This spring 2012, Annick Goutal relaunched a quatuor of soliflores including Le Muguet (Lily of the Valley) offering a fresh twist on a seemingly simple, old-fashioned single-note genre most notoriously associated with the construction of individual feminine identities during the Belle epoque. It is however perhaps becoming less and less old-style and more and more of a renewed contemporary option since soliflores are not exactly the exotic creatures they once used to be in the recent period...
Initially introduced in 2001 Le Muguet was discontinued. Re-appearing in 2012, it is bound to have been altered to comply with new industry regulations (see linked article below).
Dior Parfums officially acknowledged to the blog as early as 2009 that the classic Diorissimo had to be reformulated due to such strictures. Perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï voiced discontent at these restrictions and created her personal lily-of-the-valley manifesto Weekend à Deauville in 2011 to creatively overcome constraints.
Within the historical and cultural context of French culture where the scent of muguet plays a ritualistic seasonal role on May the first, the pill is even harder to swallow by the collective throat. Muguet is dead, long live muguet is the new motto.
Le Muguet by Annick Goutal would have been co-created by Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen. You recognize at once with the opening sequence, this predilection for forceful, brash top notes which was apparent in Un Matin d'Orage, an impression which we liked to describe as that of an "elemental gardenia". Here, the noses multiplied tenfold the strength of the green leaf nuance found in a bouquet of lily of the valley. When you pay attention to that scent, you can be surprised by the slight nuance of aggressivity projected by the natural leaves. In Le Muguet, this was amplified with a mustardy, horseradish-like facet which is present in the original source of inspiration, but not quite to that effect of stylization. In Weekend à Deauville, this horseradish nuance is also present. In Le Muguet, it goes in the direction of green leaves as condiment like shiso, which is a note found in Un Matin d'Orage.
The soliflore next mellows down to the joyous and clear intonations of the floral facet of May Lily. Nothing surprising here, except that yes, it does smell of lily of the valley in case you were wondering. The scent is lightly fruity, natural-feeling. There is a hint of gardenia.
The next important stage is the tenderness of the white vanilla which cushions the muguet accord.
The overall effect is that of a light, fresh, elegant lily of the valley soliflore with an understated warm base, which is easy to wear past the more rock 'n roll top notes. There is very little muskiness. A faint edge of mustard and pepper underlines the composition but without any showiness.
A note on the packaging: the spray system could be improved as it is a bit hard to trigger and sprays on too much at once, even after repeated uses.
Why would you elect to wear this lily of the valley soliflore rather than another one would be, to my mind, for its BCBG (Bon Chic Bon Genre) charm. It thrives on good taste. Yes, Isabelle Doyen and Camille Doyen may be secretly wanting to give a kick in the established order - Camille Goutal insisted on pop colors to enliven the soliflore concept - but meanwhile, the perfume as a whole is impeccably dressed and coiffed, very much in the style of the house founder, Annick Goutal. It is never obtrusive; it does not put a foot wrong, except in the beginning when it gets a bit of Woodstock mud on its shoes.