower. It reminds me of opening buds to wilting blooms with the debut of dazzling brightness, the indolic accent, and the lingering green tones of the foliage.

    If I had to choose two muguet-centred perfumes, it would be the vintage Diorissimo EdT for its spring time in the woodlands and Muguet Porcelaine for its life cycle of the lily of the valley. May 30, 2016 at 12:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: A perfect description, Nick! Yes, it’s more than just a flower.

      Another Muguet I used to love is from Caron. It was fresh and bright, but the drydown has a surprisingly sensual edge. May 30, 2016 at 1:22pm Reply

      • Nick: Why used to? Has it changed? May 30, 2016 at 4:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, it’s been reformulated a few times. I haven’t smelled the latest version, though. May 31, 2016 at 2:41pm Reply

  • zephyr: Oooh, several lotv fragrances for me to sample! Many years ago I had a generous sample of Diorissimo – probably from a department store – and I wore it but never bought a full bottle. Sad to hear but not surprised it’s not the same. I did really like it, because it so reminded me of the lotv my grandmother had growing in the shady areas of her yard. My parents inherited that house, and I loved everything in her garden.

    Fast forward forty-five years, and I have my own lotv swath growing around my house, enough to send beautiful wafts of fragrance up through our second-floor bedroom windows. They’re just about bloomed out for this season, though. I wouldn’t wear this scent that often so will probably just buy samples, but one of these lotv fragrances may be just what I’m looking for. I’d been yearning for something ethereal and spring-like. Maybe I should go with lotv, which I know I love. It’ll be an interesting search, finding the one I like best. May 30, 2016 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: The original Diorissimo was the closest thing to the real flowers, and I still remember smelling it as a child on my mom and wondering where she hid lily of the valley in the middle of winter. Muguet Porcelaine, as Nick put it, is a meditation on a flower, and while it captures the perfume of lily of the valley, it’s a fantasy. A beautiful fantasy. May 30, 2016 at 1:24pm Reply

      • zephyr: Lol, your mom wearing Diorissimo and confusing you, Victoria!

        I saw Nick’s comment after mine; you both really have me intrigued about MP now and I’ll be looking for it on my next mall/department store expedition, probably week after this coming one. Ah, the thrill of the hunt! May 30, 2016 at 1:36pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have searched for ages to find the version closest to what I remember my mom wearing. The newer Diorissimo is less like the lily of the valley, but for those who like florals, it’s still a good perfume. May 30, 2016 at 1:50pm Reply

        • Nick: My ideal muguet 🙂 At least, it is what I feel after having observed my lily of the valley. May 30, 2016 at 4:28pm Reply

    • Solanaceand: And you can make the fun exercise of comparing your samples with your plant when it blooms next year, like Roudnishka himself! May 30, 2016 at 5:36pm Reply

      • zephyr: Great idea; I’m going to do that! May 31, 2016 at 11:29am Reply

  • Alicia: Haven’t tried it yet, but as soon as I finish my bottle of VC&A Muguet Blanc, I shall. Victoria, when I read in your article that Rochas Femme has been discontinued my heart nearly stopped. Even Cresp reformulation? Cumin and all, I still enjoy the EdT. Femme was a glory among perfumes. Nothing can replace it. How very sad… May 30, 2016 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t realize that Femme was discontinued (or else, I forgot that it was!) It would be a big loss. May 30, 2016 at 1:08pm Reply

      • Alicia: Victoria, I must have misunderstood your article. What you say now cheers my heart. May 30, 2016 at 8:33pm Reply

  • Surbhi: Does it have strong melon and cucumber scent ? May 30, 2016 at 1:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Strong, no, not to my nose. Everything is well-balanced, and I don’t notice melon dominating (just a watery note that makes the floral accord lighter and airier). May 30, 2016 at 2:04pm Reply

  • Joy: I so enjoyed your description today, Victoria. Muguet is my most favorite fragrance. I loved Diorissimo in all of its forms, EDT, EDP, powder, and lotion. It will be interesting to assess this fragrance. I appreciate all of your other Muguet suggestion. They are such intriguing, tiny flowers.

