Guerlain World Bee Day initiative & Bee Bottle art (made by bees!)

Without bees, we’d have no future fragrances to look forward to (or, you know, food, or a planet with vital resources we rely on daily), so with this very much in mind, Guerlain is running a major international campaign for bee protection from 20th May (World Bee Day) to 22nd May (International Day for Biological Diversity) ‘to protect and conserve the bee, the sentinel of the House.’

If bees were no longer to exist,’ Guerlain explain, ‘most fruits, flowers and seeds would disappear forever, taking with them an infinite number of irreplaceable colours, flavours and smells. Across the world, intensive farming, vanishing habitats, climate change and so forth are drastically impacting the
health of bees, both wild and domestic.’

So, for the second year running, Guerlain is raising funds for the Guerlain For Bees Conservation Programme, donating 20% of sales to the programme. To celebrate this, Guerlain has collaborated with artist Tomáš Libertíny to create a never-before-seen creation: the iconic Guerlain Bee Bottle transformed into a work of art – entirely made by bees!

 

 

 

The aim, says Guerlain, is: ‘to gather €1 million within three days to strengthen its “Guerlain for Bees Conservation Programme”. So many natural treasures and resources depend on the skilful handiwork of bees. For the House of Guerlain, making a commitment towards their protection means endeavouring to pass on the wonders of Nature to future generations, while safeguarding their future.’

 

 

 

 

 Guerlain’s Bee-autiful History:

‘The founder of the House, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, dedicated a citrus Eau de Cologne to Empress Eugénie to celebrate her marriage to Napoleon III. Naturally, he named it “Eau de Cologne Impériale”. He then entrusted glassmakers Pochet du Courval to create a bottle adorned with his majesty’s coat of arms, the bees, and a festoon pattern, inspired by the Place Vendôme column. The Bee Bottle was born. It would become an icon.The Empress was so impressed with this gift, that she named Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain “Supplier to the Empress” (“Fournisseur de l’Impératrice”), which helped to rapidly spread Guerlain’s renown throughout Europe’s great royal courts. A legend was born. Today, the emblematic Bee Bottle is still made in the Pochet du Courval ateliers and now lends itself to colour and personalisation. The perfume bottles can be refilled time and time again in a celebration of how luxury can meet sustainable development as guided by Bees. The “Dames de table” continue to seal and hand decorate this historic bottle, creating some exceptional versions that perpetuate tra-ditional craftsmanship, art and artisanship.’

 

 

 

 

In order to preserve a future for bees – and for fragrance – Guerlain remind us thatIt is crucial for us to protect them, but this alone is not enough. We must also raise awareness around the importance of bee conservation for the world of today and tomorrow. This is why Guerlain is committed to teaching children about the cause of bees, thanks to its Bee School. Its programme Women for Bees, in partnership with UNESCO, also aims to train new women beekeepers at UNESCO’s biosphere reserves.’

 

Guerlain’s divine Muguet – lily of the valley, the flower of May & our birthday

It’s now a much-anticipated tradition that, on the first of May, Guerlain release their exquisite Muguet – a limited edition, beautuifully Bee-bottled fragrant homage to legends surrounding lily of the valley. Indeed, we were so taken with the traditions of exchanging bouquets for friendship, and the new begginings represented by the flower, that eight years ago, we officially launched The Perfume Society on that date!

Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’. With so many of us perhaps preparing to travel again – planning trips to see loved ones or simply the joy of a holiday – that happiness is expressed in fragrant form, and just so beautifully bottled. Here, Guerlain explain the many lovely traditions around the world surrounding lily of the valley, and why they, too, are so taken with the delicate flower…

‘According to legend, if its white bells drop their heads on their stems as though they were weeping, it is because they were born from the tears of Eve when she was expelled from the Garden of Eden. For the Greek, it was the god Apollo who scattered the flowers on the thick green grass of Mount Parnassus, so that the Muses wouldn’t hurt their feet. In the forests of Ireland, their bells chime when fairies climb their poetic ladders to weave their iridescent cradles…

