Thursday, December 24, 2009

Red & Green for Christmas: Guerlain Fleur de Feu & Mitsouko

'Tis the season for all things red and green, and this Christmas my fancy is taken with this pair of color-correct Guerlains- Mitsouko (originally ~1919 and which mostly needs no introduction) and the less well known Fleur de Feu (1948, give or take). I love the magenta-pink jot of color on the Fleur de Feu (Fire Flower) bottle and the emerald-teal dot on the Mitsouko bottle. Both the bottles contain eau de cologne, which, as you might guess, is light. With Guerlain sometimes I don't mind the EDC concentration- when the scents are strong and assertive, the lighter sillage and lack of staying power isn't that much of a problem. And since I like to switch scents throughout the day I actually like the lighter formulations. Mitsouko is an especially good candidate for the eau de cologne treatment and the flavor remains true to the other Mitsouko examples I've known. Mitsouko, if you haven't smelt it yet, is a leathery chypre sandwich of dry peach opening and a sweet peach dry down, with mossy-forest, smoke and incense laden facets \layered in between. It has real depth, a tough and tender scent that is something to be appreciated as it develops over time. Needless to say, a big love... It represents the quiet, eventide part of my Christmas journey, filling the contemplative stillness and anticipation of a celebration to come..

As for it's sister scent,  Fleur de Feu (Fire Flower) is a lesser known Guerlain. It was released soon after WWII ended and not too many years later, it was discontinued. Many other
Guerlains are better known and more commonly discussed, so much that I've been scarcely aware of it's existance. Fleur de Feu somehow lacked the enduring charm that many of the other classic Guerlain perfumes seem to have had in plenty. I cannot even be certain that my example is well enough preserved to be a true representation of the oroginal scent particularly without a second source to compare it to. But from what I can smell, it isn't what I'd expect from something called Fleur de Feu because it is such a very soft type of scent. Perhaps I have anosmia to some key component? Although I was finally able to smell it distinctly, I had to decant the cologne and spray the entire inside of my shearing hat before I was able to catch and examine this perfume up close! It has some warmth but if I were to assign a color to this scent, it would be a rather pale yellow. I smell the iris and an almost lemony rose, along with touches of ylang and jasmine.It makes me think of  Chanel No. 5, more than any other Guerlain perfumes I know.  My cold is still bothering me a little, so I plan to resniffing but so far I can't get any carnation. It has a certain Maquillage quality almost as if its guerlainade was created with aldehydes rather than vanilla. I wonder how well it sold in the 1950s? Despite being so light, it still smells good enough to make someone crave an extra helping of hugs. I plan on wearing it, and the Mitsouko, plenty in the upcoming year and the big EDC bottles means I can splash them on with abandon.

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.

Thanks to and for the old Guerlain ads!

1 comment:

violetlady said...

Somehow in searching for magnolia scented perfume (which L'Occitane no longer sells) I came across your blog. How wonderful! So informative and still lovely. I will be back.