Jacques Guerlain 1936
Family: floral, aldehydic, oriental
Shining jasmine star
Period: The flight 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.

Véga, composed by Jacques Guerlain in 1936, was named after one of the most luminous stars in our Sun's neighbourhood. The fascination with astronomy and outer space was prevalent in the late thirties. In 1997, Véga was reissued in a limited edition, featuring a Baccarat copy of the original Art Deco bottle, the "inkwell" bottle whose sphere-shaped stopper when seen from above, resembles a star with its circumstellar swirl of cosmic dust. Some people may be familiar with the fragrance, since it has been available as an Eau de Toilette for some years in the Vintage Collection. This collection unfortunately has been abandoned due to low demand. Thierry Wasser's re-created version, currently available at Maison Guerlain for testing, is made directly from Jacques Guerlain's handwritten directions, which were always for a Parfum.

After Liu, Véga was Jacques Guerlain's second attempt to excel in the floral aldehyde genre. While the naked coolness of Liu was obviously modelled after Chanel's cult perfume No.5, the inspiration for Véga, with its far more burning heart of narcotic flowers and sandalwood, could perhaps be linked to Chanel's Bois des Îles. However, unlike the latter which was promoted as the world's first woody perfume for women, Véga is not very light, but based on the grand musky-ambery-powdery leitmotif of Jacques Guerlain. Yet it's a long way from his dreamy and cushiony L'Heure Bleue. Véga is literally drenched in jasmine from top to bottom, richly flowery and warm. The way that this jasmine, as well as rose, ylang-ylang and orange blossom, are made to sparkle with aldehyde, imparts a lively, unsentimental, stylized elegance. Véga smells like thirties' Hollywood stars and smoky jazz clubs.

Compared to the 1997 reissue of Véga Parfum, the re-created vintage version doesn't feel far removed. It may indicate that Véga's formula is not too dependent on restricted materials, or that the heavy weight of the jasmine drowned out eventual flaws. However, as is true of all the perfumes in Thierry Wasser's vintage sample set, the bergamot appears fruitier, darker, more rounded, and the musk richer, deeper and more enveloping, all of which stems from the fact that these sample versions have materials that are no longer used in commercial perfumery. Read more about Véga

Back to vintages      Back to perfumes