Hi there APJ,
A couple of years ago my wife dropped her bottle of Joy Parfum on the bathroom tiles and smashed it smithereens. As you do. For about a week we had an ensuite that smelled like an overdose of heaven, even after leaving the windows open and the fan on for long periods.
Hence, I was on the outlook for another little bundle of Joy and, being the bargain hound that I am, was keenly scanning op shops and markets for a vintage bottle. For a long time there was no luck but then, one Sunday, I was very excited to spot a bottle on a table in a flea market.
Of course, I bought it instantly, and then the lady said “Oh, I have something else in my bag. Would you like a look?”. I thought it couldn’t hurt, although I figured it wouldn’t be much, since it wasn’t already on the table. Imagine my shock when she pulled this out!
100+ Year Old Jicky by Guerlain
Yes, that’s right, a very vintage 125 ml bottle of Guerlain Jicky, still in its box. I didn’t even need to ask the price; I knew I was buying this one too.
As you can see in the photo, the front label is pretty much perfect, and the back label is in the same condition. The stopper works; very often glass stoppers are irretrievably jammed on these older bottles. The box is in good condition; it’s structurally intact, but a little pushed-in and has some slight staining. The juice is an attractive honey colour. I don’t know if that’s the original colour, but it’s sure better than the murky black juice I’ve seen in some vintage bottles.
Dating this bottle required a bit of hunting around. The bottle is the apothecary style introduced in 1879, but Jicky was released in 1889, so it’s no older than that. The famous Jicky “champagne cork” bottle design was introduced in 1908, so bottle design suggests a date between 1899 and 1908. Note, however, that the address on the front label is 68, Champs Elysees, an address that Guerlain moved into in 1914. The blue cardboard box was also introduced in 1914, which supports that date. Since the new bottle design was already coming in by then, my best guess is that this bottle dates to somewhere between 1914-1918.
So, what does this smell like? Well, it is still an absolute bomb. When take it out of the box I smell it instantly. It goes onto my skin long and strong; just a few dabs go a very long way. When I wear it, I get a big hit of lavender and some aniseed. That lasts for hours before some cinnamon and woods kick in, and the pungent note of civet musk; the real thing in a bottle of this age. Given this perfume is about a hundred years old, it sure packs a wallop in terms of longevity and projection. Les belle dames de Paris circa 1889 must have been sniffable from a mile away when they wore this.
It is certainly a thrill to find a treasure like this, and I doubt that I’ll ever part with this rare and beautiful piece. Imagine my delight a year or so later when I found this in another market.
This one has the Rue de la Paix 15 address on the label, which dates it to pre-1914, even older. The juice still looks good but sadly the glass stopper is stuck fast, so I guess I may never get to wear this one. Wouldn’t it be nice to wander around with a couple of hundred-year-old fragrances on, to compare how well each has survived?
Surrender To Chance has Vintage Jicky Extrait samples
What is your oldest frag?