Years passed in Guerlaindom and suitors came and went empty-handed, until someone realised that the address of their flagship store on the Champs Elysées in Paris is too good to pass up (after all every self-respecting maison has their address emblazoned on something) and Guerlain Cologne du 68 was born, seemingly Athena-like from Zeus' head, but in fact through the artistry of Sophie Labbé in 2006. What better of a constant reminder of the abode and shrine character of that emblematic boutique in the market?
First the new unisex Cologne du 68 came in the brave, Titanic size of 500ml. The age of the Titans was inaugurated by Les Exclusifs de Chanel and progressed from them. Size did matter! Later, masterminds at the Guerlain and LVMH headquarters realised that more customers could be lured in, if a more modest size was introduced and who wants to feel antagonized anyway? Enter the 100ml/3.4oz size which now circulates. And how does this new sprite smell? Completely different than her other, previous, stupendous incarnations; yet prodigiously good! Guerlain sang its siren song: "Fresh spices of cardamom and coriander blended with citrus fruits are warmed with hot spices of pepper and ginger for an everlasting scent [...] a sumptuous composition with 68 of the finest raw materials gathered from all over the world. Both fresh and spicy, it will win hearts with its ultra-modern facets, long wearing scent and beautiful, tall minimalist bottle."
Guerlain Cologne du 68 is ~if not fairy-tale like~ a feat of masterful work: It utilizes a sophisticated composition interplaying rich scents that conspire to give the full spectrum of aroma with no more general descriptor possible than the ambiance of a warm citrus shimmering under the spell of spices. A masterful combination of floral, spicy oriental, aromatic, herbal green and even clean elements with a powdery iris-vanillic-tonka finish that anchors it firmly in the Guerlain tradition; yet thoroughly modern, eminently wearable, fit for every occasion. The drydown is warm, rather sweet and lasting with blonde woods and slightly powdery notes that put it in flou.
The tall cylindrical bottle is appropriately unisex, well-made with the wooden cap recalling the one on Terre d'Hermès. The purpotedly 68 ingredients show up on the label, apothecary-style.
Notes for Guerlain Cologne du 68: bergamot, green mandarin, lemon, clementine, orange peel, blood orange, sweet lime, grapefruit, basil, fennel, star anise, lavender, bay leaf, cypress, elemi, thyme, myrthe, bigarade, mandarin, petit grain, lemon petit grain, pear, violet greens, lierre, gentiane, seve, blackcurrant, freesia, lily of the valley, hazel leaf, cyclamen, cardamom, coriander, black pepper, pink berry, nutmeg, ginger, jasmine, frangipane, magnolia blossom, orange blossom, peony, rose, carnation, ylang-ylang, lychee, fig, blackberry, immortelle, lentisque (mastic), opoponax, amber, benzoin, vanilla, cistus, heliotrope, iris, tonka bean, sage, musk, patchouli, agarwood, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, vegetable musk, praline, myrrhe and lichen.
Available for $100 for 3.4 oz/100ml at Neiman Marcus and at Guerlain boutiques the world over.
Cinderella illustrationg by Gustave Doré, from the 19th century, via logoi.com .Pic of bottle by Kittyfishstyle/mua