Randa Hammami 2009, reissue 2012
[mɔ̃ presjø nɛkta:r]
Family: floral, musky
Notes: bergamot, tangerine, petitgrain, orange blossom, jasmine, bitter almond, sandalwood, incense, amber, vanilla, white musk
Orange blossom honey
Period: The recapitulation years
Mon Précieux Nectar collection

Ever since Jicky's fresh-balsamic aroma and the spicy almond and cherry pie pastry of L'Heure Bleue, it's been Guerlain's speciality to make perfumes the way a pastry chef would do. That was long before the explicit gourmand wave of modern times, witnessed by the success of Mugler's caramelized Angel (with Luca Turin's words, "the Shalimar of the nineties"), and although Guerlain could have sat back and just enjoyed the show, things have become even more delectable chez Guerlain after Sylvaine Delacourte, one of L'Heure Bleue's biggest admirers, started directing fragrance development in the old company. L'Instant for her and him, Insolence, the whole L'Art & la Matière line, Quand Vient la Pluie, Les Elixirs Charnels and La Petite Robe Noire are each an ode to a confectioner's mouthwatering work. When Randa Hammami was commissioned to make a L'Instant Magic, only loosely related to L'Instant, she got the idea to infuse an overdose of white musks into some of Guerlain's finest players, bergamot, rose, sandalwood and bitter almond, the latter smelling somewhere between marzipan, cherry brandy and roasted nuts. The result combined the chewy taste of an amaretto macaron with a weightless, sensual silk-gown smoothness, so uniquely attractive as to be appointed new Guerlain signature. "I have nicknamed it the Musquinade in a playful reference to the Guerlinade," said Sylvaine Delacourte, "because both have this typical Guerlain DNA, which means an audacious overdose of certain raw materials, very beautiful natural ingredients that confer a signature, and a trail that is immediately recognizable."

As the pièce d'exception of 2009, Guerlain asked Hammami to create a choice Musquinade perfume under the title, Mon Précieux Nectar. A maybe corny name which nonetheless pinpointed what it was about, a fluid intended for honeybees, Guerlain's historic mascot, with irresistibly sweet and rich orange essences. Guerlain has a well-known love for all fragrant extracts from citrus trees, and Mon Précieux Nectar used both the fruits (bergamot and tangerine), the leaves and buds (petitgrain) and the flowers (orange blossom). When this blend met almond, jasmine, amber, sandalwood and vanilla, a delicious effect arose, not unlike that of orange blossom honey or brandied citrus preserves. The alliance of orange blossom and vanilla was also what gave L'Heure Bleue its particular beauty. Lots of white musk was finally added, as soft and fluffy as icing sugar. In the Champs-Elysées boutique, this perfume was presented to the public, not on paper strips, but on a white feather, and from then on, you'd always expect white feathers to smell as good as Mon Précieux Nectar, a confectioner's orange-and-almond meringue, at once pollen-like and succulent. In 2012, Mon Précieux Nectar was reissued in its original Parfum concentration among Les Parisiennes.

Bottle. A spectacular 500 ml crystal container was designed for Mon Précieux Nectar. It took the shape of a tall, cylindrical "fountain" christened La Fontaine Impériale to emphasize its links to Guerlain's Napoleonic past. Now sold in the Parisienne bee.

  We love: that Guerlain didn't dilute it for the Parisienne edition

  Honeyed extravaganza

  A L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme stripped of all coolness

Some images courtesy of

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