guerlain metallica

coral carnation

I have written about Metallica, Guerlain’s dreamily beautiful semi-oriental of carnation, orange blossom and spiced, cushioned balsam vanillas before (in my lengthy treatise on carnations).

But this morning, upon lazily waking up in the p.m and reaching out onto my dresser, I found that, instinctively spraying myself with Olivia’s very generous decant of this now rare and discontinued Guerlain (she and I have very similar appreciations in perfume, which is how we ended up meeting at my Vanilla talk at Perfume Lovers London), I raised up the back of my hand and I sighed……

How is it that such genuinely mysterious, and quite mesmerizing, scents just fall away by the wayside? Perfumes you can’t quite prise apart, that are beautifully, intuitively anti-intuitive and hermetically unseamed. That blossom like fresh, living and breathing flower petals on the skin, while below, in the dusky musks of their hollows, reveal  tantalizing glimpses of intelligence and romance, and exquisitely tentative sensuality.

When the package of preciousnesses, a collection of quite often now unobtainable scents full of Neilishly-selected suitability, came in my parents’ suitcase this spring, this was one of the first scents that I took out and wore on the night that we, Duncan, my parents, and I, stayed up in the beautiful ancient city of Nikko. Walking down by the sacred river and its Shinto, white-gushing waters, the air fresh and bright, bracing in its fast, mountainous, and oncoming April, Metalys, or rather Metallica, its former name, formed a delightfully contrasting inner world as I walked along simultaneously quite conscious of the beauty of nature and the sky, but also the internal, artificial perfection of a  work of art. To me, this curious and alluring perfume is the most perfect olfactory representation of a particular corallish, orange-pink colour; one that swirls around itself in an ambiguous, marshmallow goodness; ambered yet fresh; open yet concealed; a composition based on love and endeavour, not on cynicism; the talented expression of a true perfumer (Jean Paul Guerlain) that stimulates the mind, the heart, and the senses.

Just as a real perfume should.


Filed under Flowers


  1. Metallica is such a beautiful rendition of Ylang ylang on my skin. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I will cherish my bottle for years to come.

  2. Bee

    Given that the world is indeed stupid and very quick and superficial to judge, could this perfume have failed just because the general public could not get past the name? They changed it apparently because of the band but still did people still associate it with Paco Rabanne Metal and think that will be too green and acidic for me? I would take a substantial bet that it would do well under a different name, and it has been done in the past – Mahora, perhaps not the best example – this beauty deserves another chance.

    • I love Mahora, and still have an open bottle and and an unopened one which I bought when I had the feeling it was not going to stay around.

      • Bee

        Yes I love Mahora and have an original formula bottle that I treasure. I have a feeling that even re-released as Mayotte it was sadly under appreciated.

      • Mahora is a brilliant, glistening bombshell that I loved on impact, but I can see how it didn’t sell, somehow. Just makes it all the more special now I suppose, for those who still have a bottle. I gave mine to my sister (and she lost it).

  3. ninakane1

    Sounds delicious. I would like this one i think. I still yearn for an aromatherapy mix i once wore with carnation and jasmine as its key ingrediant that was created at an aromatherapy shop and the wizard who made it disappeared off into a commune somewhere taking her secret with her so alas no possibilty of recreation. Everything is ephemeral if course and perhaps it is good to have these small traces of the elusive or the ‘never to come again’ to remind us of that!

  4. I must pull this out. I have a small decant and have just been sitting on it like a fool! Thank you for the reminder.

  5. Tara C

    I have a small decant of this that I wear parsimoniously, it is so lovely. Wish they would bring it back, hopefully with a better name. Like a previous poster I think the name could have possibly put people off.

  6. MrsDalloway

    Thanks, this inspired me to wear my decant yesterday and it is gorgeous. Like Tara I still have hopes of a comeback, though their limited edition rereleases are always ££££. But if it was released here I couldn’t resist.

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