Scent Diary : Chamade and Ice

I like when I wake up in the morning expecting another grey winter day and find everything touched with ice. Belgian skies are grey, fog has a grey tint, but seen through the arabesques of ice on the window, the world looks enchanted–and the grey becomes pearly. I selected Chamade today, one of my favorites from Guerlain. I’ve been revisiting Guerlain classics lately, and Chamade, along with Mitsouko, have kept me company. Chamade is a green floral, with notes of hyacinth, blackcurrant, and galbanum offset by amber and woods. Impeccably crafted, it develops in waves as it were. First, there is a wave of lemon yellow, then green, then pale purple. But Chamade’s radiance persists throughout. It lingers so well that I’m sure that when I wake up on the Christmas morning, its soft glow will remain on my scarf.

What about you? What are you wearing today?

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. Whether you write down 1 recollection or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

I wish all of you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for your reading, visiting, and for joining my classes. It’s been such a pleasure meeting many of you face to face.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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68 Comments

  • carole macleod: Thank you for this, and Merry Christmas Eve! I first wore Chamade at Christmas-I put a drop behind my knees. I thought I hated the green opening. Later on there were beautiful waves of vanilla. It totally changed, and that was incredible to me. Chamade always reminds me of Christmas 1995 🙂 December 24, 2021 at 8:02am Reply

    • OperaFan: That’s funny but we’re opposites!
      My favorite part of Chamade is its sparkling green opening and the vanilla base is the part I had to learn to like.
      The Guerlain SA did tell me it would become “powdery,” but being new to fragrance speak at the time, I did not understand what that meant. Times hav changed and I do love it now. 😊 December 24, 2021 at 9:12am Reply

      • carole: I love it, too, OperaFan! Chamade and Miss Dior taught me to like the green openings 🙂 Green things don’t really suit me-i love the new Frederic Male but it does not love me. I hope you had a really nice Christmas day 🙂 December 25, 2021 at 7:27pm Reply

        • OperaFan: Ok, so opposites no longer!
          Merry Christmas to you too, Carol! December 25, 2021 at 11:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also didn’t like the opening when I first tried it. It was too green and too aldehydic. But now it’s my favorite part. December 29, 2021 at 5:33am Reply

  • OperaFan: Ah, Chamade… my first Guerlain purchase while vacationing in San Francisco. It will forever hold a place in my heart.
    My go-to Christmas season fragrance for the past 10+ years has been Bois de Paradis (sadly discontinued) because it reminds me of candle wax and potpourri. This year I have been alternating it with OJ Woman for that distinctive black hemlock note, which makes me feel like I’m walking in a Christmas tree forest.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Victoria and the entire Bois de Jasmin community!
    I wish you all peace + December 24, 2021 at 9:05am Reply

    • Victoria: I also associate Chamade with vacation, because I bought during one of my trips to Paris when I was still a university student. December 29, 2021 at 5:34am Reply

  • l Joan Dallos: A happy accident has led to a new ‘like’, on its way to becoming a ‘love’. I would never have guessed how fond I am of Chanel No. 19, sent to me by mistake. With all of the holiday scents of food, tree, guests’ fragrances, etc., in the house, no.19 cuts through it all with a clean, calm, almost icy elegance. How perfect is that? December 24, 2021 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: It is perfect! I also like this perfume. December 29, 2021 at 5:34am Reply

  • Johaboha: While doing some last minute Christmas shopping yesterday I spritzed on some chamade in the store yesterday from the new bottles! What a cincidence. It was a perfect fit with the first snow we had yesterday, the radiance cut through the cold. From further away it smelled fruity and juicy to me, when I put my wrist to my skin, warm and plush. I loved it! Today in shocking you from schiaparelli, I had an unopened mini I bought on the flea market years ago and decided to open it for Christmas. December 24, 2021 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: What a treasure you found! December 29, 2021 at 5:35am Reply

  • Suzanne: Happily holidays! It has been such a delight to have discovered your blog. Your writing and the writing of others on this site transported to me to this new world and (just like that) I was ordering tons and tons of samples on every last decant site and staying up all hours of the night reading reviews and testing them against my nascent preferences. I’ve always loved perfume, but not like this. So thank you. Thank you for your writing, your classes, and for introducing me to this hobby that’s distracted me from the pandemic at times, introduced me to great niche writing, and helped me to start understanding my preferences.
    As for today, I haven’t decided yet, but given the surprise snow last night and the impending holiday, I think I’ll select the Baccarat Rouge sample that makes me feel gold. Thanks again and happy holidays. December 24, 2021 at 9:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Suzanne! It was a pleasure to meet you, and I’m very happy to know that you liked the class and found it useful. If I can help with any tips or exercise suggestions, please let me know. Scents are an addictive hobby, but also pleasure is not a vain pursuit in itself. Anytime you develop one sense, the others also become more acute. When we observe more around us, scents, sights, impressions, our daily life becomes so much richer.

