Saturday, February 16, 2008

Eaux Là Là

A recent exchange with a fellow Sniffapalooza member occasioned some thoughts about the coming (not fast enough) change of seasons, and indeed my eye has been wandering to the lighter end of my fragrance spectrum: scents like Fréderic Malle Cologne Bigarade, Creed Citrus Bigarrade, Annick Goutale Eau de Sud, Bois 1920 Classic 1920, Parfums d’Empire Iskander and Lubin L’Eau Neuve, not to mention the classics-in-our-midst, like Roudnitska’s Eau Sauvage and Guerlain Eau de Cologne Impériale, granddaddy of the lot, at almost two-hundred years old.

Unfairly perhaps, I dub many of these as my “bathroom” scents. The qualifier has nothing to do with their quality – only, rather, with the comfort they provide when easily grabbed while toweling off from a shower or bath. None tries to make a particularly bold statement, except maybe to tell us that everything is going to be just fine. In warmer climes, the application of such scents is cooling. Their predominant néroli, citrus and wood notes, combined with a high level of alcohol, refresh nose and skin alike. These are the sorts of scents I’d love to find on the locker-room counters at my gym in spanking new atomizer bottles. (Instead, all I get is a gush of eucalyptus steam from behind some clouded door, rank towel hamper odors and the almost ubiquitous smell of styling gel.) Heck, I’d be happy with an oversized bottle of 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser.

Eaux de colognes are the ultimate accessory to basic personal hygiene, like mouth wash for the skin. In the days before deodorant, these scents separated the sheep from the goats. And in some parts of the world – the Mediterranean comes to mind – they still do. One jaunt on a packed Roman bus in the late June is all you need to learn this vital lesson.

Of late, Guerlain has released an eau de cologne that should earn its place alongside the greats: Cologne du 68, inspired by the street address of their Champs-Elysées flagship. Created by nose Sophie Labbé, it contains 68 notes, including green tangerine, lemon petitgrain, limette, jasmine, rose, tuberose, peach, orange tree wood, petitgrain, musk, patchouli, oakmoss, amber, star anise, coriandre, cardamom, pepper, immortelle, opoponax, and cedar. It has a ravishing pink-tending-to-apricot hue and is as beautiful on the skin as on fresh linens or dispersed into the air. Not as overtly masculine (or implicitly genderless) as Impériale or Eau du Coq, Cologne du 68 is a light, refreshing floriental which clearly takes a nod from the compositions of Guerlain’s Mathilde Laurent (creator of Guet-Apens/L’Attrape-Coeur and Shalimar Eau Légère). It goes on cool and citrusy and ends up just short of lightly confectionary in the floral notes. It is the essence of Guerlain, a perfect evocation of the heights to which the brand aspired in the midcentury and an auspicious sign of where they can still go when all engines are pushed to throttle.

Cologne du 68 is available exclusively at 68, Champs-Elysées and the Guerlain boutique at Bergdorf Goodman. Contact Jason Beers to order, 212-872-2734.


Blogger chayaruchama said...

My, my.
SOMEONE has been playing with Mark David.
I see the handwriting on the wall....

I love this jus; mine is at least 10 years old, from their last release of it; but it is fresh as a daisy, and feels more like an EDP [ wears more like one, as well].

Was it reformulated ?
Mine is not pink, and I don't get any immortelle in it-
It echoes the Guet-Apens most clearly.
Gorgeous stuff.

February 17, 2008 at 4:48 AM  
Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

You're so right that eaux de Cologne serve as a personal grooming nod that one is clean and ready to face the world; and a prophylactic device against malodours too.
It's a sadly neglected tradition in most western countries I have recollection of, but in the Med it is still the little bottle that hides in the handbag, ready to be dabbed on hands and temples for some pick-me up on a hot afternoon.

Glad that 88 is proving so successful for you.

February 17, 2008 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Chaya, Who knows if in fact it’s the same juice? All I can say is I adore Attrape-Coeur and now I love this. And, yes, the handwriting is on the wall indeed! It reads: "Throw caution to the wind and hop on over to the Guerlain boutique."

February 17, 2008 at 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but what pretty handwriting it is. So artistic, swoopy, and curly in all the right places if I do say so myself...

Im so glad you went before I had to drive up there, pick you up, and carry you across the bridge, up 5th avenue through Bergdorfs door and down the stairs and plant your bum right at Jason Beers feet so you could say "Hit Me!"

Its a cologne made in heaven. And like my dear Chaya, on me it performs a bit stronger than an eau de cologne, and for that price - it sure as hell better! A bottle will be mine in several weeks. Glad you enjoyed it.

Can I harp on the Anorexic packaging for just a minute? Did I miss something? when did Boxes become passe? 68 went the way of the Inconvenient Truth DVD, skipped the formalities and just threw the product in a left over Fritos bag and called it a day.

What would Anna Wintour say?

February 17, 2008 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

LOL. Yes, MD, I beat you to it. Not to say I can't be whisked to BG's at a moment's notice regardless of the particular obsession.

As for the packaging, mine came boxed with an atomizer attachment. It sits on my nightstand next to Une Rose, which has proved more than a one-night-stand.

As for Anna, she doesn't need to say a blessed thing.

February 17, 2008 at 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this formula has changed since it was first released in 98-ish. I dont think it resembles Guet/Attrape at all, now. But thats just as well b/c its unique and gorgeous anyway. The immortelle is one of the key ingedients on my skin that makes 68 sing.

Another eau de cologne that has been a staple in my life for years and years is the Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte. BUT - I have no proof but they definitely have tweaked the formula on I think it came when they got new packaging for it. Which really really pisses me off b/c I really hate the new version. I wear the Concentree instead. I have about 20 ounces of new Eau d'Orange that is untouched b/c it just isn't the same anymore. I should sell it.

February 18, 2008 at 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

meant to say "formula and I think it came..."

February 18, 2008 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

MD, I love Hermès Orange Verte. In fact, I never travel without a bar of the scented soap. Any toiletries bag should be honored to hold the green plastic case and its refreshing contents.

February 18, 2008 at 5:09 PM  

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