Guerlain Muguet Millésime 2024 – excuse us while we swoon…

Every year in the month of May, Guerlain releases their much-anticipated Muguet – a limited edition, Bee-bottled fragrant homage to the the spring season, and artistically referencing legends surrounding lily of the valley…

 

Only available on guerlain.com and in Guerlain boutiques, this annual exquisite collectors piece represents Guerlain’s olfactive ode to their heritage – utilising a beloved floral symbol which we happen to adore at The Perfume Society, too, lily of the valley being the emblem we chose for its fragrant folklore meanings (and because we began ten years ago on May 1st, when bouquets of lily of the valley, or muguet in French, are traditionally bequeathed to loved ones.

Guerlain Says: ‘Like every year, the House of Guerlain celebrates the arrival of spring with its emblematic Muguet in a limited, numbered pieces edition. For this long-awaited and exclusive lucky rendezvous, Guerlain reaffirms its commitment to arts and crafts by collaborating with Anne Lopez.’

 

 

 

 

‘On the iconic Bee Bottle, the sculptor brings to life subtle bells fashioned in stucco and enhanced with 22-carat fine gold, turning the 2024 Millésime into a singular sculptural work. A trail, which freshness reminisces of a freshly-picked sprig of lily of the valley.’

Artist Anne Lopez was chosen to design the precious flaçon this year, and Guerlain explains that ‘The adornment of lucky bell-shaped flowers was born from her delicate sketches, drafts that create a singular vision. Fashioned in stucco, a coating made of marble powder, the twenty-four bell-shaped flowers illuminated with gold and the two green leaves are sculpted by Anne Lopez directly on the glass. Just like a delicate necklace, the lily-of-the-valley sprig composition unfolds in a considered way around the bottle’s curves : plump bell-shaped flowers at the top, then gradually refining into an utterly graceful string.’

 

 

 

 

Although each year the bottle design and embellishments change depending on the artist Guerlain is collaborating with, the stunning scent remains – gracefully, gratefully – unchanged. ‘It is to Guerlain’s Master Perfumer that we owe the feat of reproducing the fragrance of lily of the valley.’ And Guerlain reminds us that the this flower is one of the trickiest to translate in fragrant form. ‘Described as “mute”, its natural essence is impossible to extract. Guerlain’s Muguet, composed since 2016 by Thierry Wasser, captures as faithfully as possible the scent of the lucky sprigs. In a burst of freshness, the green notes meeting the floral preciousness of jasmine and rose adorn this emblematic trail with soft and pearly green and rosy facets. At the heart of this bouquet, the olfactory illusion of a freshly picked sprig of lily of the valley emerges.’

Of course this is a dream piece – these are collected, and beloved all over the world. But how wonderful that such artistry can still be found, and admired (even in simply gasping at pictures of the work, or watching the bottle spin in the film found on Guerlain’s website). Drink in the artistry of the images, and (we urge you) do go and smell the scent in-store, and allow yourself to be awed awhile by something beautiful. It’s good for the soul…

 

 

 

Guerlain Muguet Millésime 2024 (4885 limited and numbered collection pieces), £675 for 100ml Bee Bottle + 30ml Spray Bottle guerlain.com

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Perfume Bottles Auction 2023: The world’s most fabulous flaçons… could be yours!

Set your alarms right now, because on Friday April 28, starting at 4pm Eastern Time in America, the 35th annual Perfume Bottles Auction will conduct its live online auction – with bidders around the world logging in to try their luck at owning some of the world’s most exceptional perfume bottles.

Here, we take a sneak peek at the fabulous catalogue ahead of the sale, to show you some of our favourites, and we’ll be catching up with how the sale went in the next issue of The Scented Letter magazine, so stay tuned…

Since 1979, organiser and founder of The Perfume Bottles Auction, Ken Leach, has been working ‘to create public and corporate awareness of the artistry to be found in vintage perfume presentation.’ His antique shop’s show-stopping merchandise ‘has served as a source of inspiration for glass companies, package designers, and celebrity perfumers, before ultimately entering the collections of perfume bottle enthusiasts around the globe.’

With unparalleled access to private collections and never before seen pieces, the yearly auction garners huge excitement in the fragrance world. Some truly rare and exquisite items will doubtless only be in the reach of serious collectors, but other pieces can be obtainable prices – it all depends how many other people are lusting after the same bottle, of course!

