Nahema

I’ve seen Nahema around on Instagram and wondered what it was all about (Guerlain 1979). It sounded like a truly mysterious rose. And, it is… Of all the roses I’ve tried this is by far the darkest and wildest. It’s not dark and wild in some trite, static-moment-in-history, tacky way either. The peru balsam mixes with the green 70’s peach and creates a velvety thickness that flanks the daring rose. It’s nothing to be trifled with. At all. …Intriguingly while I appreciate it a lot it does not work well with my skin chemistry. As it wore on it almost seemed…angry (🤔😂)…and as much as I wanted to love it for personal use I can’t. 😞 But for those Nahema likes I imagine it’s absolute bliss to wear… 🌿 The details: This is a vintage (1980’s or 90’s) miniature Guerlain Nahema parfum.

Top notes: rose, peach, bergamot, green notes and aldehyde notes. Middle notes: hyacinth, Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, lilac and lily of the valley. Base notes: vanilla, passion flower, Peru balsam, vetiver and sandalwood.

Nose: Jean-Paul Guerlain

Wild Rose

A tart but voluptuous rose is the dominant note in this vintage gem (Woods of Windsor unknown). It’s a green, resinous rose with possible accompanying notes of at least violet and geranium? Perhaps there’s also sandalwood (myrrh?) and heliotrope? Amber? At any rate, it’s wonderfully nostalgic and exactly what I was in the mood for today – an airy, cathartic rose.

Enjoli 

This is super sharp at the start (Charles of the Ritz 1978). The aldehydes and florals, with a very clear orris root and hyacinth, are intensely green. Enjoli could be called soapy but it’s practically too soapy to be called soapy… It almost becomes something else in a very 1980’s way.  Almost medical?  Matter of fact, this fragrance is the reason I was afraid of 1980’s and 70’s scents for years – I recall Enjoli from my childhood. It used to seem profoundly aloof… Now, however, I appreciate it. And yet, unlike how it was worn in the decade it primarily belongs to in my imagination, I will certainly not be dousing myself in it. A few sprays are more than enough to project well.  

Top notes: aldehydes, green notes, peach, hiacynth and bergamot.  Middle notes: carnation, tuberose, orchid, orris root, jasmine and rose.  Base notes: sandalwood, amber, musk, vanilla, oakmoss and cedar.

Zadig

Green aldehydes mix with rich florals and peach has a wild flurry with bergamot and coriander in Zadig (Emilio Pucci 1971).  Then a heady, swirl of civet, lovely ylang ylang and honey meet balsam and amber. Spices introduce themselves more aggressively while patchouli adds an element of wet earth. It’s a *very* intense fragrance on my skin and frankly my chemistry rearranges the notes in such a way that it’s not particularly nice… It reminds me slightly of the way Fabergé Aphrodisia played with my chemistry. Not so great…  Some love this fragrance named after the novel by Voltaire and some don’t… I don’t. 

Top notes: coriander, orange, peach, bergamot and aldehydes.  Middle notes: honey, orris root, cloves, jasmine, and ylang ylang.  Base notes: Tolu balsam, cinnamon, civet, musk, amber, patchouli, vanilla, benzoin and vetiver.  

Rive Gauche 

Woody, green florals open this exquisite beauty (Yves Saint Laurent 1971).  It’s sharp, a bit bold and yet incredibly complex. While there are certainly aldehydic florals and the pungent geranium and peachy rose in particular is noticeable (to my nose) they all blend together almost magically and there is a layering effect of various moods and ideas. It’d be easy to try to categorize it or compare it to any number of other famous and gorgeous French fragrances but it’s beyond that. Instead it hovers and shifts about and is remarkable for doing so… At once it’s airy, deep, heavy, elegant, demure, loud… and it’s just… well… exquisite. 

Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, peach, green notes, and honeysuckle.  Middle notes: ylang ylang, geranium, jasmine, rose, gardenia, iris, magnolia, lily-of-the-valley.  Base notes: musk, Tahitian vetiver, oakmoss, amber, tonka bean, and sandalwood.  

Nose: Michel Hy

Eau de Cologne Hermès


Eau de Cologne Hermès (Hermès 1979) is bitter, fresh… herbal. Perfectly blended. The orange is sublime and mixes with rosemary, basil, exquisite neroli and cedar to create an earthy and serene scent. I can’t imagine a better fragrance for a warm day to feel collected and at ease… More uplifting and bright than many similar classic floral and herbal fragrances but with the same elegance and depth.  

Top notes: papaya, mandarin orange, coriander, mango, mint, lemon, bergamot, and basil.  Middle notes: neroli, orange leaf, lily-of-the-valley, lavender, honeysuckle, and rosemary.  Base notes: cedar, oakmoss, musk, patchouli and sandalwood.  

Nose: Françoise Caron 

Violetta di Parma 

Vintage Violetta di Parma (Bosari 1870 1970) is a bright, brilliant violet. It’s sugary. It’s green tinged and a bit spicy… It’s like a violet confection with rosy florals and a vanillic base… Very fun.  

Notes: rose, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, hyacinth, heliotrope and musky and woody notes. 

Parure 

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Parure (Guerlain 1975) is denseand tumultuous green florals laced with bergamot meet a spicy purple plum. A glamorous rose and jasmine mix with sleek iris and the grounding, enduring oakmoss is heroic. Pretty, stoic amber finds thoughtful but aggressive patchouli, especially into the drydown. This is a heady but still springlike scent. Very romantic and very lovely.

Top notes: plum, fruity notes, green notes, bergamot and citruses.   Middle notes: orris root, narcissus, lilac, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, and rose.  Base notes: oakmoss, patchouli, amber, leather, and spices.

Nose: Jean-Paul Guerlain

Dioressence Concentré

Dioressence Concentré  (Christian Dior 1979?) is similar to the original Dioressence, Dioressence Concentré opens with strong and luxurious aldehydes, punchy green notes, and stately bergamot. But the carnation is rough while pretty and the dash of cinnamon is intense. You can vaguely detect a lovely violet, and clearly experience the powerful orris root, jasmine, ylang ylang, rose and geranium. And into the drydown the fragrance calms down and benzoin, oakmoss and a definite vetiver are present. 

It’s decadent, very 70’s and perhaps a bit like a more expensive and elegant version of Cachet by Prince Matchabelli. But it also has the subtlety and beauty of other classics into the drydown like Mitsouko and Miss Dior. 

Nose: Guy Robert 

Top notes:  aldehydes, orange, fruity notes, patchouli, green notes and bergamot.  Middle notes: carnation, tuberose, cinnamon, violet, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose and geranium; Base notes: musk, patchouli, benzoin, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver and styrax.

Eau de Guerlain 

Eau de Guerlain (Guerlain 1974) is fresh lemon with stunning hints of crisp green basil and mint. Then there’s the comforting and lovely depth of neroli, rose, carnation combined with sandalwood and patchouli. But it’s primarily a refreshing scent without being cold in the slightest. And were it not for supple notes like oakmoss, amber and gentle musk at the base it’s almost reminiscent of Guerlain’s more recent Herba Fresca. However, I prefer Eau de Guerlain. Unequivocally.

Top notes:  fruity notes, basil, bergamot, and lemon.   Middle notes: caraway, carnation, sandalwood, patchouli, lavender, jasmine, mint, bergamot, and rose.  Base notes: amber, musk, oakmoss, and neroli.

Nose: Jean Claude Guerlain