Guerlain Jasmin Vintage perfume – Perfume Review

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.

* * *


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?

Taj Mahal - Guerlain Jasmin


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…

  • gail says:

    Hi March!

    Man, I’ve got to get a grip! I’ve ordered the pure parfum from Evey at a reasonanable price (well, we’re speaking perfume so you know…)

    On your comments, I will be on the lookout for older patous. I am an animalic freak. I loved the civet in Jicky and if I could find a musk that doesn’t morph into something more civilized, I would be very happy. Same with Ambre notes.

    Fragrant day! gail

    Thanks for the directions. Patou it is!

  • March says:

    Gail, sorry for the slow response. I’ve ordered from Imagination and their stuff was fine (in fact, that may be the only place that carries the PDT? There was one on line…)

    If you are comfortable with animalic and you have already smelled Jicky, go for the parfum, but I’ll dig around and see if I can find the PDT seller for you. It would be a good compromise.

    Patou 1000 you can smell lots of places and I’d recommend you do before buying. It is vaguely Mitsouko-esque but I find all the Patous intensely animalic. Lordy, they are a wonder, though. If you get a chance sniff the Sira de Indes, their new one. I think it’s astonishing.

  • Gail says:

    So, what if I ordered the parfum? I do not think there are any of the originals around to spare but…They have not yet reformulated this version and I’m seeing it on imagination perfumery for less than esscentuals and undoubtedly Guerlain in France. Can I trust them?

    Animalic…my favorite. I can’t get enough and so the perfume would be my preference.

    Then of course, I started sniffing around my mind’s memory lane to other old and venerable houses..

    1000 by patou another I’d be curious about

    MAKE ME STOP!!! I have two kids in college

  • violetnoir says:

    March, may I ask a stupid question? Why, oh why, did you post about this rare and vintage Guerlain, because none of us will ever have the pleasure of sniffing it, much less wearing it?? I sounds heartbreakingly beautiful. =((

    Okay, I’m over it…for now! LOL!


  • March says:

    Cait — that’s right, it was YOU! I have to go read your review now.

    Lime juice?!?!

  • March says:

    Gail — ah, you picked a live one! The Jicky EDT is probably the only EDT strength Guerlain that’s worth owning — the quality of the EDPs is SO much better. IMO it is very different from the other concentrations. It is beautiful. Obviously unisex. The PDT (EDP) is very difficult to find, so I’m guessing you got the EDT but could be wrong. Robin at NST considers the PDT to be a nice compromise between the EDT and the parfum.

    The parfum is quite different from the sparkling EDT. I am The Queen when I am wearing it, and the Big Cheese finds it veeeery sexy, but it is fairly animalic. Not for everyone.

    Getting hold of the old versions vs. the new, I don’t know. I don’t believe there’s any obvious way to do this, maybe Patty knows.

  • Gail says:

    March: PDT? I believe I got the decant from Patty? Hard to recall I am organizing as I sniff.

    I personally always prefer parfum strength. Just because I am an all or nothing kind of female.

    So, do I order the parfum from Guerlain? And will it still be the older reformulation? What to do?

  • cait says:

    I wrote about the Third Man and then people were discussing it on MUA – Tania and Victoria in the context of a discussion of fougeres.

    My celebration of Guerlain continues. We had a dinner party. A friend smelled Sous le Vent and said, “Hmm, lime juice.” Ha! They just don’t understand.

  • Flora says:

    *Sigh* – that sounds divine. I am a big Jasmine lover too, can’t get enough. WHY is this no longer made!? :((

  • Patty says:

    Oh, Cait, a package from Guerlain is a great day! Enjoy all your goodies1

  • Patty says:

    Make sure you hug Ina for us when you see her!

    a guy’s Caron, of course.

  • March says:

    Cait — a package from Guerlain sounds like a cause for celebration… any decent champagne on hand?

    I think Jasmin would make your heart explode. Best to steer clear.

    Sous le vent! Unmixed pleasure, that one.

  • March says:

    Gail — which concentration? They’re pretty different – the EDT (which a lot of people prefer) is sort of citrus/lavender-ish.

  • March says:

    P — I think I am scheduled for a facial/massage tomorrow — some sniffage today. My Caron — buhWAHAHAHA — shall I tell? Is it too weird?

