Monday, October 06, 2008

Guerlain Djedi

Guerlain Djedi is the essence of materialism to me, but for that reason, I can see its gilded, magical appeal to many. Heavy, perfumey, dark, leathery and aldehydic, dramatic and complex, interesting but not memorable. Born in 1927, it smells like a 1920s semi-Chypre Russian leather composition, in the way Chanel No.5 (1921), Lanvin Arpege (1927), Caron Nuit de Noel (1922) and Weil Zibeline (1928) do. It has that Russian leather character combined with spicy, sweet Oriental elements. It is unique, almost comparable to the bitter and dry leather masterpiece Piguet Bandit, Cher Uninhibited, Miss Dior or Dioressence, Hermes Doblis and maybe Marilyn Miglin Pheromone. They are all dark and green scents, almost masculine in their austerity. I could also briefly compare it to vintage Millot Crepe de Chine (which I have smelled in its original form, not just the remake from Long Lost Perfume), a thoroughly mossy concoction, and they'd all take me back to Guerlain Mitsouko (1919) which takes me back to Coty Chypre.

According to Michael Edwards, Chypres are known to become most popular post war, so that might explain the somewhat aggressive, severe character of Chypres. However, Djedi is softened by sweet Oriental notes as many flapper era perfumes were, following the success of Guerlain Shalimar. (Edited to add) Upon retesting Djedi, I thought it smelled like a cross between Chant d'Aromes and "a men's belt". It starts out aldehydic and fizzy but it's more of an animalic leather Chypre than I initially thought, and still a bit sweet and Guerlinadesque. I do like it, and it still reminds me strongly of Zibeline, just drier, more leathery. I'm eating my own words that it's not a very memorable creation. It is sadly discontinued but a wonderful creation, a fragrance any woman or man could wear. I'm not sure which I would prefer to have revived: Djedi or Zibeline, but the term "parfum fourrure" aptly fits both. Finally, it dawns on me that Djedi is very, very close to Jean Patou Chaldée, also launched in 1927.