“Gentle fairies, hush your singing:
Can you hear my white bells ringing,
Ringing as from far away?
Who can tell me what they say?
Little snowy bells out-springing
From the stem and softly ringing–
Tell they of a country where
Everything is good and fair?”
Cicely Mary BARKER (1895-1973)

A flower of a thousand tales, lily of the valley owes its French name, muguet, derived from musc or muscade (“nutmeg”), a sweetly scented spice, to its delicate, penetrating fragrance. Evocative of springtime, the season of love, muguet gave its name in the 16th century to young swains who spent their time flirting… As for the custom of offering it on May 1st, it was born in 1561, when King Charles IX of France was offered a sprig during a visit to the Dauphiné. He was so charmed that each year, on the same day, he offered lily of the valley to all the ladies of his court.

 

 

 

 

During the Belle Époque, couturiers gave it on May 1st to their seamstresses and clients… Perfumers strove to capture the scent of the fleeting flower. Among the hundreds of tributes inspired by the white bell over the century, one was authored by a young perfumer called Jacques Guerlain. In 1908, he composed the House’s first Muguet, inaugurating a fragrant tradition that has gone on, from spring to spring, for over 110 years. Recreating the lily-of-the-valley fragrance is a genuine olfactory feat as it is known as “mute”. Composed by the Master Perfumer Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s Muguet takes on green and rosy facets that form a vernal setting for the lush floral materials that enrich his composition: jasmine sambac absolute, rose essence and absolute. At the heart of the bouquet arises the strikingly olfactory illusion of a freshly picked sprig. A true olfactory jewel, to celebrate the rites of spring at its apogee.

It is the most poetic rendez-vous of spring. An encounter of the art of the perfumer and the very best creators flower. The kind of match that only the House of Guerlain could orchestrate. Each year, the new adornment of the iconic Bee Bottle of Muguet is released: the stunning outcome of innovative artistic collaborations. For its 2022 Edition, a delicate sprig of lily-of-the-valley is turned into a jewel, set with glittering crystals by the magicians of the Parisian jewellery studio Atelier Truscelli.

 

 

 

Italian by birth and Parisian by adoption, Francesco Truscelli has been fascinated by jewellery since his childhood. In 2003, he founded his own studio in Paris, where tourmalines, sapphires, turquoises, garnets, aquamarines, pearls are set into shimmering, colourful hand-crafted designs in many different styles. A specialist in one-off pieces and bespoke jewels, Francesco Truscelli still loves, as he did when he first trained, giving a second life to family jewels by redesigning them.

 

 

 

 

May Day and the heralding of Spring is celebrated in many cultures, but we are especially fond of the French custom of presenting your nearest and dearest with a sprig of lily of the valley. For those that want to go several scented steps further, you’d best not delay. These breathtaking bottles are limited edition pieces for collectors of course – this year there are only 5,000 bottles released worldwide, priced at £540 and available at their Covent Garden Boutique, Harrods, and at Guerlain.com.

Guerlain Cherry Blossom 2022 special edition is simply Bee-yootiful!

Fragrance-lovers and collectors the world over look forward with glee to the launch of the latest Guerlain limited edition Bee Bottle perfumes. Working with renowned artists, Guerlain encourage freedom of expression, allowing each artisan to interpret the scent with their unique adornments, turning each bottle into a work of art itself.

For Spring 2022 the Guerlain Cherry Blossom is joyously welcomed in a stunning pink flaçon that’s been individually adorned with miniature flowers, echoing the tender beauty of the scent inside. Let’s take a deep dive into Guerlain’s foucs on this annual fragrance ritual, and – given the numerous outside stresses we’re currently experiencing – enjoy the beauty with renewed bliss. Altogether now: and B-R-E-A-T-H-E the blossoms in…

 

 

Guerlain Cherry Blossom 2022

 

 

