I have never had the slightest interest in "Heritage", then I read your post. I must smell it now. How fabulous it must be if you can relate it to "Jicky" and "Mochoir de Monsieur"!
Is the name Heritage a direct reference to this fragrance's shared notes of Jicky and MdM? What a magnificent Guerlain!
I have never had the slightest interest in "Heritage", then I read your post. I must smell it now. How fabulous it must be if you can relate it to "Jicky" and "Mochoir de Monsieur"!
I think the name has to do with their tag line: "Héritage, composed by a man of today, inspired by the men of the past and dedicated to the men of the future - marking a whole new stage in man's desire to write his own history" and alludes to the heritage embodied in the great Frenchmen of the past (who certainly would have worn Jicky and Mouchoir!).
I think it just means that it harkens back to classic men's fragrances.
I can't see it relating to Mouchior or Jicky since it doesn't have that nauseating ingredient civet.
A Guerlinade by any other name smells just as sweet...
For me the uniting element in Mouchoir and Jicky is the anise. I know the two share other elements, and their bases are the same similar dense blend, with Mouchoir being a little bit more open.
I've been wearing Jicky for two days now, thinking about this thread, and with a shot of Heritage edp on my wrist tonight it does seem close in construction to Mouchoir, but less to Jicky. More wood to Heritage, but it's also got the same kind of elongated smell--part of the smell at the top of your breath and another part of the smell at the bottom--that Mouchoir masters. Heritage seems so much more sweetness, and to turn on that sweetness, where Mouchoir and Jicky seem to turn on that off-putting almost sour barbed fish hook of a smell, anise.
I know Ruggles isn't suggesting that they're the same, or belong together in a scent category, so I naturally agree with him, but I'm not quite sure if I can see a heritage of Jicky and Mouchoir in Heritage either. Heritage seems warm and wholesome in a way that Jicky and Mouchoir don't. They seem to offer distance, and introspection.
Love 'em all three I say.
That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.
Lavender connects all three, civet and the stronger animalic base as a result of it and other ambery components separate Jicky and Mouchoir de Monsieur definitively from Héritage’s minimal ambery elements, which have hardly any salience aromatically speaking. While Héritage is often classified as a Oriental Ambery fragrance, I think, and many would agree, that Oriental, Woody, Spicy is a better, more multi-dimensional classification.
I've seen Mouchoir de Monsieur categorized as an Aromatic Fougère, but I don't really see the interplay and direct and salient connection between lavender and oakmoss in it. In fact, what Héritage and Mouchoir de Monsieur share is the short duration of the lavender note that doesn't really carry and integrate wholly with the basenote accord and there is certainly no prominence of oakmoss that would really, wholly justify the categorical categorization of Mouchoir de Monsieur as an Aromatic Fougère. As many have noted, Jicky tends to be heavier on the masculine lavender than its brother the Monsieur. The same tendency towards categorical categorization leads many to question, indeed, whether Héritage itself is an Aromatic Fougère or an Oriental when they consider its lavender note. It's oriental in its sweetness (tonka) and spiciness (coriander, pepper, and patchouli), and woody because of the prominence of cedar and patchouli. There's oakmoss is there, but the main interplay is not between lavender and oakmoss; it's between the spicy heart notes and the rich warm vanillic woody base once the quick clarion cry of the lavender is over. The spicy piquancy of the patchouli and the cedar also reiterate the spice notes at the same time that they abate them and smooth them out reinforcing the woody spiceness in an obverse way. This is very, very different to how Jicky and Mouchoir de Monsieur work their magic.
In the final analysis one could split hairs all night long, but I think Chris got it exactly right--as usual--when he spoke about the difference in terms of feel.
If I may be allowed a flight of fancy in taking that difference in feel one step further: I would say that the enveloping warmth of Héritage is the end point and assuredness of substantive bourgeois success and prominence (hence the name Héritage); whereas, the cold distancing feel of Jicky and Mouchoir de Monsieur is the product of the uncertainty of bourgeois success in the tenuous aristocratic fin de siècle world of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Maybe this is the real connection between the three?
Last edited by scentemental; 16th March 2007 at 05:23 AM.
Once I read Jicky was a perfume used by "dandies" of the Fin de siècle. I would rather claim them to be "aristocratics"(type of Des Esseintes in "A rebours" or Andrea Sperelli in "Il piacere"). I doubt that people with "new money", belonging to the bourgeois class, would have worn such an "eccentric" perfume.
