Lily of the Valley by Penhaligon’s

Hey Posse Peeps! There’s been a lot of talk of thunking lately around on APJ. I’m not sure where it originated but it’s such a brilliant idea. Thunk is the sound an empty vial, decant or bottle makes when it hits the bin. Brilliant eh? So on my 2019 journey to thunk you’ll be coming along with me on rides of fragrance that I have emptied the whole vial or spritzed the whole decant onto myself for one glorious ride. Quite a few of these I’ve tried before and so the duplicate has sat here in my collection unloved and untouched since it arrived. Time to get some gone I reckon. Today I’m thunking my vial of Lily of the Valley, a gift from my Secret Santa this year.

Lily of the Valley by Penhaligon’s

Lily of the Valley by Penhaligon's

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Amalfi lemon, geranium
Heart: Lily-of-the-valley, rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine
Base: Sandalwood, oakmoss

Michael Pickthall the nose seems to have only ever done 4 fragrances. All of them were for Penhaligon’s. The only one I spent any time with was Bluebell because it was one of Princess Diana’s fragrances. So I’m interested to smell their version of lily of the Valley.

I am suitably doused.

Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley is a softer, prettier, more field like version of the old trope. It is far prettier than Diorissimo, and much more wearable. Melon, grass, jasmine and slightly sharp geranium create a wonderful zingy scent that is utterly perfect for a muggy, hot Sydney summer night.

The fireworks are brief and fun but what’s left is a soft focus, slightly breathy fragrance that is quite a lot like my minds remembrance of real life Lily of the Valley, smelled on May Day in Paris in 2018. Later it starts to smell a bit like functional fragrance, clothes wash softener or the like. Not bad, just a bit boring. Maybe because the functional fragrance world has lifted its game?

Surrender To Chance has samples from $4/ml
March also likes Penhaligon’s

Are you a Lily of the Valley fan? Have you tried the Penhaligon’s one?
Portia xx




Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies

  • Kat says:

    I love Lily of the Valley, and I’ve spent some time this winter narrowing down my favorite LoV perfume.

    Diorissimo is nice but has a musky note that is sometimes a bit too much.

    Jessica McClintock’s signature scent is a lovely jasmine/LoV scent that is heady and floral without being sweet or cloying. Possibly my favorite.

    Yves Rocher makes a very nice (and very affordable!) LoV EDT. It’s delicate, feminine and sweet, with a touch of lemon. It’s an office-friendly scent, and a good place to start for anyone who wants to see if they like LoV. It’s currently 50% off at – 20 ml for $6.40, 100 ml for $15 (no affiliation, I have just been loving their latest sale).

  • PerfumeClick says:

    I’d definitely try all the versions of this fragrance after getting to know princess Diana had one of the version in her fragrance collection.

  • Libby says:

    I love lily of the valley , mostly when it is in bloom in my yard and I can bring it inside. This sounds lovely with those other notes, I might need to get a sample, and I love surrender to chance, I have had such good scents from them!

    • Portia says:

      Hey Libby,
      YAY! How divine to have it in your yard. Lucky you.
      Surrender To Chance keep my addiction running smoothly too.
      Portia xx

  • The only lily of the valley I wore was Diorissimo back in the Stone Age. I always found it rather precious on me. Never got anything breathy or animalic that I can recall.
    I do love it in nature, however. I have a literal carpet of it planted under a large tree in my garden. It smells gorgeous when it’s all in bloom.

  • Tara C says:

    Not a huge lotv fan, although I do like Guerlain Muguet.