      By the way, you have a lovely blog! December 29, 2021 at 5:37am Reply

  • pklagrange: Thank you for another lovely year of all things fragrance. I love Chamade from beginning to end and have several iterations. That, along with Chanel No 19, make a grand appearance in February at our house. Today I am wearing La Myrrhe and washing my hands with frankincense hand soap. Not expecting any gold for Christmas but one never knows….Merry Christmas everyone! December 24, 2021 at 9:58am Reply

    • Victoria: What frankincense soap are you using? December 29, 2021 at 5:38am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    And thank you for this blog, year after year! December 24, 2021 at 10:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! Happy holidays to you too! December 29, 2021 at 5:38am Reply

  • Aurora: Victoria and community, Happy Christmas as they say here in the UK. Listening to the Xmas broadcast from Kings College Cambridge for the lovely music with mulled wine on the hob.
    Chamade is so shimmery, I haven’t decided between Chanel No 5 or No 22 extraits or Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice. December 24, 2021 at 10:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, Winter Delice is a marvel, especially at this time of year. December 29, 2021 at 5:39am Reply

  • Liane: Thank you for another delightful post. I too woke up today to a gray morning, found everything dusted with the first snowfall of the season, and reached for my bottle of Chamade. It instantly takes me back ten years to the first time I encountered it, one chilly February evening at Bon Marche on the Left Bank fifteen minutes before closing time. I was transfixed. Still am. Wishing you a wonderful and safe holiday season! December 24, 2021 at 10:50am Reply

    • Victoria: So many of us associate Chamade with Paris! Amazing, isn’t it! December 29, 2021 at 5:39am Reply

  • Emily: Merry Christmas to all! It snowed a touch overnight here in New York, which was nice to wake up to.
    Just recently I picked up a bottle of Pani Walewska perfume for $10 at a nearby Polish drugstore. While the scent is rather screechy and aldehydic, with tangy, rubbery galbanum that never quiets down, I got completely swept up reading about it (and other Polish household scents) as emblematic of a specific western elegance and femininity in late 20c. Poland (see S. Weismann’s article, “Something’s in the Air: The Smellscapes of Polish People’s Republic Under Transformation,” originally in German); all the way down to the upside-down Napoleon hat flacon shape. I wonder if others have similar associations? December 24, 2021 at 11:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for the recommendation, Emily! I’m going to look for that article. My grandmother remembered that after WWII there were lots of Polish perfumes in Ukraine and how they defined the idea of chic. December 29, 2021 at 5:41am Reply

      • Emily: I would be very interested to hear your (and her) thoughts!
        Next up in my Polish smellscape explorations are Biały Jelen and Fa bar soaps.. I love a good drugstore treasure hunt. December 30, 2021 at 8:37am Reply

  • Deanna: Happy Christmas and New year to all!
    Thank you Victoria for your offerings all through the year, life certainly would be duller without them. So appreciated.
    It was lovely to meet you in the workshop.
    Today I’m wearing Nahema, coming to the end of a bottle, and wondering about repurchasing, as I gather it’s coming back.
    Not sure though If I love it enough……. December 24, 2021 at 11:28am Reply

    • Victoria: I also enjoyed meeting you, Deanna! Nahema is a beauty. Yes, I hear that it will return, although not sure how reformulated it might be. Generally, Guerlain does a good job with its reformulations, so chances are that it will be fine. December 29, 2021 at 5:43am Reply

  • Gabriela: Merry Christmas to everyone! So grateful this year for having all my family well.
    Thank you, Victoria, for this wonderful blog. I’ll be wearing Shalimar today! December 24, 2021 at 11:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Lovely! So many of us wearing Guerlain these days. December 29, 2021 at 5:43am Reply

  • Filomena: Merry Christmas Victoria…I look forward to your beautiful blog in the coming New Year! December 24, 2021 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Filomena! Happy New Year to you too! December 29, 2021 at 5:43am Reply

  • Marsha Smith: I’m in Guerlain too this year. I’m wearing vintage Samsara extrait and I do love it!

    Happy Christmas everyone. December 24, 2021 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Julia: Merry Christmas to you Victoria! And thank you for your blog, which brightened up another difficult year.

