May Day Muguet with DSH Perfumes

 

Oh how I adore lily of the valley! Everything about this little gem of a flower warms my heart from its precariously slim stem that secures its white blossoming bells, to its heavenly scent that beckons you to get low to the ground in order to sniff its fragrance. And while there’s nothing like experiencing a flower’s scent in one’s own garden, I have been on the hunt for a muguet perfume that fills me with a similar warmth.

Of course there are many, many conventional muguets available that provide lovely renditions of this flower. Caron’s Muguet du Bonheur, Dior’s Diorissimo, and Guerlain Muguet come to mind, but my penchant for all natural perfumes leaves me with very few options since this flower’s essence is very difficult to obtain, and when it is successfully extracted it is highly volatile making it near impossible to use in perfume.

Knowing this, I figured it would take a substantial amount of time and effort to create an all natural muguet perfume, so I was reluctant to “commission” one for a May Day blogging event. When I finally mustered up the nerve to ask Dawn Spencer Hurwitz if she would be interested in participating in such an event, I was elated when she said yes. Then, a few months later I was floored when she informed me that she was creating not one but two muguet fragrances as well as original artwork inspired by her process.

Dawn’s inspiration for Muguet de Mai and Muguet Cologne was the impressionistic vision of lilies of the valley blooming in a dewy garden, bathing in May’s sunlight and being refreshed by rich damp soil. Let me say that I am a huge DSH Perfumes fan. I have so many loves from this line and knew that Dawn would create something really wonderful for May Day. But I was truly astonished at how brilliantly she composed her muguets as they are closer to the real thing than any other muguet perfume I have experienced.

In her creation of Muguet de Mai specifically, she wanted to pay homage to the classics like Diorissimo and Muguet des Bois by Coty. Not only has she paid them sufficient homage, she has outdone them in her approximation of lily of the valley and with only botanicals as her palette. DSH’s Muguet de Mai is lush and vibrantly green with an earth-toned muskiness that grounds its opulent floral notes. Dawn’s own botanical accords of freesia, hyacinth, cyclamen and lilac fuse together seamlessly to bring forth a muguet likeness. Bergamot, lemon, and neroli provide the opening veil of citrus that one finds in fresh lily of the valley which then moves into the richly floral heart of the aforementioned accords as well as sambac jasmine, rose otto and ylang ylang. A touch of honey from linden and beeswax gives it warmth and sweetness while aged East Indian sandalwood, frankincense and benzoin allow the perfume to rest on a vintage foundation.

There are moments when I can actually smell these essences as individual notes, but they’re fleeting, as it should be. The experience of Muguet de Mai is not about singular characteristics, but that of a seamless and harmonious blend of complex botanical accords and notes that is redolent of a garden chock full of lillies of the valley. Muguet Cologne achieves this same effect, but with an even stronger nod to the earth’s rich soil and to the woods that might surround this garden.

Muguet Cologne shares many notes with Muguet de Mai like galbanum, and violet leaf, but there are distinct differences between them. Muguet Cologne is less floral and more earthy. A couple of the floral accords are replaced by coriander, vetiver, patchouli and oakmoss which provide men the opportunity to enjoy a muguet fragrance. Having said that, this is not overtly masculine and women will certainly savor its woody-ambery character.

I am really smitten with Muguet Cologne‘s vetiver beginning. It’s got a green and nutty bite that I so enjoy from vetiver. It offers a vibrant opening which leads right into its core of muguet’s blossoming bells. Its heart doesn’t have the same  floral intensity of Muguet de Mai, though. It’s more of a muguet suggestion, like woodland air wafting the scent of the flowers.

While I am crazy for Muguet Cologne‘s topnotes, it’s the drydown that really has me under its spell. The patchouli and oakmoss are blended to perfection and compliment each other so well. Both are known to be strong and at times overbearing, but this diad melds the smoky green-musk of oakmoss and the rich sweet/spicy balsamic quality of patchouli into an alluring blend that compliments the floral muguet backdrop.

If it’s not completely apparent by now, yes, I am totally in love with both of these fragrances and give them my highest recommendation. The thing is though, they are extremely limited edition, (Muguet Cologne is now permanent) so be quick on your feet if you want some. The pricing and availability information is available now on the DSH Perfumes website.

I want to personally thank Dawn for her willingness to create these perfumes for this blogging event. I am humbled and completely blown away by what she has created. I also want to thank all of the participating bloggers (listed below) and hope you all will take the time to read their May Day Muguet thoughts.

DSH Notebook (This is Dawn’s blog and you will find all of her related artwork and even more information there regarding her creative process)

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For May Day, Strange Invisible Perfumes Urban Lily

Lily of the valley is such a precious flower. The way the tiny blossoms hang precariously from their slim stems makes my heart ache just a little. And their glorious scent is beyond captivating, I adore it. A neighbor has lily of the valley in her garden, and I point them out every spring to my boys, hoping they remember to bring a muguet-nosegay to their “someone special” when they grow up.


I wish we celebrated May Day with the floral gusto of the French. I read more about the history of this holiday and the French traditions around it at the blog Everything French Gardening. Give it a read if you are interested. I found it fascinating, and it inspired me to bust out the one muguet inspired, all natural perfume I have, Strange Invisible Perfumes Urban Lily.

There’s a reason I try my best not to read other blogposts on perfumes before I write about them; the power of suggestion. Over at Perfume Smellin Things, Tom reviewed Urban Lily and wrote that it reminded him of cut grass, earth and the scent of lily with a “heaping helping of their (SIPs) gorgeous Musc Botanique.” In the comments of Tom’s review, Scentscelf suggested she might layer Gap Grass and Diorissimo to approximate Urban Lily. March at Perfume Posse expressed her experience of Urban Lily’s evolution as a “honey-hay-beeswax smell with a hint of something peat/leather like narcissus.”


I don’t know if I am easily swayed or if I happened to have the same experience as my fellow bloggers, but I agree with it all! Tom is so right about the fresh cut grass and similar base of Musc Botanique. There’s a vegetal muskiness to Urban Lily that cannot be denied, and while it’s different from Gap Grass, the two perfumes have a common tone. March’s description resonates with me a great deal, as I too find a honeyed-haylike quality in Urban Lily. And yes, a leathery narcissus as well! Thank you March, for nailing that one.


My experience of Urban Lily also includes vetiver, a damp soil-laden vetiver, which unfolds on my skin. The dark richness of vetiver mingles enticingly with the muguet/narcissus springtime blossoms as well as the bright green musk. All of this might sound like a hot mess to some, and it might have been for me if the vetiver didn’t ground Urban Lily so completely.


I am in San Francisco this weekend, wearing Urban Lily on this beautiful day. I’m going to enjoy its scent while I do yoga with my sister and then we’re off to her baby shower at her favorite tea house. I’m hoping to find some lily of the valley along the way.


Happy May Day to you all. I sincerely hope you get to delight in lily of the valley’s beauty today.

Posted by ~Trish

Lilies of the Valley by dsbrennan at etsy.

Disclosure: The sample of Urban Lily is from my own collection. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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