Of all the rituals of the Land of the Rising Sun, this is the most poetic. Each spring, the Japanese gather to admire the beauty of cherry blossoms. Guerlain celebrates this annual tradition with an exceptional limited and numbered edition of Cherry Blossom in its iconic Bee Bottle. For the 2022 edition, Guerlain has asked the embroidery studio Kyoko Création founded by the artist Kyoko Sugiura to create the delicate floral adornment of its flacon, crafted by a community of Japanese embroiderers. A unique and poetic artistic collaboration between France and Japan.’ – GUERLAIN

 

 

 

ADMIRING CHERRY BLOSSOMS AT NIGHTFALL

‘Each year in January, the Japanese start following the gradual blossoming of sakuras from the Okinawa Archipelago in the south of the country to Hokkaido Island, in the north, at the end of April. Called “hanami”, which means “flower viewing”, the ritual is observed by people of every age and background. Families and friends gather to wonder at the beauty of cherry trees laden with snowy, pink-tinged corollas… Gazing at sakuras in the moonlight is an especially moving moment in the springtime celebration. As white as the moon that lights them against a backdrop of black branches, ephemeral yet as eternal as the cycle of seasons, cherry blossoms arouse a sentiment that is deeply anchored in the Japanese culture: mono no aware, which could be translated as “a sensitivity to ephemera”. A sensitivity shared by perfumers, whose art also captures the fleeting beauty of flowers.

 

A FRAGRANCE AS TENDER AS A NIGHT IN SPRING

How can the emotion born from hanami be expressed in a bottle? How can a fragrance of eternal spring be invented for flowers so fragile they do not yield their essence? This was the artistic challenge Jean-Paul Guerlain set out to meet in 2000 when he composed Cherry Blossom. A pink-hued eau de toilette, as delicate as a sakura petal, as limpid as a Japanese haiku musing on life’s evanescence. The golden moonlight of spring… Its glow is reflected by radiant bergamot, the olfactory signature of the House of Guerlain. Subtly floral, the precious citrus essence blends with an exquisite green tea accord that evokes another of Japan’s ancient rituals. A white cherry blossom at night… Reinvented by the Master Perfumer, its fragrance is faceted with notes as immaculate as a sakura petal in the moonlight: tender cherry blossom, powdery lilac, jasmine – their scent fills the air at dusk. Featherlight clouds crossing the darkened sky… The diaphanous trail of white musks carries the delicate fragrance, like the breeze carries sakuras, illuminating
the night with countless moon petals.

 

 

 

 

AN ARTIST INFLUENCED BY FRANCE AND JAPAN

Adorned with different ornaments throughout the years, Cherry Blossom has now become an exclusive annual rendez-
vous that celebrates, as much as the Japanese art of living, the peerless know-how of creators invited by Guerlain. A match of cultures, perfume and art that has long been cultivated by the House. For its 2022 Edition, Guerlain has given carte blanche to the Japanese embroidery artist Kyoko Sugiura and her studio Kyoko Création, to create a delicate adornment of sakuras for the iconic Bee Bottle produced by Pochet du Courval, the historic glassmaker of the House since 1853. A new variation on the poetic theme, this edition evokes cherry blossoms at night, in the moonlight, in a precious chiaroscuro of white, black, and gold. And for the first time, it has been created by a Japanese artist who masters the secular know-hows of both her country and France to perfection.

 

 

 

 

A COMMITTED ARTISTIC COLLABORATION

Especially since Kyoko Sugiura worked with a community of 18 Japanese women from very diverse backgrounds –
office workers, teachers, designers… Professional or amateur embroiderers she trained herself, and invited to participate in this unique project, turning it into a human as well as artistic adventure. The gesture was a lovely way to reflect the communion of her compatriots around cherry blossoms in spring… But it also expresses Guerlain’s commitment to the empowerment of women, by celebrating an art elaborated, perpetuated, and practiced by them throughout the centuries. And which expresses itself today with a contemporary artwork that brings together a community of Japanese embroiderers and perfume lovers all over the world…

 

 

 

Guerlain Cherry Blossom 2022, £540 at Guerlain.com and in Harrods.

