Samsara by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1989




Hello lovelies,

Samsara has great memories for me of my Mum. I bought her some one year and she wore it often. It’s weird but I rarely hear people speak of this particular Guerlain, it’s still in department stores so must be a good seller for them. Every now & then I get mine out to reminisce. Then I wonder why I don’t wear it more.

Samsara by Guerlain 1989

Samsara by Jean-Paul Guerlain


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, lemon, ylang-ylang, peach, green notes
Heart: Jasmine, iris, narcissus, violet, rose
Base: Sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, amber, musk

Samsara means “Wheel Of Life” in Sanskrit according to Jean-Paul Guerlain the perfumes main creator.

Creamy tropical flowers and fruit, a little sharp in the open. Samsara doesn’t take long to settle on my skin and become a slightly banana-isa yellow floral with BWF aspirations. Mildly flower feral, it wears in parfum close and seductive. When I add the EdT it becomes a larger, more exhibitionist fragrance, a glamorous silk brocade of a scent.

Once the initial extravaganza calms I’m left with a nebulous bouquet backed by a sweet, dry-ish vanilla and creamy resinous sandalwood till fade. Recently I read that even back in 1989 Samsara was mainly faux sandalwood, doesn’t matter to me. Lastly I smell sandalwood and musks, I think the musk might be the real deal but TBH I’ll probably never know

Some people talk about how outrageous and overbearing Samsara is. That’s definitely not how I experience it. Maybe because of my Mum reference Samsara is a warm, elegant, pre-oud oriental that is both exotic and incredibly comforting. Back in the 1980s Samsara was armchair travel to faraway places, a hint of the multifarious peoples of Asia and the Middle East. Even then I knew world travel was what I wanted to do as a life hobby.

Further reading: Now Smell This and Muse In Wooden Shoes
Most Guerlain counters have Samsara
Surrender To Chance has vintage parfum samples from $20/0.25ml

Have you tried Samsara?
I hope you enjoyed wandering among my fragrant thoughts. Below is an original Samsarta ad, hopefully see you tomorrow,
Portia xx

Ode by Guerlain 1955


Greg Young


Bienvenue treasure-seekers.

Over summer I was in Canberra and visited the Treasures of Versailles exhibition. There were a few nice things in the exhibition, but nothing I could afford.

I was inspired to go hunt for a few treasures of my own. The suburb of Fyshwick has a cluster of antiques warehouses and markets that are always good for a trawl. In the stinking heat of New Year’s Eve, we headed up there and had a look around. I got lucky at the second market that we visited. My eye was drawn to a cabinet with a few little bottles in it. I particularly noticed a little bottle of Joy, but I thought the price was risible. Lurking behind it was this unopened gem, still in its original box.

(It wasn’t until later – too late to take a photo of it – that I got the musical pun, and am still wondering if it was intentional).

Ode by Guerlain 1955

Treasures from Australia’s Capital City



Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, jasmine, rose, iris, sandalwood and musk

Ode was launched by Guerlain in 1955. The pun was intentional for Guerlain; Ode was a response to Patou’s Joy, a floral aldehyde built on jasmine and rose.

Ode was quite a stepping stone in Guerlain’s history, for a few reasons. It marked the changing of the guard, being the last fragrance of Jacques Guerlain’s career and the first by the then 18 years old Jean-Paul Guerlain. Monsieur Guerlain notes that it was also the first ever Guerlain fragrance to have a one syllable name (the house has strongly preferred three syllable names such as Shalimar, Vol de Nuit, Nahema, etc.) and was also the first to have a bottle designed specifically for that fragrance.

And what a bottle that was; a Baccarat design showing a single rosebud in a sculptured vase. Sadly, my find was not that bottle, being the EDC and not the extract.

Even the Ode EDC was a ground-breaker, introducing the “travel bottle”, a solid rectangular design also used for Habit Rouge and Vetiver. Sadly, I didn’t get lucky with that historic find either.


(Ed: All photos supplied by Greg un less specified. Thanks buddy)

Samsara EdP by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1990


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


Hello lovely-dovely sweetly-scented Perfumistas,

That was then: This is now
Life before and after the basenotes…….
Val CQ

I was gifted with a bottle of vintage (if you can use that word for a relatively young perfume) Samsara EdP last week. I haven´t worn it since the early nineties, nor retried it during my perfumista journey

Samsara EdP

I bought a bottle of the Samsara EdP in 1990. Lovely. Nice bottle. I carried on with my life.


