The fresher top notes are almost certainly gone in my vintage sample, so on me the opening is a dyad of civet and rose. The civet is soft, rounded and dark, natural and with a touch of sweetness that seamlessly blends with the dark sweetness of the Windsor-style rose in the background. The drydown presents with a harsher birch tar note, reminiscent of Creed's Cuir de Russie but now lacking its fresher components. A raw, dark-earthy Molinard-style raw vetiver then comes to the fore, which later on merges with a dark ands surprisingly soft patchouli. The overall tone is brooding and dark - age probably emphasises these elements.
Now to the base, where I initially get a brighter leather note - a bit like fresh chamois gloves, which later takes on a dark and honeyed character of old Veldtshoen that have been waxed recently. This honey is quite persistent throughout the base, where a sombre musk appears that is beautifully complimented by a gorgeously natural and archetypical oak moss as backbone of this phase.
The performance is magnificent: moderate sillage with good projection, and a sheer amazing longevity of thirteen hours on my skin, albeit for the last four hours very close to my skin.
Apparently Jacques Guerlain was inspired by Egypt when he created Djedi. Whilst, of course, no fragrance can even dream to do justice to one of the greatest cultures in human history, this fragrance is one of the great oriental leather chypres of the last hundred years.
Well, I'm having a totally different experience from the others here...I got my sample from theperfumedcourt and I'm not entirely certain if it's the reissue or the original-formula since it's not labelled "Vintage" but either way this smells very good. It smells almost like some sweet food I ate years and years ago and I can't recall exactly what food it was. I think that's the sandalwood, oakmoss, and vetiver making an unexpected syrupy almost cinnamon-like accord (natural warm cinnamon, not the ground-up spicy stuff in the spice aisle.) Others on that-site-that's-trying-to-be-Basenotes have mentioned the same syrup sweetness so at least I'm not the only one in the world. There are some florals but they're not distinct to me. In the background I get occasional whiffs of leather and slight mustiness, but in my opinion I think the fragrance would be better if those notes were stronger to cut some of the syrupy scent.
Djedi is a bit more linear than other Guerlains I've tried, but it certainly does travel from a unique beginning to a nice soft end. There's a touch of Guerlinade peeking through but then again I knew what to look for. It's more subtle an accord than in many of their other fragrances. Djedi is also very long-lasting on me, as all Guerlains seem to be with my chemistry, and seems like it projects well.
Overall as others have said this is a remarkable scent, very unlike anything else out there (haven't tried the oft-compared Onda but I can't imagine it being even close to identical based on the note pyramid). This is a smell to wear just for yourself. It's not for wearing to work, it's not even for wearing around your husband or wife, at least in my opinion, unless you choose to wear it together in a bizarre bonding moment. I'm glad to try it but it's like a book that I can finish, glad to have the unique experience, but not unhappy to die having read it only once.
NOW, I know what everyone's been talking about: Djedi is unlike any other fragrance I've ever experienced, bar none. I won't rhapsodize on the elements of this fragrance; the folks below have done so eloquently.
What I will share are my associations to this fragrance: When I was a small child, I ventured away from a family picnic on a bright, crystal clear ,hot summer day. I was probably three years old at the time and before I was brought back to my family, I had ventured under a telephone pole with bright, sparkling-blue insulator caps and the steamy smell of creosote pervaded that spot; it was a joyful and yet melancholy moment for me and Djedi took me back there in an instant.
But, Djedi goes even further for me: Djedi is primal and limbic to the core; I can see why people have such intense reactions to this fragrance; I believe my reactions are less about my childhood memory and more about an olfactory archetype. I think this fragrance evokes the deepest fears, hopes and dreams of my childhood and...before that. That is why it is both strange and familiar to me; comforting and disturbing; joyful and morbid. Djedi is like the "Lucy" and "Ginko tree" of scent; it feels like the progenitor of later scents.
And if you want to trace a direct line offspring, follow this: Dejedi of 1927 bore Vetiver (J P Guelain) in 1961. After you have experienced Dejedi, Vetiver seems downright tame.
10th June, 2010 (last edited: 28th January, 2011)
In the top I get some hesperidic notes that havent withstood the passing of time very well, then, vaguely, a sharply green note that might be oakmoss or vetiver. Mostly, however, the scent is dry and smoky in a way that reminds me of the smell of wool. It feels dense and flat and muted - it stays very close to the skin with non-existent sillage and doesn't develop much over time either. It's like it never warms or blossoms on my skin. I'm sad to say it doesn't do much for me and although it was interesting to smell I'm not as sorry it's discontinued as a lot of people are. In the interest of dosclosure, though, I only have a tiny sample and it might be better sprayed.
This review is for the 1996 reissue, not the original 1926 version. I've tried samples of the '26 from two different sources but I'm not certain either of them are sufficiently 'fresh' enough to give a fair review.
The 1996 reissued Djedi is without any question perfect in every possible way, and if there's any one fragrance I could wear every day for the rest of my life it would be Djedi. Djedi is a fragrance so packed with subtlety yet comes off as effortless and simple. The theme is simple: vetiver and sandalwood. The opening is a dark, pungent smoky vetiver that rivals the vetiver note of any of today's vetiver heavy-hitters. Behind the vetiver is a woodiness that reminds me of a much, much richer version of Floris Vetiver's vetiver/wood accord. Over a couple hours the vetiver slowly melds into the most rich and fantastic leathery sandalwood accord with hints of oakmoss and other woody notes in the background. The woody aroma is rich and full, and it rivals any sandalwood or leather scent I've ever experienced. To have the best of vetiver and the best of sandalwood in a single fragrance is truly remarkable. I assume that today with the unavailability of true mysore sandalwood a fragrance like Djedi would not be possible.
Here's the best part of Djedi: the way it wears. Obviously getting any quantity is hard to come by and it cannot be wasted. Luckily Djedi knows for itself how precious it is. One spray and a couple dabs with a Q-tip creates sufficient sillage to surround the wearer in a bubble of heavenly aroma all day. The longevity is truly extraordinary, and I hope to someday (soon....heheh...) have enough Djedi such that just once I can go wild applying it and allow it to penetrate and envelop my entire body. I anticipate it being a religious experience.