 

 

Celebrating 100 years of Shalimar (and why we still love it)

It’s really quite incredible to think that Shalimar is 100 years old – having been first launched in 1921 – and that Guerlain‘s most romantic fragrance is still worn and adored to this day. If you’re already a fan of the fragrance you’ll know how special it is, but if you’ve never tried it… oh, you’re in for in a treat!

 

Jacques Guerlain – Guerlain Perfumer 1890-1955

‘A good perfume is one whose scent corresponds to an initial dream.’

 

 

The History: The most prolific of the Guerlain perfumers, Jacques’ rein lasted for an astonishing 65 years. He took over from his uncle Aimé in 1890 and was responsible for creating the ultimate signature of Guerlain, the ‘Guerlianade’: an accord which blends vanilla, bergamot, balsams, tonka bean, iris, rose and jasmine, and has been at the heart of (almost) every fragrance since the early 1920s. His most celebrated creations include L’Heure Bleu, Mitsouko and of course, the astonishing Shalimar, launched in 1921, which remains one of the bestselling fragrances in the world.

 

 

 

The flacon for Shalimar is almost as fascinating as the fragrance inside. Sometimes described as the ‘bat’ bottle (we hadn’t until now quite realised it resembled outstretched wings!), it is also said to resemble a basin that could be admired in the Mughal gardens in India, and was designed by another talented Guerlain, Raymond, with a dark blue stopper chosen to evoke Indian starry nights. The bottle won first prize at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industry in 1925.

 

 

Why perfumers love Shalimar: When we interview perfumers, we often ask which classic fragrance they wish they’d created or most admire. One of the most frequent answers? Shalimar, of course. Carlos Benaïm told us, ‘My grandmother used to wear Shalimar. It is magnificent, absolutely wonderful, with that mossiness – not just oakmoss, but the other mosses which we’re restricted from using so much these days…’ And Alberto Morillas – another nose often cited as one of the most talented perfumers working today – explained, ‘If you ask me what is the greatest fragrance ever created, I’d say Guerlain Shalimar. Some might imagine it’s old-fashioned but it’s also very modern. There are all sorts of contrasts inside it – but it works so well.’

 

Guerlain Shalimar £83 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com

Why we love wearing Shalimar: Imagine a silky pair of 1920s pyjamas worn as daywear (or with heels, to a cocktail party) as uplifting lemon and bergamot swirl with honeyed, night-blooming flowers of heliotrope and jasmine. Beautifully rounded by powdery iris and cocooned in a comforting, vanilla-plumped base of patchouli, benzoin, ambergris, tonka bean, incense, vetiver, sandalwood and musk. To wear Shalimar is still the ultimate gesture of olfactive romance.

Quite simply, it’s a masterpiece that’s effortlessly glam. And it’s one of those perfumes that people will still be wearing and talking about in another 100 years, we reckon.

Many Happy Returns, Shalimar!

By Suzy Nightingale

 

Guerlain Muguet 2021 – legendary lily of the valley

Every year on the first of May, Guerlain release their much-anticipated Muguet – a limited edition, beautuifully Bee-bottled fragrant homage to legends surrounding lily of the valley. Indeed, we were so taken with the traditions of exchanging bouquets of the flower that seven years ago, we officially launched The Perfume Society on that date!

Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’. This year, that return has been particularly significant as the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and rollout of vaccines in many countries has, for we lucky some, meant the ability to meet up with loved ones and see family members missed for so long. But let’s allow Guerlain to walk us through the many lovely traditions around the world surrounding lily of the valley, and why they, too, are so taken with the delicate flower…

 

 

‘According to legend, if its white bells drop their heads on their stems as though they were weeping, it is because they were born from the tears of Eve when she was expelled from the Garden of Eden. For the Greek, it was the god Apollo who scattered the flowers on the thick green grass of Mount Parnassus, so that the Muses wouldn’t hurt their feet. In the forests of Ireland, their bells chime when fairies climb their poetic ladders to weave their iridescent cradles…

