Jacques Guerlain 1922, reissue 2007
[kɑ̃did efly:v]
Family: floral, oriental
Notes: bergamot, lemon, lilac, ylang-ylang, jasmine, orris, patchouli, benzoin, tonka bean, heliotrope, vanilla, musk
Sweet floriental
Period: The orientalist years
Candide Effluve collection

We're not sure exactly what Jacques Guerlain meant by the name of his 1922 perfume, Candide Effluve. In French, "candide" refers to innocence and truthfulness, while "effluve" means fragrance. Maybe he just wanted to say that this floriental fragrance smells truly good. We could also speculate a little further, and say that unlike his Belle Époque florals, notably Après l'Ondée and L'Heure Bleue, which had a certain hazy, sentimental and demure aura about them, the scent of Candide Effluve strikes us as straightforward and sunny. It was possibly designed for a different generation, and we can't help but see it as a reflection of the optimism and enthusiasm that prevailed after the war. Looking through its fragrance note diagram, we might think it is a L'Heure Bleue type of scent, listing violet, jasmine, rose, orris, amber and heliotrope; however, the violet-orris-heliotrope accord is dosed very differently than in L'Heure Bleue. Candide Effluve employs violet merely as a top note, and hence doesn't appear as powdery as what Jacques Guerlain used to produce. In addition, the perfume doesn't have the nocturnal, spicy feel of clove that we know from L'Heure Bleue. The heliotrope, on the other hand, is amplified, making for a gourmand, almond-like drydown.

Even more importantly, Candide Effluve has bright and pure notes of lilac and lily of the valley, intensely sweet and suggestive of springtime and floral femininity. Is this the innocence referred to in the perfume's name? (Thierry Wasser's vintage sample set has taught us just how much Jacques Guerlain used lily of the valley in his compositions, and in Candide Effluve it's quite pronounced.) Candide Effluve also contains a good dose of ylang-ylang. If violet was a Jacques Guerlain hallmark during the early years, then ylang-ylang seemed to be one of his favourite materials later on. "Ylang-ylang" means "rare" in the Tagalog language, due to its exceptionally rich, creamy and aphrodisiac fragrance. Ylang-ylang is what makes Candide Effluve self-assured more than innocent, after all. Finally there's a slightly earthy, patchouli-like side to Candide Effluve, supposedly incorporated to temper the sweet and heady flower notes. Compared to Jacques Guerlain’s Big Five — Après l’Ondée, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Shalimar and Vol de Nuit — Candide Effluve is clearly less abstract and ambiguous, with its luminous, sweet floral character, and therefore maybe not as timeless.

Bottle. Candide Effluve was originally presented in a bottle formed like a lyre. Because of Guerlain's habit of reusing bottles for different scents, it was from 1933 to be had in the brown smoked crystal bottle that was intended for the perfume Loin de Tout and only produced in a single run by Baccarat. (It's uncertain, however, if Loin de Tout was ever commercialized.) Candide Effluve is today mainly linked to this bottle whose utterly fascinating Art Deco lines share the geometric gravity of the Vol de Nuit design. For the reissue, ninety-seven surviving bottles were excavated from the archives, now finally filled and resting in each one's own velvet lined lacquer box as gracefully as in an opera seat.

Reformulation. Candide Effluve had the honour of being reissued as a limited edition in 2007. Although Guerlain tries its best to make faithful reissues of oldies, given the restrictions of the IFRA, Candide Effluve was a difficult task to reconstruct. Compared to Thierry Wasser's vintage sample at Maison Guerlain, the 2007 reissue smells significantly less rich, musky and long-lasting than the original, as if half of the materials were missing (which they probably were). Read more

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