Jicky by Guerlain
January 10, 2019
Perfumer: Aimé Guerlain
Year of creation: 1889
Pyramid according to the H&R Fragrance Guide:
Top notes: Citrusy, Fresh
Supported by: Bergamot, Mandarine, Rosewood
Heart notes: Floral, Woody
Main: Jasmin, Patchouli
Supported by: Rose, Orris, Vetiver
Base notes: Sweet, Balsamic, Exotic
Supported by: Benzoin, Amber, Tonka, Civet, Leather, Incense
Classification by H&R Genealogy:
Feminine, Oriental, Sweet
Pyramid according to “Perfume Legends” by Michael Edwards:
Head notes: Fresh, Aromatic
Lavender, Bergamot, Rosemary, Rosewood
Heart notes: Spicy
Geranium, Jasmine, Rose
Soul notes: Warm&Sensual
Tonka Bean, Opopanax, Vanilla, Coumarin
Classifications according to the Fragrance Wheel by Michael Edwards: Aromatic (Fougère), Classical subgroup
Classification by Symrise Genealogy:
Masculine, Oriental, Ambery, Animalic
Classification by SFP (Société Française des Parfumeurs):
C1f – Fougère, Fougère.
This fragrance is compared to:
“Mouchoir de Monsieur” by Guerlain is often compared to “Jicky”.
“Kiki” by Vero Kern was created as a tribute to “Jicky”.
“Jicky” was named after Aimé’s favorite nephew Jacques (Jicky is a hypocoristic form of this name). But there is also a legend about mysterious Jacqueline (also called Jicky), the first and probably the only love of Aimé Guerlain who wasn’t granted her hand in marriage and therefore left brokenhearted.
The bottle was designed by Gabriel Guerlain (Aimé ‘s brother) and later modified by Baccarat in 1947. Its body represents an old pharmacy jar to honor Aimé’s and Gabriel’s father Pierre François-Pascal who was a chemist. The stopper resembles a champagne cork.
In a novel “Queen of the Underworld” by Gail Godwin Jicky is refered as followed: “a sensational perfume that became an instand must-have for La Belle Époche’s aesthetes”. But in the following alinea also mentions that “some people were scandalized by Jicky’s audacious civet base and its idefinable appeal – what French call je ne sais quoi”. Dandies and “woman who is not afraid to be original” seem to adore this perfume.
According to the perfumer Jean-Claude Elléna “Jicky was an abrupt break in with traditional perfumery, which copied nature. It marked the beginning of emotive perfumery, which no longer attempt to imitate the scent of flowers, but sought instead to arouse emotion.”
Luca Turin in his Guide mentions, that Aimé Guerlain was using an impure yellow vanilline from De Lair that contained a residue of guaiacol. It gave “Jicky” a burnt smoky nuance. After the process of vanilla production was improved Aimé Guerlain continued to ask for that low grade vanilline. Nowadays a little bit of birch tar is used to simulate that effect.
At first “Jicky” was produced in a blue straight squared bottle targeting the male audience. But according to Philippe Guerlain: “When they realized that Jicky was too modern for men, they decided to target it towards women”.
- Persolaise (Dariush Alavi) comparing the Osmothèque version to a modern one (from 2014).
- Grain de musc on the gender of the scent.
- “Perfume Legends” by Michael Edwards, p. 15-19.