George Sand (Les Parfums Historiques)

The Black Narcissus

Sometime in the 1850’s, Frédéric Chopin was beginning to make a name for himself in the salons of Paris. Aside from his obvious musical genius, the young man had garnered a reputation for exquisite, almost excessive politesse and gentility, gracious to a fault. He was much in demand. By all accounts ‘fragile, delicate, reserved, somewhat languid’, Chopin was nevertheless frequenting similar circles to a woman he ‘dreaded above all others’, Aurore Dupin, otherwise known as George Sand. Having already ‘conquered’ Franz Liszt, among other luminaries of the nineteenth century, she had written to Liszt that she ‘idolized’ Chopin and was desperate to make his acquaintance. They would shortly be lovers.

To see George Sand as some kind of predatory monster, as many have done,  is, surely to fall prey to the misogynist clichés she herself was railing against. In fact this woman, a hero to women of the day, was…

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “George Sand (Les Parfums Historiques)

  1. Jo

    What a lovely idea, historical celebrity perfumes! The mind boggles – Richard III, Genghis Khan, Boadicea? Anyway, a nice tie-in is that I’m playing in Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 2 with Maria Joao Pires on Tues 18th Feb at Suntory Hall in Tokyo so it would be great to see you there if you can come. And if you can come wearing George Sand, so to speak, so much the better!

  2. Tora

    I adore George Sand! I bought a bottle for my husband many years ago on a trip to Manhattan with my daughter, and she couldn’t believe how long I spent in the huge perfume section of Bergdorf’s. The only perfume I bought the whole trip was George Sand and I gave it as a gift to my husband. He is on his second bottle. That and Coze and L’Air du desert Marocain are his faves. I loved this slice of history, and it adds a new perspective to the whole scentscape of GS. Great review!!!

  3. R

    I love the ‘lead’ in to this review. Lately, I’ve been thinking about what perfume to surprise the good lady with on the 14th. Each time I read one of your pieces the descriptions bring something of each to life, and each time I think this one could be the perfume to get. And then you introduce me to a perfume that sounds so intriguing, I’m left to wonder where possibly if at all can I find it?

    You’re writing really does deserve more recognition – good luck for the Jasmine Award.

    • Thanks very much for the compliment.

      But no matter how much my crap may draw people in, i it is always essential to smell things first; you can order samples online from Luckyscent for example.

      I mean Chanel no 22 could smell utterly exquisite, or like a sour granny depending on the person….and the same goes for George Sand (though they smell nothing like each other). I am worse than the perfume companies themselves sometimes in allowing my imagination to take over and trying to paint word pictures that when successful are possibly too flattering.

      Take everything I say with a fistful of (beautifully scented) salt.

    • Though I must add how gratifying it is when people do actually say after a review that I have done that is ‘spot on’, or that I have ‘nailed it’: you know, smell is so subjective, and yet the classics of perfumery do somehow how to speak to reams of people the way novels, paintings and films do as well. I read a lot of film reviews and it is fascinating how different people’s opinions are. I tend to agree with the New York Times critics, Marghola Dargis and also AO Scott: we see things in a similar way, and I think that hopefully some people reading the blog have similar tastes in scent, or at least come at perfume from a similar angle. (or something)

  4. This is one of my favorites, but I have to be in the exact frame of mind to wear it (and that varies). It’s deep, rich and warm beauty is incredible.

  5. I adore this scent and find its chaleur to be so comforting. But, of the Editions Historiques my favorite is La Reine Margot, a deliciously (slightly dirty) jasmine rich scent. Too bad the availability in the States is so poor for these great scents.

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