    I’m in Nuit de Noel today – ground breaking, I know 😉 -, but it’s been a head to head race between this, La Myhrre and Chamade. As a die hard Astrid Lindgren lover, it’s hard to resist a good hyacinth fragrance on Christmas Eve.
    Tomorrow I will go for adorable Bois et Fuits, which I found under the Christmas tree. December 24, 2021 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Iconic and classical! Can’t be better, I think. 🙂 December 29, 2021 at 5:44am Reply

  • Teresa: Merry Christmas, everyone!

    As a tween, I received a hand-me-down box of Guerlain perfume miniatures from an aunt who didn’t like them. At that age, I wasn’t able ti fully appreciate the fragrances (“too strong and heavy” was what I thought to myself), but I loved the shapes of the bottles. I remember Sharlimar, Samsara and Nahema as some of the names.

    Sadly, when we moved house, I decided to throw the box away because the box was getting yellowed and the perfume had started to evaporate from the bottles. Thinking back, I should have kept them, if oniy for the bottles! December 24, 2021 at 2:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: One can’t keep everything, so don’t regret it. It’s a beautiful memory, though. December 29, 2021 at 5:56am Reply

  • Debi Sen Gupta: Seasons greetings to you. Love your posts as always.

    I wore Jo malone velvet rose and oud today December 24, 2021 at 2:25pm Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Merry Christmas to everyone! Today I wore Chanel’s Bois des Iles parfum. December 24, 2021 at 3:59pm Reply

  • Sebastian: Happy Christmas to everyone! I have always loved Chamade, at all times and seasons, on other people.

    I myself am wearing Diane St. Clair’s Pandora today, a very vintage-y floral chypre with apple notes, a slightly waxy character and a woody, spicy, vetiver dry-down. So lovely, so festive, so classic! December 24, 2021 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a beautiful fragrance. I like that it evokes a classical style of florals but with a twist. Nicely done. December 29, 2021 at 5:57am Reply

  • Fazal: This Chamade bottle is really beautiful. I do have Chamade in edt but I really want this bottle even though I don’t like Chamade as much as you.

    Today I wore Eau Sauvage Extreme 1984 batch bottle, the very year it was released in. I had bought the backup bottle earlier this month. In the past, I had struggled to draw the connection between Eau Sauvage Extreme and original Eau Sauvage but this time I paid more attention and did sense some similarities between the two. December 24, 2021 at 6:22pm Reply

    • Klaas: Eau Sauvage Extrême!!!!! Fazal, that’s amazing! Such a blast from the past!

      I remember buying a small bottle when I was in my teens, it must have been not long after it came out…….Yes, I’m that old! I had liked Eau Sauvage very much and figured that the same thing ‘A l’extrême’ could only be even more beautiful……

      Needless to say, it was not love directly from the beginning. I was used to the citrussy freshness of the original, and the Extrême was a bit much for a 14 year old boy to wear to highschool! However, it did introduce me to big and bold perfumes, and even though the fragrance was wearing me more than the other way around, I loved it’s toughness and it making such a statement! I remember it as dark, green, herbaceous and woody. A showstopper kind of scent…..

      Thank you for bringing it up here!

      Merry Christmas everyone 💗 December 26, 2021 at 12:11pm Reply

      • Fazal: Merry Christmas to you, too. I can see how Eau Sauvage Extreme must have been a bolder experience for you, after you based your expectations on original Eau Sauvage.

        Eau Sauvage Extreme might have seemed bold to you at the time but in hindsight, it is now actually one of the most wearable ones from that era. In the past two weeks, I have worn original batches of other bold fragrances from that era such as Van Cleef Pour Homme and Roger Gallet L’Homme and Eau Sauvage Extreme appears to be quite well-mannered in comparison. December 26, 2021 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also like that version. Actually, Eau Sauvage is great in its many interpretations. December 29, 2021 at 5:57am Reply

  • L: Another one wearing Nuit de Noël. Sadly I won’t have it tomorrow as I’ve arrived at my mum’s house to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and packing perfume amidst all the other Christmas paraphernalia (sprouts, chestnuts, parsnips, panettone, presents…) was beyond my carrying abilities. But maybe I will try to raid my mum’s perfumes – it was her love of perfume, and especially Caron, that inspired mine.

