The perfumer and the cook
Paris Match has a feature story about the perfumer and the cook at Maison Guerlain. "I believe in crossing paths," says Guy Martin, Michelin-starred chef at Le Grand Véfour in Paris. "My mother wore Shalimar. And Jean-Paul Guerlain, one of our clients, always ordered kidney which we prepared specially for him. So I was filled with excitement at the prospect of trying to excel in interpreting this extraordinary product that is perfume."
Bee bottle exhibition at Maison Guerlain
To celebrate the 160th anniversary of the bee bottle, Guerlain will be organizing an exhibition, called Nect'Art, around the famous imperial bottle. Nine artists have been given free rein to dress and portray a one-litre bee bottle: Fabrice Gohard (1), Nelly Saunier (2), Lison de Caunes (3), Sylvie Deschamps (4), Ludwig Vogelgesang (5), Etienne Rayssac (6), Emmanuel Barrois (7), Laurent Nogues (8) and Serge Amoruso (9). The nine œuvres will be on display at Maison Guerlain from the 10th of December 2013 until the 14th of February 2014, after which they will be for sale with proceeds benefiting an association for young artists. See photos from the exhibition
The romantic Thierry Wasser
Thierry Wasser was featured in the first November issue of French Revue de Modes. Here's a small excerpt:
Among the Guerlain perfumers, is there one to whom you feel closer than the others?
TW: Probably Jacques, whose way of working I understand very well. Jean-Paul was a seducer, a Don Juan. He has this creative and expressive rage that is not much like me. When he makes perfumes, he has one goal, and that is to seduce. I'm more of a romantic. Jacques was really a romantic.
But Guerlain is above all synonymous with a quite sexual seduction?
TW: That's true, but one can be romantic and not necessarily a virgin!
Which perfume would embody this romantic sensuality?
TW: L'Heure Bleue! It's impressionistic and subtle. It's far removed from Samsara. Samsara is the guy who is full of desire and can't resist any longer. L'Heure Bleue, by contrast, is tender, it's romantic, it's small touches that express love. It's less instinctual than a Nahéma or a Chamade.
And among the Guerlain perfumes, which one is your favourite?
TW: The one that I would never dare to touch and that to me is on a pedestal, is Mitsouko. Ah là là! And I can guarantee you that to blend it at the factory is a delight.
Thanks to the ingredients that it's made of?
TW: Everything. It's the most mysterious, but my god I can't stop looking at the formulas, especially the handwritten ones. Today, I can have the formula of Mitsouko on my computer screen, but it doesn't do me anything. When you see the rhythm of a handwritten formula by Jacques, it is very inspiring.
What do you mean by rhythm?
TW: If you look at the formulas written today, the materials are arranged in alphabetical order or ordered by weight, which means that a machine has determined the order. But in a handwritten formula, why does this material come before this other material, why is it written like this? That is its rhythm. It's this not very logical logic, the way Jacques wrote. I also looked at the formula for Jicky, written by Aimé. Maybe I'm being too romantic, too silly, but I imagined a breath, a rhythm. There is something about the handwritten formula that I will never see on a screen. It makes you invent a film, to say that it was for this or that reason that he wrote it this way, and I think that this is what it means to understand a formula.
Was it difficult, with La Petite Robe Noire, to find a balance between making a commercial success and to create a perfume worthy of the Guerlain heritage? The public seems to expect a lot by a big Guerlain launch.
TW: I learned that with Idylle. I was told it wasn't a Guerlain, and that it didn't do well! Now, what qualifies a Guerlain perfume? It's completely subjective, after all. In China, for example, they like it; but since France is our biggest market, it hasn't been doing well. It's a pity, because I have a small weakness for Idylle: it reflects my state of mind when I arrived at Guerlain the 2nd of June 2008. I began to work on Idylle the 3rd. I won't say that I'm embittered, but I think that at that moment I was very naive, and Idylle is a naive perfume, with all its flowers. It's this naivety that touches me. La Petite Robe Noire is completely different: it's contemporary with Idylle, but Idylle had a big launch while La Petite Robe Noire originally was out only in Guerlain boutiques.
