Floris Rose Geranium, Marilyn Monroe’s Other Perfume

Floris Rose Geranium, Marilyn Monroe’s Other Perfume

Marilyn Monroe is famously known for wearing Chanel No5, ‘What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.’ Maybe she had a deal with Chanel, who knows? Because it would seem that she also loved another perfume, and she loved it so much that she had her personal assistant purchase six bottles. That would be Floris Geranium Rose, an unusual yet classic perfume composition of rose, geranium, citronella and cedarwood.

Marilyn Monroe reading (1)

I say unusual because it is not a devastatingly feminine scent, nor is it a scent one might associate with a sex symbol of Marilyn’s stature. Instead, I like to think Floris Rose Geranium would have been the scent of the Marilyn  who was well read, intelligent and savvy. Not the breathy, flirty Marilyn she showed the world, but a deep thinker and an incredibly charismatic woman who, to this day, still holds the fascination of the world.

Floris Rose Geranium Marilyn Monroe

I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful bottle of Floris Rose Geranium Bath Essence. The perfume itself is sadly, not made anymore, but Floris London still makes Rose Geranium in a Bath Essence and Luxury Soap. The scent is bracing, fresh and I would even say unisex. The citronella and geranium combine to create an illusion of a green lime scent – as green as the magical essence itself. The rose is there, but it’s no soft powdery girly rose. In fact, there is nothing really soft about this at all. It is fresh and clean in a big way, and makes me think of a dew covered giant tea rose. There is a soapy aspect to the scent, as well as a classic and traditional scent, without being old fashioned. The perfume lasts on a the skin for a few hours, and by then has softened considerably. It also gently softens the water and your skin – lovely.

I can only guess at what the perfume smells like, but the bath essence is one of the freshest and most invigorating products I own. My whole house smells like a garden with roses and fresh green citrus after I take a bath. I still wish I could have sampled the perfume, but am thrilled with my little bit of perfume history in a bottle, with my Floris Rose Geranium Bath Essence.

Floris London Rose Geranium Bath Essence is available in their shops and from their website, and is around $85 USD for a 50ml bottle.

Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum, The “Fatal Flower”

Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum, The “Fatal Flower”

 

Givenchy released Dahlia Noir eau de parfum in 2011, and the eau de toilette this year. I think the edp version is the richer and headier of the two, and absolutely perfect for cooler weather. It’s classified as a ” floral chypre” but I take issue with calling a perfume that has no oakmoss a chypre. However I would agree that Dahlia Noir edp is as sexy as a chypre – it makes me think of a modern version of a beauty like Ungaro Diva, one of my favourite rose chypres, or a scent like L’Arte di Gucci, and even a softer Paloma Picasso. It has been tamed and softened, and the first things you sniff are citrus, pepper and mimosa which are quite a yummy combination. Rose, iris and patchouli in the heart and finally a sultry woodsy vanilla base. Wow. The words that come to mind when I sniff Dahlia Noir edp are creamy, a bit moutwatering, sexy and pretty. The sexy is balanced by the pretty and I can see this as being the perfect perfume to dress up or dress down, as it’s the kind of scent that works with the skin of the wearer. Lovely. And, did you know Givenchy has a Dahlia Noir candle? It’s available for sale on their site for $56. I’m not sure if this is at any perfume counters, but you could ask. What a great holiday gift idea!

And – guess what? Just in time for the holidays, Daly Beauty will be giving a 50ml bottle of Givenchy Dahlia Noir eau de parfum to a lucky reader! To enter, please leave a comment on this post, follow @daly_beauty on Twitter and tweet out this post letting us know you entered! Be sure to like Daly Beauty on Facebook too! The winner will be drawn 6pm on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012.

Comments are now closed! The winner of the Dahlia Noir edp is  Jen M! Congrats Jen, send your mailing details to dalybeauty@gmail.com. Thank you to all who entered & keep reading Daly Beauty for more goodies to win!

