This is a chypre at its best. Vintage green florals are slightly sweet but far from being cloying or shrill. This Guerlain (Guerlain 1962) is like a walk through a blooming garden on a rainy day – earthy, dense, and grounded but with a musky, mysterious beauty. And although it is the first day of October this vintage Chant D’Arômes is a lovely retrospective on the recently concluded summer. It’s one last glimpse before the leaves completely turn, the snow falls and time moves forward.
Top notes: aldehydes, plum, citruses, and Gardenia. Middle notes: clove, honeysuckle, ylang-ylang and jasmine. Base notes: vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, olibanum, heliotrope and benzoin.
Nose: Jean-Paul Guerlain
This magical beauty is very animalic on my skin (Guerlain 1948 and recreated but *not* reformulated in 2014). Of course, that’s despite a noticeable amount of aldehydes and what, for me, are a prominent lily-of-the-valley and rose (not carnation as I’ve read in other reviews 🤗🤔🤗 – I smell the carnation *much* more when sprayed on fabric and it’s a slightly sweeter fragrance too). But the aldehydes are honey drenched and there’s a passionate jasmine (I’ve seen this jasmine before in a few 1970’s fragrances) that affects the composition in such a way that it’s quite saucy. Of course, there’s a slightly cool, bergamot tinged, woody, green, muskiness too. And this combination (along with the other notes) and procession creates an overall aura of calm intensity. It’s a very sincere, unadulterated, passionate and romantic floral… But it’s a little mysterious too. And while at first I didn’t love it, when @coffeeandalgebra was so taken with it on me I started examining it more and now I think I’m starting to see what he does… It’s perfectly named.
Nose: Jacques Guerlain (recreated meticulously using the old formulation including old ingredients by Thierry Mugler in 2014)
Top notes: aldehydes, honey, jasmine, and bergamot. Middle notes: jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, ylang ylang, violet, musk, sandalwood, and sweet acacia. Base notes: heliotrope, tonka, vanilla, and orris.
So, I bought a sample of the 2006 version of Guerlain Vega for comparison. I was curious to see how much it had changed and I was curious to see how “off” my very vintage bottle of Guerlain Vega is.
They’re definitely the same fragrance and it seems the parfum of the original version stayed in good condition. None of the notes seem that altered, unpleasant or “off” and it’s easy to find the common notes in both versions (although they’re not totally identical of course). However, despite the innate commonalities there are a few noticeable differences.
Aside from a bit less depth, the 2006 version is also less powdery, more sharp, less vanillic, less smoky, and more tangy. While the original version almost makes you want to cry with its authentic, emotive core, the 2006 version is more defiant, punchy and perhaps a little more green. Actually, I almost think I smell lily in the 2006 edition…although that note isn’t listed.
The 2006 version would have been worn by a young, quick-witted Katherine Hepburn… And the older version would have been more suited to a melancholy Greer Garson or a particularly earnest Ginger Rogers. But that’s just my opinion. Either way my vintage bottle is from the collection of Old Hollywood star, Jane Withers.
I want another bottle… 😂
Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot and orange blossom. Middle notes: jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, blackcurrant blossom, carnation, iris and rosewood. Base notes: vanilla, sandalwood and amber.
Nose: Jean Paul Guerlain
Like a sultry, honey-drenched version of Liu, Guerlain Vega (original formulation Guerlain 1936) opens with Guerlain aldehydes and warm florals. Bergamot adds a faint, demure, ladylike edge. Orange blossom a definite soapiness. And sweet, gentle, woody iris is the floral from the bouquet that eventually wins on my skin. Although, smoky jasmine, rose and lush ylang ylang quickly trail behind. Into the drydown it reminds me ever so slightly of very vintage Lanvin My Sin with its ripe, boozy quality. But still, that soapiness (orange blossom) re-emerges every so often and this takes on a very unique personality. Actually, more than any other vintage fragrance I’ve smelled I think this would be paired well with a long fur coat and evening gown… It’s something special.
Nose: Jacques Guerlain
This is an exceptionally potent and spicy rose at the start (Guerlain 1999). Or at least it is on my skin. It’s actually reminiscent of Nahema…and that worried me for the first half an hour. I think something about the combination of this particular violet and hyacinth with the rose reads as punchy, syrupy and medicinal on me. It really is reminiscent of Nahema. But then iris shines through… And iris and I are always great friends. It turns then into an old-fashioned lipstick, sublime and earthy rose. It even has a sort of woody, musky animalic charm eventually. …So I thank the iris for making peace with all the notes and letting me enjoy this really pretty Guerlain rose…
Notes: hyacinth, rose, iris and violet.
Noses: Jean-Paul Guerlain and Mathilde Laurent
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
At the very, very first breath of Mon Guerlain (Guerlain 2017) you detect citrus. Then an almost retro lavender note emerges, but is coyly submerged into the currently popular gourmand sweet vanilla mixed with a pretty bit of jasmine and iris. It’s reminiscent of Black Opium, Prada Candy and a few others but there is a nice, refreshing floral accord that eventually seems to reemphasize the original lavender.
Nose: Thierry Wasser and Jelk
The vintage version of Vetiver (Guerlain 1959) is my favorite. With its genuinely fruity lemon and spicy vetiver aromatically swirling around the wearer at the start before calming to a gentle, heavenly and crisp citrusy vetiver scent laced with what smells like the remains of pipe tobacco from decades long past. And of course, it’s clearly a Guerlain, which is always a great thing.
Top note: lemon. Middle notes: tobacco and vetiver. Base notes: nutmeg, tobacco and pepper.
Nose: Jean-Paul Guerlain
An extremely herbal but ultimately elegant Guerlinade is Véritable Eau de Cologne Impériale Extra Dry (Guerlain 1904). It’s green but demure and detached in a cool, breezy sort of way. The lemon verbena is especially noteworthy. It meets other very verdant notes to create an olfactory sensation akin to taking a drink of cold mountain fresh water. The neroli is lovely too. And while I can’t find a complete list of notes is it possible the bergamot is mixing with vetiver, a delicate rosemary and cedar? Of course, all these sharp notes are held to earth by the perfect choice of warm base notes.
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