Each year, we look forward to our friends at the Perfume Bottles Auction  their catalogue with us (which is a feast for the eyes in itself, as well as encompassing a huge amount of important history behind the bottles and fragrances); and we swear each year’s collection is even better than the last!

So, what does the 2023 Perfume Bottles Auction stash have in store for us? Let’s take a look at just some of our personal highlights…

 

This ‘Extraordinary 1934 Parfums de Burmann Pleine Lune sur le Nil (Full Moon on the Nile) black crystal Egyptian Revival perfume bottle’, was presented ‘in conjunction with the launching of the newly established Burmann perfume company and shop on the Champs Elysees. However, both the perfume and the bottle proved to be too expensive to produce, and this ambitious project was not pursued.’ Estimated to achieve $30,000$40,000, and being so rare; no wonder it’s the catalogue’s cover-star.

 

 

This dazzling piece is a 1946 Salvador Dali design, produced by Baccarat (no 798) for Elsa Schiaparelli Le Roy Soleil (The Sun King), and ‘The Duchess of Windsor having been one of the first to receive one, wrote to Schiaparelli: “It is really the most beautiful bottle ever made, and the Roy Soleil is a very lasting and sweet gentleman. I cannot tell you how I appreciate your giving me such a handsome present which has displaced the Duke’s photograph on the coiffeuse!” Schiaparelli wrote in her autobiography that it was “…too expensive and too sophisticated for the general public, but…not destined to die.”‘ (Estimate $10,000$12,000)

 

 

We’ve seen photos of this extraordinary bottle circulating online previously, those versions often in less than pristine condition, while this piece is immaculate and has so much for information to go with it. It’s a ‘1925 De Marcy L’Orange trompe l’oeil presentation, simulates a halved orange, glazed ceramic bowl holding eight orange segments in a metal frame, blown glass perfume bottles in perfect condition.’ Which of the fragrances would you have loved to smell first? Each segment held one Chypre, Ambre, Rose, Héliotrope, Jasmin, Muguet, Mimosa and Violette. (Personally, we’d have been at the Chypre and Ambre.) Estimate $800$1,000, it’s sure to prove a-peeling [sorry!]

 

 

We’re loving the side-eye this cheeky minx is serving in the ‘1925 Favoly’s La Poupee Parisienne presentation for Chypre hand painted blown glass perfume bottle, metallic thread bow.’ Estimated $200$400, she could be coming home to party with your perfume collection if you’re lucky. (And obvs she was a Chypre gal – with that expression, what else?)

 

 

This French ‘1920s Hetra for Elesbe Le Papillon Embaume butterfly‘ bottle was made for a  presentation of Oeillet (Carnation) scent. Completely darling, and we don’t know if we’d rather display it or run around giddily playing with while whooping with joy [don’t worry Perfume Bottles Auction pals, we wouldn’t really play with it. Much.] Estimated $600$800, enthusiasts should get their nets at the ready.

 

 

The work on this ‘Sea Weeds’ model bottle is quite breathtaking, and it’s a ‘1925 Andre Jollivet design, produced by La Verrerie de la Nesle Normandeuse for Volnay Yapana clear glass perfume bottle, deeply molded front and reverse, blue patina, inner stopper, silvered metal cap, embossed label on side. Some of the bottles truly are art pieces in their own right, and this one certainly belongs in that category. $2,000$4,000

 

 

Well now, this is irresistible, isn’t it? A ‘1944 Elizabeth Arden music box presentation for On dit (They say) clear/ frost glass bottle and cover, with inner stopper, sealed with perfume, as two ladies, their heads touching, one whispering a secret to the other…’ And what is the gossip, we wonder?! With panels of the box showing various high society social scenes, where no doubt the cause of the chin-wagging occurred, this is a delightful, whimsical piece we could stare at for hours.

 

There are SO many more we love, but to show them all would be to basically reproduce the entire catalogue, so why not go and have a browse (and gasp) for yourself? If something particularly takes your fancy, you can register for the 2023 Perfume Bottles Auction online: the instructions for bidding are all there, and if you have questions you can ask those via their website, too. Now then, which one(s) would you most like to own…?

[Our feature image for this article is the ‘1924 Julien Viard design, manufactured by Depinoix Glassworks for Bonwit Teller & Co, Paris Venez avec Moi (Come with Me). Estimated $4,000$6,000. Utterly beguiling, non?]

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Perfume Bottles Auction 2021 – the rare, unique & ravishing!