    I too kneel in the garden to smell my small plantings of muguet. They are so tiny. I do think that they are best enjoyed in their setting with the scent of earth, moisture, leaves and flowers. May 30, 2016 at 2:27pm Reply

    • Steph: I splurged on Vetiver Tonka for my birthday, and I got to try Muguet Porcelaine. Lovely. I will miss Jean-Claude Ellena when he’s gone from the house. May 30, 2016 at 3:53pm Reply

      • Victoria: I don’t think that he’s planning to retire. At least, I hope not! May 30, 2016 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: We have a patch of them near the house. Right now they have already gone to seed, so I’m missing the lush perfume.

      Do you layer all of your various versions of Diorissimo? May 30, 2016 at 4:03pm Reply

    • Old Herbaceous: I adore muguet fragrances too! I wore Diorissimo in the 1980s and had not realized until recently that it had been reformulated. I was so appalled when the new EDP I sampled turned so nasty on my skin that I had to wash it off! But then I learned it was an entirely new formula and that the EDT is still somewhat true to the original. I’ll be posting about that on my own blog by the end of May … May 30, 2016 at 8:12pm Reply

      • Victoria: It’s closer to the original, but because of the various ingredient restrictions, it needed to be changed. May 31, 2016 at 2:47pm Reply

  • Joy: Yes, I do layer and feel as if I am floating on a cloud of muguet. It also lingers on my clothing so that I can smell it the next morning or even as I remove it from the laundry basket to the washer. Never enough!! May 30, 2016 at 4:10pm Reply

    • Old Herbaceous: Joy, what do you layer to get your Diorissimo “fix”? I have a bottle of vintage Diorissimo and the new Diorissimo EDT, as well as several other “muguet” fragrances. I love lily of the valley in almost all forms, but especially the real flowers as I like to garden. May 30, 2016 at 8:15pm Reply

      • Joy: I also have a bottle of vintage Diorissimo, but sadly not much remains in the bottle. I also have a small amount of the Diorissimo bath powder. I also used the body lotion, but that is completely gone. It was a great anchor for the fragrance. I still keep the bottle just to get a sniff of it now and then. I should really move on, and in many ways I have, but some of the fragrances from the 70’s, 80’s were such works of art.

        I love to garden and have two small patches where I am trying to establish colonies of muguet. The slugs seem to enjoy them quite a bit, though.
        I think that I will try a bottle of the new Diorissimo EDT. I don’t find it in department stores anymore, co will have to go to the Dior website. May 30, 2016 at 8:44pm Reply

        • Old Herbaceous: You may also find it online; for instance, I got mine from target.com and was able to use a coupon Target had emailed me, to bring down the price. Overstock.com sometimes has it too. Good luck! I too am trying to establish my own lily of the valley patches; they don’t thrive as well in the hotter climate where I live, but I was encouraged by finding some this spring in an area where I thought they had died out. May 31, 2016 at 1:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: A cloud of muguet sounds so wonderful! May 31, 2016 at 2:40pm Reply

  • Old Herbaceous: I went on a a muguet binge this month, using the month of May to explore alternatives to the reformulated Diorissimo, as I wore the earlier version throughout the 1980s and I really dislike the current EDP (I prefer the current eau de toilette). I adore Muguet Porcelaine! I don’t smell melon or cucumber, although I’ve definitely picked up melon in other Ellena scents; I love the Jardin series. May 30, 2016 at 7:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: The EDP version of Diorissimo is Francois Demachy’s perfume, and it’s not the Roudnitska formula at all. So, the EDT and the parfum are closer to the original, but of course, they too have been reformulated. May 31, 2016 at 2:46pm Reply

  • spe: This is definitely not the LOV for me. I got the melon note and that made it cloying, unfortunately. My favorite Ellena perfume is First (my Mom’s signature), but I also wear Kelly Caleche.
    Thank you so much for the review. It’s fascinating to read how others are experiencing this scent. May 31, 2016 at 12:53am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for adding your impressions!
      By the way, did you try Delrae’s Debut? May 31, 2016 at 3:02pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: I tried Muguet Porcelaine today, and although I am not a fan of JcEllena, I like it. The melon note is fresh and, as Victoria said, watery. The perfume is refined and elegant and not as subtle as I feared (Ellena at his best is for me: First and Voyage d’Hermès). On my other wrist I had Diorissimo (edt. from the 90ths) and that remains my favourite. More ”damp earth” to my nose. But, surprise, surprise! the finish of Diorissimo is (on my skin) delicately fresh, and Muguet Porcelaine has (very, very subtle) a little note of decay, the note I smell also in my vintage Joy and pleases me so much. It makes a perfume more interesting.
    If it was not so expensive, I would buy Muguet Porcelaine. May 31, 2016 at 11:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your thoughts. I also didn’t find it as evanescent as other Ellena’s perfumes, especially in the Hermessence line. May 31, 2016 at 3:07pm Reply