But, of course, the difference between Jicky and Mouchoir on the one hand side, and Héritage on the other hand remains. Héritage without a doubt is less experimental - and "self assured" is the right word to describe it. Maybe it (Héritage) symbolizes the switch that has happened in society: "Audacious" (does this word exist) people, "dandies" are no more considerable part of society (now that's an exaggeration, I know). The house of Guerlain "just" made a fragrance for its contemporary clients.
I'd therefore suggest that Héritage - in its idea - isn't a descendant of Jicky and Mouchoir. I'm quite sure that at the moment other houses produce more provocative, "isolating" (from the rest of society), "dandy-style" fragrances. (Certainly some of Serge Lutens and Frédéric Malle. Creed, as much as I love them, seems to be too "established".)
However, I don't have a solution for all that, but I'm very thankful for the previous "postwriters" that have guided my attention to this aspect.
Last edited by DesGrieux; 16th March 2007 at 11:43 AM. Reason: Spelling - Forgive me, I'm German...
I'm still quite new here and haven't even really gotten my feet wet. The above three posts may be a sample of some of the finest writing on the internet. I'll leave it at that. I've felt better but discussion of this type is soothing and educational. Do any of you teach?
must maintain thread consistency so I'm wearing Heritage and will try to find the different notes discussed,
I think that it's impossible to separate the olfactory tradition of a house like Guerlain from its social tradition of catering to the ever evolving nouveau-riche. I find most of Guerlain's creations, up until the LVMH takeover at least, to be steeped in that wonderfully French intellectual/sensual/social conundrum. Jicky and MdM were both products of the new industrial era, its visual symbol being the Eiffel Tower - at once a machine and at the same time art, that created new affluence and new demand for luxury goods.
Fast forward to the recent past: French intellectual thought of the 80's and 90's was steeped in semiotics, post-modernism and deconstruction.
I feel, the aptly named masterpiece Heritage, which was created during the apex of this movement, is a post-modernist riff on the house of Guerlain. The name, Heritage, can be seen as an acknowledgment of its origin, but at the same time a striving to be something new, hence the idea of evolution from Jicky to MdM to Heritage.
To me, Basenotes is certainly a product of the French intellectual movement of post-modernism and deconstruction of tradition. As members of this forum we are involved in the deconstruction of the products of modern society, but at the same time we are also consumers of these products. It's like the hall of mirrors at Versailles.
Thank you Chris for explaining the "almost sour barbed fish hook" scent as anise. I, for one, among many others, have always thought it was the civet and thank you to all the Basenote members for an intellectual workout!
Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 16th March 2007 at 02:48 PM.
I think that from the beginning the house of Guerlain has proved economical cleverness to produce fragrances not only aimed at a rising bourgeois public but also to start an “olfactory partnership” with the crown: Think of Eau de Cologne impériale and many others, for example. As a sidenote: It always reminds me a bit of German conductor Herbert von Karajan, who was able to record for the three major companies of his time (EMI, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon), whereas other artists (think of Maria Callas) were strictly limited to one company.
I agree that the uniqueness of French intellectual production, starting from the sixties, is remarkable and has influenced cultural theories as a whole. But: I don’t believe that disciplines (or let’s say: methods) like deconstruction, intertextuality or analysis of discourses (the Foucault-thing) would be equalled by a fragrance like Héritage. Just to add a bit of irony: Would Roland Barthes or Jaques Derrida have worn Héritage? I personally consider Jicky to be way more modern, more “avantgarde” like than Héritage. I even believe Habit Rouge to be more daring, adventurous. My impression of “self-assuredness” regarding Héritage, which scentemental has described to the point, doesn’t leave me…
Somehow, I think, residing deep inside all revolutionary thinkers, is a classicist. As the saying goes, "each man kills the thing he loves". So, yes, it is more likely that Barthes and Derrida would sport the originally revolutionary, but now, dare I say, classic, Jicky or MdM over the somewhat hackneyed Heritage.
Upon its release, in the early 90's, Heritage must have appeared as a reactionary attempt, by an aging luxury house, to capture refinement, status and good taste. Today, after world history and politics have been de-constructed, Heritage can stand on its own merits as a superb fragrance.
Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 16th March 2007 at 06:32 PM.
I'd love to hear the definitions as you understand them of the word bourgeois, those who used it.
As a member of the bourgeois I appreciate the efforts of Guerlain and wear Heritage with pride.
It will be my SOTD tomorrow.
Last edited by fredricktoo; 16th March 2007 at 08:22 PM.
I love Scentemental's observation, but it occurs to me that the flaw is that really, all applied fragrance products, Guerlain or otherwise, and of any period, can be called bourgeois. Isn't applied fragrance one of the adopted status claims inherent in what's bourgeois? Doesn't fragrance work as a signal to say "see, I'm special, and not of the brutes, I'm classy."
