Hmm... This new thread made me think of 180 Ans de Création again. I don't remember exactly when I wore it last.
I just sprayed a little on my hand. My SotD today is Tonka Impériale, which makes an interesting contrast and foil for 180 Ans.
The officially released notes: Grapefruit, Bergamot, Pink Peppercorns, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Tonka Beans, Musk, Vetiver, Amber-Toned Accord, Vanilla
Yes, definitely bergamot in the top, with hints of grapefruit and pink peppercorns. Jasmine and orange blossom poking through just a bit after a couple of minutes of pure top notes. Tonka, amber, vanilla: there's the Guerlinade. Come to think of it, the vetiver seems to be a delayed entrance, and with the musk, it has a slightly powdery bent to it. Yes, this is subtle after all, and the powder and vetiver seem to be in a strange sort of stand-off. A powdery, woody floriental? That would be the closest genre description. Definitely sweet, too — probably too sweet for most American guys. Something catchy, slightly animalic, but not the musk, which is vegetal or a very good synthetic. Sillage is not outstanding, and as I recall, the longevity is only moderate, though I'll have to wait a bit to make a judgment on that score. Sweeter as it goes on, it has lost some of its subtlety; the vetiver has failed to stem the tide of ambery oriental waves crashing on the shore. Perhaps it slightly recovers its edgy vetiver facet toward the remote drydown.
Nice, beautiful, rich; not revolutionary or groundbreaking. A recopilación (the Spanish might say), a "rolling-up into one," of all things Guerlain, smoothed out, evened out: like a slightly corrected timeline of events where there is really nothing to hide, but only a few random elements to adjust or reconcile in order to present some seamless ideal of unity that really isn't there. How could one really sum up Guerlain in only one perfume, and make that work together? Too many outliers, too many extreme cases, to make a convincing fit to the normal curve. Guerlain is extraordinary after all, nothing "normal" in its dimensions.
I can see that this might not make a commercial success. Perhaps it is just too concerned to speak to a refined elite with impossibly high taste. It would overwhelm the unsuspecting — anybody but a runway model or a jaded, world-weary aristocrat. I can only wear it in the most forgiving circumstances, such as, when giving a party in my own home, I can afford to stand out most egregiously from the crowd, as the slightly weird host of the whole bash. I can't see myself in this at work, or even at my very tolerant, offbeat choir dates at church, where even I can be outdone by the other aesthetes.
180 Ans... A hothouse flower, an exotic bloom, meant for none but the occasional connoisseur who could say something like, "Hmm... reminds me of that thingie that blooms only once a year in the middle of a tropical jungle. I smelt it once, in New Guinea headhunter country, back in '74. Remarkable." So beautiful as to be nearly impossible — at the very least, hard to believe.