With powerful cat aromas circulating the house after a stray tom cat got in the house last night, I wondered what more beautiful feline perfume could possibly counteract it (at least silently, in my mind).






This heartless, but rather beautiful scent might be it.















Jean Louis Scherrer was a former ballet dancer turned Dior-trained couturier who designed fabulously expensive dresses for wives of the super-rich in the late seventies and early eighties, known especially for his lavish fur and animal prints and in the perfume world for his signature, eponymous scent – Scherrer. A dense, no-nonsense green chypre, there is something very wide eyed and cruel about this perfume, something that irks you inwardly like a cake with not quite enough sugar.




My own bottle is a vintage edition of the eau de parfum and it it occupies its own contemptuous, disdainful space. While the base of the scent is nonchalantly carnal – deeply so and quite androgynous  (cedar, oakmoss – lots of it – civet, vetiver and musk with just a soupcon of vanilla, creating a powerful, almost muscular, feline sexuality), carnation and cassia purr hypnotically over fresh, indolic gardenia in the astringent, floral centre while up top – so green and conceited as to be almost unapproachable – galbanum, crushed leaves, violet, and a sharp, aldehydic hyacinth leap forth from the perfume with a clawed, unrestrained alacrity.




Unlike other green chypres – think Miss Dior, Alliage, Private Collection and the like –  there is no vulnerability in Scherrer. This creature is beautiful and  sensual, yes  – but also insinuating, disturbing.





















All photos of our own cat, Mori – which means ‘forest’ in Japanese – because that’s where we discovered her as a two week old kitten, emerging wet and frightened and with a badly injured leg from the woodland undergrowth….



Filed under chypres, Flowers, Green


  1. I once owned Scherrer (it was already vintage by then) and wish I had held on to it. Mori is a really beautiful cat (and knows how to pose for a photo)!

  2. Flora

    Well, I am not exactly heartless, but Scherrer is my all-time favorite chypre, and in my top 5 of all perfumes, ever. I adore it! Great review, you have captured its essence perfectly. I discovered it in the mid-Eighties and I have never been without it since, though I now have to troll eBay for the vintage. The reformulation is fine, but I gotta have my oakmoss overdose.

    • There is no finer compliment to be told I have captured a perfume’s essence. I find that cannot be done with notes alone, but I have to delve into nonsense and the ether to try and do it. I always found with this that there was a lack, somehow, but that that lack was inherent to its perfection (if you know what I mean). I am sure it smells fantastic on you.

  3. I am not familiar with Scherrer but i had to comment on your cat Mori. What a beautiful creature – such lovely photos, especially the one of her stretched out at length on the sofa. Amazing!

    • Thank you but like every star, it’s the angle and the pose that count. She doesn’t always look like that! (but I also love that stretched out look – so extravangely hilarious).

  4. LB

    I love your cat photos. “Something that irks you inwardly like a cake with not quite enough sugar.” I love that. It’s why I could never feel comfortable in Silence or Norell, Ivoire et al. I could admire them but never get close to them. I must need the touch of vulnerability – Miss Dior was a staple once – the original one, of course. I think I have a small sample of Schererville somewhere. I need to dig it out.

  5. LB

    I posted but it seems to have disappeared and I’m too lazy to do it again. You do convey the essence of a fragrance with your words. It is a gift. I enjoy reading your reviews.

  6. Funny, I am contemplating buying a bottle of this right now.

  7. Robin

    Love your description of Jean Louis Scherrer. Really got into it and can imagine it perfectly. I can see just how you find it so. I’ve known it for years. Exactly because of the elements you describe so well, I couldn’t, as a woman in her early twenties, quite bridge the distance between us enough to buy a bottle, although I grabbed the tester bottle every single time I went to the fragrance counter. It fascinated me. I loved it but somehow it was beyond me. Of course now I’ve got a good stash. It just took time and experience.

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