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, lemon, ylang-ylang, peach, green notes
Heart: Jasmine, woodsy iris, narcissus, violet, rose
Base: Sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, amber, musk


Samsara EdP by Guerlain 1990

Samsara EdP by Jean-Paul Guerlain

“Oh my gosh! This is fabulous. It´s kind of lemony and leathery and is that jasmine, and wait, I think I read once there´s some sort of licorice note in it. Is there, can I smell it, concentrate hard, it must be there. I got it! Yeah, licorice. I found it. And yang-ylang and jasmine, I can’t believe I never knew. It´s so oriental, spicy, and SANDALWOOD? The Guerlain vanilla, tonka, orris, but WAIT I have never smelled sandalwood like this. Really? All this incredible sandalwood, which after Googling I found out was enhanced by John-Paul Guerlain whisking in a dash of polysantol, giving it a massive lift so it wouldn´t sit flat on the skin? Whoa (Thanks Monsieur G)”
I then pass out on the floor into an exhausted sandalwood oblivion.

Val CQ Samsara 2016Photo Donated Val CQ

Samsara EdP Conclusions

The question is which incarnation of me enjoyed it more? I have been pondering this question for the last week. My good grief, I can most certainly say I had NO idea when I wore it in the early 90s and I went through at least three bottles of it, that there were top, heart and basenotes. I just enjoyed the whole experience without having to think myself insane. But once you walk through that field of poppies and end up in Oz there is no going back. (And then you do think yourself insane!) Hard to fathom that I never clocked the sandalwood in it, and this IS a sandalwood bomb if ever there was one. Creamy and divine. I have come to the conclusion that
the younger me delighted in Samsara while the perfumista me delights in, savours, relishes, revels in, and most of all appreciates Samsara for the magnificent oriental Guerlain masterpiece that it is.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Black Narcissus
Any Guerlain counter or store will have Samsara
Surrender To Chance is selling out their Samsara EdT at $15/5ml

Any of you APJ readers had a similar experience? Do tell. 🙂

Batshit Crazy Perfumista Bussis

Vetiver by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1961/2000


Post by Liam


Do we love classics because we have to? Do I utter that Shalimar is the best oriental because of its luxuriously rich history? Do I really think Mitsouko is the greatest perfume ever? In my opinion, the answers don’t matter. I like to surf around ambivalence. I don’t think Vetiver is that great nowadays. Yes, I said it, but hear me out.

Vetiver by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1961/2000

Vetiver Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, coriander, lemon, mandarin, neroli
Vetiver, cedar wood
Base: Tobacco, walnuts, pepper, tonka bean

My post today draws attention to reformulation, former glory, and in some respects – moving on. For example, I refrain from saying Mitsouko is the greatest chypre in existence, but rather, it was. I own a parfum of Mitsouko dating from 2013. It is marvellous – it is a symphonic fragrance with movements so clear and so obvious it sings from the skin at a tight languid timbre. But I know that once upon a time it was better, and probably more dramatic and poising.

Vetiver Guerlain  Biorremediacion vetiver canal_contaminado WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

The same is true for Guerlain’s Vetiver. Vetiver is vetiver. It either smells smoky in the style of Chanel’s Sycomore, clean like Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver or in between the two. This falls in the middle, contrasting between both labellings pleasantly with a blurry and crunchy angular-ness.

A revivified lemon opens, with a peppery tobacco note swirling around the predominant root note of vetiver. It begs the question, can dirt be clean? This smells of rich fertile soil dampened with crisp rainwater. Like rich green grass seen through a misty glaze, then eventually cut by warm crepuscular rays from the sun. Our opening accord is dispersive and wet, matured with a base of vetiver and spice. This is unfussy; lax unlike much of Guerlain’s uptight feminine works. It is a still, and somewhat tranquil piece of work as it is neither overly rough or overly smooth. It is merely balanced masterfully.

Vetiver Guerlain  Vetiveria_zizanoides WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

But here’s my problem. Balance is great, but shock and awe is better. Chanel’s Sycomore excites me with its wood varnish quality. Terre D’Hermes presents a mineral flintiness unlike anything else. Do I have to love it? No. Rather, I should appreciate this scent for its historical importance and its reference value. On a critical level this is a linear perfume, spiced slowly and worn in with a dry cedar. The unctuousness is made refined, somewhat mellow in its progression; and yet despite this, it feels eternally thin, lacking a few features that cause great desire. Novel then (1959), and nowadays a traditionalist masterpiece that deserves nothing more than reverence. Guerlain paved the way for greats that have crafted vetiver masterpieces like Ellena, Ropion, Sheldrake, and Polge.

