This is a review for the current EDP, which I love. Of course, it is neither as potent nor as strange as the vintage juice, but it is still a heady and captivating blend of notes. I actually prefer Jicky to Shalimar, which is famously said to have been the result of Jacques Guerlain's adding an overdose of vanillin to a bottle of Jicky.
Jicky is complex and intriguing to my nose, even if it lacks the oomph of yesteryear. I doubt that I'll ever invest in a current extrait version, considering the expense:reformulation ratio, but this EDP suits me just fine.
12th March, 2016 (last edited: 19th March, 2016)
Oh, Jicky! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to come around to your charms, but here I am. As androgynous and timeless as a pair of blue jeans, Guerlain Jicky was born in 1889 which makes it the oldest perfume in the world that’s still in production today.
There is shock value to Jicky, even today. That clash of the citrus/aromatics (the bergamot and lavender) with the creamy civet-tonka feels all kinds of wrong at first, to the point you wonder what the hell the perfumer was thinking. But Guerlain built its reputation on such sly dissonance, the clashing of fronts in a perfume to cause tension. As with Shalimar, there’s a typical cycle of repulsion, then attraction, repulsion again, and then finally, a sort of an incredulous addiction to the stuff. Jicky is habit-forming.
I’ve always had a bit of Jicky around, in various forms – the EDT, the PDT, and samples of the parfum in particular. But Jicky famously differs from concentration to concentration - even more so than the other Guerlain classics - so it’s taken me until now to find the exact formula of Jicky to make me fall in love. I recently got a hold of a sample of the current EDP, and bam! That was my Eureka moment with Jicky.
In a way, Jicky benefited from my neglect over the years. I tend to overthink the Guerlain classics, worrying about their details and nuances based on concentration, age, and back story, which results in me thinking of them rather more as homework than perfume to wear and enjoy every day. All my early energy went into studying Chamade, Shalimar, Mitsouko, Nahema, and L’Heure Bleue – and I strained so hard to understand those weighty volumes that any emotional connection I made to the perfume was difficult; arrived at under duress. Still to this day, I cannot wear any of those perfumes (except Shalimar) without a heavy sense of respect and almost dread. I know the experience is going to be rewarding, but they are almost never immediately satisfying.
Jicky, on the other hand, I never bothered to subject to this rigorous type of inspection. I don’t know why, but perhaps it’s because I had read, early on in my journey, that Jicky was just a simple sketch of a perfume waiting to be made into Shalimar. So I just didn’t bother with it.
But not bothering with it doesn’t mean I didn’t wear it! I wore Jicky, oh yes, I did. I worked my way through sizeable decants of the EDT (sparkling, herbaceous, full of sprightly mischief, but with the civet bluntly exposed, creating a sharply vomitous aroma that I never truly warmed to), the vintage PDT (less civet, funnily enough, and a more classical lavender fougere feel to it which made it perfect for casual beach wear), and a few samples of the modern pure parfum (round, sensual, civet-heavy, truly more oriental in feel than fougere). I enjoyed my small bits of Jicky without ever once feeling to need to own a full bottle of it.
That is, until I discovered Jicky EDP. Jicky in EDP format is the perfect version for me, and I realized very quickly that I would need a whole bottle of it. There is far more civet in the EDP than in the EDT, but it is far better folded into the creamy vanilla and herbs, so it smells both richer and more animalic. The pure parfum dials up the civet a notch further, but I am more comfortable with the civet levels in the EDP: enough to call itself a real presence but not so heavy as to hunt me around the room.
The lively, sparkling fougere feel of the EDT is preserved in the EDP (not lost, like in the pure parfum) but is much punchier and emphatic. The tonka in the base is far creamier and heavier than in the EDT, although the pure parfum is the creamiest of the lot, with a smooth, thick oriental base that is surprisingly close to vintage Shalimar extrait. I call it for the EDP, though, based on value and on the matter of balance between the fougere and animalic elements.
So there it is. Since I’ve gotten my bottle of Jicky, I’ve been wearing it almost every day. It is humble and naturally good-looking, like a well-cut pair of blue jeans. I find it as satisfying as Shalimar but far more versatile and androgynous. It’s funny, but the Guerlains I’ve ignored the most, like Jicky and Apres L’Ondee, are the ones I ultimately find the most rewarding to wear when I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself.
Do I really have to?
This is desert island fragrance for me, hands down. You get the creaturely warmth, the unmistakeable peachy Guerlain house style, and that (for its time) angular lavender. Saving for a bottle of EdP.
Dirty lavender. Jic Jick Jicky... I love that name... like freckles on a smiling face! What remains a major beffudlement in my fragrant journey is how any note pyramid of Jicky excludes lavender. Huh?! In any event, the edt has a titch more vanilla to it than its twin, Mouchoir de Monsieur and the parfum has a bit more vanilla and civet than the edt. My kind of lavender, running a close second to Ungaro II.
These comments relate to iterations available since the 90s. Blissfully ignorant to deep vintage.
I'm 50+, for reference.
Pure sensual pleasure, like burying your nose in the fur of a cat which has been sleeping in a sunny herb garden,and inhaling. Lavender, herbs, vanilla, and comforting animal musk and warmth.