Perfume Directory

Sublime (1992)
by Jean Patou


Sublime information

Year of Launch1992
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 154 votes)

People and companies

HouseJean Patou
PerfumerJean Kerleo
Parent CompanyShaneel Enterprises Ltd > Designer Parfums
Parent Company at launchJean Patou

About Sublime

Sublime is a feminine perfume by Jean Patou. The scent was launched in 1992 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Jean Kerleo

Reviews of Sublime

The Little Arlesienne by Vincent van Gogh 1890
23rd February, 2018
Soft, feminine and refined. Naturally, I loathe it.

Vanilla and a cloud of powder. In a bottle. This is a current edt, so I'm thinking that the vintage has a lot more complexity. For a dirt cheap version of this, try Ciel by Ulric de Varins.
24th May, 2017
Somewhere in the ’90s the chypre fell off the radar. Blame the IFRA, blame Angel (also 1992), blame whoever you like. It went quietly from the pinnacle of chic to over-the-hill faster than you can say ‘mousse de chêne.’

Why and how to restrict perfume materials is a popular if confusing debate today, but in the 70s-90s the discussion of the hazards of aromachemicals and botanicals took place behind closed-doors. The general public didn’t know what went into perfumes in the first place or who made them, so discussions about restricting oakmoss or refining bergamot had little significance. They did have a stifling effect on perfume composition, though it might not have been readily apparent in 1992.

Chypre perfumes tend to have a strong presence and it’s easy to characterize the eras of the chypre. The ur-chypre by Coty and the seminal chypre by Guerlain, Mitsouko. The animalic chypres of the ’40s (eg. Miss Dior). The moonlit floral chypres of the ’50s (Jolie Madame.) The aldehydic and green chypres of the ’60s (Calèche and YSL Y ), the liberated chypres of the ’70s (Aromatics Elixir and Diorella) and the roaring rose chypres of the ’80s (La Nuit and Parfum de Peau).

But the chypre seemed to lose its identity in the ’90s. It was seen as both suffocating and passé when compared to the self-effacing new style of ’90s perfumes and their notes of air, water, light and apology. After the loud florals and orientals of the ’80s, modernity in perfume came to be synonymous with minimalism and the chypre became synonymous with old-fashioned. Traditional perfumes became outmoded and ‘classical’ perfumery started to seem like bad Hollywood Regency–stylistically overburdened yet without the saving grace of true kitsch.

The 1990s chypre-style, if there was one, played with the chypre’s affinity for fruit notes. YSL Yvresse (Champagne) 1992, Nina Ricci Deci Delà 1994 and Cartier So Pretty 1995 split the difference between the chypre and sweet fruity-florals of the day. Hybrids such as these aim for the best of both worlds. The risk is that they lack synergy and simply combine notes and materials from each genre. These three were famously successful but have been discontinued, I suppose pointing out another risk: that even a successful hybrid might not be popular enough to stay afloat.

Sublime has a finger in so many different pies that the term hybrid doesn’t quite capture it. Chypre? Oriental? Woody Floral? Yes, and then some. I think of it as a Resinous Woody Chypre. Cop-out? Sure, but it fits. It’s also fruity, floral and powdery. Powder over woods creates a sweet-tart dynamic similar to the vetiver-vanilla dissonance of Habanita, but in Sublime it is quieter, less stark. Mandarin and ylang ylang give Sublime a lusher feel than the expectable bergamot/white floral found in many chypres. It follows a long arc and the drydown takes its time arriving. Atypical for a ’90s perfume, the basenotes are the most complex part of the perfume. Resinous woods define the drydown–vetiver, patchouli, and especially sandalwood–but amber, musk and civet keep the woods from growing sharp. The pillow-soft drydown is classically proportioned and has the diaphanous depth of traditional woody orientals like Vol de Nuit and Bois des Isles.

Unfortunately it’s no surprise that Sublime sputtered and stalled. It wasn’t bad–not by a longshot–but it was seen as irrelevant when held to the growingly detached, hygienic aesthetic that would come to define the 1990s. Viewed on its own merits, Sublime is a history lesson on the genre by one of the 20th century’s strongest classicists and historians, Jean Kerléo. It is also urges speculation as to where the chypre genre might have gone if materials restriction hadn’t hobbled it.

Whether you like traditional chypres or not, if you’d like a tour through the history of French perfumery in a single bottle, try vintage Sublime. It illustrates the techniques and ideals of a century of perfumery and who better to conduct the tour than Kerléo, founder of Osmothèque?

21st June, 2016

Intimately sensual,profoundly feminine.the name of this perfume describes the scent just perfectly: SUBLIME.A true classic and one of my favorites. SUBLIME reminds me of the luminous moon and it is are attracted to it like bees to honey and women never fail to express admiration and ask "what is that fabulous perfume you are wearing"? Elegant,Fantastical,Sensual, Ladylike,Classy,Rich and Refined Elegance.

A fresh and rich opening of bergamot,mandarin orange and coriander permeate ones senses,while the deep and sensual civet develops heightening the is jointed by the musk,amber,vetiver,tonka bean and sandalwood to create an unforgettable experience of sheer bliss for the fortunate is not overpowering but an sophisticated and elegantly sexy scent.

Only the assured ladies need apply it.SUBLIME will always make you think of nights spent getting ready for fancy dinner parties and unforgettable moments with your lover.It is so chic and reminds me a dandy french lady.suitable for COLD weather.It is also a favorite choice for a date night.If you are looking for a subtly sexy in a come-hither way you are exactly at the right place.


