Jean-Paul Guerlain 1998
Family: floral
Notes: bergamot, lilac, linden flower, rose, jasmine, violet leaf, orris, tonka bean, amber, vanilla
Lilac, linden and cookies in search of lost time
Period: The searching years

This was Guerlain's second perfume bearing the name of the famous house signature, the so-called Guerlinade, which began to be defined with Aimé Guerlain's Jicky, back in 1889, as an overdosed mixture of bergamot, rose, jasmine, tonka bean, orris and vanilla. The most prominent incarnations of this base formula are without doubt L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar but since the formula became so acclaimed by itself, it seemed obvious to Jacques Guerlain to use the name for a perfume, in 1924. Guerlinade the perfume, now long gone, smelled quite unlike both L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar. It had typical Jacques Guerlain elements like rose, orange blossom, anise, orris, heliotrope and tonka bean, but also featured a distinct fruity note as well as an earthy-vegetal accord of sage, patchouli and vetiver.

And then in 1998, to celebrate the house's 170th anniversary and its founder's 200th birthday, Jean-Paul Guerlain created his own Guerlinade, an EdP to be one of the first made-for-the-occasion launches by Guerlain. Although Jean-Paul's version contained all of the house signature ingredients, the result surprised the audience who by reflex had expected either a reissue of the original Guerlinade perfume, or a new final answer to what all the great Guerlains have in common — a retrospective spicy-powdery distillate of Jicky, L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar. Instead they found Jean-Paul Guerlain's partiality for flower botany, using a beautiful, top-notch oily lilac as key note. Actually no real surprise since he already excelled in this genre with Chant d'Arômes (honeysuckle), Chamade (hyacinth), Parure (lilac again), Nahéma (rose) and Jardins de Bagatelle (tuberose). Of the lot, his Guerlinade was perhaps linked mostly to Chant d'Arômes' age-of-innocence charm, a romantic, slightly aldehydic Belle Époque style floral, quite green in tone and backed up by a meadow-and-cookie-like sweetness of tonka bean that by modern standards smelled as gentlemanly as any classic fougère. Add to that violet leaf, orris and a mild linden flower note, and it got just about as démodé as dipping a vanilla madeleine in a cup of tea. Call it reactionary, but kudos to Jean-Paul Guerlain for not making perfumes to please the marketing department. "With this perfume, Jean-Paul Guerlain pays tribute to his talented family, a dynasty of perfumers without equal anywhere in the world, and to women, the endless source of inspiration for Guerlain creations," the printed handout said. Guerlinade was reissued for a few years among the Parisiennes but has by now, like its past namesake, disappeared for good. Read about vintage Guerlinade

When Guerlain started its made-for-the-occasion productions, it also brought about a series of unique visual presentations, a wonderful habit now regrettably replaced by the uniform Exclusive bottles and boxes. Jean-Paul Guerlain's Guerlinade came in a bottle modelled after an antique bronze wine carafe he brought back from his first trip to Nepal. The bottle's case, copying the shape of the Ode box, displayed the Champs-Elysées house and the factory on place de l'Étoile in Paris, as well as imprints of the imperial coat of arms, the Sun King logo and the four family master perfumers' names vertically on each of the four corners of the octagonal box.

No, it didn't have time to get reformulated.

  We love: the limited edition is actually easier to come by than the reissue

  An understated elegance, much more so than at first sniff

  When Chamade Pour Homme is too virile and Jicky too soft

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