Givenchy Dahlia Noir eau de parfum is available at The Bay perfume counters in Canada, Sephora and Nordstrom in the US. The 50ml Dahlia Noir edp starts at around $100 CAN. 

The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace & Vetiver of Haiti Perfumes

The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace & Vetiver of Haiti Perfumes

Brigitte is telling Jane how good her perfume smells…

I’m reviewing these together because layering them smells sooooo wonderful! You can read more about the wonderful perfume house The 7 Virtues and the inspirational Barb Stegemann here. I wrote about her sweet & lovely Afghanistan Orange Blossom scent here, and it is a must have for lovers of that fragrant flower. The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace and Vetiver of Haiti perfumes are part of The 7 Virtues smell good/feel good perfume line up and they are definitely worth a sniff!

Here is what the website says about The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace;

Inspired by the citizens of Israel & Iran and their respect for one another, we felt something so intense it could only be expressed in a thought provoking perfume.

The enchantment of Middle East Peace eau de parfum is for all humankind. This ambrosial blend of sweetie grapefruit oil of Israel with the lime & basil oils of Iran captivates our hearts and ignites our senses.

With a dry down of cedar wood and bamboo, this fragrance is for men and women.

I find it a clean, refreshing perfume that is green yet sweet, with the delicious fruit notes mellowed by the crisp and calming woodsy base notes. It is a simple perfume, and would be perfect for a man or woman. It is easy to wear, and energises with it’s bubbly citrus notes. It has a soft and clean soapy note, and one indeed feels clean and fresh while wearing Middle East Peace. While it is a citrus scent, the balance of greens and woods makes it hard to pick out any one note. It is not a loud or projecting scent, but stays close to the skin. Middle East Peace is a must-try for those that like their scents quiet and sensual, and who love the clean scent of tart fruits. If you enjoy Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom, Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey or Clinique Happy, you MUST try Middle East Peace. Verdict? Love.

Here is what the site says about The 7 Virtues Vetiver of Haiti:

Created especially for both men and women, Vetiver of Haiti is layered with notes of lime tree, bergamot and amber. This warm fragrance, with its musky vetiver base note, is the perfect fall and winter scent, popular with men and women alike.

The organic vetiver of Haiti is considered the best in the world, grown by Haitian farmers whose country was devastated by the earthquakes in 2010.

We buy this exquisite oil at fair market value from our supplier who is rebuilding his community.

This is a gorgeous vetiver scent! It is invigorating and bright, and warms beautifully on the skin. The fresh yet smoky quality of the vetiver is so rich you can almost close your eyes and imagine yourself surrounded by greenery and earth. It evokes the rooty and rich scent of vetiver making it a classic, and the lime and bergamot sweeten and brighten the perfume. The gentle amber dry down makes for an almost powdery aspect. Again- perfect for a man or a woman, The 7 Virtues Vetiver of Haiti is a must-sniff for lovers of fresh woodsy scents like Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, or Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir, and for women who don’t want a flowery scent, but just want to smell wonderful. Verdict? Love.

But the big one-two punch comes when you wear both together. Wow! The citrus fruits of Middle East Peace play off the woodsy vetiver in Vetiver of Haiti. They are both so easy and effortless to wear. And, later in the day, when I catch a whiff of Middle East Peace on my scarf, I just inhale and breath. Lovely.

 

The 7 Virtues perfumes are available at perfume counters at The Bay in Canada, and at Lord & Taylor in New York, and from The 7 Virtues online store.

 

Sweet Scented Memories

Sweet Scented Memories

Scent is our strongest memory trigger. I know my earliest memories involve scent….being a wee sprog and getting into my mum’s make up. Her luxe cake mascara and those 60s lipsticks had a distinct rose scent that has been reproduced in few perfumes, notably Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose and my favourite, L’Artisan Parfumeur Drole de Rose, and a whiff of those perfumes send me reeling back in time. There are those unmistakable seasonal scents as well- you know, when you can “smell”  fall in the air as those summer days get shorter. Or that hopeful whiff of spring as the days get longer after  a long cold winter. The smell of fall takes me back to school days and, another smell, sharpening my HB pencils and the smell of the inside of those wooden desks. So, you get what I mean by scent and memory, right? I’m sure you all have a friend or family member who wears a perfume or cologne that you will forever associate with them, one you likely wouldn’t buy for yourself because it really shares an identity with the wearer.