Vetiver Guerlain Tradition stux PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and What Men Should Smell Like
FragranceNet has $43/100ml before coupon
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

All in all, Vetiver by Guerlain is solid and dependable; for the man who is comfortable in the background. This has an eternally redolent quality, reminding me of my grandfather who would come home smelling of lawn clippings and the industrial smell of fuel. Wear it throughout the working day and it will last all day long without any risk of offence or dangerous projection, as it should be.

What do you think of the Guerlain Vetiver? Masterpiece or Museum piece?
Liam x

Eau de Guerlain by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1974


Post by Liam


Good evening flamboyant frag heads

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. I hope the fragrant Gods were good to you and you got all that you wanted.

For me, I decided to load up on the cologne side of things. I’m a hellbent oriental wearer, and whilst they are ever so lovely, they are rather impractical for hot Australian summers; especially on those scorching 40+ degree days.

Eau de Guerlain Guerlain  Bondi Beach David Lee FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

I was spoilt with colognes as I requested – and one that I was dying to get was Eau de Guerlain from (you guessed it) Guerlain. I am madly in love with the Guerlain ‘eaux’ series, and my first was Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain’s creation. When I found Eau de Cologne Imperiale I was stoked! Unfortunately here in Oz the Guerlain range is very very limited – and so obtaining the ‘eaux’ fragrances was a mighty task in itself. I have my contacts.

Eau de Guerlain by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1974

Eau de Guerlain Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Fruity notes, basil, bergamot, lemon
Heart: Caraway, carnation, sandalwood, patchouli, lavender, jasmine, mint, bergamot, rose
Base: Amber, musk, oakmoss, neroli

In this fragrance, the citrusy note used here is actually a rather soft verbena note, made peppy with a citrus clash of lemon and bergamot. This 1974 Jean-Paul Guerlain creation contains a neutral collection of notes too, acting more in terms of functionality than pleasure. The rose, jasmine, carnation, and lavender floral accents are almost invisible – with a baby soft amber and musk addition lifting this fragrance into perpetuity – as far as cologne and eaux fraiche can go.

Eau de Guerlain Guerlain Herbes de Provence WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

There’s a bit of a bitter crunch to this cologne too, with a certain facet smelling anisic and almost salty. I’m certain herbs attribute to this factor, in this case basil and mint, with caraway seed in there somewhere. We can also expect the herbs de Provence accord found in many Guerlain works.

With many of my reviews, I always try to reach and attain an emotional standing with the fragrance in question, and Eau de Guerlain surprises me. To think Chamade was only made 5 years before this (1969). Chamade for me is a classic Guerlain artwork, whereas this cologne is decidedly modern. I think Eau de Guerlain may have heralded a new dawn in perfumery and a new stage in Guerlain works. Don’t you think?

Many regard this as the perfect cologne. Whilst my heart lies somewhere else, the balance demonstrated here is enviable, and truly showcases Jean-Paul Guerlain’s perfume prowess. As mentioned before, the tactile use of amber and musk (and sandalwood, apparently) raise longevity to a relatively high 2 hours. The sillage is moderate to low, fading dramatically over time.

Eau de Guerlain Guerlain Katharine_Hepburnin WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Further reading: Now Smell This and Monsieur Guerlain
Beauty Encounter has $95/100ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Keep hydrated! What’s your favourite cologne to spritz on?


Mahora by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 2000


Post by Tina G


Portia and I had a lovely relaxed New Year’s catch up the other day – lunch and tea and chats and I had a chance to have a sticky beak at the selection of perfumes which she’s chosen to keep at home at the moment. This included a stunning range of Guerlain! Love Love Love!! Along with a few other scents, Portia kindly provided me with a small decant of Mahora to try.

Mahora by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 2000

Mahora Guerlain fragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom, almond blossom, green accords
Heart: Ylang-ylang, neroli, tuberose, jasmine
Base: Sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver

Mahora was released by Guerlain in 2000, and discontinued two years later. I understand that it has been slightly reformulated and released as Mayotte in 2006, but I was curious to know why Mahora was given such a short shelf life.

The opening flashes from a pleasant jasmine and citrus burst to a bitter green quite quickly. A milky/watery almond note then comes through with the tang of a sweet orange in the background. The almond note is quite yummy, actually, like fresh almonds in a bowl waiting to be crunched.

Mahora Guerlain almond PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

As this settles in it changes quite rapidly in the first 15 minutes and the almond turns more marzipan. I suspect that my focus on almond during the first 15 minutes is because it is a note I’m sensitive to, so I’m noticing it more. The silage, however, makes me feel that I’m definitely wearing a Guerlain – it has that familiar edge , here mainly citrus and vanilla, with the vanilla becoming stronger during dry down.