(November 2013, translation by Monsieur Guerlain, photo by French Revue de Modes)
Le 68 Cologne Fond de Cuve
Among the many new Guerlain products presented at the new Maison Guerlain, we find Le 68 Cologne Fond de Cuve. Fond de cuve means the remaining liquid in a tank, and this name refers to the historical fact that the alcohol used for rinsing factory vats between two macerations, thereby taking up the fragrance of the remains, was given to the factory workers for their personal use. The scent of this "cologne" was quite random, depending on which Guerlain perfume had been produced. The new Cologne de Cuve doesn't change, however. It's a fresh cologne made of bergamot, petitgrain and lavender, meant to be applied to the skin or used in the bath. The scent is actually a public launch of Véritable Eau de Cologne Pour le Bain, hitherto available only to Guerlain employees. The splash bottle contains 490 ml. Along with the cologne, one can buy a scented candle bearing the same name, although it smells completely different. The candle is inspired by the intermingled trails of perfumes found at Maison Guerlain: rose, jasmine, balsamic and woody notes, and patchouli.
New discoveries at Maison Guerlain
The renovated Maison Guerlain offers not only a fascinating design, but also a list of new products to discover. Cologne Fond de Cuve, until now available only to Guerlain employees, is an ancestral recipe dating back to 1828. At that time, this product was made from the residue of emptied perfume vats at the Guerlain factory. The cologne is fresh with bergamot, petitgrain and lavender, meant to be used in the bath or applied to the skin afterwards. In a whole new "couture" corner, Maison Guerlain showcases a range of deluxe leather gloves from Maison Fabre, scented with Mitsouko or La Petite Robe Noire. Thierry Wasser has developed special formulas that keep the gloves scented for at least one year. In the same area, you will find silk fans to be scented, as well as silk scarves for her and him, featuring Guerlain-related motifs. In the smaller consulting room next to the central "perfume organ", you will have your own choice of many different cords and ribbons to decorate a purchased bee bottle. On the new underground floor, you'll find "Les Délices du 68", a selection of honey and teas, the latter bearing the names of famous Guerlain fragrances. The Délices are presented in conjunction with Guerlain's new restaurant, "Le 68".
The new Maison Guerlain
Maison Guerlain reopened on the 23rd of November after nine months of renovation. Described by Guerlain as "the new temple of beauty", it boasts a brand-new interior design by architect Peter Marino whom Guerlain asked to "bring his eye to bear on the antique section of the boutique and imagine the continuation of the story." To carry out the project, Peter Marino implemented the marble walls and Art Deco of the 1939 Guerlain beauty institute as inspiration. All classified objects have been preserved, notably found in the Art Nouveau boutique on the ground floor and the beauty institute on the second floor. The historic boutique now features a ripple-effect mirror ceiling, evoking the feeling of Versailles' Hall of Mirrors, the latter being further strengthened by an immense, white plaster figure of Guerlain's revived Sun King logo looking out from the end wall. The former pop-up store has been all covered with marble and connected to the 1914 boutique area. Contemporary and very youthful details have been added to this space in order to balance the palatial look of marble, displaying sections for makeup and men's fragrances. At the bottom, a monumental staircase leads to a new underground floor that houses Guerlain's restaurant, Le 68, by Michelin-starred Parisian chef Guy Martin. The first floor has been completely redesigned with its corridor covered with shimmering silver and now presenting a small perfume bottle museum. The remaining rooms on this floor have been decorated with marquetry panels and a lotus-shaped "perfume organ" whose design harks back to the 1930s' Art Deco style. Next to this central space, a smaller room is furnished for private perfume consultations. There is also a new "couture" area, reserved for scented gloves and silk accessories. The second floor still houses the beauty institute, largely left untouched by the renovation, except for more comfortable treatment cabines and a new orchid "winter garden" area. See press material for the new Maison Guerlain
Vol de Nuit vintage anniversary edition
For the 80th anniversary of Vol de Nuit, Guerlain has prepared a vintage edition. Forty-six empty old bottles have been found in the archives, of the unusual volume of 56 ml, and filled with a new batch of Parfum. For this special edition, the metal label and square stopper have been covered with real gold. 6,500 €.