The bourgeoisie has sure been associated with the middle classes and before that the rise of merchants and guild/crafts/artisan economies, but it doesn't just define a class, bourgeois defines some aspirations of those who are part of those social classes. And most simply put, and thus open to huge and multiple qualifications, what is bourgeois is something or someone that has enough status to try to demonstrate how socially high one has gotten, and mostly in the form of imitation. Table manners--look how classy I've taught myself to eat with my utensils--I'm just like aristocrats in the movies! Violence in movies--oh! I'm so offended by these vulgar images, I'm made so virtuous by my disdain for violent things (this cloak of virtue is one of my pet-peeves). And a variety of similar things, often to manufacture virtue or cleanliness being close to godliness or something. Bourgeois is settled and deciding what is the decent thing and doing it. And then moralizing about it. Something pretty much all of us do.
There are specialists in intellectual history on this board and I encourage them to correct me.
Scentemental's post is beautifully fun in how it posits, as a fun line of thought and a great chuckle of insight late in the night for me, that in the stability or standoffishness of scents of different eras, we can come to a conclusion on the state of the bourgeoisie in those eras. Heritage, coming at the end of the century that had the greatest expansion of the bourgeoisie ever known, shows wholehearted contentment. Smell it and smell the leather chair, the wood fire, the brandy snifter (brandy snifter--classy special glass unique to certain beverage, illustration of classiness and dealing with the good things in life just the proper way--very bourgeois. Brandy is a liquid. Put it in any old glass. Just as much fun), the wool sweater and the warm pile lined slippers. Heritage is the arrived and solid bourgeoisie. Trust grandpa, the system surely works if you play by all the decent rules.
But Scentemental suggests that Jicky and Mouchoir represent the disquiet of the bourgeoisie at the beginning of the century that would expand the middle classes so. The end of the monarchies, the Boer War, the breaking down of the Nineteenth century's belief in ever rising moral standards. Conrad's Heart of Darkness, in which Kurtz's last words were "the horror, the horror," and later, when Marlow goes to see Kurtz's sister or cousin or whatever she was, she's dainty and refined and loaded with table manners, and she weeps at Kurtz's death and asks Marlow what his last words were. "Your name," Marlow replies, which comforts her greatly. The name for her and her world were "the horror," I'd argue was Marlow's point, and the horror of the brushing away or hiding the heart of darkness in living and in all of us.
Well, anyway, Scentemental posits the bourgeoisie before the Great War as being quite unsettled. Yup. What happened, but total war came. And social order revolutions like the Russian Revolution, which took itself as a way to get beyond and put behind bourgeois stability (this is complicated and I'm being too quick). So the bourgeoisie wasn't in a Heritage-smell frame of mind. Hahaha! Smelling good then was off kilter, and weird. Hence Jicky/Mouchoir.
That's all fun and games though. Fun with scent games and fun thinking about scent as art that reflects its time and the aspirations of the artists who create it. Oh peace and justice on earth will indeed come if we can just get the right scent out there.
The problem is that applied scent itself strikes me as inherently bourgeois. One could argue that Emperor Napoleon's taste for scent was different because he was a great and powerful leader of armies and a nation, not of the middle class, but he was also a soldier from the provinces in his beginning. Thus, despite his high social status, one could argue his taste for smells and making his Empress smell great was bourgeois.
I tried thinking if there are any scents out there that are avant garde enough not to be bourgeois, and I don't think there are any. The CdG Odeurs have pretensions to that title, but they are inherently an aspiration to reflect the world as we've really chosen it to smell. Very insightful, but they're within the camp that believe smell is a way to represent what is. They are less bourgeois than all the "pastoral pretty landscape off in la-la land the way decent folk of yore smelled" scents. But as a piece of representation, and aspiration to so much as smell nice, fragrance products are bourgeois.
That's not a bad thing. People often use the term bourgeois to mean conformity and unthinking social adaptation conformity at that, but what bourgeois is is something that makes the world fascinating, and people fascinating. In the West, all we life in is pretty bourgeois, so all commentary on it, like mine, is bourgeois of its own. So it's hard to learn directly from it. It's something that just keeps turning in the mind, like how we turn scents over and over for their meaning and our meaning and find ourselves mentally enriched by doing so.
All mistakes in this post are my own.
That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.
thanks for that wonderful and extensive post, Chris. The definition of the term 'bourgeois' can indeed be stretched in different ways, and I think that your interpretation is widespread nowadays, particularly in the US.
