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  1. #1

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    After over four years of mad scent shopping and exploration I suddenly have a feeling that I'm quite happy with what I've got and have found again the scents that started my journey - the Classic Guerlains. I have been wearing them again lately and marvelled at their timeless beauty and perfection.

    The big turning point in my perfume collecting/madness was when I bought my first Guerlain in 2002. At that point I already had a small collection, it consisted of Bulgari Black, Coco, Égoïste, Live Jazz, Sonia Rykiel, Sublime, Yohji, Yohji Homme (there might have been more but those are the ones I remember) but I decided I wanted to buy "a Classic" and I was pondering between Chanel no 5 and Shalimar, two biggies & bestsellers since the Twenties.

    When testing the two simultaneously, Shalimar won hands down. I asked the SA's opinion (which I rarely do) and she preferred Shalimar, too. The funniest thing was she didn't recognize it because it was so soft on my skin while no 5 was instantly recognizable and its usual self. So Shalimar it was. I loved Shalimar so much I read everything about it I could find on the internet and wanted to try other Golden Age Guerlains, too.

    The next one I got was L'Heure Bleue which I instantly recognized as the scent my first teacher wore. I was always looking forward the moment she would lean on my desk and I could take a deeep sniff. It did (and still does) make me feel all is well in the universe. L'HB is the most emotionally charged of Jacques Guerlain's scents. I love the story how one summer evening, during "the blue hour" he was overcome by such an intense turmoil he could only express it in perfume.

    Uncle Aimé's Jicky was the next step. I still didn't have a credit card then so I had to order it at Stockmann (the local department store) who got it from France. Every single time I wear Jicky I marvel how timeless and "modern" a fragrance launched in 1889 can be! Jicky is a true never-fail fragrance, it has it all!

    Mitsouko, probably the most legendary Fruity Chypre ever, was the difficult one. It took six test-drives before Mitsouko accepted me. On the first five testings it was simply nasty, very cat-peeish. I gave up many a time but because it was a creation of "St Jacques" (that's how I call Jacques Guerlain, no mere mortal could have created that amount of otherwordly beautiful and unique scents) I couldn't give up. My patience was finally awarded and nowadays we get along smoothly. Mitsouko has character, you have to be in the mood for it.

    Vol de Nuit was instant love for me and it has loved me back. One of the loveliest Woody Orientals there is. Last summer I packed it with me for a work trip and it was a perfect choice: elegant and confident with just the right amount of mystery.

    Way too long I dismissed Après l'Ondée as a dress rehearsal for L'Heure Bleue. I got my tester bottle from a sale just for the sake of getting it and when I wore it for the first time, I found how lovely it is. Much more Floral and "romantic" than my usual favourites but a delight to wear, very "fragile and feminine", ethereal Sylphide scent.

    No matter how much I love my Annick Goutals, Carons, CdGs, Etros, Gobin Daudés, L'Artisans, Serge Lutenses and all others, these six are what I always return to.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  2. #2

    CoL's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Wonderful post Tigs and so true!

    I quickly became a Guerlain addict a few years back when I re-tried the amazing Habit Rouge and then Jicky. I have so many now and wouldn't part with a one of them!


  3. #3

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Thanks, CoL!

    "There is a light that never goes out..."
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  4. #4
    Lean in closer, dear
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Beautiful thoughts. We appreciate that you were moved to remind us about St. Jacques. I, too, am in awe of the timelessness of Jicky.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Great, post! This thread looks very promising indeed! :-)

    I found the Guerlains as my first fragrances, and I am afraid I just never moved on from there. I love other classics too, but the Guerlains have a complexity I don't find anywhere else.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Yes, Tiggy, beautiful, elequent post! You hit the nail on the head. Of course you know that I've been a Guerlainaholic for quite some time, too. No. 5, No. 22, Parure, Shalimar, Jicky, Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit, and L'Heure Bleue are in my collection. I've pretty much come to a dead end in my collection and am enjoying what I have (and giving the ones I simply don't like at all to my husband, who uses them as car deodorizers). MItsouko is just not me and when I get around to it, I'll put it a post in the swap meet.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    No matter how much I love my Annick Goutals, Carons, CdGs, Etros, Gobin Daudés, L'Artisans, Serge Lutenses and all others, these six are what I always return to.
    It's so interesting you say that, because I keep thinking that it's so futile with the infinite number of perfumes out there, to even begin to know what to get, etc. But I really think that I would be perfectly content if I limited my perfume buying to Guerlain. Lord knows that won't actually happen, but it certainly is a thought