My step mother (Omi to my daughters) has a signature scent that I have always liked. It’s a beautiful and classic citrus scent, one of those sort of citrus chypre scents that aren’t made just for summer days. They have a rich mossy base, and hail from the 70s when some of my favourite perfumes came to be. Her scent is Lancome “O” de Lancome, a citrus scent launched in 1969. It is one of the more soft and floral citrus scents of the era, my other favourite being Dior Diorella. Diorella has a more mossy and dare I say, carnal, base. And Creed’s sadly discontinued Aubepine Acacia, which is really just a pretender of a citrus, although it has the same feel and vibe of “O” and Diorella, with more of the floral feel of “O”. The Lancome scent is heavily associated with my step mother, and I could never wear it, as much as I love it. It is really just “her”. It’s modern and classic at the same time, and fresh and clean while being warm and feminine. If you haven’t tried it and you enjoy uplifting citrus scents, check it out at the Lancome counter.

O de Lancome has a cool elegant vibe like the 70s fashion Lauren Hutton is sporting here…

So this story is about my daughter Biddy. She was born around 5 weeks too early, and at one point weighed under 5 lbs. Considering she is now taller than I am, it still amazes me to recall how wee she was. So, being so small and sleepy, she had to stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) ward for a week after she was born. Yes, I went home without my baby. It was gut wrenching, but I felt blessed to live a few blocks away from the hospital. At the time, my step mother headed up the volunteer auxillary at the hospital where Biddy was staying. I would drive to the hospital to feed Biddy every 2-3 hours. I’d spend most of the day there, feeding and snuggling her. Close physical skin to skin contact helps babies grow so I did lots of that. But one of the most beautiful memories I have would be arriving at the NICU early in the morning. It was the end of January, so it was cold, blustery and dark outside. The nurses (aka saints) would be silently fussing around, feeding and cradling the impossibly tiny babies, and I would sit on a rocking chair, cradling Biddy. But- almost every morning, I noticed when I picked her up, that she had a distinctly non-new-baby scent about her. That she smelled like, well, a lovely citrus perfume. Turns out, my stepmother would often get to the hospital before me, and her first stop was to the NICU. She would settle in to rock and snuggle Biddy before starting her work. There was something so comforting about knowing that even before I arrived, Biddy was getting rocked and sung to, and that she was learning the smells of the people who loved her.

Biddy & her Omis, almost 17 years ago…that’s me looking tired.

To this day, if either of my daughters smell “O” de Lancome, the first thing they say is “oh, that is Omi’s perfume”. And I suspect for them, and for me, it always will be.

Do you have a treasured scent memory?

“O” de Lancome is available at Lancome counters. There are several newer flanker releases of the original, but my favourite will always be just “O” de Lancome….

Guerlain Cherry Blossom – Sweet Cherry Green Tea

Guerlain Cherry Blossom – Sweet Cherry Green Tea

I love Guerlain perfumes. I love that they have something for everyone, that they keep the classic legends (like Jicky and Apres L’Ondee) but also keep it modern. They go from heavy to soft and everything in between. I tend to fall hard for the more rare of their offerings so I was happy to see that my latest hard to find love is now in their Parisiennes Collection. It’s Guerlain Cherry Blossom – lovely light and eminently wearable cherry blossom and green tea perfume.  I have the older bottle design, pre-Parisiennes, but will rbe getting a bee bottle soon. Guerlain has been re-releasing then discontinuing perfumes at an alarming rate lately so I dont want to miss out!

