Image - from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lily-of-the-valley)
May, the last month of spring, has left and I’ve realized that I couldn’t smell the fresh lilies-of-the-valleys this year. Pity… as the fresh flower is always the best reference odour. So, what could be another reference odour for Muguet?
In many cases essential oils of the plant smell more or less similar to the plant itself. Is there lily-of-the-valley essential oil available? Unfortunately there is not. Those flowers are too fragile and contain very small percentage of essential oil, so it’s impossible to yield it by mean of distillation. But lily-of-the-valley absolute was commercially available. It was produced in small quantities, but on regular bases. Robertret was one of the firm producing the best lily-of-the-valley absolute. In Yearb. Pharm. from 1902 was even mentioned that Haensel distilled some pleasantly smelling essential oil from the leaves of this plant. The yield was only 0.058%, but he did it. Although lily-of-the-valley absolute posses a pleasant smell, it doesn’t reproduce accurately the smell of the fresh flower and is not really interesting for perfumers. So, it can’t compete with cheaper synthetic materials. Thus, there is no reference for muguet odour among naturals.
So, it looks like I better go and search among synthetic materials and floral bases. Hydroxycitronellal, Lyral, Lilial and Cyclamen aldehyde are the most common Muguet compounds. And hydroxycitronellal is often mentioned as an aromachemical that accurately reproduces the smell of the real flower. Could it be the reference muguet or should I look further among more complex accords and bases?
Well, Osmoz.com has made a very pleasant surprise to all perfumery addicted and fragrant junkies. Firmenich, the firm behind Osmoz has created three sets of notes and accords used in perfumery. Firmenich is famous by the quality of its raw materials and you can expect their nice notes and accords to be the good reference points. As those accords are made for educational purposes and are not supposed to be applied on skin, there is no need to follow IFRA recommendations and you can expect high quality accords not restricted by safety concerns.
The fourth bottle of their Original Flowers set contains Lily-of-the-valley accord (based on restricted, but beautiful hydroxycitronellal). I think this one will become my reference Muguet till next May when I hope to be able to smell the fresh flowers. It’s tender and soft, but very fragrant Muguet combining the fruity jasmine notes with freshness and fruitiness of rose, some wetness, green aspects and some very small nuances of spicy and narcotic notes. It recalls a carpet of fresh flowers in a shadow of the trees of a leafy forest. A spot of refreshing coolness on a hot summer day. Fresh green leaves. Softness. Semi-transperency. White and bluish white colour. Round forms. Dew drops. Very natural Lily-of-the-valley scent. So, let it be my reference Muguet.