“Gentle fairies, hush your singing:
Can you hear my white bells ringing,
Ringing as from far away?
Who can tell me what they say?
Little snowy bells out-springing
From the stem and softly ringing–
Tell they of a country where
Everything is good and fair?”
Cicely Mary BARKER (1895-1973)

A flower of a thousand tales, lily of the valley owes its French name, muguet, derived from musc or muscade (“nutmeg”), a
sweetly scented spice, to its delicate, penetrating fragrance. Evocative of springtime, the season of love, muguet gave its
name in the 16th century to young swains who spent their time flirting… As for the custom of offering it on May 1st, it was born in 1561, when King Charles IX of France was offered a sprig during a visit to the Dauphiné. He was so charmed that each year, on the same day, he offered lily of the valley to all the ladies of his court.

During the Belle Époque, couturiers gave it on May 1st to their seamstresses and clients… Perfumers strove to capture the scent of the fleeting flower. Among the hundreds of tributes inspired by the white bell over the century, one was authored by a young perfumer called Jacques Guerlain. In 1908, he composed the House’s first Muguet, inaugurating a fragrant tradition that has gone on, from spring to spring, for over 110 years!’

 

 

The stunning bottle for 2021’s Muguet Millésime, Guerlain turned to the talents of Lucie Touré, a young Parisian paper and textile designer who won the 2019 Eiffel Tower Design Prize. ‘To reinterpret Muguet, I created a delicate adornment in a fresh, Haute Couture spirit’, she explains.

 

 

Guerlain says: ‘After studying embroidery and textile design, Lucie Touré trained for six years in Parisian embroidery and textile printing studios, collaborating with the most prestigious ready-to-wear and Haute Couture houses. She founded her own studio in 2018, with an initial two-year residency in the Ateliers de Paris. By associating paper with finishing techniques drawn from textile and jewelry, she glorifies the ephemeral material by cutting, weaving, or embroidering it. For this edition, she has imagined a modern, customised 3-D adornment, entirely hand-made in Paris: a stylised representation of sprigs of lily-of-the-valley in full blossom unfurling gracefully onto the dome of the Bee Bottle.’

 

Guerlain Muguet 2021 £450 [4,500 pieces worldwide]

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant Reads – Guerlain The Prince of Perfume

Our ever-growing bookshelf of Fragrant Reads just got its first graphic novel – a unique take on telling the scented story of Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain…

We’ve never seen a perfume house’s history played out in comic-book format before, and as a potted perfume biography of founder Pierre-François-Pascal; Guerlain – The Prince of Perfume, by Pierre-Roland Saint-Dizier is a delightful (if rather surprising) presentation.

Written with the help of Laurent Boillot, Guerlain President and CEO, Élisabeth Sirot and Hélène Schney, this is no mere child’s book (though we feel it would be an ideal gift for a younger reader interested in the history of fragrance). It’s well-researched and gives an historical overview of the French Revolution, as a backdrop to Pierre-François-Pascal’s story along the way.

 

 

 

We see him first in 1807 as he falls in love with smelling vanilla, herbs and spices in his father’s shop – memorising the way they smell. Later, Pierre leaves for Paris to work for Briard – already, then, an historic French perfume house – and, as his ambitions grow, learning soap and cosmetic-making, travelling the world as a salesman and working for various perfume and soap houses. As the back of the book’s blurb explains, ‘This young man, who will eventually become known as “Prince of Perfume” and the official perfumer of the European Royal Courts, does not yet realise that he will conquer the world of perfumes and pave the way for a dynasty of perfumers to come.’

 

 

Of course, given the format, it can never be the full story; but as a book of scented snapshots, its a charming and evocative portrait of not only the man who began the Guerlain family empire, but of the birth of modern perfumery, the political climate in France at the time, and a history of our changing tastes in perfume – and the way we shopped for them.

 

 

It can be difficult to find an English translation copy of the book, which we found on an online auction site, but a Kindle version is also available in the original French. Indeed, it may be best to pick up a French copy if you’re able to translate yourself – a great way to encourage French language development in someone interested in perfumery – as the English translation isn’t always perfect, here.