New Guerlain boutique at Beaugrenelle department store
With the opening of department store shops in Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché in 2000, Guerlain broke its long-standing rule of only allowing exclusive Guerlain boutiques to sell its products inside Paris. Now, the brand-new Beaugrenelle mall in Paris' 15th arrondissement will present a third Guerlain department store shop, designed with Guerlain's latest boutique look. See more
Habit Rouge EdP collector's edition
2013 gives us a second collector's edition of Habit Rouge, this time for the EdP. Called L'Echappée du Cavalier, "the chevalier's breakaway", it offers the classic spray bottle inside a red leather case, embossed with the year of creation, 1965, and trimmed with a tweed lining. The fragrance is unchanged. 100 ml EdP, 98 €.
La Petite Robe Noire Parfum silver filigree
Guerlain has found a small lot of empty old 75 ml heart-shaped stopper bottles by Baccarat dating back to the very first production of 1912, and twenty-one of them will be used for a deluxe edition of La Petite Robe Noire Parfum. For this edition, French jeweller Sara Bran has revived the ancient art of silver bottle holders, shaped like an Art Nouveau filigree that forms the name of the perfume. The bottle's neck is decorated with a black chord that ends in a large jabot or tassel resembling a little black dress. 7,500 €.
Shalimar — Indes & Merveilles
This year's deluxe Shalimar edition is of course devoted to India, the backdrop for Guerlain's large-scale film La Légende de Shalimar. For this edition, called "Indes & Merveilles", Parisian jewellery maker Sylvia Toledano has designed an exceptional set of jewels that follows the curves of the Shalimar bottle. The 24-carat matte gold is covered with a myriad of coloured stones coming from Jaipur: lapis lazuli, amethyst, carnelian, malachite, tiger-eye and yellow and pink quartz. The bottle holds 1.5 litre of Parfum and has been produced in 48 numbered pieces. 9,500 €.
160th Anniversary edition of Eau de Cologne Impériale
2013 marks the 160th anniversary of the bee bottle and Eau de Cologne Impériale, the creation that catapulted the success of Guerlain in 1853. On the occasion, Guerlain has asked French artist Lison de Caunes to conceive a magnificent decoration for the monumental one-litre golden bee bottle using straw marquetry, a technique which was widely used in Art Deco. The box, entirely covered with straw marquetry, features Guerlain’s revived Sun King logo. Thirty-two numbered pieces have been produced. 12,000 €
Parfum du 68, a new fragrance for Maison Guerlain
Maison Guerlain will reopen the 23rd of November after an extensive renovation of its interiors, creating room for 1600 square metres. To celebrate the event, Guerlain is presenting a new perfume called Parfum du 68. The perfume is a sumptuous extrait reworking of the Cologne du 68 formula, with notes of magnolia, spices, everlasting flower, tonka bean, benzoin and incense. It will be featured in a new Baccarat masterpiece named Le Passeur du Temps, a black crystal version of the one-litre size of the mythic tortoise bottle. The tortoise bottle was introduced for the first time in 1914 when Guerlain’s Champs-Elysées address was inaugurated. The new bottle has been made by restoring a one hundred year old mould, and comes with a gilded décor representing Parisian monuments, created by Ateliers Gohard. Thirty bottles have been produced, each at 40,000 €. The fragrance will also be available as a less costly EdP, housed in a classic 75 ml square bottle.
Maison Guerlain renovated and reinvented
"The new setting of Maison Guerlain is inspired by the original boutique all dressed in marble. I have chosen to offer some variations on the 'marble-on-marble' theme, a contemporary reinterpretation of the décor of the beauty institute which was designed by Jean-Michel Franck in the 1930s," explains Peter Marino, the architect behind the renovation. "At the same time, the atmosphere is completely transformed by fabulous and unique works of art ordered specifically for this timeless brand."