Of course there's a long history of tensions between aristocrats and bourgeois, but by the late 19th century, aristocrats had become more or less socially marginalized, at least in France. (I assume France is relevant here, since we're talking about Guerlain and Jicky). Dandies represented an oppositional group within the "aristocracy camp", and they were fiercely holding on to very specific values (think of the fictional character Des Esseintes mentioned earlier in this thread). Those values were categorically rejected by the contemporary bourgeois elite. There's an excellent study on dandyism in literature called The Aristocrat as Art that illustrates this last form of 'resistence' against what had become mainstream (bourgeois) culture.
As they gradually lost their political and economical power, many members of the European aristocracy started to blend in with the new elites. That means they also adopted new sets of values, while they distanced themselves from many of their own old traditions. I believe that the use of perfume represented the antithesis of new bourgeois values (at least until the turn of the century), seeing that members of the bourgeoisie had a profound dislike for "wasteful frivolities" in general. Men were supposed to invest in solid assets, serious things, not to scatter their money to the wind with a bottle of perfume. Besides, the use of perfume was one of the distict traits of past monarchs, which they deeply despised. Of course, the term 'bourgeois' acquired new meaning later in the 20th century, as aptly described by Chris.
I'd love to find out who the actual consumers of Jicky and MdM were in the early days. I think they were dandies and artists indeed, but it would be interesting to see actual documentation on this matter.
sorry if my post looks like a mess
Who would have thought that an off-hand whimsical comment would solicit so much interesting posting. I am very glad for it, though.
Having spent a good part of half a decade researching relations between the aristocracy and the middle class--among other things--in graduate school, fellow Basenoters will allow me I hope to make a couple of rusty observations based on those years of research and thinking. Please forgive the very general nature of this post. It was written quickly and off the top of my head and without reference to anything but what was very close to hand on the net. It’s mostly the workings of my fervid imagination, and I apologize in advance for that.
The larger movements from the aristocratic world of the Ancien Régime to the modern world of representative democracies took place within the context of the fall of the economic and political preeminence of the aristocracy and secondly within the slower and certainly not total loss of its social and cultural preeminence. In fact, the social and cultural preeminence of the aristocracy in England during the Victorian period ensured that it had a large share of political power in parliament out of proportion to its already waning economic influence. As Arno Mayer notes in his lucid and elegant book The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War, it wasn’t until the debacle of the First World War in the twentieth century that most of Europe’s monarchies lost the political preeminence that keep that last vestiges of the hierarchical Ancien Régime in place and it was only then that modern democratic societies were able to rethink the political hierarchy that had the aristocracy, naturally, at the top.
It’s no less complicated and anfractuous a matter in the cultural sphere. The history of the lineages of the modern democratic state, at least on the cultural level, is the complicated history of the coextensive aristocratization of the bourgeoisie, to a certain extent, and the eventual embourgeoisement of the aristocracy, to a certain extent. (I put in the caveat “to a certain extent”, because obviously I am painting in large strokes here, and clearly I am leaving out a lot of detail.) Ever since the late 1700s, the bourgeoisie sought to augment its increasing political and economic prominence on the social level with a distinct and austere moral code that contradistinguished it from the profligate aristocracy, the horizon of culture and the cultural symbols within which it sought to give credence to its new won status at the cultural level were in large part at least initially and for a very long time aristocratic. Even as the bourgeoisie developed its own culture and the preeminence of aristocratic culture receded, potent symbols of that culture have nevertheless always been appropriated and continue to this day to be appropriated in order to position oneself with in an aristocratic tradition and also in opposition to that tradition.
Aristocratic symbols still remain potent and are easily reconstituted as I hope to show. The house of Guerlain in terms of its own symbolic practices is an interesting case itself. Let me illustrate these last two claims with a specific example with regard to the house of Guerlain. What follows is the opening paragraph from one of the most thorough and informative of all blogs on fragrance Bois de Jasmin. It’s a description (written December 23, 2005) of a tour of the recently renovated Guerlain flagship boutique at 68, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris. It’s title is “La Maison Guerlain: Perfumery and Museum”:Entering the gilded interior of the Guerlain flagship boutique at 68, Avenue des Champs-Elysées one already feels the vivid contrast between the cold, grey Paris in winter and the sparkling Second Empire décor of the ground level. Yet, it is only by ascending the stairs that the contrast is brought to a climax. Spiral staircase, its dark wood sprinkled with golden squares, opens into a cavernous hall with rounded walls covered with spectacular gold mosaic. Unlike the more traditionally decorated ground level, it is at once retro and baroque, modern and futuristic—a luxurious setting befitting the fragrances and a self-help venue for a no-nonsense shopper, a rather curious juxtaposition. Created by a famous interior designer Andrée Putnam who is responsible for some of the most prominent fashion boutiques, La Maison Guerlain can rightly be listed among the haute perfumeries of Paris. If there ever existed the Guerlain perfume museum, 68, Champs-Elysées is the one.Nice isn’t it that on entering the Guerlain boutique the first impression is of the architectural and cultural symbols of the Second Empire. As one ascends the various floors, the building reads like a twentieth century palimpsest of styles and “retro and baroque, modern and futuristic”. A house built on an aristocratic foundation, Guerlain positioned within the aristocratic tradition that goes back to the Second Empire; the other floors one-by-one defining it as a departure from that tradition. The powers that be at LVMH know instinctively that to have refitted the Guerlain flagship store only in the mode of the “modern and futuristic” would be to jettison its most potent symbols and what in terms of tradition--and a long one at that--contradistinguishes the house of Guerlain from all the other upstarts.
