Sometimes I just take my giant green velvet box of parfum, open the lid, just look at Jicky undisturbed, and let its exquisite emanations reach my nostrils.


The flacon lies benelovent, secure in its felt indentation; safe in the knowledge of its beauty; and what I smell, in these moments, is a work of stunning, fleeting sensations: the living bergamot and lemon essences; a flourishing lavender; a garland of herbs from an English garden: verbena, sweet marjoram, and the tiniest nuance of mint. I am entranced.


But like Narcissus, leaning in at the edge, there lies trouble in these depths……what are the rude aphrodisia lurking down below in those  murky waters…..?


I take the bottle and apply the stopper to my skin, and at first, in essence, all is an excelsis deo of perfect harmony.



I inhale : no perfume has more soul.



But the citrus has now gone….




Smiling, warmer notes now appear with the lavender in counterpoint; wisps of sandalwood, and that suave, and – let’s not beat about the bush – faecal undertone (an unembarrassed, frank anality of musk, ambergris and civet, sewn together by les petits mains in the ateliers Guerlain with a more civilized accord of incense, benzoin and coumarin)..and it is here where Jicky, suddenly, becomes more difficult.





In a modern context, this scent is almost scandalous in its animality (and very, very  French – you can almost hear them laughing at us paling, moralistic Anglo Saxons running from its carnal openness): and so to really wear Jicky, therefore, to have what it takes, you have to be able to carry off this aspect of the perfume – which is never crude, more a deliciously francophile embellishment of the human ;  but if you can, if you can, it can be magical: an ambisexual, historied and haunting skin scent that is simply beautiful –  suited to people, not gender.



Jicky is a perfume for libertines.




I can’t wear it, but on Duncan, especially when he is in velvet-jacketed dandy mode, it smells wonderful.



Knowing, adult, and cultivated, a drop here and there is the perfect scented accoutrement.


Filed under Fougère, Lavender, Orientals, Perfume Reviews

35 responses to “JICKY by GUERLAIN (1889)

  1. Marina

    I want it and I think I can pull it off. It has been on my list and I meant to ask you my perfume pharmacist if you thought I could or should wear it.

    • ginzaintherain

      I instinctively I say YES

      so sophisticated and adult; so clever. Go and rock that mother right now, please

    • ginzaintherain

      It needs clothes, it needs a stance, it needs to not give a shit if people think it smells ancient and weird when they just smell like stupid chupa chubs……
      ….JICKY REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Jicky attracts me and scares me at the same time. Like most Guerlains it feels a little self-absorbed and introverted and I can’t get in love with it. But I keep my vial because I know that some day I will become this person that really appreciates it.

    • ginzaintherain

      Christos I know what you mean and that is why I have never actually worn it. My skin brings out base notes to the fore every time, which is great for Shalimar because I just smell of the most perfect vanilla. Jicky is a dodgy number I would agree, but I love your idea that it is ‘absorbed and introverted’.

  3. marina

    i adore your comments. Being a person who doesn’t give a shit about what others think I want it even more. I love the confidence it implies.

  4. I have heard alot about this fragrance, but have yet to have it hit my nostrils…I must become Jickified.

  5. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:


  6. I love that photograph. Very soothing for eyes that have been awake for hours (as mine have). Jicky conjures that warm dark cedar smell that an old chest of drawers gets when it’s had wool jumpers stored in it for a time; it also evokes olive oil and the scratch of heather on your ankles on a brisk clifftop walk. I have yet to fully comprehend this one, but it is deep, beautiful and so politely private and male. I like it immensely.

    • You should smell how different it is on me and D..very interesting.

      I am Shalimar, he is Jicky.

      • ninakane1

        Something of a Country n Western song in that.
        I will smell thee all shalimar-d n jicky’d next time I’m aboot. (hopefully July).
        Love Shalimer. The bottle is kinda ridiculous – like a sports day trophy – but I love it still, and the scent’s divine. Flamboyant neil C, flamboyant.x

      • Honestly, once the slightly jarring bergamot opening passes, no perfume smells better on me: a gorgeous, opulent second skin.

  7. brie

    REally? Somehow I imagined that you COULD wear it whereas Duncan could not…but then again I have never had first hand experience with vintage Jicky….and just based on your description and others comments it is EXACTLY the sort of fragrance I would wear just to be defiant!!!

