Muguet for May Day

Wow 1st of May already!

A very significant day to start my fragrance ingredients series with Lily-of-the-Valley or Muguet (pronounced moo-gay) as it’s known in perfumery. The French tradition of giving lily-of-the-valley flowers on May Day is supposed to have begun on May 1st, 1561, when King Charles IX of France was presented with a bunch of lily-of-the-valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year. History does not record who it was that presented the king with this perfumed gift, but he took a shine to this idea and began the custom of presenting lily-of-the-valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1st. 

Muguet is an important perfume note and is the name used for lily-of-the-valley. There is no natural muguet extract so all fragrances of this type will contain some synthetic materials.  The main muguet ingredient, hydroxycitronellal which was relied upon for many years is now restricted to a maximum of 5% due its potentially sensitising effect. Other muguet type replacements are Lyral, Lilial and Dupical which are used in combination with other materials.

As well as being used as a part of many floral fragrances Muguet is also a beautiful if somewhat old fashioned fragrance on it’s own.

Muguet Fragrances To Try:

Penhaligons – Lily-Of-The-Valley

Dior – Diorissimo

or if money is no object then you may want to try Guerlain’s annual limited edition lily-of-the-valley fragrance – Muguet (£370 for 75ml EDT), , which has been a tradition in the perfume house for the past nine years.

A simple muguet note to try:

Hydroxycitronellal   – 11.5 parts
Phenyl Ethyl Alcohol – 3 parts
Cis 3 Hexenol (10% in dpg) – 1 part
Linalool -4 parts
Civet (10% in dpg) – 0.5 parts

Want to learn more? Why not come to a live perfumery class or study at home with my online perfumery course

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