  • PrincessTonk: I love Diorissimo and have never tried the vintage. The current version I have is in a white box with pink name area. I, like Hamamelis, bought the Muguet Porcelaine on eBay and I enjoy it completely. It is more airy but, as you say, Victoria, it sticks around in a beautiful way. While I generally dislike cucumber or melon, I did not have any aversion to its inclusion in the MP blend, nor did the watery aspect seem “aquatic”! A winner for me, especially in the 15ml size. May 31, 2016 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Aurora: You make Muguet Porcelaine sound very tempting, Victoria, in a superb article where you sum up JCE so very well, I find, and I’m so glad to learn he won’t be leaving Hermes. His perfumes last on my skin and the one I wear most often is Voyage. Oh, and I keep a big bottle of Rumba to use when I’m in the mood for a big perfume. He is a master, as you say it shows by the consistency in his work, he has a signature style. May 31, 2016 at 2:55pm Reply

  • She-ra: Long time lurker, first time poster. 😉

    Victoria, your pieces are so always so beautifully written and the write-up on Muguet Porcelaine was no exception.

    I love it and find it has more tenacity than probably the majority of the Hermessences.

    I have been tempted to seek out vintage Diorissimo and debate if I should go for the parfum/extrait or EDT. Please comment if anyone thinks one is better than the other. June 1, 2016 at 1:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much and welcome to Bois de Jasmin!

      If you can afford it, I definitely recommend the extrait de parfum version of Diorissimo. It’s richer and fuller than the EDT and it has more nuances. The EDT might have more sillage (diffusion), but I love that the parfum wears close to the skin and creates an intimate aura. June 1, 2016 at 10:41am Reply

  • Jeanne: I loved Muguet Des Bois by Coty when I was in high school. It was discontinued in the mid ’90’s, and I’ve often looked for a good lily of the valley fragrance since I used the last drops
    of Muguet Des Bois years ago. I’m going to give this a try. Thanks for the review! June 1, 2016 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Hope that you can compare it to the other options around and find your ideal muguet. June 1, 2016 at 10:46am Reply

  • SilverMoon: I love LotV perfumes. Diorissimo was my first perfume purchase (back in the 1980s). Later I added Obsession, which smelled very powdery and soft on me.
    Years later when I wanted to buy another Diorissimo bottle, I am glad I tested it to remind myself of how it smelled before buying. I was so disappointed and didn’t purchase. It smelled so different from my memory, so was really releaved to later learn it had been reformulated (and not that my taste had changed so much).

    I am now curious to try MP – sounds pretty, even if different. I like Nick’s description of the life cycle of the flower. June 1, 2016 at 7:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: The new Diorissimo has a faint scent of warm plastic that I can’t shake off, especially in the EDP. It eventually fades, but it really bothers me. June 2, 2016 at 6:49am Reply

      • SilverMoon: Victoria, I just read your FT article Can you bottle Bollywood? it was wonderfully written and brought back memories of the crazy fantasy of Hindi films. Loved the way you tried to match some of the great ones with perfumes. The Nahema bit was just so evocative (especially since it is one of my favourites). June 4, 2016 at 8:39am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you. I’m glad that you liked it. It’s fun to think of possible pairings! June 7, 2016 at 9:47am Reply

  • Heather H: I just tried it Victoria. It’s beautiful! June 17, 2016 at 4:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you liked it! June 23, 2016 at 11:43am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: wow, delighted to hear that Jean-Claude Ellena is doing his version of Lily of the Valley. It would be interesting to make comparisons to vintage Diorissimo. I’ll have to sniff this next time when I get my top up of Osmanthus Yunnan. September 16, 2016 at 5:36am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s different enough from Diorissimo, of course, but you might recognize the same touch. September 16, 2016 at 7:20am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Thank you for the reply Victoria, I can’t wait to try this. You reviews are really helpful. Have a nice day. September 16, 2016 at 7:25am Reply

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