The annual Perfume Bottles Auction is the most important date in the diary for serious scent bottle collectors around the world. Every year, stunning examples of artistic fragrance flaçons are meticulously sourced and offered to bidders, and it’s a chance to see some of the rarest bottles outside of a museum.

Since 1979, organiser and founder of The Perfume Bottles Auction, Ken Leach, has been working ‘to create public and corporate awareness of the artistry to be found in vintage perfume presentation.’ His antique shop’s show-stopping merchandise ‘has served as a source of inspiration for glass companies, package designers, and celebrity perfumers, before ultimately entering the collections of perfume bottle enthusiasts around the globe.’

Like last year, thanks to the pandemic the auction will be held online on May 1st 2021 – though this offers the opportunity for everyone to join in. The circumstances have made sourcing items more challenging, but Mr. Leach says, although he’s not been able to travel ‘…as I normally would to view collections, fate smiled and among this year’s consignments are some of the rarest and most unusual items I’ve seen.’

 

 

The stunning print catalogue – highly collectable in itself, and an invaluable resource for fragrance fans and historians alike – is now available (and can be sent worldwide).

Mr. Leach is pictured, above, with some of the most important items, and walks us through them, below. Get set to swoon…!
DeVilbiss & Osiris
‘Exceedingly rare 1928 DeVilbiss figural dragonfly perfume atomizer with a pre-sale estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.  Also in this photo is the all important Osiris by Vinolia with a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $40,000
Paul Poiret Rosine
‘1919 Rosine Aladin perfume bottle in elaborate box signed Mario Simonis ’19. The box graphics depict Paul Poiret as a Persian King in an imagined Ambréeist tableau, the base covered in authentic Moroccan fabric. Pre-sale estimate $2,500-3,500.’
Hoffmann
‘Spectacular 1920s Heinrich Hoffmann Czechoslovakian black crystal perfume bottle with Austrian decoration by Turriet & Bardach. Pre-sale estimate $4,500-5,000’
 
Isabey Lalique
‘1924 Rene Lalique for Isabey A Travers la Voilette (Through the Veil) perfume presentation in collaboration with Alix Ayme. On the box cover and seen through a veil, a beautiful woman smelling a bouquet of flowers is detailed. The lustrous box is finished to appear lacquered while the veil pattern is printed in metallic ink, allowing the embossed flowers to appear to pierce through the veil. Pre-sale estimate $3,000-6,000′
Powder Box
‘1920s Rare Galleries Lafayette “Terre de Retz” highly detailed figural “Pirate Ship” powder box. Pre-sale estimate $1,500-2,000’
Lalique Olives
‘1912 Rene Lalique et Cie. “Olives” clear glass perfume bottle molded with convex oval cabochons, matching stopper. Pre-sale Estimate $600-800’
Ballerina
‘1940’s Marie Earle Ballerina perfume bottle presentation includes a covered plaster ballet shoe stand box. Advertisements for this perfume read “Ballerina perfume for dancing souls.” Pre-sale estimate $3,000-4,000′

Roland Mouret x Leyman Lahcine limited edition Une Amourette

Roland Mouret has commissioned the work of French artist Leyman Lahcine on a limited-edition collaboration for his fragrance, Une Amourette with the cult house of Etat Libre D’Orange. As the fragrance was one of the loveliest launches of 2017 – which we’re still wearing and finding new facets of – suffice to say, we’re excited.

You can watch a short video of Lahcine explaining his artistic influences, below; but first, let’s remind ourselves of how the fragrance smells, and then we’ll dive in to the distinctive new bottle design…

What does it smell like? It all begins like a lover’s caress, the sense of entangled sheets and warm skin, unmistakable carnality with indolic white flowers and roses scattered across the bed. Bone dry, the spices make their presense known immediately, with cardamom lingering throughout, a peachy succulence and creamy vanilla peeping above the naughtiness, somehow rendering them all the more provocative, like a glimpse of bare flesh beneath velvet coverings. A cool breeze of iris feels infused with a metallic shimmer, and the opoponax (incense) smooths the way for an insouciant, animalic dry-down of akigalawood that lasts the whole day through.

For this new limited edition bottle, the ‘faux naif’ artist Leyman Lahcine, who cites Jean Cocteau as one of his key influencers, explored the intensity of the Une Amourette fragrance with his perception of love expresed through his distinctive illustrations.’I always try to follow and trust my creativity, so I stay loyal to my identity as an artist.’ he explains. ‘Shaping a style that is personal to me is the most important aspect of being creative.’

