lily of the valley: 4 posts

Hermes Muguet Porcelaine : Perfume Review


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 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.

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Lily of the Valley Potpourri

A couple of years ago my aunt gave me a book called L’Art de Simplicité (The Art of Simplicity) that promised to declutter my life. After the first five pages, I felt like a failure. My bedroom is nothing like a room at a Zen monastery, my kitchen resembles a spice aisle at Kalustyan’s, and my living room with its overspilling bookshelves is more reminiscent of a public library during children’s hour than a space where two adults live.

lily of the valley potpourri

After reading much sensible advice on paring down and retaining only the essentials, I put L’Art de Simplicité down in my ziggurat of other books and haven’t picked it up since. You know what? I like having a bit of chaos in my life. It doesn’t stress me out that my perfume samples aren’t sorted alphabetically or that I have far too many bottles of flavored vinegar. What are the essentials anyway? What if I want to make salad with blackcurrant and rose vinegar today and try grilled chicken marinated in the juniper variety. I also can’t decide whether I want to wear a cologne or a voluptuous rose, so all options are around.

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Guerlain Muguet : New Perfume

Every year since 2006, Guerlain has been reissuing its limited edition Muguet perfume for the May 1st holiday. In France, May Day is associated with lily of the valley (muguet in French), a symbol of purity and a reminder of spring. The fragrance was originally created by Jacques Guerlain in 1908, although the current formula has been reinterpreted by Jean-Paul Guerlain and Thierry Wasser and features green notes, lily of the valley, lilac, jasmine, and rose.


This year’s limited edition (only 1 872 numbered pieces will be made) is a bee bottle encased in an embossed white porcelain holder. The mold is created by the Parisian ceramic artist and painter Brigitte de Bazelaire, and it features a lily of the valley design. explains how the bottle is made and shows photos of the process.

Muguet will become available for sale starting May 1st at Guerlain boutiques and retail points. 125ml, 400 euros.

Via Guerlain boutique,

Tocca Liliana : New Fragrance

For spring, Tocca is inspired by lily of the valley. The newest fragrance Liliana is a tribute to this delicate spring flower. Liliana includes notes of Italian bergamot, neroli, watery peach, lily of the valley, gardenia, white peony, sandalwood, musk, benzoin, and patchouli.


“A lush, green, rolling lawn is the setting for a roaring 20s party in full swing. Liliana conjures a reveler in the bloom of youth dancing the Charleston amidst flowing bottles of champagne and a spirited jazz band. The lowering sun casts a golden sparkle as an intoxicating bouquet of muguet, gardenia and peony wafts from the gardens, filling the night with joie de vivre.”

Tocca Liliana Eau de Parfum will be available at Sephora, Anthropologie and Barney’s stores, and online at,,, and beginning March 2013. 50ml/$68 Via press release

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