Astounding, beautiful, and an utter delight to wear— what a superb fragrance modern 2020 Jicky parfum is! And I say this as a decades-long lavenderphobe who only recently started to like some lavender fragrances but who still sometimes shudders at the thought of lavender.
But Jicky Parfum is more than a simple creamy lavender fragrance or even a fougère. In fact, to my great surprise, it was also quite a different kettle of fish than the modern EDP that I tried and reviewed around 7 years ago; this is a much more appealing and opulent scent.
Jicky is a Guerlain legend which celebrated its 131st birthday this year and is reportedly the oldest fragrance in continuous production. Even though I liked modern Jicky Eau de Parfum , once called a Parfum de Toilette, it’s the modern Jicky extract (parfum) that I’ve been intrigued by, particularly given the rave reviews I keep hearing from people whose nose and tastes I respect. So it seemed like an ideal choice to focus on in my return to writing.
There is not a person alive who has been unaffected by the wretchedness of 2020 and the pandemic that has dominated the list of traumas. I won’t even start to talk about the issues of this year because they are many and all hideous. But what about the escape methods for many of us during the best of times: scent? How much is perfumery still a big escape in the midst of one of the worst years in the 21st century?
Colour me surprised, I actually like Guerlain‘s new LUI. Quite a bit, in fact. It’s not something I had expected; I’m a Guerlain classicist whose heart beats faster for the old, vintage masterpieces from the house, not the vast majority of fragrances released in the LVMH era. LUI is a rare exception. I find it enjoyable, even delectable at times, smooth, nicely balanced, easy to wear, and a cozy comfort. There is no fruitchouli or goopy red fruits to smother you to death with cloying excess; no cheap vanillin shrieking like a deranged, over-sugared, saccharine banshee; no laundry cleanness; no harsh woody-amber synthetics; and no bombastic amounts of caramel-praline bearing with such an intemperate degree of sickly sweetness that it would put a diabetic in a coma. No, nothing like that for once. Instead, there is only a soft, smooth, carefully calibrated, and good quality cloud of golden sweetness laced with floral, woody, smoky, spicy, and amber flourishes. It’s simple, uncomplicated, and hardly novel, and I grant you that my standards, expectations, and bar for LVMH-era Guerlain are basically at rock bottom levels but, even so, I wouldn’t mind a bottle of LUI for myself and it’s been a long, long time since I said that about one of the company’s new releases.
A garden lies at the heart of Guerlain‘s vintage Apres L’Ondee, a secret garden pulled straight out of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s famous 1910 children’s classic by the same name. It’s a magical place awakening after a long sleep, brought back to life in early Spring, reborn with tender efforts that make its once untamed nature a thing of the most civilized Edwardian beauty. It’s an exquisite portrait, even a heartbreakingly tender one, where fields of iris and violets sprout to spread their wings in the morning light, their petals glistening with dew and the last traces of Spring showers, their fragile bodies shooting up out of dark, loamy soil to bloom against rambling thickets of rose, sweet jasmine, and green walls covered with climbing vetiver and mossy greenness. The morning light is bright, fresh, and crystal clear, offset by gleaming rays of yellow citrus freshness and clean aldehydes, but a mist of sweet powder swirls through the air like pixie dust and tiny fairies.