  • Maya says:

    I love lily-of-the-valley. They prefer growing in shady, even dark areas, and if there is a slight breeze, you can often sniff them before you find them. The truest lily-of-the-valley perfume for me has been vintage Diorissimo and a close second is Oriza L. Legrand Muguet Fleuri. The Oriza is somehow stronger and sharper around the edges. I think finding good lily-of-the-valley perfumes is harder than with any other floral.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Maya,
      The vintage Diorissimo is a sexy beast, loads of animal and breath. I didn’t really smell that in the Lily of the Valley last year. I wonder if they smell different grown in the ground instead of those little pots?
      Oriza Legrand are well under appreciated. I rate them so high.
      Portia xx

      • Maya says:

        I don’t know about pots vs ground but I have noticed that the ones growing in sunnier areas have less fragrance than the ones in the shade. Lily of the valley in nature are not indolic but they are potent. After the opening, vintage Diorissimo is basically a beautiful soliflore on me. “Sexy beast” is not so bad either though. I agree about Oriza. They make some lovely perfumes and soaps too, including Muguet Fleuri.

  • Gina Tabasso says:

    I love LOTV, love Penhaligon’s and have the vintage of this, which is much more chypre and well, vintage.

    • Portia says:

      Ahhhh, that’s so interesting Gina. I can imagine it with a mossy and slightly darker dry down. It must be exquisite? This one is very bright and refreshing, maybe a lot more modern than yours?
      Portia xx

  • Kathleen says:

    Besides Diorissimo, and Guerlain’s annual Muguet release which I’ve sniffed a few of, I’m not that familiar with Lily of the valley in fragrance. Penhaligon’s sounds lovely for spring/summer.
    I’m on board with thunking; I appreciate the inspiration to use more of my samples and bottles.

    • Portia says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley is the most accessible LotV I’ve ever smelled. Seriously thinking about a purchase here.
      Thunking is a big deal, I’m so excited it’s becoming a thing.
      Portia x

  • Brigitte says:

    Australian Perfume Junkies where Portia hosts and writes along with many other amazing contributors. Come on over and join the fun….there are Scent of the day posts, New Sniffs, Scent Diary, perfume reviews and lots of draws. And because we are literally from all over the world there’s always someone to chat with.

  • Queen Cupcake says:


    My favorite lily of the valley is the flower, which I look forward to every Spring. Thunking… yes, I will be doing that in 2019! Must try the Penhaligon and also Heaven by the Gap…

    • Portia says:

      Hi Queen Cupcake,
      APJ is Australian Perfume Junkies. My blog with a bunch of other scent crazed frag heads.
      I hadn’t smelled Lily of the Valley more than three times in my life, except in bathroom spray. till I started travelling. It’s not such a big thing here in Sydney. I love it madly now though.
      Enjoy sampling.
      Portia xx

  • matty says:

    I can’t say I’ve taken much notice of LIly Of The Valley.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Matty,
      It’s an unusual flower in fragrance and suffered for many years as a functional fragrance in bathrooms. We had to wait for those memories to subside before it became a thing again.
      Portia xx

  • Brigitte says:

    I believe that I was the one who started the “thunking” craze on APJ 😉 like you and shiva-woman I want to scale down my collection and also use things up before they evaporate. That being said, I have thunked quite a few decants and samples in 2018 as well as upwards of 12 or more full bottles. I am going to continue in 2019.

    and yes, I do very much like lily of the valley…while not a soliflore, Heaven by the Gap is my favorite.

    • Portia says:

      It was TOTALLY you Brigitte,
      Did it come from somewhere else or did you make it up?
      Portia xx

      • Brigitte says:

        I can’t say I remember who coined the phrase but somehow it got attached to my name because I seem to be doing the most thunking amongst our perfume peeps!

  • RoseMacaroon says:

    I do love lily of the valley, but can’t usually identify it in a perfume — the big exception being Penhaligon’s, which I do really enjoy. I’ll have to get a decant for when warmer weather comes. Thanks for the reminder, Portia! XO

  • Shiva-woman says:

    Not a lily of the valley fan, but “thunking” without knowing the word before today has been on my mind. I think after many of us have collected, and sniffed, and decanted, etc. we just want to scale down a bit. Sometimes I want fewer choices and more true loves, fewer try-outs, and more appreciation for what I have and real wear time without my perfume-analyzing mind always on. So here’s to thunking!