Spring has Sprung

Well, I hope everyone had a very pleasant Mother’s Day. I sent out greetings to my friends who are moms and enjoyed seeing pictures of the Northern Lights, which apparently could be seen as far south as southern California. Unfortunately in order to see them you would have had to navigate a moderately treacherous mountain highway north of the city to escape the “light pollution” the kept is from being visible from, say, my front yard. Since there was Action McNews on the scene gleefully stating that the roads were jammed and just ripe for a catastrophic accident, I stayed in, ordered a pizza and watched “Mildred Pierce.”

Which just reminded me: a good friend of mine was for a year or so a director at one of the art-house cinemas here in LA and had the idea that for Mother’s Day they would have a special screening of MP with Joan Crawford. Her direct boss said something like “you know it’s only going to be you and your little friend in the place, but whatever..”

It was sold out. Two shows. Because who would have predicted that in West Hollywood? He didn’t last long as head of the place..

In any case, we are firmly into spring here in LA. Our last (unexpected) rain was overnight last Saturday and now we are having cool nights and warm days. Spring in California is lovely (most times are) but I do miss the Lily of the Valley that we would get in New England. I think I have often written that in our neighborhood it would pop up in patches of grass between houses and it was an unspoken rule that one mowed around them- you didn’t pick them and you certainly didn’t mow over them. (edit) I see that Cinnamon is also writing about LotV this week. No, we didn’t plan ahead, I’m riding her coattails and claiming great minds thinking alike (/edit)

Which makes me reach for some of the LotV scents I have hanging around, either as decants from Surrender to Chance or as bottles. They are (in no particular order)

Dior Diorissimo Patty calls it “the Queen” and who am I to disagree? Just beautiful even in the reformulated version you get today (the original can make you weep for what’s lost) It’s a dream of LotV, like a memory of youth. It’s a crying shame that they can’t sell the vintage formula (with the houndstooth packaging, please) with a warning label that you may get a rash or sneeze. Luckily you can still sample it at Surrender to Chance.

Floris Lily of the Valley is from nearly a century before Diorissimo but in no way seems dated. It’s very English from this very English house, but that’s no bad thing. The LotV here is supported by roses and tuberose, as if the breeze on this gentle, dewy morning was wafting some of scent of the more manicured garden up the hill from the more manicured garden over the dell with the lily of the valley in which you’re happily pausing. It’s also sending a little whiff of the less manicured hunky gardener who is tending to that garden, adding just a little welcome touch of D. H. Lawrence to the proceedings..

Commes des Garcons Series 1 Leaves: Lily I sort of think of as Robot LotV. Or holodeck (for you Trekkers) LotV. Or better yet, Synthahol (again for you Trekkers) LotV. It’s all the Lily but won’t get you drunk. I’ve had a bottle for about 15 years and though I like it I don’t think I’ve made a big dent in it.

Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley seems, like most of the classic Penhaligon scents, to be, on the surface, straight up and simple. As English as scones with clotted cream and a linen shift. Wait a bit and you do get a bit of grass and soil. Not my fave of the LotV from Penhaligon: I actually prefer Bluebell, where, although the LotV is not the star of the show it’s definitely a scene-stealer.

Woods of Windsor LotV is almost straining truth in advertising laws: citrus, mimosa and geranium kind of swamp it, but just when you’re ready to give up the LotV pokes it’s little head out and goes “yoo hoo!” A decent bottle is like $20, so why not add it to the arsenal?

So, did you see the Northern Lights? Have a nice Mother’s Day? Have a fave LotV scent you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Photos: Pexels and Wikimedia Commons

  • Maggiecat says:

    Diorissimo was my wedding scent – and it took me longer to choose my wedding scent than my dress!

  • Portia says:

    You are spritzing your best spring life Tom. What a line up.
    Portia xx

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    The only LOTV scent I have is Diorissimo. I have a vintage bottle and the EDP. I will admit that I don’t wear a whole lot of either. I would love to get my hands on Guerlain’s Muguet but who has the funds for that? I will have to dig out one of those bottles.

    • Tom says:

      The vintage is just gorgeous. The new stuff isn’t bad, but if you have the vintage there to compare it to..

