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.
Fougère II – the smell of fern
March 12, 2016
The olfactory family of fougères begins with Fougère Royale by Houbigant, a fragrance created by Paul Parquet in 1882 approaching the smell of ferns. It raises an interesting question: Do ferns smell?
An answer to this question can be as vague as an attempt to describe the smell of tulips for example. Some would say they don’t smell at all while others would mention a generic green smell without distinguishing notes. But as an exception one can also find a couple of very fragrant variations. The situation with ferns is similar. In general they do possess a generic green vegetal smell without distinct nuances. But there is also a hay scented fern or Dennstaedtia punctilobula, a plant releasing a haylike aroma when touched or broken. A fern from New Zeland with the name Asplenium lamprophyllum seems to contain methyl salicylate, a sweet smelling substance which is also responsible for the smell of wintergreen and sweet birch. There is also a Sweet Fern (Comptonia peregrina), a fragrant plant which looks like a fern, but is in fact a family of bayberry.
Two odorants are mentioned to be responsible for the smell of ferns – hexyl butyrate and octyl butyrate. They have a green odor with fruity and waxy nuances. But they are not used in fern fragrances. Fougères are fantasy perfumes approaching the smell of fern within its natural habitat (the nuances of forest, leaves, soil etc). The core of fougère accord is formed by lavender, coumarin and oak moss. Coumarin is responsible for the haylike herbaceous sweetness (think of hay-scented fern mentioned above). Herbs (rosemary, thyme), woody and camphor notes, salicylates (clover or wintergreen smell), mushroom nuances and iris/violet aspects can be used to adorn the fougère accord.
The earlier fern perfumes seemed to be quite floral with their hearts made of lavender, rose and jasmine with an addition of narcissus and hyacinth (with their haylike aspects). Later geranium and rose molecules, synthetic jasmine bases, clary sage and fresh floral molecules like linalool and linalyl acetate were used to accompany lavender in the heart. Three types of fragrances were considered to be fougères: complex lavender perfumes, Foin Coupe type of fragrances (perfumes approaching the smell of new mown hay) and chypres with lavender heart and spicy nuances.
Fougère Royale, the beginning of Fougère family
March 11, 2016
Name: Fougère Royale
Perfumer: Paul Parquet
Year of creation: 1882 (re-launched and re-orchestrated in 2010).
Pyramid according to H&R Fragrance Guide:
Top notes: Fresh, Herbaceous
Supported by: Clary Sage, Spike (lavender), Bergamot, Petitgrain
Heart notes: Dry, Floral
Supported by: Rose, Heliotrope, Carnation, Orchid
Base notes: Sweet, Mossy, Powdery
Main: Oakmoss, Musk
Supported by: Tonka, Hay, Vanilla
Classification by H&R Genealogy:
Masculine, Fougère, Fresh (end 80’s version),
Masculine, Fougère, Woody (end 2000’s version)
Classification by Symrise Genealogy: Masculine, Fougère, Ambery, Vanilla
Classification by SFP (Société Française des Parfumeurs): C1m (other version C1f) – Fougère, Fougère.
This fragrance is compared to: English Fern by Penhaligon’s and Wild Fern Cologne by Geo F. Trumper
Fougère Royale is a fantasy bouquet exploring the smell of fern.
Fougère Royale is often mentioned to be the first fern fragrance. But there seem to be other fern perfumes before 1882. Like Fougère Ambrée by Savonnerie Maubert and Fougère Dorée by Isnard Maubert Parfumeur both from 1870. Or Wild Fern Cologde by Geo F. Trumber from 1877, There also seem to be an earlier version a Fougère Royale made by Paul Parquet for Eugene Rimmel in 1875 for Princess Alexandra.
In fact the fern theme was popular in the time of creation of Fougère Royale, but fern scents were predominantly used for perfuming soaps. So, Fougère Royale is a rare example of a functional scent that found its way into the Fine Perfumery.
Fougère Royale is considered to be the first perfume utilizing a synthetic aromachemical coumarin. It possesses a bittersweet, herbaceous, haylike odor and is still one of the main ingredients of the fougère fragrances.
It is a milestone perfume. Its success made this fragrance to inspire many other creations and even to become an ancestor for the olfactory family of fougères.
Fougère Royale seemed to be created as a feminine scent. As also the first other fougères. Later it was marketed as an ultimate gentlemen’s fragrance as you can see on this advertisements below. The later and present fougère perfumes are exclusively men’s fragrances.