Family: chypre, fruity, musky
Lipstick, brandy and silk
Period: The flight years
Thierry Wasser and his assistant perfumer Frédéric Sacone have re-created an extensive list of historic Guerlain perfumes, using the exact same ingredients as when they saw the light for the first time.
Coque d'Or is a Jacques Guerlain perfume from 1937. The name, which means "golden shell", is derived from the French title of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1907 opera The Golden Cockerel (Le Coq d’Or), and is reflected in the gilded Baccarat bottle, shaped like a bow tie in cobalt blue crystal.
As a historical footnote, Jacques Guerlain dedicated Coque d'Or to his friend Serge Diaghilev, Russian art critic and founder of the Ballets Russes, whose favourite perfume reportedly was Mitsouko (he's even said to have perfumed his curtains with Mitsouko!). According to Guerlain, the bottle is a nod to Diaghilev too, as he always wore a bow tie at his soirées. Perfume lovers who are familiar with the Jacques Guerlain catalogue will recognize his Mitsouko chypre style in Coque d’Or. Right from the start, we get the unique aldehyde-orris-oakmoss accord which combines a comfortable, almost ashy mossiness with an aspect of luminosity and colour. In Coque d'Or, the latter is an exotic fruit note, reminiscent of pineapple and coconut (and far more sweet than Mitsouko's peach), together with cool cyclamen and powdery daffodil. The effect is ladylike in a 1930s film star kind of way: glamorous yet aloof, and slightly soft-focus.
The unmistakable scent of orris, with its strong hints of lipstick, old books, and brandy, is prominent in Coque d’Or from the beginning to the end, yielding that vintage vibe that pervades all the historic Guerlains. The high level of orris gives Coque d'Or a matte, precious finish that is almost tactile to the nose. Other standard Jacques Guerlain touches are jasmine, carnation, musk, and the use of balsam and amber. Not a single fluff or unevenness is to be found in this perfume which is wrapped in a cocoon of musk. If Mitsouko were velvet and Vol de Nuit were fur, then Coque d'Or is heavy silk. It exudes smoothness, understated luxury and a gravely voiced elegance, not too floral and darkened by vetiver and patchouli, that perfectly fits our nostalgic image of what someone like Marlene Dietrich would have been wearing back then.
In 2014 Guerlain reissued Coque d'Or as an exclusive vintage edition, presented in a 190 ml model of the original gilded Baccarat bottle and priced at 17,000 €. For this edition, the perfume has been reformulated in order to conform with the existing safety norms. Read more about Coque d'Or
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