Slightly sweet and softly floral, lily of the valley has been a mainstay fragrance note for decades. A favorite scent of Christian Dior, it gained popularity in the 1950s thanks to the house’s Diorissimo scent. Today, notes of the flower can still be detected in a number of Dior’s most-loved fragrances (some of which are among the most popular perfumes of all time).
Not to be confused with the standard lily, it grows in the springtime in white bell-shaped buds along on a long, green stalk. “Lily of the valley, or muguet in French, has a lilting, sweet scent imbued with dew that is alternately sweet and green,” explains Steve Mormoris, CEO and founder of Scent Beauty.“It has a strong association with the emergence of spring and with new beginnings. It is remarkably feminine in character and has an enduring classicism without being old-fashioned.” (Fun fact: Kate Middleton had lily of the valley in her wedding bouquet for her April 2011 wedding to Prince William.)
Often found as a base note in floral fragrances, lily of the valley plays well with woody notes like sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver as well as green notes such as herbs and foliage. According to Mormoris, these pairings “accentuate its sweetness without being cloying.”
Like many trends first set by Christian Dior, the floral scent’s popularity endures to this day. “[Lily of the valley] evokes a day of simple pleasure, much like the first warm spring day,” says Mormoris. Intrigued? We don’t blame you. Here, we searched high and low for 22 of the best lily of the valley fragrances to help you find your perfect scent for this season and beyond.
Kate Middleton with her lily of valley wedding bouquet, April 2011.
This scent starts out fruity—with notes of blackberry and cassis—and opens into a sweet, floral base. Not only that, but it has a higher concentration of fragrance oils than most traditional perfumes to help it last longer.