Thursday, July 8, 2010

And all at once I lost my breath...

Guerlain Jicky EDT

I started my new job today. Yes, I finally got one.

They're paying me bimonthly. Does this mean I get to buy perfume twice a month instead of once a month? I think it does.

When they had us go around the room today listing our hobbies, pets, etc. I actually told them that I collected and reviewed perfume as a hobby. This raised the inevitable, impossible question. "What's your favorite?" I tried to demur, but the questioner wasn't having it. How can you explain to people who aren't perfumistas that there just isn't such a thing? You can't. They don't understand. I talked about Iris Pallida. My direct supervisor asked me how long I'd been doing this. "Three years," I replied. She seemed to question my commitment. Little doth she know.

Why is it that only older women (50+) seem to uniformly appreciate the joys of perfume? Seriously, I have developed a habit of cozying up to them in elevators and on commuter trains and surreptitiously sniffing appreciatively after them. They always smell good. But when I talk to younger women, by and large they find my interest in perfume either totally bizarre or interesting, but decidedly not for them. And it makes me sad.

I feel like so much olfactory beauty has become accessible to me and yet women of my general age range seem intent on limiting themselves to a very limited range of cheaper end scent. In an effort to distance myself from my peers and commit myself as much as I can to being open to all the world's scentscape has to offer, I'm going through a bunch of classic scents over the next two weeks or so. While it makes basically no sense to rate these scents because their longevity and success, I will be rating them only because I use my rating system primarily to help myself decide what I'd like to have a bottle of.

First up Guerlain Jicky EdT. Jicky was created in 1889. Here's what Basenotes has to say about Jicky.
According to Guerlain folklore, this was named after an English student who Aimé Guerlain fell in love with. It was in fact named for his nephew, Jacques Guerlain. It was the first 'abstract' perfume as it wasn't reminiscent of one individual note. Apparently a fave of Sean Connery.
According to Kevin at Now Smell This!, the original list of notes include "mandarin, lemon, bergamot, rosewood, orris root, rose, jasmine, patchouli, vetiver, leather, amber, civet, incense, tonka bean and benzoin."

1889. For over a century women and probably quite a few men have been wearing Jicky. The historian in me is overwhelmed by that fact alone. That my great grandmother and her twin sister, who lived until they were almost 100 years old were not born before Jicky was in the world. Though I doubt it, given their intense poverty over the course of their lives, perhaps once someone bought them a little bottle. Perhaps they wore it. Perhaps my grandmother did. Perhaps Jicky has been worn in my family for generations. Though I have no evidence that this is true in any way, and in fact I highly doubt it, the mere possibility is staggering. It's beautiful. It's exhilarating.

And then, wholly apart from the incredible history real or imagined that Jicky offers, there's the actual scent. IT'S BEAUTIFUL! I don't know if I would have thought that when I started this three years ago, but now I love it. It starts off on me as a sparkling lemon lime scent, sweet like a lemoncello. After a few minutes it grows darker, deeper, and slightly powdery. It's lighter than the opening, and has a kind of sweet sweat -- perhaps the vetiver and leather? A few minutes later and the incense and tonka step forward, and then back again, like some careful and yet still passionate tango.

I think this is an incredible scent for summer. Actually, I think it's an incredible scent for any season, but we just hit 95+ degrees here in PDX and it is a particularly beautiful scent for summer time. I've been sniffing it over the last two weeks, a couple of times a week, and I truly cannot believe how beautiful it is. How could it have been made so long ago? How can anyone not see how amazing it is? Is it just me?

Also, look at that ad!  Isn't she beautiful? Isn't she elegant? Isn't she self-possessed and powerful and NOT IN ANY WAY naked or humiliating or objectified?  I love her.  I want to be her.  Who wouldn't?  Hell, the fact that the ad is decent alone is enough to make me want to buy a bottle. (Okay, she's white and wealthy and yes, there's privilege all over this ad, but at least I don't find it entirely repellent.)

Am I just in scent-infatuation? I don't think so. I tired it several times to be sure.

And I'm sure.

To paraphrase Bridget Jones, "This can't be just shagging. A multi-sampling of a classic scent that I adore each and every time means true love."

Though...I haven't tried the the EdP or parfum yet. Hmmm....

"And all at once was scared to death.
And all at once I own the earth and sky.
Now I met Miss Jones,
and we'll keep on meeting till we die,
Miss Jones and I."

- "Have You Met Miss Jones?,"Robbie Williams
(You can listen to the song here)

Want more reviews? There are tons! Here's a sampling...
~ a review from Fragrance Bouquet
~ a review from Kevin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Bois de Jasmin
~ a review from Pere De Pierre
~ a review from Ayala at Smelly Blog (parfum review)
~ a review from Perfume Posse
~ a review from Nathan Branch
~ a review from Scented salamander
~ a review from Pink Manhattan
~ a review from Scents of Self
~ a review from Polish, Platforms, and Perfume


Ines said...

You got a job! That's great news. :)
I have a little sample of Jicky that I keep passing over being scared it will turn out smelling like Mitsouko (have no idea why I keep thinking that). :)
Now I can't wait to get home and try it for myself.

La Bonne Vivante said...

Congrats on the job!

I get the same reaction, if forced to confess by perfume interest. Younger perfumistas unite, I say!

I love jicky as well!

The Left Coast Nose said...

I am not going to focus o the fact that "Jicky," "Shalimar," "Mitsuko," and the whole Guerlain classic line-up blow up on my without fail and I smell like a burning tire.

Let's instead let out a whoop-whoop that you found a job!! Huzzah!

waftbyCarol said...

I'd love to send you some vintage parfum . Perhaps we can work out a swap ?

Victoria said...

Beautiful review! I totally know where you are coming from. Everyone finds my "hobby" a bit strange unless they are 50+ ( I seem to have more in common with that crowd than I do with people that have "juicy" stamped on their bum). I also don't like talking to young people about fragrance. They use the dreaded term "old lady" to describe scents that I wear.
When I first moved to Seattle, I went in a Nordstrom to purchase Jicky, the pure parfum, as a gift for myself during a transition, something special to remember forever. The SA kept showing me boring, boring scents and new cutesy releases. I said, "I'm here for Jicky". He was so happy and apologized that he was "a bit programmed" to show such scents. He got tired of the reactions/rejection when he spritzed the scents that he loved to the general public, especially "younger" people.

Diana said...

Ines, it's nothing like Mitsouko to me. Nothing. It's probably closer to Shalimar (of the classics I can think of).

Diana said...

La Bonne Vivante:

United, indeed. Thanks for the solidarity.

Diana said...

Oh Rita, a burning tire!?! Sadness.

Thanks for the congrats, though.

Diana said...

Carol, I'd love to do a swap! Contact me at and we will set it up.

Diana said...

Victoria, maybe I don't give the SAs enough credit. They frequently don't offer me anything of the quality I'm looking for, but perhaps I should tell them more clearly what I'm after.

Seattle, huh? Well from one NW Perfumista to another, it is very nice to know you're out there. :)