Many great perfumers have attempted to re-create the scent of Lily of the Valley, a modest looking white flower that in fact does not belong to the lily family at all. Unlike the showy flowers of the true lily, Lily of the Valley bows to her own green leaves with its little bells of white, as if to conceal itself from sight even further.
For those looking for a Lily of the Valley perfume, I will share that my search came to end an before it even began – one of the first perfumes I’ve ever worn is Diorissimo by Edmond Roudnitska. I did not know what lily of the valley is or how it smells, but this perfume captured my heart on first sniff. In my mind, there is yet a lily of the valley perfume that comes even close to it’s precise and haunting beauty. Like the gowns from the couturier it was created for, its strict structure creates an illusion of freedom and eternity.
But just because I have already found a Lily of the Valley to my heart’s desire does not stop me from curiously trying other attempts, the latest one being Urban Lily by Strange Invisible perfumes. The perfumer here had the added challenge of not being able to use any of the essential molecules for replicating this unique scent for replicating this unique scent. Instead, perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis uses the sharp greenness of galbanum and the raw-earthy carrot-seed & iris notes to create that crystal-clear charm of the lily bells, and underlines it with sultry notes of narcissus, jasmine and vegetal musk. I think I'm also noticing a touch of lotus... It is neither as accurate nor as clean as most lily of the valley fragrances tend to be, but I find it intriguing, nevertheless. And I like it's abstract and less than straightforward botanical feel.