Guerlain Perfume House and Its History

No doubt, among the perfume houses, Guerlain is the most venerated. The house is responsible for over 300 perfumes, out of which some are still produced. Its history can be traced to 1828, when Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain opened his first shop on Rue de Rivoli in Paris. Interestingly enough, the shop would custom blend fragrances for its clientele. By 1840s, he had become an official provider for the queen of Belgium, while in 1853, the creation of Eau de Cologne Impériale earned him a patent of Royal Provider.


After the death of Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, his two sons Gabriel and Aimé took reins of the thriving fragrance house. The following fragrances are attributed to Aimé: Fleur D’Italie (1884), Skine (1885), Rococo (1887), Excellence (1890), Belle-France (1892), Cipricime, Eau de Cologne du Coq (1894). Jicky (1889) was his most famous creation, which was purportedly the first fragrance to incorporate synthetic materials.

Among Guerlain’s noses, Jacques Guerlain, son of Gabriel Guerlain, has made the most mark on the history of perfumery. As creator of Chanel #5, Ernst Beaux, said, when I use vanilla, I come up with crème brulée, when Jacques Guerlain uses vanilla, he creates Shalimar. To his credit are the creations such as Jardin de Mon Cure (1895), Voila Pourquoi J’Aimais Rosine (1900), Champs Elysees (1904, not the currently available fragrance by Jean Paul Guerlain), Muguet (1905), and Après l’Ondée (1906). After succeeding Aime in 1912, Jacques created L’Heure Bleue, and subsequently the magical Mitsouko (1919). In 1920, he creates L’Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat, while in 1922, Bouquet de Faunes. In 1925, he creates his most famous fragrance, Shalimar, strongly inspired by the art deco interest in the East. Later there appeared Djedi (1927) and Jasmin (1928). Liu (1929) was a nod to the experiments with aldehydes started by Ernst Beaux when he created Chanel #5. In 1933, Vol de Nuit makes its appearance, paying homage to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 1934 was the debut of Sous Le Vent. Ode (1955) was Jacques Guerlain’s last creation, composed with the assistance of his grandson Jean-Paul Guerlain.

Jean-Paul Guerlain has been the nose since 1956 until his retirement two years ago. During this period, Chamade was created in 1969. Jean-Paul Guerlain’s fragrances include: Vétiver (1959), Chant d’Arômes (1962), Habit Rouge (1965), L’Eau de Guerlain (1974), Parure (1975), First (1976), Silences (1978), Nahéma (1976), Jardins de Bagatelle (1983), Derby (1985), Samsara (1989), Heritage (1992), Petite Guerlain (1994), Un Air de Samsara, Champs Elysees (1996), Coriolan (1998), Mahora (2000). After the release of Champs Elysees, the house exhibit Aqua Allegoria line, based on various flowers and herbs.

Also see this list of nearly all Guerlain fragrances.


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