  8. #8

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    I too love Guerlain and have a bunch of them. I started with Shalimar because my Mom wore it and therefore I knew I liked it. I replaced several bottles that I used up over time. My next Guerlain was Nahema which I could not find in the USA and had to buy overseas (pre-Internet). Again I have had several bottles. More recently I have discovered and loved Vol de Nuit and Mistsouko.

    I am still having a problem with L'Heure Bleue which my mind tells me I really should love. I own a bottle and am waiting to to open my eyes one morning and say to myself: "duh, what was my problem?".

    What is amazing is how different all of these scents are while at the same time thay seem to have that common Guerlain feel. Guerlain is fabulous.

    Krysia

  9. #9

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    The classic Guerlains are really more like scent poems than anything else. You can't just spritz them on like some Escada-of-the-year and run off to the beach party. You have to listen to them carefully and when you do, you and those around you become, well, captivated! My whole family have become classic Guerlain addicts. I do wear other scents, particularly when I'm in a rush or want something simple I don't have to think about much, but the old Guerlains are in a class by themselves, and whenever I'm alone and contemplating life the universe, I'm wearing one of them. Thanks for your wonderful essay, you really said it well!

  10. #10

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    Though I love Caron scents as much as Guerlains, to me the difference is that Carons are somehow more prestigious, more demanding, more "special occasion".

    To me the big part of the beauty of Guerlains is their accessibility and wearability: they are for everyone and work with casual clothing, you can even wear them with jeans if you want to and feel like it.

    Classic Chanel scents are unquestionably great but the problem for me is that I find them distant: they demand immaculate, almost military spotless whiter than white elegance, you've got to be "perfect" to wear them and I'm not that perfect, far from it. I find Guerlains (and even Carons) much more friendly and "forgiving".
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  11. #11

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Guerlain is almost a white, undiscovered spot on my fragrance map. And for some reason I keep pushing their fragrances in front of me instead of ordering some decants and try them out. The only ones I'm familiar with are Habit Rouge (I have no idea what concentration), Vetiver and L'Instant pour Femme. I think that is it.

    I get intimidated when I check out the list of fragrances this house is responsible for. The heavy names and the amount of them! Enough to get me scared...
    Last edited by shifts; 3rd July 2006 at 09:38 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Quote Originally Posted by tigrushka
    To me the big part of the beauty of Guerlains is their accessibility and wearability: they are for everyone and work with casual clothing, you can even wear them with jeans if you want to and feel like it.
    I agree the Guerlains have more of a bohemian, almost "arty" quality to them.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Thanks for the lovely post! You sum up so many things that are special about this house, and about the scents! Guerlain is, and I think will always be, the house that fascinates me the most. Jicky is special for me, since it was the first perfume that, just by its name and the story around it, had me interested in the history and power of a perfume. I ordered the EdT blind just to own it, and my first thought (when I had got over that it didn´t come in the same shape as the perfume bottle...stupid unexperienced me), was "when dare I wear this". I have become braver with it. I wear it now and then, and I enjoy wearing it more and more. Shalimar is the lovliest of the ones I know. Especialy since I got to know the perfume strenght. Actually, it´s either perfume, or Shalimar light for me, if I am going to wear it. I suspect my miniature will last me long; I find it so rich, only little drop is needed every time. I so agree with what you say about L´Heure Bleu; this perfume is a bottled expression of sentiments, lights, colors, moods. Seriously, there are not many perfumes that have that effect on me. Chamade, though from late 60´s, beneith that sparkling young first impression, posesses the true quality and that unmistakable base structure of a classic old-style Guerlain. My boss, a stylish, slightly excentric, very sweet and hearty lady, has Mitsouko as her signature, so this perfume is very conected with her, and her selection of working-dresses.

