I have had an amazing weekend, which I will write about later once I have cleaned up our trash of a house (which will probably take me hours..)

Yes, it was really decadent and eye-opening, fun-filled, colourful, life affirming and pleasurable – but speaking of decadence, and the pleasures of the senses, there was once a time, apparently, and now unbelievably, actually, when perfume houses gave out beautifully boxed free samples of their parfums: not just  thin vials of eau de toilette, strapped to a piece of embossed paper, and given out begrudgedly and unwillingly as they are here in the department stores of Japan (that is, when they deign to give you a sample at all, which is never) – but actual miniature, glass-flaconed versions of the real thing; 2ml BOTTLES of extrait given out in the same box as the full purchase (you can see one, here, on the right): the same one that I was given as a birthday present on Saturday night.

Yes, the top notes might be off, as this must date from the seventies when this under appreciated Guerlain perfume first came out (you can read my review of Nahema in the ‘Some Roses For Winter’ piece below), but glowing in the contours of the box, still, or a half hour or so later on the skin, is that familiar, soft-rosy powder-peach, with its Chamade like subdued hyacinths, and that liquorous, vanillic, Guerlainade base…………such an  easy perfume to like – romantic, plush; rooted in a sweet, simple optimism – a zealous refuge and honeyed dampener of disappointments.


This was a time when the perfume houses were more generous,  not only in the giving out of precious miniature bottles of the perfumes to valued customers, but also  in the very construction of those perfumes themselves. Long before the skin-sanctioning restrictions of IFRA and their legally imposed changing of the perfumes’ formulae, but also before the perfume houses themselves became like eye-glinting misers with their focus on profit over art, perfumes from this era were eminently affordable, yet luxurious; still full of essence and absolute……gorgeous.



Filed under Flowers


  1. jennyredhen

    Its interesting when you talk about top notes being off as I have 2 bottles of Fidji. In one the scent has gone quite brown and it is a much older bottle than the other. When I spray one sample of each and ask people which they prefer they usually say the older ones as its “sharper” . It has definitely lost its top notes. but most people prefer it??? The Nahema sounds divine so does the party.

    • Interesting. I know this phenomenon well, actually (and know exactly how ‘off ‘Fidji smells as well. Although I love the dreamy, tropical muskiness of the fresh version, it is possible that the vintage just has better ingredients in it so is sexier in the base. The ideal, of course, would be a perfectly preserved vintage bottle.

      The weekend was fabulous. I will try and get down to it later (in fact I must go downstairs now and start tidying up….)

  2. I remember those lovely little miniature perfume bottles. It was always a treat to receive one. In fact I still have a dresser drawer filled with them. Oh how times have changed.

  3. orsetta

    A lovely present and you are absolutely right. In fact, nowadays even those thin, small vials are given out begrudgingly not only in Japan but also in Europe.

    Plus, as Guerlain has just decided that Nahema in parfum version is going to be discontinued very soon, your Nahema is even more wonderful…

    • I know. A ridiculous state of affairs when detritus such as the woefully misnamed ‘L’Homme Ideal’ is still being produced. If I had the cash I would snap up a bottle but I don’t. Maybe one day on e-bay I’ll get the proper thing in full.

  4. veritas

    yes, unfortunately there is a lack of generosity…even to get a small sample vial is asking for much! Sometimes I get really angry and boycott certain perfumers/companies as I feel they are charging way too much ….I know what the cost of oils are and when I do the math it just doesn’t add up!

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