Longevity?Excellent on my skin.

01st June, 2015
Notes according to Fragrantica:
Top: Coriander, Mandarin, Green Notes, Bergamot, Orange
Middle: Carnation, Lily, Orris Root, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rose, Orange Blossom
Base: Sandalwood, Tonka, Amber, Musk, Civet, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Cedar, Styrax

Notes regarding some other reviews here:

- I never detected any patchouli, and certainly no pineapple (esters) in Sublime. Nor nutmeg either to my nose, while the beautiful styrax resin is probably to blame for any cinnamon effect noted.
- The dissonance some others may be experiencing in the top notes is likely due to the fresh citrus and herbs having degraded over the years. The top accord in the new juice is gorgeous and will also only remain so for a limited time.
- I do get a slight aldehyde effect shimmering into the heart. I normally dislike aldehydes but in this composition it works brilliantly.
- The range of reviews is probably due to reformulation.

(Vintage EdT) This is an absolutely stunning woody chypre-floriental in the grand tradition, very potent and longlasting. Jean Kerleo was at his peak in creating such a beautiful balance between dry cedar, oakmoss, civet and coriander on one side, and rich rose, ylang ylang, jasmine, carnation, amber, and musk on the other. A wonderful mandarin-orange accord lends brightness to the opening, while the roots of vetiver and orris give backbone, and vanilla, tonka, and styrax provide rich depth. The orris is not a soapy "iris" at all, but earthy and rooty (obviously a high-quality butter), reducing the edibility of the vanilla. Sandalwood (probably Mysore) and civet adhere the many contrasting facets together. Vintage Sublime EdT is a huge and heady adventure of many beautiful phases, with subtle shading in coolness and warmth in its long development. My favorite part may actually be the glowing yet dry finish of sandalwood, cedar, vanilla, and musk. I especially appreciate the chypre accord as it eschews the typical powdery peach (undecalactone) of the classic chypres, while retaining a wicked smack of oakmoss. The sweetness of the florals, sandalwood, and amber are very balanced by dry resins and animalics, yet Sublime is still feminine in character. I can see why the box is yellow and gold -- Sublime is like an exquisitely, intricately embroidered golden pillow. Don't overapply -- the composition blooms hugely after the beautiful bright top notes burn off.

(2000s EdT) A shadow of its former self. Thumbs decidedly down on this cheap, flat, overly sweet floriental with an unpleasant petroleum/plastic accord in the drydown, probably some synthetic sandalwood replacement P&G tried to pass off. Shameful.

(2013 EdP) Patou's new perfumer has claimed to return to the original formula for this bottling, with the maitre himself Jean Kerleo assisting in finding replacements for the rare and precious ingredients used in the 90s original. Far more a dry, animalic chypre than the vintage EdT, the civet in this juice pops from the very outset. (The citrus is of course far fresher and more vibrant than any vintage juice, truly beautiful.) I'm assuming the bitter, strident accord running through the overall composition is a combination of vetiver and Evernyl, the newish atropine-free oakmoss material. It's an interesting and bold experience, reminiscent of several expensive niche fragrances currently on the market, but utterly lacks the grandeur and scale of the vintage EdT. I think it might be completely missing the sandalwood (S. album), as there is a certain creamy sweetness binding the vintage juice together that is totally lacking here, while an unwelcome, anemic driftwood effect typical of Australian sandalwood (S. spicatum) takes its place. The florals are more muted as well; I'm missing the sweet, pure glints off the panes of synthetics like what was probably hydroxycitronellal, along with the jasmine at al. Not sure how much can be attributed to 20 years of masceration and how much to differing ingredient sourcing, but to my nose this is a very different perfume than my bottle and mini of vintage EdT.

Can't wait to try the vintage EdP! I've never seen the extrait.

I heard a rumor that Jean Kerleo had the name of a Greek goddess or something as the working title of the perfume, but Patou's marketing department didn't bite. As sublime as it is, I do find the name a bit vague for a composition so breathtaking and epic. Wearing Sublime is like reading a great, absorbing novel filled with an ensemble of colorful, multifaceted characters and with a plot that still delivers suprises and satisfaction alike upon multiple readings. Vintage Sublime (I've only tried the EdT) is by all means one of the great perfumes of the 20th century. Thank you so very much Mssr. Kerleo!
17th December, 2014 (last edited: 31st December, 2014)
My first reaction to Sublime on my skin was a mix of lovely (warm vanilla amber) and nasty (a sharp, peppery, metallic under note).

The negative note reminded me of my reaction to Oud, which I loathe, but this is not part of the make-up of this scent. The nearest possibility is the civet, which could equate to another Basenoter's reaction to cat urine in one of the other reviews on this page.

The nasty base note takes it out of the running for a thumbs up for me. Even were it not present, the creamy vanilla amber sandalwood main notes are not distinctive or unique enough to warrant top praise. It's a scent that can go either way with the wearer.

Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Coriander
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Orris, Ylang, Carnation, Muguet
Base notes: Sandalwood, Cedar, Styrax, Civet, Amber, Vanilla, Musk, Vetiver, Tonka

Obviously, this is one that deserves a small sample test before commitment to buying.

25th November, 2014

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Jean Patou Sublime Perfume 2.5oz Eau De Parfum MSRP $140 NIB

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