Tag Archives: 1880s scents

JICKY by GUERLAIN (1889)

 

 

 

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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.

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