Vol de Nuit (1933)
    by Guerlain




    Average Rating: 4

    Based on 355 ratings
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    Vol de Nuit Fragrance Notes

    Vol de Nuit information

    Named after the novel of the same name by poet and aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The perfume is "a tribute to women who like to take risks."

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    $102.38*
    93ml EdT
    (*converted from GBP 61.20)

    Reviews of Vol de Nuit


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    Showing 1 to 6 of 67 reviews.

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Woody Oriental

    Vol de Nuit is an odd experience for me, especially in light of other Guerlain classics like Mitsouko, Shalimar, and Apres l’Ondee. I love the sharp galbanum laden opening, and the transition to plush, semi-sweet iris and vanilla is a delightful surprise. The drydown of lingering vanilla with dark spices is a treat as well. What’s so funny, you ask? The whole thing zips by in less than half an hour on my skin. And that’s in pure parfum concentration! Am I anosmic to most of Vol de Nuit’s development, or is this time lapse perfumery? I don’t suppose I’ll ever know.

    Ephemeral as it is, I give Vol de Nuit a thumbs up because, like a rainbow or a butterfly, it’s beautiful while it lasts.

    09 July, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    This is the ultimate balsamic green oriental chypre. It opens up with a fleeting note of bergamot, the same stinky grade of bergamot used in Jicky and Shalimar, but it is gone before your brain even registers it properly. Then, the greenness comes. Let me be clear about this type of greenness. It is not green as in the sappy, spring green of scents such as Le Temps d'Une Fete, or sharp and citric as in Cristalle. It will not put a spring in your step or keep you awake. It is not a shot of vitamins to your arm. The galbanum here is not used to create that ice-picky sharpness and unfriendliness you get in the opening of Chanel No. 19. Rather, it is the homely smell of winter greens simmered long and slow on the stove. It is the gray-blue green of the shadow cast by an oak tree in the middle of a forest. It is all softness and collapsing warmth. Oakmoss adds character, but it is not the inky, bitter blackness that provides other chypres with their backbone - here it is a sprinkling of woodiness and salt in the gentle green.

    The heart is a shimmering accord built mainly out of narcissus absolute, specifically the jonquil type, or common daffodil. The smell is earthy, green-gold, and slightly animalic. The jonquil is supported by a smattering of aldehydes, just enough to provide a subtle lift to the general earthiness, and a sprinkle of spices (I would guess a gentle warming spice such as nutmeg or clove). Interestingly, the narcissus absolute itself can throw out little shoots of what feels like jasmine and hyacinth. It is not an overwhelmingly floral smell, to be honest. Vol de Nuit is always quite earthy, mulchy, brown leaf green and gently spicy/woody.

    What's more, despite the small shifts in tone owing to the jonquil absolute, Vol de Nuit remains essentially the same from top to bottom - a gentle, earthy green balsamic fragrance. It doesn't evolve much. I see what Luca Turin means when he says that Vol de Nuit is a somewhat boneless fragrance, because it seems to be entirely composed of heart and base notes, all of which rise to your nose pretty much at the same time. The chypre dressings here are either too brief (the fleeting bergamot) or too soft (the gentle use of galbanum and oakmoss) to provide much of the traditional iron rod backing to the fragrance. This is a positive, to my nose - the inky bitterness of traditional chypres is not missed here. But is it an oriental? I am not entirely sure of its oriental credentials either, to be honest - the supposed vanilic amber and sandalwood in the base is not at evident to my nose at all.

    Anyway, enough about the notes. I don't want to miss the woods for the trees. The moving parts of Vol de Nuit don't matter, it's the total effect and feel that's important. This fragrance, out of all the great Guerlains, is the most "me". It is not as challenging or as shape-shifting as Mitsouko, but it is nonetheless complex. It is not as sweet or as smoky as Shalimar, but it is still sexy in its own earthy way. It is outdoorsy and natural, but at the same time, impossibly grand. It is gently green-grey, calming, grounding - almost motherly in its embrace - and therefore acts an a magic elixir on frazzled nerves. It feels ancient and modern at the same time, both co-existing with everyday activities and zoning out the white noise of life. I love it and don't ever want to be without it. I have small samples of the EDT and the parfum, which is use layered with each other for body and longevity, and I plan to get larger decants when I run out.

