Chamade roughly means "the beating of the drum" (as a call to retreat or surrender), and to me, that's exactly what this grand perfume feels like to wear, thanks to a copious amount of sandalwood that lends a subtly stimulating effect. Each time I wear Chamade, especially in pure parfum, I feel the velvety, sumptuous, luxuriously dense character of this composition, the "thumpity thump" that must surely be the sign of excitement brought upon by a true, otherworldly love--perfume love, that is. All in all, Chamade is a very retro scent: florid and green (hyacinth, galbanum, blackcurrant bud) and aldehydic (powdery and skin cream-smooth), voluptuous, soapy yet heavy, not something I like to wear all the time, but it has surprising, spicy accents and a traditional floral heart that gives way to a delicately smouldering, warm and soft, suggestive and slightly pungent, naughty dry down. It's yet another Jean-Paul Guerlain creation I couldn't live without. If you could imagine bits and pieces of Chanel No.5, Pierre Balmain Ivoire, Guerlain Samsara, Estee Lauder Private Collection and Vivienne Westwood Boudoir or Parfums DelRae Amoureuse rolled into one, that might come close to how I perceive Chamade but it is absolutely unique. It's also been compared to Hermes Rouge which I can see.
What can we expect but the most progressive, on-the-upbeat, awesome scent to have been born in the golden year of Rock, 1969? Chamade took the "no vulgarity", conservative Classical green (nature-motif) scents of the '40s, '50s and '60s and gave it some much needed sex appeal (Oriental accents such as vanilla and spices), although it stays very much implied, never fully given away. As it turns out, Chamade is a class act like all of its Guerlain ancestors, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. I'm sure white-gloved Chamade went to Woodstock and hung out with patchouli and Nag Champa and found its true peers.
I've seen Chamade categorized as Floral Woody-Ambery and as Aldehydic Floral.
Basenotes says: Created to symbolise a complete surrender to love. The bottle features a heart which has flipped upside-down.
Michael Edwards' notes:
Guerlain Chamade (1969)
Top Notes: Hyacinth, Jasmine
Middle Notes: Ylang-Ylang, Blackcurrant bud, Galbanum
Base Notes: Vanilla, Woody notes, Balsamic notes
Bois de Jasmin blog says: The official notes are Turkish rose, ylang ylang, jasmine, lilac, blackcurrant bud, lily of the valley, hyacinth, cassis, galbanum, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, musk, amber, iris, tonka bean.
(Edited to add) The newly reformulated version of parfum I've tried is just a thin, soapy disappointment compared to the glorious vintage.