    And I just know that I will buy Vol de Nuit and Après L´Ondée blind one of these days

  14. #14

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Wonderful post! I love all these! Mitsouko (parfum) is my favorite, although I probably wear Jicky more (I find it very calming).

  15. #15

    Talking Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    HEY Tigs!

    Just wanted to say it sounds like you've just gotten your MASTERS in Perfume and graduated Magna cum lauda!

  16. #16
    Artisankey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Always love your intelligent posts Tigs!

    Sadly, for me, the only classic Guerlain I can wear is Shalimar- but she never fails to get me at least one compliment every time I wear her. Whenever I wear Shalimar I can't help asking myself, even for just one second, "Why would I ever need another perfume?" Of course I know the answer to that question! However, Shalimar is so beautiful, it's no wonder I always ask the question anyway.

    The House of Caron for me is over-the-top formal. Their fragrances tend to make me feel like a slob- like someone caught picking their nose in the reflection of a gilded mirror (ewwww!) So far I have yet to find one that I feel at home and comfortable in.

    Chanel, on the other hand I find way casual. No 5 parfum? Bois des Iles parfum? Both perfect with a white shirt, jeans, low sandals and wind-blown hair. Funny how we perceive scents!
    Scent is such a lovely, simple pleasure!

  17. #17
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    Smile Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Quote Originally Posted by tigrushka

    Classic Chanel scents are unquestionably great but the problem for me is that I find them distant: they demand immaculate, almost military spotless whiter than white elegance, you've got to be "perfect" to wear them and I'm not that perfect, far from it. I find Guerlains (and even Carons) much more friendly and "forgiving".
    I totally agree on this!

    I have yet many Guerlains to try, but my favourite Mitsouko will be hard to beat!
    One I don`t get very well along with is Apres l`Ondee; I find it cloying and sticky, and too much, althou the notes indicate that I should like it...

    Thanks for your post, Tigs! Very enjoyable reading.
    Last edited by musse; 3rd July 2006 at 09:30 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    When I initially tried to love Guerlain I tried the newer fragrances, Samsara (in the early 90s), Champs Elysees and L'Instant. I really liked Samsara and bought a couple of full bottles of it over the years. I tried L'Heure Bleue and found it terrifying. I disliked Champs Elysees and L'Instant, so my interest in Guerlains dwindled. Then I tried Nahema...and Vol de Nuit...and L'Heure Bleue...and Chamade...and Chant d'Aromes and I was blown away. I find Vol de Nuit to be especially exquisite and impelling. Now, L'Heure Bleue is disarming in its ability to stir severe emotions, and it's utterly beautiful.

    I've loved Shalimar my entire life and I don't know when I didn't have a bottle of it. I have Mitsouko parfum, which is in my special cabinet of collectibles. In addition, I love Aqua Allegoria Pampelune, Aqua Allegoria Lavande Velours and Lilia Bella.

    Someday I hope to try Après L'Ondée.

  19. #19

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Thanks for your comments again, nice to see there are so many friends of Guerlain!

    Quote Originally Posted by shifts
    Guerlain is almost a white, undiscovered spot on my fragrance map.
    I highly recommend Jicky to you, Shifts! If you love it, you can progress from there, Shalimar would be the logical next step since its prototype was Jicky spiked with a huge amount of vanillin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Artisankey
    Always love your intelligent posts Tigs!
    Thanks, Key! The feeling is mutual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Artisankey
    The House of Caron for me is over-the-top formal. Their fragrances tend to make me feel like a slob- like someone caught picking their nose in the reflection of a gilded mirror (ewwww!)
    Too funny!!!

    I see Carons more like vintage accessories that are outrageously grand on their own but look fabulous when combined with modern/casual clothes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Artisankey
    Chanel, on the other hand I find way casual. No 5 parfum? Bois des Iles parfum? Both perfect with a white shirt, jeans, low sandals and wind-blown hair. Funny how we perceive scents!
    You said it!