    14 May, 2014

    Lisa DP's avatar



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    The story behind this perfume is as beautiful as the fragrance is. I believe the makers at Guerlain were inspired by the book Vol De Nuit (Night Flight) by Antoine de Saint- Exupéry. The book poses Man's omnipresent dilemma, "We don't ask to be eternal. What we ask is not to see acts and objects abruptly lose their meaning. The void surrounding us then suddenly yawns on every side." Like the book, Vol De Nuit by Guerlain is a masterpiece. It is so feminine and intimate, and I marvel and the opinions below that Vol De Nuit is unisex. I wear it only to bed, as there are some things that are too beautiful to share with anyone but your loved one.

    21st February, 2014

    Primrose's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is one of my go-to scents, and it sits out in the open with my regular rotation of scents. This is not a novelty for me. When I cannot decide on what I "feel" like wearing, I tab on some of this perfume. (I don't use the EDT.) It's green and fresh with the galbanum but warm with the vanilla notes in the drydown. There are also hints of something leathery. Very much a classic Guerlain, so if you prefer citruses and fruity florals, this may not be for you. This is truly a unisex, and it is warm and elegant.

    01st December, 2013

    dlane1953's avatar

    United States United States

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    Austere beauty, perfectly balanced

    I received a sample of the vintage formula from a friend and it's so lovely that words can't really capture it's beauty. Every stage of development is so smoothly blended and balanced, so well-rounded, that sampling is really an interesting experience.

    The opening is green but not sharp; the sweetness of the orange keeps the fragrance soft. (As a comparison, I think of Chanel #19's bitter galbanum, these 2 interpretations of the note are worlds apart.) The heart notes are equally soft and feminine; the iris adds a slightly powdery touch but what really comes to the forefront is the narcissus, sharpened by a touch of aldehydes. I had to sample this four times before I could really pick out the aldehydes, they're subtle but add a touch of brightness to the sweet florals. The drydown retains the sweetness of the orange and narcissus, but develops into a mossy, woody delight with great lasting power.

    I can't compare this to anything else I've ever tried, it's one of a kind. Vol de Nuit has an austere sort of beauty that's similar to Mitsouko in a way but is warmer, more approachable. So subtle and elegant that I think of Grace Kelly when I wear this; it's the perfume equivelent of that kind of graceful perfection.

    Sillage is low (for the EDT) longevity excellent, about 8 hours if sprayed generously. I want to find the EDP or the perfume, I think the sillage would be much improved. I'm not eager to try the newer formulation; Mitsouko has been ruined over the years, and I wonder if this frag has suffered as well.

    Pros: Soft, well balanced, elegant, cool and austere.
    Cons: Not a "statement" frag, but all that much better for it."

    20th September, 2013

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    Warm, vanilla-amber infused leather

    This is a reaction to the vintage edt. It goes on warm and inviting, vanilla and amber-infused leather are swirled in a very light sandalwood mist with the green of galbanum just peeking through.

    It is a very comforting fragrance and very subtle. If you spray an arm, you can't detect it unless you bring that arm to your nose -and there it is, lovely and re-assuring.

    The cons are that it has that poor sillage and that the longevity is no more than an hour on me. This would certainly be a negative for those of us who want to smell our scents, to have them make a statement on our skin.

    This strikes me more as a lovely base upon which to build a scent, not a scent in and of itself. I detect its notes as the base of my favorite masculine Guerlain, Heritage.

    Notes: Bergamot, Galbanum, Petitgrain

    Jasmine, Daffodil, Spice

    Sandalwood, Orris, Vanilla, Amber, Oakmoss, Benzoin, Musk, Ambergris, Castoreum

    Pros: The original warm amber and woods combo
    Cons: Poor sillage and longetivity, better as a base than a finished scent"

    18 September, 2013

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