Every year the French celebrate the 1st of May by exchanging gifts of lily of the valley or muguet posies. The Paris sidewalks mushroom with lily of the valley vendors exhibiting their wares in an heteroclite fashion ranging from informal plastic buckets probably used for more menial tasks the rest of the year to cellophane-wrapped bouquets in earthenware pots put together to impress le chaland. This springtime landmark has also given rise to the tradition at the house of Guerlain of releasing a yearly muguet perfume which is sold for a limited time only....
Yesterday a reader asked me whether the Guerlain exclusive was going to be available this year as she had noticed that no news were circulating about it. And the answer is "no, but."
While muguet is not dependent upon harvests for its production, it does need perfumery aromachemicals which have been lately restricted by the industry, and especially hydroxycitronellal. This is not necessarily the reason for Guerlain though. The impact for instance was felt in the latest iteration of Diorissimo Eau de Toilette and it was acknowledged by Dior to TSS last year (more about today's Diorissimos, in the plural, later on.)
Guerlain have thus confirmed that there will be no Muguet perfume in their boutiques in 2010. They are taking a year off producing it but it will be released again in 2011, fear not fans. This applies not only to the US market but the French one as well.
Who knows, there might be an improved formulation in the future?
Review of the 2009 edition of Muguet
Photo credit: Le muguet du métro by Robert Doisneau, 1953