    • Mine isn’t vintage, actually (thank God: the civet would be even worse, surely?) and you are right, in theory, it shouldn’t work on D (though he wears all lavenders very convincingly – he is from Norfolk, England’s Lavender Central, after all, and Daphne, his mum, often sends me the essential oil from there (really the best lavender I know)..

  8. Lilybelle

    My favorite is Jicky in edt – but I don’t know the current version. I would love an older bottle. It is a perfect fragrance to wear with a man’s shirt behind which I can be a bit hidde, introverted and as noted above, self absorbed. And free. The edt has a sort of roguish quality that I enjoy. Do you remember the film Plenty (1980s?). Tracy Ullman plays a character who leaves her lover’s home the morning after wearing his suit (too large) and makes her way homeward smiling as men in the street whistle at her. No walk of shame for her, a true free spirit. It’s all in the attitude, and I can imagine she had a couple oc spritzes of Jicky along with his suit. Btw, TU was the best part of that movie.

    • She is hilarious, I think: I was watching her recently in John Water’s ridiculous A Dirty Shame – she had me howling throughout.

      Somehow I think I would actually prefer the edt as well – you describe it beautifully.

  9. I adore Jicky! I definitely recommend trying the EDT as well – it’s the one I wear and I hear that it’s the most “wearable” of the lot. I think it’s fantastic! 😀

  10. Now I want even more to scrounge up a vintage decant of this!! It sounds fabulous!

  11. What a moment, magical indeed to just lazily read of your private moments with this magnificent perfume and luxuriate in the reading of it. Jicky does indeed separate the boys and girls from the Men and Women with its, as yo so well put it, scandalous to the modern Anglo-Saxon nose bouquet. Just a lovely moment there, thank you.

  12. Dearest Ginza
    ‘Animal’, ‘amibisexual’ and might I add utterly ‘alluring’?
    Jicky for me is the Olrlando of the olfactory world. At once a female suffragette and a male silent film star, a Bond, a Vitorian villainess.
    Jicky is every mini-skirted man and military-breeches woman in every decade of the last 120 years.
    And I am infinitely envious of you green velvet vintage.
    You are a lucky fellow that you’re so far away in this regard.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  13. I have never come across it, but would definitely buy it if I ever do.

  14. One of my favorite Guerlain scents ever. I have this in vintage PdT and love its rich and dirty character. It is clean and soiled at the same time, that is the only way I can describe it.
    The lavander is so proper, the civet so base, yet they marry to perfection and sing on my skin.
    I will have to one day procure a vintage extrait, I simply must.

  15. Marina

    I need to try this one. What a glorious legend!

  16. Very interesting that you’re describing the current Jicky parfum in the green box. I’d assumed it was vintage until I read the Reply section. That is impressive performance for a reform. God, imagine the fecality of the vintage, N.! Yikes. In Japan, you’d have the whole train to yourself.

    I have the current EdT, which I found very mild and wearable, although when I sent some to my perfume-loving niece, early thirties, fearless, she wrote back, “The jicky edt is a complex shape-shifter, i do get baby poo when i bury my nose in my arm but from a distance its all cuddly powdery guerlinade! made extra dreamy with lavender. but the subtext makes me nervous lol.” How perfect! (Also, she knows from baby poo, being a new mother.)

    I was nervous to wear it for Ric for the first time — his nose is keen and his preferences are conservative — but he was nonplussed. Shockingly easy-going about it.

    “But don’t you smell a kind of a fecal note somewhere in there, Ric? Doesn’t it put you off?”

    “Hmm. Nope. Just smells good.”

    Having sprayed some Jicky on twenty minutes ago in anticipation of reading your thoughts on it, I’m sniffing my hand — wearing Shalimar EdT on the other — and it’s a cozy, soft, mellow little thing, a creamy lemony vanilla-lavender. Sillage is close. I can smell the baby poo, but I have to search for it. I would wear it to the grocery store without a qualm. The Shalimar, on the other hand, is throwing its slightly medicinal weight around . . . All very interesting.

    Thanks for reposting this. It’s cool and grey and a perfect Spring day for Jicky.

  17. MrsDalloway

    I have the modern EDP which is great and not too feelthy (though I pick out the civet more clearly after testing Zoologist Civet). My 8 year old said it smelled of herbs; he’s not that keen on perfume but has a pretty good nose.

  18. I’ve gone through a bottle of the current EdT, and at the right times it is wonderful. I never noticed a fecal note, but once when I hugged a friend, he pulled back in surprise, so I’m guessing perhaps he did. Ha.

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