The ylang ylang is a surprising punch at the half hour mark, and it’s presence drags the green notes back into the foreground again. The fabulous greenness continues to develop and at about 1 hour there is a specific damp indolic note which shoots up between the rest of the fragrance’s clouds of puffy citrus/vanilla. It is that of decaying tuberose, but nothing overly fetid and rotting, more like flowers which have simply been left too long in a vase and have passed their prime. It is distinctive but I don’t find it unpleasant, particularly because it is still surrounded by and supported in the fragrance overall.

Mahora Guerlain Gertrude_Lawrence WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Is this indole the reason for the fragrance’s demise? Perhaps. I haven’t had a chance to try Mayotte so I am not sure whether the note has been continued under a new name. I really that it gives the fragrance an unexpected edge. The indole does fade around the 3 hour mark and the dry down becomes a gorgeous warm skin scent, one that I’m perfectly happy to find on my skin as I snuggle down at the end of the day. So this one may not be so popular, but I’ll put my hand up and say that it’s OK!

Mahora Guerlain  Tuberose PortiaPhoto Donated Portia

Further reading: Smelly Thoughts and Perfume Posse
Now available in slightly different form at Guerlain called Mayotte in Les Parisiennes
Ebay also has some BARGAINS! but pretty soon they will be gone and Mahora will cost a fortune.
Surrender To Chance has Mayotte starting at $6/ml

Do you have an “unpopular” fragrance which you love? Would you take a stand, and speak up on its behalf in the face of dissidence?
Tina G xx

Jardins de Bagatelle by Jean Paul Guerlain 1983


Post by ElizaD


I keep nudging the needle.

In my last post I mentioned that I would soon be making a trip to the Perfume House in Portland, Ore., and had been preparing for that trip by wearing as little scent as possible to prime my nose for the journey that is the Perfume House.

Not long afterwards, we did go to the Perfume House as part of my birthday celebration. My husband came with me, which in itself was a blast. I got to introduce him to this amazing collection, and to hear first hand what he thought of different scents. Oddly enough, everything smelled like food to him: bananas, watermelon, chocolate. It was a hoot! But he was very brave and that made it all the more special.

I went with the hope of finding a new Serge Lutens, and did sample a few including L’Orpheline, a small vial of which came home with me. I wandered in and out of the Amouage room— yes folks, a room dedicated to L’Artisan Perfumers and Amouage—but found nothing there that called.

Jardins de Bagatelle by Jean Paul Guerlain 1983

Jardins de Bagatelle Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Jasmine, violet, aldehydes, lemon, bergamot
Heart: Gardenia, rose, orange blossom, tuberose, magnolia, ylang-ylang, orchid, lily-of-the-valley, narcissus
Base: Tuberose, cedar, vetiver, patchouli, musk, neroli

The other sample I asked for was Jardins de Bagetelle, which was a total surprise, because I am not a big flower person. But as I used a little of my sample everyday, I could not get over how incredible this perfume is.

As I picked up the phone and called Tracy to order a full bottle, the bee bottle no less, which sorry to say will not get tucked away in a cupboard as it should, but will grace my vanity until every drop is gone, I thought to myself “I have nudged the needle.” I have finally admitted that I love big, loud, robust, beautiful, perfumes. I have realized that even though I grew up in the era where children were seen and not heard, the women around me smelled anything but quiet, and I have become one of those women. I may not coif my hair and adorn myself with jewels, but I know how to wear perfume.

Jardins de Bagatelle Guerlain elizabeth-taylor-jewelry InStylePhoto Stolen InStyle

Guerlain’s website describes Jardins as a “joyous, luminous, and captivating flora, an airy and luminous essence, a sparkling fragrance. The heart is a real bouquet of white flowers (neroli, jasmine and gardenia) celebrating joie de vivre over a base of poisonous tuberose underscored with woody notes.”

When I first spray Jardins, I smell violets and bergamot, sweet and juicy. It is not long until the tuberose takes center stage, accompanied by rose and gardenia, and it lasts for a very long time until that wonderful Guerlinade takes over. What I love is that this perfume that could be all tuberose, raucous and warm, softens into something so familiar that lasts almost all day.

Jardins de Bagatelle Guerlain Elizabeth_Drexel WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

I am going to be wearing this for weeks to come. I know that I will have to trust my innate ability to not go beyond what is acceptable when spraying, but that is part of the fun: seeing whether I can wear such a big perfume as a day-to-day scent.

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Monsieur Guerlain
FragranceNet has $120/100ml before coupon
My Perfume samples starts at $2.50/ml up to $7.50/5ml

And I? I will keep nudging that needle.

What about you? Have you tried Jardins de Bagatelle?
ElizaD xx