Slightly sweet and softly floral, lily of the valley has been a mainstay fragrance note for decades. A favorite scent of Christian Dior, it gained popularity in the 1950s thanks to the house’s Diorissimo scent. Today, notes of the flower can still be detected in a number of Dior’s most-loved fragrances (some of which are among the most popular perfumes of all time).
Not to be confused with the standard lily, it grows in the springtime in white bell-shaped buds along on a long, green stalk. “Lily of the valley, or muguet in French, has a lilting, sweet scent imbued with dew that is alternately sweet and green,” explains Steve Mormoris, CEO and founder of Scent Beauty. “It has a strong association with the emergence of spring and with new beginnings. It is remarkably feminine in character and has an enduring classicism without being old-fashioned.” (Fun fact: Kate Middleton had lily of the valley in her wedding bouquet for her April 2011 wedding to Prince William.)
Often found as a base note in floral fragrances, lily of the valley plays well with woody notes like sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver as well as green notes such as herbs and foliage. According to Mormoris, these pairings “accentuate its sweetness without being cloying.”
Like many trends first set by Christian Dior, the floral scent’s popularity endures to this day. “[Lily of the valley] evokes a day of simple pleasure, much like the first warm spring day,” says Mormoris. Intrigued? We don’t blame you. Here, we searched high and low for 22 of the best lily of the valley fragrances to help you find your perfect scent for this season and beyond.
Kate Middleton with her lily of valley wedding bouquet, April 2011.
The fragrance that started it all. It was discontinued for a time but relaunched in 2009, to the delight of L.O.T.V. lovers everywhere.
Chloé’s signature scent blends lily of the valley with rose, amber, and pink peony.
Meant to resemble the smell of bed linens on a Sunday morning, it also features earthy white musk.
This fresh twist on Dior Addict blends floral (lily of the valley and freesia) with fruity (bergamot, grapefruit, and orange).
The floral notes mix with bergamot and sandalwood for a balance of light and warmth. Donna Karan’s namesake brand may be no more, but there’s a reason this best-selling scent lives on.
Vanilla, blackberry, and lily of the valley all play a role here, but nothing overpowers or competes for centerstage.
This floral confection has just about every spring flower in the garden plus a touch of neroli and bergamot, which add depth and warmth.
An iconic scent since 1977, Opium is the ultimate blend of floral and spicy, with notes of lily of the valley and rose, as well as clove, coriander, and tangerine.
The darkly sweet combination of lily of the valley and sugar candy is just as statement-making as the kitschy bottle.
For the true floral lovers, this luxe fragrance is like a spring bouquet in a bottle without being too heavy.
Lily of the valley superfans love this fresh fragrance, which also boasts grapefruit and musk.
Not only does this softly floral scent scream “spring!” (it’s in the name, after all), but the bottle was also designed to be reused as a vase once emptied.
Papaya is an unexpected element with classic rose and jasmine in this elegant scent.
Akigalawood—a cousin of patchouli—pairs nicely with lily of the valley in this eye-catching blue bottle.
Of course, you’ll need nails to match.
Honeysuckle may be the star in this transporting blend, but lily of the valley, gardenia, and jasmine add to the floral bouquet.
Bluebell and lily of the valley aren’t just similar-looking flowers—they also play well together. Light and fresh, it’s great if you like to reapply your fragrance throughout the day.
The mix of florals and citrus somehow evokes the brand’s signature just-got-out-of-the-shower scent (sans the shampoo).
One spritz of this blend of rosemary, lemon, grapefruit, clove, and lily of the valley, and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Italy.
Originally a 1947 Christian Dior scent, Miss Dior was reinterpreted in 2017 with a floral, spicy formulation. True to form, it maintained the lily of the valley note.
This scent starts out fruity—with notes of blackberry and cassis—and opens into a sweet, floral base. Not only that, but it has a higher concentration of fragrance oils than most traditional perfumes to help it last longer.
Alongside notes of cocoa and marshmallow, the florals could veer too far into sweet territory, but this combination strikes just the right balance.
First formulated in 1976, this classic fragrance from the U.K. perfumerie is like taking a walk through an English garden at the start of spring.
Looking for more perfume inspiration? Our editors did a blind Fragrance test—here are their honest thoughts.
This piece was originally published ta an earlier date and has since been updated.