Not merely using the drawings and then scanning them on to the shape of the bottle, each design was hand-drawn onto the bottle itself by Lachine – a real meeting of art and perfume. In one drawing, Roland Mouret explain, ‘the moon is depicted lovingly gazing at the sun in its embrace, while another depicts hands and petals, capturing a bold, playful and somewhat irreverent spirit. A celebration of love, visualised.’

As Mouret wanted the fragrance to encapsulate a moment of two opposites coming together – masculine and feminine characters entwined, with aspects of each rubbing off (quite literally) on the other, this artwork perfectly harmonises the central inspiration of the scent itself, rather than being just another pretty design.

Only 50 limited-edition bottles will be available exclusively in the UK, in their flagship store at 8 Carlos Place, London W1K 3AS and online at rolandmouret.com

Une Amourette 50 limited edition £130 for 100ml eau de parfum

Expected to sell quickly, to collectors of art bottles and fine fragrance alike, we’d suggest moving fast if you want to secure one for yourself.

By Suzy Nightingale

Collectively obsessed with scent: you have to see this mega mini perfume collection!

Obsession isn’t just the name of a perfume – it’s a very good description of the fragrant madness that creeps in to every perfume collector’s life sooner or later. And there are many differing types… The completists – those who absolutely must have every single version of  particular scent; the vintage fans who insist on owning (and sometimes wearing, if they’re in good enough condition) history, bottled. Talking of bottles, perhaps the largest collecting community within the perfume world are those who fill their homes (and garages, and sheds) with particular types of flacon – from ultra rare examples that reach eye-watering prices to retro scents in charmingly bizarre shapes – for these collectors, the perfume itself is actually secondary: they’re alllll about the bottle.

For the latest edition of The Scented Letter magazine, we focused on the mysteriouly enticing world of collectors and their collections – and one of the main images we used was kindly supplied by a VIP Subsciber, Phoebe Tan, who happened to mention ‘Oh yeah, my mum collects minis. She has quite a few…’ For “quite a few” please see the featured photo, above, and you’ll understand why we just had to interview Phoebe’s mum, Lindsay Yeo, to find out more.

Lindsay: ‘I first became interested in perfume when I went shopping in a department store about 30 years ago. There was a promotional event for Lancôme where I did a questionnaire that proposed one of their perfumes to match my personality. The winning one was… Magie Noire. I really loved it. Before this, I used to hate perfumes because people around me wore very heavy fragrances (this was in the 70s). But this event made me discover that I just hadn’t found a perfume I truly liked! That same day I bought my first full size perfume which came with a miniature bottle that caught my eye…’

Once the fragrant bait has been taken, it’s a short step to full-on perfumista status, we’ve long known. And Lindsay mused how it was ‘…funny I still have the full size bottle long after it was emptied.’ Of course we had to know how many she had stashed, and Lindsay confessed: ‘I just went to count and I currently have close to 500 bottles (most of them are minis!). This is the first time I’ve counted and I am quite shocked, actually.’
When asked what set her on this miniature-perfume collecting path, Lindsay explained ‘I really only wanted to collect the miniatures so initially I would buy full-size bottles for the minis. The first few I bought were: Magie noire by Lancome, Paloma Picasso , Lou Lou, Anais Anais by Cacharel, Ysatis by Givenchy, Ruffles by Oscar De La Renta, Gucci No.3, Beyond Paradise by Estee Lauder. Years later I found shops that sold the minis on their own – without the need to buy the full-sizes – and that is how I started collecting. It’s kinder on the pocket!’

So what exactly does a collector look for in a bottle – what catches their eye and makes them think “I MUST have that!”? For Lindsay… ‘I look out for interesting designs. [NB: The “lighter” shaped bottle, above, is a particular favourite of Lindsay’s.] To me, perfume bottles are pieces of art! They are so beautiful. Miniatures are not easy to come by so I really treat them all as treasures.’

Phoebe Tan with her miniature-bottle collecting mum, Lindsay Yeo.

Clearly, the passion for perfume runs in the blood, as Phoebe Tan first became interested in chemistry and then – when she made the connection between science and the art of perfume – she was totally hooked. Now setting her heart on a career in fragrance, Phoebe has been studying (and is soon to graduate from) for her MSc Cosmetic Science’ at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. And having sniffed some of her “course work” examples, we’re pretty sure Phoebe’s own fragrances will be added to future collector’s scent stashes…
Written by Suzy Nightingale