The reconstruction work on "Le 68", the nickname of Maison Guerlain, began six months ago and is now going into its final stage. The construction site, which right at this time appears Pharaonic inside, will see its completion at the end of autumn. It takes time to remodel such a place and to transform the Guerlain universe while at the same time being faithful to it. Peter Marino has taken up the challenge to give it a new dimension, respecting the spirit of the premises. The furniture of the ground-floor boutique, built almost a century ago, is classified as historical and will be connected to the space next door which since 2011 has served as a pop-up shop. The double-door entrance from the Champs-Elysées boulevard is preserved but supplied with a new dimension: a more than seven metre long light shaft greets the visitors like an invitation to discover the universe of perfume and beauty and to take the monumental staircase down to a whole new floor below. Concerned about fusing tradition, luxury and modernity, Peter Marino has selected the finest materials and made contact with international artists and expert artisans to create an architecture that is in perfect harmony with the refined codes of Maison Guerlain. This omnipresent refinement is also the clue that directs the attention to the upper floors. This part, called "the mezzanine", will be divided into several private "apartments" dedicated to consultations about perfume, custom-made perfumes, beauty care and makeup. These private spaces, where all is "luxury, peace and pleasure," will play with the warm light from wall materials and the blond oak parquet floor. The adventure continues on the first floor where the "Institut" is situated, constructed in 1939 as the world's first beauty institute. An Art Deco ambiance with works by prominent artists of the 1930s: the hall by Jean-Michel Franck, an alcove by Christian Bérard, lamps by Giacometti. The treatment rooms have been completely redesigned and will offer new, luxurious face and body treatment concepts. "Apart from an architectural transformation, we will make 68 Champs-Elysées into an exceptional and surprising place that reinvents and showcases creativity, know-how and the Guerlain patrimony," says Laurent Boillot, CEO of Guerlain. "It will offer what is the most intimate and sublime of our house, a space of creation, sharing and emotion, with a Parisian and international radiance." With 1600 square metres and four floors, Maison Guerlain will be the biggest perfume and cosmetics boutique dedicated to one brand only.
(September 2013, translation by Monsieur Guerlain of Guerlain press material)
Limited bee bottle edition of La Petite Robe Noire EdT
Guerlain will offer a limited edition bee bottle of La Petite Robe Noire EdT in a 250 ml size featuring a special label and a pink cord seal. Just one hundred bottles have been produced. 275 €.
Four special L'Art & la Matière bee bottles
The yearly "Charity Bazaar" will feature four of Guerlain's L'Art & la Matière fragrances — Angelique Noire, Cuir Beluga, Cruel Gardenia and Spiritueuse Double Vanille — in special 125 ml bee bottles, marking the 160th anniversary of the bee bottle. The proceeds from the sale will go to a children's charity fund founded by Natalia Vodianova. For sale at TsUM department store in Moscow. Circa 350 €. Read more (in Russian)
The bee bottle and Eau de Cologne Impériale turn 160
Guerlain's bee bottle and the fragrance that inspired it, Eau de Cologne Impériale, turn 160 years old in 2013. In this video, Thierry Wasser explains a few details. When Maison Guerlain reopens after renovation later this year, it will host an exhibition of sumptuous artistic presentations of the iconic bee bottle.
Anniversary perfume for Moscow's GUM department store
The Russian department store Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin (GUM), situated along the eastern side of Moscow's famous Red Square, opened in 1893. On the occasion of its 120th anniversary, Guerlain will offer a special perfume edition bearing the name of the square, Place Rouge. The fragrance is a reissue of Quand Vient la Pluie EdP, a limited Thierry Wasser creation from 2007. It comes in a 100 ml numbered bee bottle with a decorative red bow taken from the special Cour des Senteurs Versailles edition. Circa 350 €, for sale exclusively at GUM department store. Read about Quand Vient la Pluie
La Petite Robe Noire Mon Eau de Lingerie
A new product from the La Petite Robe Noire franchise will see the light just after the summer holidays. Called Mon Eau de Lingerie, it will feature a lighter, airier, muskier feel of the fragrance, meant "to scent your lingerie and your favourite little black dresses." 100 ml elongated spray bottle. The fragrance will also be available in a lightweight metal airport edition called Mon Eau Pour le Voyage.
Guerlain tells the story of the creation of Shalimar
After all the attention given to the scenic Shalimar film, Guerlain now tells the story about how its legendary flagship perfume came into being.
Press conference for La Légende de Shalimar
At the press conference for La Légende de Shalimar, held in Paris the 26th of August, Thierry Wasser spoke about the smaller legends that make up the success of Guerlain and of Shalimar.
Photo exhibited at the press conference for La Légende de Shalimar.
