PERFUMES BY JEAN-PAUL GUERLAIN




© 2006-2016 MONSIEUR GUERLAIN  

REVIEWS ETC.

SEARCH RESULTS


MY VINTAGE GUERLAIN TOP TEN

Currently consisting of fifty-three formulas by six different perfumers, Thierry Wasser's list of re-created historic Guerlain perfumes is overwhelming. To form a general opinion of all of these scents would be impossible, but I've picked ten that I think are particularly good. Coincidentally, they're all by Jacques Guerlain.

After experiencing the entire set of re-created vintages, it's easy to see why some Guerlains have remained in the catalogue while most have been discontinued. The ones that survived are simply the best of the lot. As to not make this Top Ten too predictable, I've excluded those that are self-evidently great, and even greater in their vintage form, freed of any restrictions on raw materials, namely Jicky, Mouchoir de Monsieur, Après l'Ondée, Mitsouko, Shalimar, Sous le Vent, Véga, Chant d'Arômes, and Parure. These are all scents that either still exist, or did exist until recently, in reformulated versions made to meet IFRA norms.

Atuana (1952)
Atuana has the same stylish combination of herbal green and aristocratic elegance as the Sous le Vent accord, which seems to call for a tweed or plaid suit. Today we would think of Atuana as a men's fragrance, a fougère with aromatic, woody and mossy notes, and very few floral elements. Although hedione wasn’t invented in 1952, we can't help recalling Dior's Eau Sauvage when we smell Atuana today. Read more


Bouquet de Faunes (1922)
Upon smelling Thierry Wasser's re-created Bouquet de Faunes, we learn that easy-going, vanillic comfort scents aren’t a new trend chez Guerlain. The perfume could easily pass as a L’Art & la Matière member, notably one like Cuir Beluga, although it’s evidently more musky than what would be marketable today. Where Shalimar features leather, the scent diagram of Bouquet de Faunes lists a suede accord. It makes sense: this perfume truly evokes the creamy odour of a brand-new suede jacket. Read more


Cachet Jaune (1937)
Cachet Jaune was never released in the more concentrated Parfum version, but only as an Eau de Cologne; however, Thierry Wasser has chosen to show us the Parfum as prescribed by Jacques Guerlain's handwritten formula. "It's the vintage answer to Spiritueuse Double Vanille," as one perfume blogger commented, featuring a luscious, rum-like swell of vanilla right from the start. The vanilla joins a strong carnation note, until it all ends in a delicious, gourmand overdose of Ambre 83. Read more


Chypre 53 (1953)
The essentials of a chypre are formally defined as an accord of bergamot, labdanum and oakmoss. To this, Chypre 53 adds a cacophony of notes: spices, lavender, clove, leather, vanilla, balsam, as well as floral, animal, woody and green notes. Interestingly, the sum total is quite restrained, and can be described as a variation on Sous le Vent's aromatic chypre accord. Compared to Sous le Vent, Chypre 53 is composed in a less freshly green, more warmly spicy and balsamic manner, with cinnamon, cardamom, patchouli, vetiver, ambergris, vanilla, and styrax balsam. A real "niche" fragrance. Read more


Coque d'Or (1937)
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. Wrapped in a cloud of nitro-musk, this orris-loaded fruity chypre is ladylike in a 1930s film star kind of way: glamorous yet aloof, and slightly soft-focus. Read more


Djedi (1926)
Far from Jacques Guerlain's best creation, Djedi has a a rough, unadorned feel that was quite unlike his style, maybe matched only by his bitter-smoky Cuir de Russie from 1935. You wouldn't think it came from the same hands that created those mouthwatering confections L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar. Still, this spiky, dry composition of aldehydes, vetiver, civet, and a black amber note is undeniably haunting. Read more


Fleur de Feu (1948)
Jacques Guerlain's first perfume after World War II, Fleur de Feu is a tempered and delicate, almost transparent floral aldehyde scent. Closely related to Liu, but lighter, less powdery, and even more aldehydic, it has a fresh-honeyed bouquet of lily of the valley, rose, ylang-ylang, violet, and sweet acacia. This "flower of fire" has an aura of elegance and tranquillity. Read more


Fol Arôme (1912)
Die-hard L'Heure Bleue fans will probably delight in discovering this long gone relative. Imagine L'Heure Bleue without the romantic orange blossom, more aromatics added, and a bit less ganache, and you get the feel of Fol Arôme. The drydown continues the Guerlinade journey, complete with powdery orris, musk, vanilla, and clove. Read more


Parfum des Champs-Elysées (1904)
Parfum des Champs-Elysées heralded what came to be Après l'Ondée's hallmark, the powdery accord of aromatics, orange blossom, violet and orris, but laid on a warm and smoothly woody, almost cocoa-like base. It has an elegant and very luxurious femininity, introducing the velvety texture that made Jacques Guerlain so acclaimed and distinguished him from most other perfumers. Read more


Vague Souvenir (1912)
Vague Souvenir really must have been Guerlain's very first fruity-floral. It smells like a surprising marriage between Habit Rouge and Nahéma, mixing the powerful, fresh-floral scent of citronellol which occurs in rose and geranium, with a smouldering accord of Bulgarian rose, peach, spices and amber. Its drydown curve from freshness to sensuality is one of Guerlain's most dramatic. Read more


See the full list of re-created Guerlain vintages


Home