Guerlain Les Parisiennes, Cherry Blossom on far left- the perfume is pink! Sooooo pretty

You know- perfume doesn’t always have to groundbreaking. It doesn’t always have to make you squeal or gasp in shocked delight. Sometimes, we just our perfume to smell good….to smell pretty. Guerlain describes the notes as green tea, bergamot, red berries, lilac and jasmine with some powdery notes in the base. And you know what? It smells really pretty. I love it, and find it calming, soothing and as easy to wear as a soft white t shirt. Guerlain scents are so brilliant in that they adapt to the environment. Guerlain Cherry Blossom smells fresh, calming & clean in the heat, and smells gently floral and soothing in cooler weather. It is one of my favoured bed time perfumes. Must be the green tea- always a lovely perfume note. But the sweetness of the cherries balanced with the florals and citrus notes make this just right. Verdict? Love.

This is my pretty litte bottle of Guerlain Cherry Blossom

 

Guerlain Cherry Blossom is part of the Guerlain Les Parisiennes line, available at Guerlain Boutiques and some select Guerlain counters, at around $270 for a 125ml bottle. If you are lucky, you may find an older bottle like mine online. It’s just so cute.

Cuddle Up In Some Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles Perfume

Cuddle Up In Some Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles Perfume

I’ve always loved Hermes Eau de Merveilles (2004) perfume. It’s a sexy woodsy perfume, with mouth watering notes of citrus and a unique salty impression that leaves one thinking of hot sun, sand and the beach, without actually being a beachy or aquatic perfume. Its warm and sexy, and seems to glow on the skin. It has a mouthwatering ambergris impression that makes you want to get closer, a soft and sweet amber. It is gorgeous on a woman, as the woodsy notes are every so slightly masculine, or at least unisex, so it makes me think “confident” and “strong” when I smell it on a woman. The fun of this perfume is the upside down perfume triangle. As in, the top notes are more of what are traditionally base notes and base notes that are usually on the top. You get the resinous woods in the first part of the development, and in the deep dry down the sweet and slightly syrupy citrus notes are what linger.

Hermes Fall/Winter 2012-13 Campaign

This year, Hermes released a flanker, Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles, which, obviously, amps up the amber notes. It is lush and sensual, but not overly sweet as can be the danger of some amber scents. It is warm and almost “dry”, like fire. The ambery aspect is maintained through the development of the perfume, and it just smells perfect for cooler weather. There is some delicious vanilla and the amber comes from the most gorgeous and ethereal labdanum. Labdanum is a resin derived from cistus shrubs, and has a rich, complex scent. It smells ambery, slightly animalic, sweet and musky. It is often used in perfume to approximate ambregris, which is mostly banned.

So, if you are looking for a warm hug of a perfume, that is sexy and cozy, like a cashmere wrap, look no further than Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles. I guarantee you will feel gorgeous and sexy.

Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles is available at most Hermes perfume counters and boutiques.

Get Dr Hauschka Lemon Bath & Use It. A Lot.

Get Dr Hauschka Lemon Bath & Use It. A Lot.

The recent passing of Nora Ephron meant lots of her quotes and segments from her writing were popping up everywhere. In one of them she mentioned a favourite beauty product of hers, how much she loved it, and how life was too short to skimp on using what you love. It’s quite a long and sad quote and I won’t reprint it all here. But, I do love to know what people I admire use and love when it comes to all things beauty related. Ms Ephron rhapsodizing about a bath oil she adored so much made me want to run out and get some. Quickly.

Part of her quote:

And that reminds me to say something about bath oil. I use this bath oil I happen to love. It’s called Dr Hauschka’s lemon bath. It costs about £15 a bottle, which is enough for about two weeks of baths if you follow the instructions. 


The instructions say one capful per bath. But a capful gets you nowhere. A capful is not enough. I have known this for a long time.


But if the events of the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that I’m going to feel like an idiot if I die tomorrow and I skimped on bath oil today. 


