Saturday, October 08, 2011

Jean-Louis Scherrer

Many thanks to my friend Donna (writer for Perfume-Smellin' Things) who kindly sent me a plethora of vintage perfume samples awhile back, I was able to sample this classic green Chypre beauty circa 1979 by Jean-Louis Scherrer. It is a classic rose-jasmine hearted floral made spicy with herbal, cinnamony notes, gorgeously fresh and green with icy yet rich galbanum and powdery iris, all on a bed of vetiver to give it class and charm a la Guerlain Vetiver (1961). At first sniff, I was instantly reminded of the great Green / green Chypre perfumes of days past: Estée Lauder Private Collection (1973), Aliage (also Alliage, 1972), Chanel N°19 (1970), Pierre Balmain Vent Vert (1947), all textbook perfect in their execution of nature-identical greenery, the standards by which all green perfumes are, and should be, judged.

As it dries down, Jean-Louis Scherrer turns spicier, giving way to an accord reminiscent of other favorites of mine, Parfums de Nicolaï Eau d'Été (1997) with fresh citrus juices and cinnamon atop a warm, pungent (somewhat animalic) jasmine, and Diptyque L'Eau (1968), a recreation of an ancient potpourri blend featuring cloves, which I've been craving all week. The final base notes reveal a regal woody, spicy and leathery accord, truly (and astoundingly for me) in the same vein as Parfums de Nicolaï New York (1989 - could the NY association be born of the concept of "career perfumes for Women"?), Guerlain Eau de Guerlain (1974), Caron Alpona (1939) and Caswell-Massey Number Six (1789).

Besides being absolutely gorgeous, I find that Jean-Louis Scherrer is a unique green in that it doesn't smell mossy (the way Ô de Lancôme (1969) dries down, for example). I like this scent very much, enough to consider buying a miniature some day, although given the choice, I'd rather wear Guerlain Vetiver for my lemon-lime vetiver, and Chanel N°19 for my green floral fix, both of which have gone without the "expensive butter soft leather" note that makes Scherrer smell not only like nature itself but like a powerful, royal force of nature.