Feature story about Natalia Vodianova and the new Shalimar film
This week's edition of Paris Match has an 8-page feature story about the face (and body) of Shalimar, Natalia Vodianova, and the making of Guerlain's new ad film "La Légende de Shalimar". The story discloses unpublished stills from the film. Read the story (in French)
Shalimar goes to the movies
For the first time since Guerlain started to advertise its best known perfume, a Shalimar ad uses the story about Mumtaz Mahal and the Mughal emperor that inspired the fragrance. The ad is a large-scale film shot in North India by French film maker Bruno Aveillan, featuring Natalia Vodianova, the brand's face since 2008, as a fair-skinned Mumtaz Mahal, and male model Willy Cartier, as Shãh Jahãn.
New name print design
When Guerlain opened its Versailles boutique in April this year, a new print design of the brand name was revealed. Using a streamlined sans-serif font, the new design is more sleek and expresses less formality than we are used to from Guerlain.
Maison Guerlain closes temporarily for renovation
From the 13th of July, Maison Guerlain will be completely closed until November for the renovation that will expand the boutique area to 1600 square metres dispersed on four floors. In the meantime, Sephora next door on the Champs-Elysées will offer the entire Guerlain range, including the Exclusives.
La Petite Robe Noire collector's edition
The successful La Petite Robe Noire is offered as a limited collector's edition featuring a new, amusing drawing by the design duo Kuntzel+Deygas. It comes as 50 ml in both EdP and EdT.
Guerlain launches new website and webshop
Guerlain has launched an improved website, featuring a completely new look and a wealth of information about the history, creations and perfumers of the house. The site also includes a webshop, currently serving customers within only France. Guerlain.fr
Photos from Guerlain's factory event
Guerlain can conclude that its one-day opening of its factory at Orphin to the public was a big success, with tickets available online taken in just a few minutes. At Orphin, all Guerlain fragrances are manufactured from blending to packaging. The few visitors able to attain a ticket were offered views of the maceration tanks, long lines of liquid tubes and the bottle filling and packaging robots. Also, the tour included a display of historic and luxurious perfume bottles, a demonstration of how the "dames de table" seal bottles with a decorative cord, and a presentation by Thierry Wasser of the raw materials going into the Guerlinade blend. If you weren't able to attend, you can see a few photos from the event here. See photos
Les Journées Particulières 2nd edition
As a follow-up on the successful 2011 event Les Journées Particulières (100 000 people attended!), LVMH once more opens the back entrance to many of the houses in the luxury group. LVMH has sensed that customers today are curious about the artisanal details behind the boutique shelves, and the aim is to reinforce the beauty of the "made in France" image without revealing business secrets. This time, LVMH has almost doubled the number of places to visit to forty. New discoveries include the Vuitton atelier and Guerlain's perfume factory at Orphin. The event takes place the 15th and 16th of June 2013. Read more
A third Ode à la Vanille with Mexican vanilla
Guerlain presents a third version of the successful Shalimar Ode à la Vanille, this time using a Mexican vanilla tincture. According to Guerlain, this vanilla has notes of prune, caramel and chocolate, fruitier than the woody Madagascan variant. 91 €.
This year's limited travel edition of Habit Rouge
It's becoming a Guerlain tradition to offer Habit Rouge EdT in a newly designed travel case each year. It usually comes around Christmas but this year, it arrives just in time for Father's Day. The 2013 edition is a blood-red suede case in shape of a saddle bag. The fragrance inside remains unchanged. 84 €. Read more
Idylle Duet Jasmin-Lilas 2013
Since Thierry Wasser took over as house perfumer, Guerlain has been pursuing a renewed focus on raw materials, more specifically how climate and soil affect their olfactive profile and quality. The passion for sourcing raw materials is known from Jean-Paul Guerlain. To highlight the specific qualities and characteristics of raw materials, the brand has begun to relaunch existing formulas promoted as having a key ingredient sourced from a different part of the world than the foregoing edition. The first such relaunch was Shalimar Ode à la Vanille, with a second batch highlighting its Madagascan vanilla. Now comes Idylle Duet Jasmin-Lilas, a fragrance from 2012, that has been remade with jasmine coming from Calabria (the first edition had Indian jasmine). The Calabrian jasmine is said to be more fruity and powdery.