So I use quite a lot of bath oil. More than you could ever imagine. After I take a bath, my bathtub is as dangerous as an oil slick. But thanks to the bath oil, I’m as smooth as silk. 


I am going out to buy more, right now. Goodbye. *


I like everything about this. To use things that you have – why hoard it? What are we waiting for? We buy things we love, we consider them precious, then tuck them away in the back of the cupboard so as not to “waste” them. Imagine!

That said, I got some Dr Hauschka Lemon Bath the next day. And you know what? It’s as wonderful as you could imagine a lemony bath product could be. It is refreshing, and basically the yummiest lemon beauty product I’ve used. It reminded me of how much I used to love Love’s Fresh Lemon and Jean Nate After Bath Splash, especially in the summer. I would say it is not strictly an oil, as I tried to wear it as a body oil and it was sticky, like a soap. Awkward. It doesn’t lather enough to be a shower gel, so you have no choice but to draw a lovely bath, pour in more than a capful, and then slip in and enjoy. It refreshes and soothes, and makes you feel good. According to aromatherapy, most citrus scents are uplifting and positive so perhaps that is part of the effect. It smells amazing, and makes your whole bathroom smell like you’ve sliced open one of those big juicy Meyer Lemons. Ahhhhh… Dr Hauschka’s site alleges that it helps with cellulite, a claim that seems ambitious, but it certainly feels invigorating. It comes in a nice functional glass bottle with the simple Hauschka branding and label. Clean and unembellished.

We have many things we can thank Nora Ephron for, but right now I will thank her for encouraging me to open up my cupboard, and use the things I love and that make me feel good. Solid advice.

 

Dr Haushka Lemon Bath is available on their website, and where Dr Hauschka is sold for around $33 for a 5.1 oz bottle.



* Extracted from I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK, by Nora Ephron



Barney’s Route du Thé Perfume Is Cool & Clean

Barney’s Route du Thé Perfume Is Cool & Clean

I admit it, I like a clean perfume, one that makes me feel fresh and cool, like I just stepped out of the shower. I really enjoyed Clean Provence perfume, the one that smells like French milled soap, and it always got me lots of compliments. I also like the ultimate in fresh scrubbed perfumes, Estee Lauder White Linen. The American squeaky clean ideal, White Linen makes me feel immaculate and, well, almost divinely clean. I adore these kinds of scents the most in hot humid weather. But sometimes I want the cool and fresh without all the soapiness, as much as I love soapy scents.
Enter Barney’s Route du Thé. This lovely and simple perfume was created in the 80s, which is hard to believe given most of the heavy hitting perfumes that the 80s gave us. But, a soft and simple scent it is, and it is so soothing to wear.  The name, translated roughly to “way of the tea” implies more of a tea impression, rather than an outright tea perfume. It is nothing like the ubiquitous green tea scents that are everywhere in perfumes. I would say it is more like the wonderful unsweetened iced tea they serve in the southern US. This is not a sugary or creamy tea, but instead brings to mind the delicious unsweetened iced tea they serve in the southern US. Add a squeeze of lemon for tart refreshment and some fizzy soda water as well. The notes listed by Barney’s (who sell this scent exclusively) are citrus, muguet and amber. After the lemony iced tea blast softens, I do get a gentle fresh floral note, but it is so soft, and not overly feminine or girly at all. The amber…well perhaps a bit of a powdery note, and by bit I mean tiniest amount ever, settles in as the scent dries down. But not a sweet powder. There is almost an astringent aspect to this scent, which I suppose adds to the cooling sensation one gets. For such an ethereal impression of a perfume, Route du Thé lasts an amazingly long time on my skin, and that fresh feeling goes on and on…and on….

where I spent a good part of my Canada Day long weekend- ahhhhhh
You know those super hot days, and the only way to cool down is to dive into a cool lake and just float and swim until your mind clears and you just want to flop down on your towel, close your eyes and breath? And how the water evaporates slowly from your skin, and the breeze you could hardly feel before you dove in the lake now just kisses your skin with a cool touch? That is the kind of fresh Barney’s Route du Thé gives me. 