  • March says:

    Oh I would 100 PERCENT have been in the Mildred Pierce audience! What a great flick. I am very fond of LotV in the wild, I miss them around here, they are not a thing … but don’t especially love it in fragrance, at least not on me. It’s just toooooooo much. Although do you remember the original Kate Spade fragrance ca. early aughts? Before they d/cd it and got all insipid? Still kicking myself I didn’t buy it, it was very LotV forward on me.

    • Tom says:

      It is a great flick. But it was even better in a theater with an audience. (an appreciative, respectful one- it wasn’t like Rocky Horror, although that has it’s place)

      I do remember that Kate Spade! It’s too bad what happened to that brand after she died. Just sort of stagnated.

    • Musette says:

      I wore the snot out of the original Kate Spade – even had the body crème.

      Miss it

      • Tom says:

        I never got into body creams until recently. Now that I’ve hit, er, 39, the pelt seems to be drying a bit. There was an FM body creme that a late friend of mine adored.

  • Musette says:

    You know I’m living the DHLawrence life, now… and I ain’t mad at it (though… I do wish I correct some verbal grammar.. (understandable v. understanding)… but that’s a teeensy-beeensy complaint…

    anyhoodle: My fave LotV is vintage Coty Muguet des Bois. I have one of the early bottles (flared bottom with the blue neck label – looking vaguely Cheap and Cheerful – but OMG! How. It. Smells!!! something wonderful)

  • Maya says:

    I love lily of the valley. In New England they will let you know they are around by their scent wafting beautifully in the air, but will make you work to find out where they are hiding. Vintage Dior Diorissimo is the only/truest lily of the valley perfume for me. Patty is right – the Queen. I have tried Commes des Garcons Series 1 Leaves: Lily and you’re description is perfect! Oriza L. Legrand Muguet Fleuri is (or was) pretty good too, but not enough for me to want a bottle.

    • Tom says:

      I love that about the plant- they play hide and seek. Ours grew in a little depression filled with grass between our house and the one next door. It was actually outside the back window of my bedroom. Heaven.

  • Dina C. says:

    I’m wearing a dab of vintage Diorissimo parfum as I read this, Tom. Feeling very regal while wearing the Queen. I also really like Parfums de Nicholai Odalisque which is LotV on an amber base. It has oomph and longevity and is great in the colder months. I believe the original Miu Miu in the baby blue bottle was also a nice little LotV scent, but I’m not sure it’s still around. As for Mildred Pierce, my vintage movie watching is sadly lacking — I’ve heard of it. But haven’t seen it.

    • Tom says:

      You should see it! In America it’s shown very often on the Movies! channel, which is over the air (channel 13.3 here in LA)

      The 2000’s miniseries with Kate Winslet is very good as well. Absolutely faithful to the book, which would have been impossible in the 40’s. The only flaw is that it was filmed back East and looks it. As bad as 70’s TV shows were subbing SoCal for back East locations the choice of Long Island subbing for Laguna Beach is laughable.

  • rosarita says:

    My mom (almost 97) has a good lotv patch and I was able to gather a full bouquet, but when I checked yesterday, the lotv’s time has passed.
    I have a little decant of vintage Diorissimo that I smell, rather than wear. Zoologist Cow has a lovely lotv note.

  • alityke says:

    I have the Woods of Windsor & a vintage Diorissimo mini. Neither get much wear as I have 200ml of Beige to get through in springtime!
    Can’t grow it, as Cinnamon has, we have clay soil too

  • cinnamon says:

    Our soil here is not conducive to LotV valley growing wild. Heavy clay, it needs a lot of stuff added to make it friable. So my plants live in pots and overwinter under the garden table. Love Diorissimo. These sorts of perfumes really should not be tinkered with, regulations be damned!

    • Tom says:

      I wish I was a gardener (sort of) but can’t keep all the soils straight- loamy versus clay, who likes acid and who likes base (although being able to change your flowers color by fooling with that is cool) I just can’t keep straight. I loved the LotV because they would just magically appear one day, every year. I wonder if they still do at the old house?