It's a French tradition to buy and give lilies of the valley the first day of May as a symbol of spring. Each year since 1998, Guerlain has launched a limited edition of its lily of the valley fragrance. Called simply "Muguet", it was originally created by Jacques Guerlain in 1908. Each modern edition features a new collectible bottle. For 2013, the 60 ml "prestige atomizer" has been decorated with a papier-mâché label, made by Parisian artisan Maison Créanog, that conveys the shape of a lily of the valley flower in bas relief. 390 €.
Revival of the Sun King logo
On the occasion of the opening of the Versailles boutique, Guerlain reintroduces its former Sun King logo. Louis XIV was called the Sun King because he chose the sun as his emblem, universal symbol of royal reign and excellence. In the past, Guerlain used the Sun King logo on the packaging of several of its scented products. Typically Guerlain strives to capture a difficult balance between emphasizing the luxurious heritage of the brand while still appealing to today's free, inundated market.
New Guerlain boutique at Versailles
The 25th of April, the Versailles château outside Paris will open Cour des Senteurs, a space dedicated to perfumes. Located 100 metres from the main entrance of Versailles, it incorporates an original concept designed as a sensory trail enabling visitors to discover the art of perfumery. The Maison des Parfums is an interpretation centre designed by the architect and scenographer Philippe Pumain in collaboration with the perfume historian Elisabeth de Feydeau. The area will also host four luxury brands, Guerlain, Dyptique (fragrance), La Maison Fabre (gloves) and Lenôtre (patisserie). By placing a boutique at Versailles, Guerlain reunites with its own prestigious past when Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain and his successors were purveyors to royal courts in France and around Europe.
The new Guerlain boutique is a modern homage to the know-how of French crafts which are still very much alive. It was during the 17th century, under the rule of Louis XIV, that French luxury took off at Versailles, the king's official residence from 1682. Louis XIV surrounded himself with the best craftsmen and artists of his time. Today, the château is often home to temporary art exhibitions. For the look of the new boutique, Guerlain has gathered artisans and artists to make a prestigious setting in a contemporary spirit. Inspired by decorative elements from the royal manufacturers, it portrays the iconic symbols of Guerlain with a present-day twist. As a bridge stretched between the past and the future, this shop is also meant as a place for all perfume lovers to meet and be inspired. The gardens around Versailles were full of fragrant species, and Marie-Antoinette was particularly fond of jasmine. Her perfumer, Jean-Louis Fargeon, made her several products scented with jasmine. To commemorate the opening of the boutique, Guerlain offers a special fragrance edition called Cour des Senteurs Versailles, a reissue of Aqua Allegoria Jasminora, presented in a 125 ml white bee bottle with a majestic scarlet red ribbon. The red colour reflects the rich attire demanded by Louis XIV who as the only one had the right to wear red heels. The bottle's label pays tribute to the emblem of the Sun King, which is also a former Guerlain logo. 210 €.
Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca
This year's Aqua Allegoria highlights one of Guerlain's favourite materials, the bitter orange tree, also known as bigarade. One understands the love for it, since it yields different essences that smell fresh, sweet, aromatic and opulent, respectively. In Nerolia Bianca, Thierry Wasser has gathered all these aspects by using both the orange fruit, the flower, the leaves and the twigs. The second Aqua Allegoria is Flora Rosa, sold as a travel exclusive.
La Petite Robe Noire EdT goes global
When La Petite Robe Noire was rolled out last year, Asia, Russia and Scandinavia received it only as an EdT. Guerlain assumes that these countries prefer lighter scents, but now the EdT version is offered to the rest of the world too. Where the EdP was a fruity gourmand, smelling deeply of licorice, cherry, rose, almond and musk, the EdT appears like a fruity-green cologne, utterly fresh in comparison. The trick is done by what seems like a significant toning down of all ingredients except for neroli, the fresh-sweet product made from orange blossom, which conversely is very much highlighted in this version. Also, it has new notes of apple and blackcurrant. Visually, the bottle features a different dress pictograph, and the black shading of the glass is removed. Two new advertising videos have been produced.