Barney’s Route du Thé is available exclusively at Barney’s NY and some Barney’s outlet stores.



The Classic Beauty, Dior Diorella

The Classic Beauty, Dior Diorella

I remember this iconic bottle on my mum’s dresser as a little kid. That houndstooth packaging says “elegance”…

The house of Christian Dior has many beautiful perfumes that span generations. They are not all my taste- but how boring would the world be if we all liked the same perfumes, right? The iconic Diorissimo, is the worlds best known and prettiest, in my humble opinion, Lily of The Valley perfume. It was worn by many women over my lifetime and has only the sweetest memories attached. And who can forget the killer Dior Poison? Probably one of the most memorable perfumes to come out of the 80s, and how terrific is that name? For a perfume- fantastic! It can be nuclear strength if applied with abandon, but on my beautiful and elegant cousin Jean, who must just gently dab it, it smells other worldly and beautiful.

One of my most favourite masculines has always been Dior Eau Sauvage- smells both rich and quiet and adds instant elegance and panache to the man wearing it. Simple and unadorned, yet decidedly identifiable, the world would be a better place if more men wore Eau Sauvage. Just sayin’… The dry beautiful green chypre Miss Dior, which my mother wore, will always smell like grown up ladies in lipstick, with pretty silk scarves and leather handbags. Even the sweet Miss Dior Cherie (recently re-named Miss Dior…oh how they confound and confuse us with this nonsense….) while not for me, is a lovely strawberry delight that smells snuggly and delicious on my 15 year old. I can’t fault a perfume house for evolving and creating perfumes that will appeal to everyone. Snobbery in perfume is a bit tedious. We don’t all start out wearing Shalimar at ten years old…and if you did, well, you might want to open your mind a little and realize there is, indeed, a perfume for everyone.

Rene Gruau did the iconic ads for Dior perfumes. How chic is this woman?

Dior recently re-released a collection of the classics under the name “Les Créations de Monsieur Dior” and even with restrictions on things like jasmine, sandalwood and oakmoss (and who knows what else) I think they have done a lovely job of recreating the originals we loved so much. Diorella was launched in 1972 and was a departure from the heavy florals and orientals that dominated women’s perfumes in the previous decades. It is a soft floral chypre, with gentle fruity floral notes grounded by the subtle yet sexy mossy notes so well loved in 70s perfumery. Mmmmm. Love.

Rene Gruau’s ad for the sexy-clean-in-a-French-way (dirty clean) Eau Sauvage

Diorella is based on a simple cologne with the lemon, lime and basil notes but Dior added florals to give it a feminine touch. The heart notes include gentle honeysuckle, jasmine, and rose which are tempered by a yummy peach note to keep them bubbly and light. Add the base of rich oak moss, a touch of smoky vetiver and some sexy patchouli and you have a cocktail of delight on the skin. It performs as an invigorating post shower eau de cologne for day, staying close to the skin with the citrus notes so cheering and uplifting. As the day cools into evening (or in cooler weather) the sultry base notes come forward and warm on the skin, making those around you wonder who smells so damn good. All the while, the sweet floral notes keep it decidedly feminine and temper the fruity effervescent top notes and the woody, mossy smoky green basenotes. Perfection.

Topnotes are like the morning- crisp, clear & bright….
The pretty floral heart notes are warm like a sun filled field….
The mossy, smoky woody base notes warm beautifully on the skin like a cashmere wrap at night….

