Jacques Guerlain 1922
[kɑ̃did efly:v]
Family: floral, oriental
Sweet floriental
Period: The orientalist years

Thierry Wasser and 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.

We're not sure exactly what Jacques Guerlain meant by the name of his 1922 perfume, Candide Effluve. In French, "candide" refers to innocence and truthfulness, while "effluve" means fragrance. Maybe he just wanted to say that this floriental fragrance smells truly good. We could also speculate a little further, and say that unlike his Belle Époque florals, notably Après l'Ondée and L'Heure Bleue, which had a certain hazy, sentimental and demure aura about them, the scent of Candide Effluve strikes us as straightforward and sunny. It was possibly designed for a different generation, and we can't help but see it as a reflection of the optimism and enthusiasm that prevailed after the war. Looking through its fragrance note diagram, we might think it is a L'Heure Bleue type of scent, listing violet, jasmine, rose, orris, amber and heliotrope; however, the violet-orris-heliotrope accord is dosed very differently than in L'Heure Bleue. Candide Effluve employs violet merely as a top note, and hence doesn't appear as powdery as what Jacques Guerlain used to produce. In addition, the perfume doesn't have the nocturnal, spicy feel of clove that we know from L'Heure Bleue. The heliotrope, on the other hand, is amplified, making for a gourmand, almond-like drydown.

Even more importantly, Candide Effluve has bright and pure notes of lilac and lily of the valley, intensely sweet and suggestive of springtime and floral femininity. Is this the innocence referred to in the perfume's name? (Thierry Wasser's vintage sample set has taught us just how much Jacques Guerlain used lily of the valley in his compositions, and in Candide Effluve it's quite pronounced.) Candide Effluve also contains a good dose of ylang-ylang. If violet was a Jacques Guerlain hallmark during the early years, then ylang-ylang seemed to be one of his favourite materials later on. "Ylang-ylang" means "rare" in the Tagalog language, due to its exceptionally rich, creamy and aphrodisiac fragrance. Ylang-ylang is what makes Candide Effluve self-assured more than innocent, after all. Finally there's a slightly earthy, patchouli-like side to Candide Effluve, supposedly incorporated to temper the sweet and heady flower notes. Compared to Jacques Guerlain’s Big Five — Après l’Ondée, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Shalimar and Vol de Nuit — Candide Effluve is clearly less abstract and ambiguous, with its luminous, sweet floral character, and therefore maybe not as timeless.

Candide Effluve had the honour of being reissued as a limited edition in 2007, which makes it possible to see how an IFRA-safe reissued vintage compare to Thierry Wasser's re-created original version. Although Guerlain tries its best to make faithful reissues of oldies, given the restrictions on raw materials, it turns out that Candide Effluve was a difficult task to reconstruct faithfully. Compared to the vintage version, the 2007 reissue smells significantly less rich, musky and long-lasting than the original, as if half of the ingredients were missing (which they probably were). Read more about Candide Effluve

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