However, it’s a lovely thing to own, charmingly illustrated by artist Li-An throughout, and includes a written appendix detailing the hidtory more thoroughly, and explaining how the author was granted access to the extensive Guerlain archives (including original family letters) in the research. Over all, a fascinating addition to any perfume-lover’s bookshelf!

Buy it on Kindle [French edition] (Glénat) – Also available from second-hand book-sellers.

Want to know more? We suggest starting with our page dedicated to the history of Guerlain, and then exploring the History of Perfumery sections…

By Suzy Nightingale

Lipstick scents: the alluring history of the perfume pout

Lipstick scents have always been a huge part of cosmetics’ glamorous allure – from the boudoir to the boardroom and beyond – but now you can also wear va-va-voom versions of the pucker-up in perfumed form…

With so many of us masked-up to the eyballs (literally), unless you find your perfect bullet-proof formula, an actual lip colour sadly seems more unneccessary for the time being. Fear not: fragrances that smell exactly like the most glamorous kind of vintage lipsticks are out there, and there’s something about that so-distinctive smell that really does give the same feeling of a vixenish vermillion or scarlet slick of courage.

 

 

I got that red lip classic thing that you like,’ Taylor Swift sings. But have you ever wondered exactly why so many classic lipsticks smell the same? ‘In France, until the Revolution, people of the court would spritz their wigs with a blend of crushed iris roots and rice powder. This “iris-y” sillage remained,’ Juliet Has a Gun tells us – diving deep into the history of scented lipsticks to celebrate the launch of their Lipstick Fever fragrance (read on for our review…)

‘Violet made its appearance later, at the end of the 19th century, in the first solid sticks, but became the norm in the 1920s when lipsticks were flavored with a violet candy aroma, which was fashionable at the time. As lipsticks came in contact with the mouth, the beauty houses tended to perfume them with comestible ingredients. And the harmonies of iris, violet and raspberry have the advantage of being rather lovely when you run your tongue over your lips…’

 

 

There’s no doubt about it – the lipstick is a powerful symbol of self expression, celebrating the strength of femininity – and the scent of a lipstick only adds to its charms. We’re reminded of special occasions, of borrowing our mother’s lipsticks as a child, and reaching into a handbag to swipe on a bit of spirit-lifting colour when you’re feeling anxious. So if you’re missing a slick of courage, why not dress yourself in these fabulously lipstick-inspired scents…?

 

 

Juliet Has a Gun Lipstick Fever Oh this is joyous! ‘Iris, Violet absolute and Raspberry. Enhanced with woody notes (Patchouli, Cedarwood) to give it a little refinement and to echo the leather of the handbag so often inseparable from it,’ they say. We say: contemporary gourmands just got all the more desirable. Its wonderfully frivolous to wear, a scented accessory to twirl through the streets in!
£85 for 50ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

 

Cartier Basier Fou ‘Mischievous and feminine soliflor whose delicious accents evoke the aroma of kisses with lipstick,’ Baiser Fou is developed by the in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, who chose the flower of orchid as the main ingredient. Playfully charming but exuding a gamine chicness nonetheless, this one’s a kiss-chase in a bottle.
£76 for 50ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com

 

 

Guerlain French Kiss We’re invited to succumb, with this scent, to ‘the charms of French Kiss, a glossy floral that celebrates the French art of kissing with a sexy rose, litchi and raspberry accord.’ The boudoir-inspired bottle echoes the scent itself – the kind of ultra refined va-va-voom only the French can do. Find yourself a chaise lounge, don your prettiest peignoir!
£185 for 75ml eau de parfum guerlain.com

 

 

Histoire de Parfums 1889 Inspired by the luscious red lips of Moulin Rouge dancers, this shamelessly naughty scent evokes layers of frilly petticoats and a Carmine smile. Swirls of sugar melt in Absinthe, a sprinkle of cinnamon amidst a plumptious booziness calms to a warm-skin snuggle of soft musk and something vaguely pain-au-chocolat-ish in the base.
From €38 for 15ml eau de parfum histoiredeparfums.com

