I´ve been working on counting my blessings — oh, look, there goes one of my blessings right now, riding his tricycle naked down the driveway. Followed closely behind by his sister, who seems to have shed the outfit she was wearing not five minutes ago. If those two spend any more time running around outside nude, the neighbors are going to start leaving clothes on our front porch, hoping I´ll get the idea.
Work with me here, and this will all fit together. Because some sunlight beamed into my life recently in the form of two separate gifts of several samples of vintage Guerlain, some provided by a donor who will remain anonymous (but you know who you are, and I thank you), and the others as a taste with my purchase of Guerlain Apres L´Ondee in the parfum version from the wonderful now-called Surrender to Chance.
I have drawn out the sampling of these vintage Guerlain perfumes with approximately the same slow ardor I consume a box of Belgian chocolates from the confiserie I love so much on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris — I take my time, select carefully, savor. Because I know once these are gone, that is that.
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Jasmine: a note of such dense, rich, columnar whiteness it makes me think of polished marble. But at its base is the other part – the unwashed stink of its indoles, a chemical compound found in minute quantities in jasmine (and in greater quantities in feces) that is often delicately referred to as its indolic nuance or aspect. Reviews of jasmine fragrances often refer to that indolic element, and how much you can put up with is, I guess, mostly a matter of personal preference. Jasmine “soliflores” often pair the jasmine with a note that balances it — something green, or spicy — while muting the indolic aspect.
Guerlain Jasmin, however, takes a different route – the jasmine is just standing there, beautiful and naked and unashamed, on the Guerlain base of yore (Basenotes dates Guerlain Jasmin to 1928, although I don’t know the vintage of my sample).
So … how is it, anyway?
Like gazing on the Taj Mahal at sunrise.
There is no union more perfect than the smell of indolic jasmine melding with the mildly animalic Guerlain base. There is no progression – no top, middle, or base I can detect. You open the vial and the genie ushers you straight into Paradise.
I am sorry, but I am fresh out of superlatives for Guerlain Jasmin. Each time I dabbed some on and sniffed, I was stunned. I kept waiting for the intensity of my reaction to fade. With each taste the size of my sample diminished, but not its effect.
And I am crying now, because, unless somebody´s got a bottle stashed behind the counter at The 68 or Patty gets her network of international fragrance spies to hunt some down, I will never smell this again. Guerlain, do you want to rule the world? How about a little more of this?
Okay, that´s enough drama for one post. Stay tuned for future reviews of more rare/vintage Guerlain perfumes: Fleur de Feu, Ode, Vega, Rue de la Paix…