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SOMETIMES THE BEST PERFUMES JUST DON’T MAKE IT: : METALLICA/METALYS by GUERLAIN (2000)

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.

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