Jacques Guerlain 1911
Family: fougère, oriental
Period: The Belle Époque 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.
Pour Troubler (1911) was part of a variation of scents that Jacques Guerlain issued in rapid succession, beginning with Après l'Ondée and ending with L'Heure Bleue, all of them worked around a herbal-spicy-floral accord of anise, aromatics, jasmine, carnation and powdery notes. Each one had its own unique combination and garniture: some had orange blossom, some were more heady or ambery, some had more Provencal herbs, and some had fewer. Pour Troubler represents the fougère variant of the series.
The fougère accord, essentially lavender combined with coumarin, was the first perfume accord to give its name to an entire fragrance family, of which Jicky (1889) remains the most classic and esteemed example. This accord eventually gave rise to both the chypre and oriental styles, and Pour Troubler could be understood as one of the stepping stones towards the latter. When smelling it, we sense Jicky standing in the background, and Bouquet de Faunes and Shalimar with their vanillic, leathery trails waiting in the wings of the future.
"Troubler" is the French way of saying that you are stirring desire in someone. "Pour Troubler" thus translates as "for seducing". The name is typical of the romantic, introspective atmosphere of Jacques Guerlain's pre-Mitsouko creations, before he turned towards more exotic sounding derivations when naming his perfumes.
Indeed, Pour Troubler would no doubt elicit the lust of many a Guerlain lover. In it, we find Jicky’s famous mixture of lavender, rosemary, patchouli, coumarin and civet, at once aromatic, sensual and sweet like hay. The top note doesn't have the astringent coolness of geranium, but rather a herbal, anise-like softness like we know it from old-fashioned lavender soaps. For a moment we are transported to one of those soap factories that are still to be found here and there along the south coast of France.
Lavender is one of perfumery’s most distinctive materials, at once clean-smelling and balsamic. Although Guerlain has revived the lavender note in the gourmand feminine fragrance Mon Exclusif, it's nowadays mainly associated with men's scents. Not so in the time of Jacques Guerlain, who used it as a top note in any fragrance type, from Parfum des Champs-Elysées and Après l'Ondée to Sous le Vent, Coque d'Or and Chypre 53. The reason why the lavender is felt so strongly in Pour Troubler might be that the other ingredients of the composition seem to underscore the different facets of the lavender’s complex odour profile: rosemary (the fresh facet), anise (the licorice facet), clove (the spicy facet), patchouli (the earthy facet), civet (the animalic facet), and, not least, tonka bean, which similar to lavender contains a high amount of the warm, hay-like coumarin molecule.
Compared to a traditional fougère, however, Pour Troubler intensifies the aspects of jasmine, rose, amber and musk, obviously at the expense of cologne freshness, and in addition there’s a spicy element of clove that tickles the nose throughout the scent. The amplification of exactly these parts was very characteristic of Jacques Guerlain, and what gave a warm oriental aura to his entire style. If the start of Pour Troubler is fifty percent Jicky, then the drydown is at least fifty percent Shalimar. Guerlain classifies the scent as an oriental fougère, for lack of a more precise definition.
Bottle. Pour Troubler came in the quadrilobe bottle which was first made for the perfume Rue de la Paix (1908), but then became a standard bottle used for several new perfumes that followed.
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