Friday, June 22, 2012

Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat

Since I've been chatting away about hesperides (eau de cologne) this week, I probably should explain that, as with tea / coffee appreciation or wine tasting, unless your nose is relatively mature in terms of having developed a certain sensitivity in picking up the subtle nuances, most eau de colognes, or eaux (plural), will smell like lemons and nothing more. However, if you're a citrus lover and start to get particular about your preferences in this area, skies' the limit, as there are tons of these to choose from, ranging from the newer breed to the timeless classics commissioned by royals. I have my favorites in the hesperides (citrus) family; most are semi-sweet lemony scents with a good deal of neroli in the mix. Often, I like the ones with delicate floral hearts. Some people will prefer the more aromatic or spicy ones with emphases on lavendar, bergamot, lime and additional tobacco-leather blends of woods and herbs. Many of these have traditionally been marketed as Men's fragrances, although hesperides, like all other types of fragrances, have no gender and can be enjoyed by everyone.

A standout eau de cologne in my book is a little known fragrance called Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat, an effervescent lemon fragrance with very subtle, delicate florals. The overall effect is a milder type of lemon scent than most; like sweet lemon drops or lemonade, it reminds me of an organic indie fragrance called Rich Hippie Devotion (French Lemon, Moroccan Verveine and Italian Clementine). The Guerlain creation is not organic (and it's not a prerequisite for me to enjoy a scent), nor is it as sweet, but it's similar enough, lasts longer on me than the organic number and comes in an exquisite bee bottle. This is the kind of scent I consider to be perfect for work, and it's a refreshing way to start another sweltering series of days and nights in New York City.

According to Wikipedia, cedrat (Citrus medica) is described as follows: "The citron is a fragrant citrus fruit, botanically classified as Citrus medica by both the Swingle and Tanaka systems. The designation medica given it by Linnaeus is apparently derived from its ancient name "Median or Persian apple"[1] that was reported by Theophrastus,[2] who believed it to be native to Persia or the land of the Medes; there is no relation to medicinal uses of the fruit. Theophrastus notes its smooth sharp thorns, like those of a pear, the very fragrant but inedible 'apple', which keeps moths from clothes, and the fact that "it bears its 'apples' at all season; for when some have been gathered, the flower of others is on the tree and it is ripening others.... This tree, as has been said, grows in Persia and Media." Citron was the first of the citrus fruits to appear in the Mediterranean Basin." Citron

Edited to add: The cedrat flower note in Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat could do with either the hesperidic citron fruit itself, or, in an unexpected twist, "citron" could mean the flower otherwise known as Narcissus 'Citron' (Citron Daffodil).

Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat (1920). Notes: cedrat flower, lemon, verbena and bergamot