It does not smell anything like the average fruity floral on offer at perfume counters these days. At. All. It does not have the cloying synthetic musk note that every other perfume has these days, that makes them all smell the same and makes me want to run screaming from crowded elevators and movie theatres. One of my beloved perfumes is a discontinued Creed, Aubepine Acacia, and I do think the gorgeous Diorella can fill its shoes. And then some…

Guerlain Jicky is…Beautiful

Guerlain Jicky is…Beautiful

How does one review the oldest perfume still in production? Especially when you love it dearly. I will try…carefully and with respect. Created by Aime Guerlain in 1889 there are a couple stories that surround the inspiration of Jicky. One is that he created it for an English girlfriend he had- this sounds very romantic and knowing the Guerlain men did create fragrances inspired by women seems possible. Jacques Guerlain, Aime’s uncle, once said, “ I felt something so intense I could only express it in a perfume”. But, this same uncle was also known by the nickname of Jicky so it seems more likely he was the inspiration for the scent. Love is a more romantic inspiration but I think everything about Guerlain perfumes are romantic. Before Jicky, perfumes were soliflores, perfume waters that featured a single flower like rosewater, violet and the like. Floral scents that were light and as simple as the flowers themselves were in nature. Jicky changed all of that by incorporating unusual spices and some synthetic ingredients and turning perfumery upside down.

Jicky is not a perfume for lightweights, but that doesn’t mean it is strong. At least not in an 80s heavyweight perfume way of strong. On the contrary, it sinks into the skin and becomes part of the wearer. It smells old world and modern at the same time. The “old world” part may present a challenge to some wearers. The lavender and citrus top notes feel clean & classic in an eau de cologne kind of way but the twist that makes Jicky so incredible comes along and everything changes. The lavender is rich and oh so French smelling, so if you are a lover of the fruity floral scents that line the perfume counters and shelves these days, Jicky is not for you. Its a green and herbal lavender, the herbs could be Herbes de Provence…..so it’s not a sweet lavender at all, and its coupled with a bright and tart citrus note. Just when you think you are wearing a soapy clean simple lavender scent, the classic Guerlain tonka and vanilla begin to waft up and ground that airy top note, warming it with a touch of sweetness. Opoponax (sweet myrrh) adds a resinous warmth akin to incense without the smoke. The warmth is an olfactory illusion though, because a cool earthy iris swoops in and then BAM! everything gets ethereal from that point on.
The real magic in Jicky comes from the civet. Civet is a glandular secretion from the civet cat which has a strong scent that is a weird balance of fecal and floral. When it is purified (in the case of natural civet, although I would imagine synthetic civet is used more frequently these days) the scent reveals a deeply feminine floral scent. Civet is used to enhance scent and as a fixative. It can be an acquired scent taste as well as some may be anosmic to it, as I was. For that reason it was years before I “got” Jicky and no longer found it kind of boring. Better I suppose than my dear friend Vicki who only gets “cat bum” from it YIKES! Civet is one of those tricky notes. You either love it, hate it or can’t smell it. And, you can learn to love it, like an acquired taste. For me, on that fateful day at the Guerlain counter, it was sudden love. After years of not smelling it, I decided to give it a go. I tried the eau de toilette (Guerlain perfumes are notorious for smelling quite different in different concentrations) and suddenly the lavender, citrus, herbal, iris, vanilla, tonka cocktail became 3D and I LOVED it. How could I have missed this? How did I not smell iris in this before? Vanilla? Wow. Then, I tried the eau de parfum…..heaven in a bottle. The sweet and dark femininity of Jicky becomes richer as the perfume concentration intensifies. I think a man could wear the eau de toilette quite easily but it’s not enough for me…..now I have my eye on a bottle of the pure parfum…..
Jicky transcends seasons. It is perfect on a hot summer day, the lavender and citrus cooling and soothing. On a cool breezy day the vanilla tonka combination becomes cozy. As with most of the Guerlain masterpieces though, I find Jicky is most perfect on an “imperfect” day. On a gloomy day, or even better, on a stormy day, with menacing clouds that make me feel a bit dark and melancholy. Guerlain takes poetry and makes it scent.
If I was a synaesthete I would say Jicky smells like rich, dark purple velvet. Now, doesn’t that sound beautiful?