Feature story about Thierry Wasser and Indian planters
The weekly Figaro Magazine's March 1st edition has a feature story about Thierry Wasser's cooperation with Indian planters. Beautifully illustrated by photographer Denis Chapoullié, it tells how Thierry Wasser has continued Jean-Paul Guerlain's work in Coimbatore. Here, he buys jasmine for Mitsouko and Shalimar, tuberose for Samsara and mimosa for Champs-Elysées. Only five percent of the cultivated jasmine ends in perfumery. The rest goes to the temple markets. Wasser has in these highlands also discovered a marvellous type of vetiver, full of subtle nuances, and different from the Haitian variety used for Jean-Paul Guerlain's Vetiver fragrance. "It reminds me of Bourbon vetiver which today has disappeared," says Wasser whose enthusiasm for the Indian products is evident. "If the result is convincing, we encourage the planters to develop their agriculture. It's vital. One ton of vetiver root yields only 7.5 kg of essence." Read the story (in French)
Five colourful bee bottles wearing a necklace
Last year, a special edition of Shalimar was issued for the anniversary of the Parisian department store Le Bon Marché, a 250 ml bee bottle decorated with a piece of jewellery by French designer Sylvia Toledano. The adornment consisted of a brass chain with two drops of lapis lazuli. Now, five more fragrances, some of Guerlain's most colourful juices, have been dressed in a similar outfit, namely L'Instant Magic, Nuit d'Amour, Chypre Fatal, Moscow and London, the latter two coming from the Voyage line. Each fragrance is embellished with individually chosen precious stones. This limited bottle collection is exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman in the USA. Read more
Eau de Lingerie
One could argue that despite its high-society image, Guerlain has always been linked to underwear, at least since Jicky. Now, a new fragrance specifically meant to be sprayed on delicate underthings is launched. Eau de Lingerie is a musky, powdery perfume with iris, rose, vanilla, ambrette and sandalwood. At the same time, Guerlain has asked French maker of lingerie de luxe, Absolutely Pôm, to create five underwear outfits to match the five Elixirs Charnels' "women": Coquin, Fatal, Torride, Romantique and Brûlant.
Perfumers may see further restrictions on allergenic materials
The debate about allergens and banning of certain materials in perfume has been going on for some years. Recently, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has expanded the list of allergens to count 82 substances in total. The new publication may lead to even more restrictions by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) on the use of materials in perfume, than are already in force today. "For a house like ours," says Guerlain's Thierry Wasser to the French newspaper Libération, "their decisions are catastrophic. We sell perfumes of which the oldest are more than 150 years. The essences are complex compositions, some containing hundreds of molecules. The products accused by SCCS are found in large quantity in natural form in the raw materials we use. Where can we find a substitute for styrax which no one cares about except us (and our customers) since it's at the heart of Habit Rouge? How do we cover up the suppression of eugenol which is counting for 85% of clove odour and present in all our scents? How do we assure the survival of our classics, each of which represents a piece of French cultural history?" He thinks the problem is that SCCS insists on zero risk. "It's impossible to carry out. Unjustified and unjust. The accused products are not even always allergenic. They only are potentially. Which means perhaps, sometimes, we'll see. Removing people's free will by legislation is to deny them the right to choose for themselves. You can't regulate everything." Read more
Interview with Thierry Wasser
Award-winning perfume blogger Persolaise has published an interview he conducted with Thierry Wasser while he visited London in November last year. The interview reveals a few interesting details, like Wasser's view on flankers and the complexity of protecting vintage perfume formulas. Read interview
Special edition of Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau
Guerlain offers a limited edition of its Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau. This edition is named Si Sensuelle ("So Sensual") and features a frosting of the bottle's glass and a pink feather replacing the original neck tassel. The fragrance inside remains unchanged.
L'Heure de Nuit
Although L'Heure Bleue has a both big and passionate fan base around the world, Guerlain has for some reason chosen to restrict the celebration of its centenary to a very select group of rich collectors. The official celebratory launches are in the four-digit Euro range, and real lovers of L'Heure Bleue will have to wait until January 2013 to get hold of Thierry Wasser's take on Jacques Guerlain's old classic. It's one of three reinterpretations, this one the EdP, which by then joins the Parisienne line under the name L'Heure de Nuit. Read more
Some images courtesy of guerlain.com
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