Aimé Guerlain 1877
[paw rosa]
Family: citrus, floral
Rosa Fresca
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.

An Aimé Guerlain perfume from 1877, Pao Rosa is interesting, not so much due to the fragrance itself, but historically, as it exemplifies what perfumery was like before Jicky changed everything with its deep, abstract and sensual aroma just twelve years later. Pao Rosa is a simple cologne-style fragrance of bergamot, neroli and rose laid on a fixative base of musk and civet. Today we could call it a 19th century Aqua Allegoria, fresh and lightly floral, but the touch of animal materials must have been daring at the time. In hindsight, it was perhaps one of Aimé Guerlain’s progressions towards Jicky.

The Amazon rainforest is home to a hardwood species called Pao Rosa. The wood has a light red to reddish brown colour, hence its name. We don't know why Aimé Guerlain picked this name for his fragrance, as the olfactive diagram doesn't list any woody notes, but maybe he just thought it would be pretty for a fresh rose scent. Guerlain has recently reused the name Pao Rosa for one of its Shine Automatique lipstick shades.

The choice of including Pao Rosa in the vintage perfume set was actually determined by the fact that its bottle, a glass carafe with hand-painted gold ornamentation, is exhibited at Maison Guerlain’s bottle museum. Thierry Wasser explains that he wanted Guerlain lovers to be able to experience all the historic scents corresponding to the bottles on display. Around 1900, before Guerlain began to focus more intensely on bottle designs, all fragrances were sold in standardized bottles like the one for Pao Rosa. Shapes were rounded or square variants and often had the fragrance name painted directly onto the glass. The square model, generally mentioned as the "apothecary bottle", is the best known because it used to house Jicky when it first appeared.

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