 

 

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose Ralf Schwieger’s Hollywood glamor, ‘Lipstick Rose smiles at you, like a dash of lipstick with its rose and violet-flavoured candy scent.’ Grapefruit sparkles up the fragrance’s central rose note, while musk and vanilla, with a hint of vetiver and amber, smoothly drapes the base. Flirtatiously fabulous, it feels grown up yet prone to giggles.
£180 for 100ml eau de parfum libertylondon.com

 

 

Estée Lauder Modern Muse Le Rouge A pout-laden provocative contrast of distinctively different accords – rich roses drizzled by ripe fruits, with a seductive velvet creme. Its an intriguing kiss of a scent to seduce every day, described as ‘a true innovation in fragrance design, as complex and fascinating as the woman who inspires it.’
From £52 for 30ml eau de parfum esteelauder.co.uk

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Helping Hands: fragrance houses producing hand sanitisers

Due to the current global pandemic of the Covid-19 virus, many fragrance houses are turning their production of perfume to that of hand-santisers, which are much-needed and now often difficult to obtain for health workers and those at risk.

All medical advice still clearly states that washing your hands with soap and water for twenty seconds or more is still the best way to ensure your hands are properly clean – but in situations when soap and water are not easily used, and as an extra precaution, the supply and delivery of hand-santisers to those in need is now more important than ever.

Hand-santisers should ideally contain 70% professional grade alcohol base to be effective, and most over the counter hand sanitisers contain varying amounts and types, often between 60% and 95% and usually isopropyl alcohol.

Because alcohol is used as the base of the majority of fragrances, fragrance houses have to pre-order this in bulk, and so it makes perfect sense for them to be using their stocks of this material – once taken foregranted, and now a precious commodity – to turn it into hand-santisers.

It turns out that all Dior, Givenchy, and Guerlain liquid soaps and creams have a viscosity very similar to that of hand-sanitiser gel, which means LVMH is able to continue using their usual filling machines, plastic bottles, and pump dispensers to mass-produce hand-santiser, which they have been distributing free of charge to French health authorities and hospitals.

 

 

Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, said that ‘Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus.’ And they have been highlighting the work they’re doing on social media with the hashtag #LVMHJOINSFORCES.

 

 

Sarah Baker has made gorgeously scented hand-santisers available to the public, that conform to the  WHO recommended hand-rub formulations. Named ‘Jazz Hands‘, a set of four long-lasting 50ml bottles, fragranced with her perfumes Greek Keys, Charade, Jungle Juice and Atlante, can be purchased for £40. The price includes a £5 donation to Médecins Sans Frontièrs (Doctors Without Borders), and Sarah will send all those who purchase a pack of Jazz Hands a special discount code, allowing you to take the full price of the hand-santisers off a 50ml bottle of perfume of your choice.

Ormonde Jayne started making batches of hand-santiser several weeks ago, gifting them to all their employees and families, and are now giving away a free spray bottle of hand-santiser with any purchase from their website. Founder Linda Pilkington commented that, ‘As a privately owned perfume house that manufactures its own perfume, we are in a unique position, having a denatured alcohol license, to be able to manufacture a hand sanitiser. Our formula contains 80% denatured alcohol, 20% aniseptic aloe vera and tea tree oil.’ And she continued, ‘On behalf of all the Ormonde Jayne team, we wish you all the most important things in life, good health and happiness.’

 

 

In America, other indie brands are stepping forward, including L.A-based perfumer Sarah Horowitz , who has introduced the Stay Safe Sanitizing Spray ($10 for a 1-ounce bottle or a free 0.34-ounce bottle with every online order over $75. The spray consists of an 80% concentrate of organic alcohol, which isl mixed with essential oils often used for their antibacterial properties, such as clove, lemongrass, lavender maillette and patchouli.

Last week we also reported that fragrance house Miller Harris were donating their entire stock of soap and hand wash to AGE UK and other vulnerable communities, and enouraging other brands to help if they are able.