    Okay — Caron 3rd Man. I’m marinating my right arm in it right now… trying to remember, I think someone just wrote a review — Marina? Marlen?

  • Patty says:

    I missed that. CARON to love, you? Which one?

  • Cait says:

    Oh, March!! I am dying of envy. I have been coming to terms with my terminal love for Jasmine in general (does this mean I have unsophisticated tastes? oh hell who cares, i think) and yesterday my package came from le 68. HELP ME – I have never received such gorgeous luxury in a package. Sous le Vent is now officially my favorite perfume ever. I love slapping on huge amounts out of the wide-mouthed apothecary bottle. The samples of Liu and Derby and Vega and others renewed my enthusiasm for writing about perfume, for perfume, for LIFE. Ah, Guerlain, GuerlainGuerlainGuerlain! I’ve thoroughly lost my mind over it. Have fun in Chicago.
    What would I think if I smelled this Jasmin? I’d probably faint.

  • Gail says:

    Have any of you worn the newer version of Jicky?

    I just opened my decant and was so delighted! The identifiable Guerlain base of mouth wateringly delicate, sweet, butter lovingly folded into a floral compote. And surprise!!! perfectly balanced Civet. I almost fell out of my seat! The drydown was a warm amethyst verdency that laid on my skin in perfect harmony.

    Can you imagine the original with animal/enfleurages and extraits with just the right amount of touches to highlight and lift?

    Nevertheless. Jicky now is a keeper. I guess I’ll have to spend just one more sheckle for this latest recreation before the dreaded reformulation this perfume has been slated for occurs LOL.

  • Patty says:

    Ahem. Not hunting down this one. That would require many novenas to St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, and I’m terrible at saying novenas and speaking French, of which I speak ZERO. 🙂

    Glad you’re having a lazy time of it, take a bubble bath. You know the Ritz up in Vail had this monstrous big bathtub, and for a “modest” fee, they would come and draw you a bubble bath and pour in all sorts of potions and candles and stuff. If you have something like that, avail yourself of it. We didn’t, but it is my one big regret for that stay.

  • March says:

    Gail — that’s the rub. Even the reissues have often been tinkered with, and now that Guerlain’s considering various nefarious (wow, that rhymes!) reformulations to eliminate ingredients/save money, I am sure the fragrances will change, even if it’s subtle.:((

  • March says:

    Robin — no, someday I WILL be Queen, and Guerlain WILL re-issue this… a girl can dream…

  • March says:

    Marina — and I am not even the queen of jasmine. I can buy 15 marine scents but not this. I weep.

  • March says:

    Patty! Oh, HEY! Don’t read any of my other responses!!:d No, that kind of indolic only refers to Yours Truly on her first day in Chi-town. And Guess What?!?!?! I have found a Caron to love!!!!!! Un-fricking-believable.

  • March says:

    Christina — thanks for the update! I don’t want to VIEW the damn things, I want to buy them!! Well, actually, what I want is for PATTY to buy them and then give me a decant… God, I hope she doesn’t read this…

  • Gail says:

    My dream is to savor so many of the old original formulas. Materials and the restrictions around using them create lovely recreations but the strength, depth and evocation of the original formulas can not be duplicated.

  • Robin says:

    Sounds just fabulous! Too bad I’ll never smell it…

  • Marina says:

    I am crying with you, and I haven’t even tried it. But…”beautiful and naked and unashamed”…that just sounds so so great. :((

  • Patty says:

    This would be fun to smell. And I learned more about what indolic means, which is a good thing! I just thought it was lazy jasmine. 🙂

  • Christina H. says:

    Ugh! I’m afraid you’re right about not finding these anytime soon!I called Francoise yesterday at the Paris boutique and inquired about the Jasmin,Jasmiralda,Fleur de Feu and several others and was told that maybe these could be found at someone’s private collection.Francoise said they have these there for people to view as part of their collection but she didn’t mention that they were for sampling.I did find out that Quand Vient d’Ete is being released this summer and Ode is being released next year.I think this is more common knowledge though. I surely do wish they’d decide to bring back some of these ancient(using her words here) fragrances!