    The only Chanel I could imagine with jeans is Cristalle (which I don't like at all) and even then the shirt and jeans would have to be squeaky clean and freshly ironed... and accessorized with real pearls but yeah, that's just me.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  20. #20
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    ...
    Last edited by pluran; 27th October 2007 at 07:35 AM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Quote Originally Posted by tigrushka
    I highly recommend Jicky to you, Shifts! If you love it, you can progress from there, Shalimar would be the logical next step since its prototype was Jicky spiked with a huge amount of vanillin.
    Thanks a lot for the advice! I've seen a fragrance store here carrying some Guerlains and I'll go there later on today to seek out what they have there. I also forgot to write in agreement with the others that the first post of yours is EXCELLENT and very inspiring. Thanks!

  22. #22

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Shifts, here's the Jicky/Shalimar story in Swedish: http://www.shenet.se/ravaror/vanillin.html

    It's also on Javaslublu: http://www.javaslublu.com/jp/Guerlain/Shalimar.html
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  23. #23

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Quote Originally Posted by tigrushka
    Shifts, here's the Jicky/Shalimar story in Swedish: http://www.shenet.se/ravaror/vanillin.html

    It's also on Javaslublu: http://www.javaslublu.com/jp/Guerlain/Shalimar.html
    Thanks!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Oh buddy, you can't go wrong with Jicky!
    My advice it to test both edt and edp, but imo the latter is the best!

  25. #25

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnifiscent
    Oh buddy, you can't go wrong with Jicky!
    My advice it to test both edt and edp, but imo the latter is the best!
    I have both EdT and PdT (which is discontinued but practically the same as EdP) and must say I prefer the latter, too.

    But Jicky parfum extrait is on the top of my wishlist!
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  26. #26

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    I do agree with all your comments above Tig, especially about the Chanel's
    being somewhat unapproachable. I love Jicky and Shalimar so much, have an on/off relationship with Mitsouko, don't really enjoy Samsara and have just ordered Jardins de Bagatelle off e-bay having sniffed it in France last week.
    Have you tried this one yet? Awesome IMO.

  27. #27

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Quote Originally Posted by kewart
    have just ordered Jardins de Bagatelle off e-bay having sniffed it in France last week.
    Have you tried this one yet? Awesome IMO.
    I have tried JdB but it's a white floral and I rarely like white florals. Same goes for Jean-Paul Guerlain's scents in general: the only ones I like are Habit Rouge (which reminds me of Shalimar Light...) and occasionally Samsara. The rest just don't appeal to me.

    When it comes to Guerlain, Jacques has got my number...
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  28. #28

    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    I am wild for Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, Jicky and L'Heure Bleue! I have mixed rapport with Mitsouko and Chamade. AND I don't think I could be without Vetiver...I layer rose scents with it during the summer.

    Beautiful post and an inspiration for me to "get back to basics" and STOP BUYING!

    "The House of Caron for me is over-the-top formal. Their fragrances tend to make me feel like a slob- like someone caught picking their nose in the reflection of a gilded mirror (ewwww!) So far I have yet to find one that I feel at home and comfortable in.

    Chanel, on the other hand I find way casual. No 5 parfum? Bois des Iles parfum? Both perfect with a white shirt, jeans, low sandals and wind-blown hair. Funny how we perceive scents!"


    I'll say! To me, and ON me, the Chanels are like maniquins...exaggeratedly perfect and cold! Cristalle is the only one I can wear. I find the Carons to be sultry and livelier...Nocturne, Parfum Sacre, Nuit de Noel and Narcisse Noir are very accessible. Farnesiana, too.
    Last edited by Zibeline; 10th July 2006 at 10:28 PM.

  29. #29

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Quote Originally Posted by musse
    One I don`t get very well along with is Apres l`Ondee; I find it cloying and sticky, and too much, althou the notes indicate that I should like it...
    I'm wearing Après l'Ondée today and I think the "difficult" note in it is either cassia flower or the combo of cassia flower and violet because I wore FM Une Fleure de Cassie on Saturday and it has that same smell. There are days when I find it off-putting but sometimes I rather like it. It's very distinctive!
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Going back where it all started: the Classic Guerlains

    Enjoyable post, tigrushka!

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