A few facts about the Second Empire for the purpose of conciseness from the Wikipedia:Although the machinery of government was almost the same under the Second Empire as it had been under the First, its founding principles were different. The function of the Empire, as Emperor Napoleon III often repeated, was to guide the people internally towards justice and externally towards perpetual peace. Holding his power by universal suffrage, and having frequently, from his prison or in exile, reproached previous oligarchical governments with neglecting social questions, he set out to solve them by organising a system of government based on the principles of the "Napoleonic Idea", i.e. of the emperor, the elect of the people as the representative of the democracy, and as such supreme; and of himself, the representative of the great Napoleon I of France, "who had sprung armed from the French Revolution like Minerva from the head of Jove," as the guardian of the social gains of the revolutionary period.What the Second Empire represents, at least in its ideal aspects is democracy by monarchy? Again, what we see here is the essentially inseparable interconnections between bourgeois ideals and the aristocratic ideals which frequently underpin them. The Guerlain flagship first floor is not in the style of the monarch Louis XVI, whose form of absolutist monarchy allowed no real representative prominence for the bourgeoisie and its ideals; it’s in the style of the Second Empire, already an accommodation of bourgeois ideals within the foundation of aristocracy, kingship.
About the bee and its connection to the Second Empire. You know, the famous Guerlain bees on the bottles in which Guerlain offers many of its re-released classics, and if you’re one of the lucky few who can afford the money for a 500ml bottle, you’ll also get a large bee bottle for your half liter. The bee as a symbol derives from Napoleon I’s coat of arms and was a potent emblem of the First and Second Empires. Here is its symbolic meaning taken verbatim from napoleon.org:Symbol of immortality and resurrection, the bee was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. Golden bees (in fact, cicadas) were discovered in 1653 in Tournai in the tomb of Childeric I, founder in 457 of the Merovingian dynasty and father of Clovis. They were considered as the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France.The bee gives validation to Napoleon I's and to Guerlain’s connection with aristocratic tradition at the deepest level, all the way back to its very origins, but, as Napoleon understood, and as the house of Guerlain understands, the bee is also at the same time a potent symbol of the resurrection of something new within the old. This is the dynamic I’ve been trying to get at. Innovation within tradition; tradition within innovation. That’s the bourgeois heritage of Héritage, and that’s one connection, at least, it has to Jicky and Mouchoir de Monsieur.
Last edited by scentemental; 17th March 2007 at 03:44 PM.
Yeah...what he said!
God, I wish I were smarter...
Thank you. Your last post was to say the very least, enlightening. Do I call you Dr. scentemental yet? Bravo, on some very fine writing. Bravo to all who contributed on this excellent thread.
I wish I had you guys in my courses instead of so many braindead students.
Actually, there is a good deal to be written about the cultural history of perfume. The few things I've come across in academic journals were rather thin.
Farina claims to have one the most complete historical business archives in Europe - correspondence, account and order books all the way back to the early 18th century.
I'm way backed up on my reading of the rec.mensa newsgroup and the participants there are concerned for me. Thought provoking stuff here, truly.
I think Heritage is the Classy and Sophisticated cousin of Kouros. Heritage always reminds me of Kouros.
Jicky, MdM and Heritage share that Guerlainade of Earl Grey tea with sugar and cream, that someone accidently squeezed a lemon into, mixed with the rancid smell that fills the air every-time an old Aristocrat opens their mouth.
After all the talk: What then is L'instant pour homme? Someone who has forgotten his Héritage, for having instant success? Some "bastard"? I think we had some discussion on this (wether L'instant is a sign for "The fall of the house of Guerlain" or not) some time ago... However, if allowed to stretch the thread's name: Is there any connection between older fragrances of Guerlain and L'instant?
L'Instant is how long it lasts that's if you even get a chance to sniff it. The slightest interruption.