Jacques Guerlain 1899
[di petal də roz]
Family: floral
Lemon rose
Period: The Belle Époque 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.

“All our perfumes contain a bit of rose,” said Jean-Paul Guerlain, hereby stating the importance of this flower in the art of Guerlain, and in perfumery in general. Like Jean-Paul Guerlain, who created Nahéma as a homage to the rose, as well as to Catherine Deneuve, Jacques Guerlain was a great admirer of the scent of rose, so phenomenally multifaceted: citrusy, powdery, fruity, peppery, sensual, pure, opulent. It’s often perceived as a feminine note, but Jacques even added rose to Mouchoir de Monsieur.

Needless to say, his 1899 perfume Dix Pétales de Roses (“ten rose petals”) is a rose fragrance. It was one of his very first perfumes which, due to his relative inexperience as a young perfumer, were far more simple and linear than the famous abstract compositions of his mature years. On the other hand, from the very beginning he enjoyed inventing elaborate, lyric perfume names that stirred the imagination, such as Le Jardin de Mon Curé, Voilà Pourquoi J'Aimais Rosine, and Fleur Qui Meurt. Like them, Dix Pétales de Roses could have been the title of a poem.

Considering that it takes some sixteen hundred rose blossoms to produce one gram of rose oil, ten petals could hardly be enough. Of course we shouldn’t take it literally, but Dix Pétales de Roses indeed isn’t a huge, voluptuous rose perfume. Maybe today we’d call it an eau fraîche. At first we get a sparkling lemon note, brittle and acidulous like a lemon drop placed on your tongue. It takes a good while for the rose, itself featuring citrus facets, to get through, a fresh, pink, cool rose. After the rose, the scent pyramid lists a number of lovely ingredients, like ylang-ylang, tuberose, jasmine and civet. We sense the roundness and warmth they provide, but Dix Pétales de Roses seems much too soon to end with a powdery, vaguely floral-musky accord that lasts for a couple of hours.

Dix Pétales de Roses came in the so-called oval bottle. One of Guerlain's early standard bottles, its name derived from the fact that both the bottle and the stopper had an oval shape.

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