How heartening, at times of crisis, that fragrance houses have stepped up so swiftly to help and do what what they can – we’re all in this together, after all.

By Suzy Nightingale

Guerlain’s Muguet Millésime 2018

In France, May 1st is celebrated with a public holiday – officially called La Fête du Travail (National Labour Day) but also known as La Fête du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day). It comes from a tradition that supposedly dates back to the reign of King Charles IX, when in 1561, the King was presented with a bunch of muguet (lil of the valley) flowers as a token of luck for the coming year. Courtiers were so charmed by the token, they began gifting each other sprigs of the flowers, and so the tradition grew, remaining to this day a way of wishing loved ones a properous and joyful year ahead.

Incredibly, for 110 years now, Guerlain have presented their own fragrant token, in the form of an exquisite (and highly collectible!) limited edition bottle of Muguet – a practice initiated by Jacques Guerlain in 1908.

For 2018, Guerlain have decorated the emblematic ‘bee bottle’ design with a kiss of frost (how fitting, for our currently freezing weather), and as Guerlain explain, ‘…the Bee Bottle contains in its heart the Muguet note, reinterpreted by Thierry Wasser, whose bergamot, jasmine and rose accents announce Spring.

Top notes: green notes
Heart notes: note of lily of the valley, lilac
Base notes: rose, jasmine

To magnify this exceptional piece, Guerlain has called on Maison Guillemette, one of the reference addresses in Paris for jewels and head accessories. Guillemette, founder and creator, celebrates the Muguet with a floral ethereal finery.

A lucky charm of exception that celebrates with refinement Lily of the Valley and the beginning of Spring.

Each year the Muguet eau de toilette is magnified in a bottle sublimated by the know-how of a craftsman to become an exceptional piece.

This year, Maison Guillemette, a Parisian creator of accessories, has imagined a voluptuous and delicate floral finery. It is adorned with a bunch of organza petals cut and sewed by hand; a true prowess of meticulousness and creativity.’

Collectors, Guerlain-a-holics and lily of the valley lovers, form an orderly queue – we’re right behind you, and desperately hoping this heralds the proper start of Spring…

Guerlain Millésime Muguet 2018 £370 for 125ml eau de toilette
Available at Harrods and Selfridges

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Guerlain’s 1828 Royal Extract returns to Harrods

In 1828, a pillar of the perfumed establishment was founded by Pierre-François-Pascal: the mighty Guerlain. That founding year also saw the creation of Pascal’s ‘Royal Extract of Flowers‘ – the name evoking the fact that Guerlain once supplied the greatest courts in Europe with precious fragrances.

And now, with the help of Guerlain’s in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Royal Extract has been reimagined today, exclusively revived this time for Harrods

Having once been reintroduced for an ultra-limited run in 2014, it would be safe to say we’re very excited about getting our noses around this properly. We previously hosted two exclusive events at the Guerlain Archives in Paris, where our Perfume Society guests got to smell Wasser’s re-creations of some of the most beautiful (and sadly, long-discontinued) scents that span their history: it should be worth the wait!

So, what exactly does it smell like?

Guerlain say: ‘A bouquet of scents, rose, jasmine and tuberose, which thrill and surprise. The heart releases a heady peach note that unfolds to voluptuous notes of vanilla, heightened by iris and balsamic notes. All of Guerlain’s perfume expertise is displayed in this majestic and captivating amber fruity eau de parfum dedicated to Harrods.’

The original version having been dabbed on the décolletage of aristocrats and fanned across ballrooms, it’s always thrilling to think of a wearing a fragrance of the past  – to smell of history – but usually rather difficult to live with in actuality. Some may turn their noses up at ‘reformulated’ perfumes, but regulations, modern taste and scarcity of protected ingredients all play their part, and this is no mere copy of the original but a ‘re-orchestration’, if you will.

Guerlain Royal Extract £320 for 125ml eau de parfum
Exclusive to Harrods

Written by Suzy Nightingale