    When I was in my late teens or early 20s she requested a new bottle of Parfum Sacre as a gift. When I was next in Paris I went to the Caron store to find it – and was completely dazzled by the experience. I was sent off with a handful of samples alongside the bottle of Parfum Sacre, and I’ve loved perfume ever since. I’m not sure what I did with all those Caron samples from that visit as I don’t have them anymore, but Muguet de Bonheur was the first one I fell in love with and wore for a few years. Then Nuit de Noël, which now I can’t think of having Christmas without.

    After starting to read Bois de Jasmin I discovered the wider world of perfumes and have been enjoying many other perfume houses. But wearing Nuit de Noël and visiting my mum at Christmas always has a special meaning to it, because I know I get my love of Caron perfumes from her. And a love of Christmas!

    Happy Christmas all, and thank you Victoria for the blog and wonderful writing – I rarely comment but I get so much from reading Bois de Jasmin. December 24, 2021 at 6:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for such a lovely comment and a story. Enjoy your perfume, whichever one you will end up selecting. Happy holidays! December 29, 2021 at 6:07am Reply

  • Old Herbaceous: Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night! December 24, 2021 at 11:17pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Season’s Greetings to all! I got a tub of Diptyque’s “Fleurs de Peau” Body Cream as a present. What can I say, it sumptuous, it is decadent. The musk, the iris. An overwhelmingly perfect first layer for the second course: perhaps cuddly SL Muscs Koublaï Khän, or haughty Chanel “La Pausa”, or perhaps something more quirky, like L’Artisanal Parfumeur “Bana Banana”? December 25, 2021 at 6:38am Reply

  • Kathy: I have Chamade edt, and I don’t know it very well so this diary entry is going to help me. For my Christmas Day scent, I decided on Escada Tender Light just from seeing the pretty red box on my shelf. The whiffs I got during the day seemed to fit in with the cheerful and sentimental mood of the day. Merry Christmas, Victoria; I look forward to another year of Bois de Jasmin! December 26, 2021 at 6:51am Reply

  • Frances: I hope everyone enjoyed a Merry Christmas and I’m wishing you joy, warmth and many scented memories for the Season. Mine have also been perfumed by Guerlain’s classics: Shalimar and Insolence, which I wear alot and Habit Rouge which I gifted to my father. Among my dear ones, he is the only man who truly enjoy fragrances and while he likes colognes too, heady ones are his favorites. He didn’t wear Habit Rouge in quite a while (he’s been into an Aqua di Parma phase these last years) so he rediscovers it with pleasure. I forgot how glorious the EDP is, I guess I will steal some from time to time, evil me.

    The Season is also perfumed by the fireplace. We burned oak, cypress and even fig tree. Among the little pleasures that life in the countryside has to offer in winter, this is my most treasured.

    I’m happy you choose to talk about Chamade Victoria because it is a fragrance I plan on discovering. I smelled it a few years back and at the time I wasn’t win over by it. I didn’t like the opening so much but strangely enough, I kept thinking about it. I have to try it again and see if I like it better now that my tastes have evolved. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong but I have the feeling that Chamade’s opening and vintage Anaïs Anaïs’opening have a lot in common. Surely the hyacinth. And what a marvellous bottle than the bottle of Chamade! So bad you have to buy the extrait to enjoy this beauty. I don’t want to dwell so much on the past, but what Guerlain did with the bottles is outrageous. Still, I’m thankfull these great classics are still sold, so that’s for positive thinking 😉 December 26, 2021 at 9:54am Reply

  • Frances: Victoria, today they’re showing Doctor Zhivago on television (a movie they often show for Christmas and a book I discovered around this time of year as well, so much so that my memories of Pasternak’s book and David Lean’s movie are very strongly linked to this Holiday Season). There’s this beautiful scene where Omar Shariff as Youri marvels at the beautiful arabesques left by ice on the window and the technicolor captures the pearliness you’re talking about. Then we transition to spring in the next scene and we see the field full of yellow flowers in all their chromatic glory. This is a very nice coïncidence that I happened to see this just after I replied to your post, une coincidence guerlinesque si je puis dire! 🙂 December 26, 2021 at 10:13am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Dear Victoria,

    It has been a sad Christmas for me and my family. Two weeks ago tonight, my brother, Tony (not the one who gifted me Diorissimo parfum), died unexpectedly. He was only a year older than I, and probably suffered a brain bleed as a consequence of a head injury he sustained three years ago. I have never seen so many paramedics and police in my father’s home before. Tony’s fiancé was inconsolable.

    Reading your posts is a comfort, Victoria. I am reminded of the beauty of life and the message that Tony always wrote on our birthday and Christmas cards, “Have fun!”

    I love Chamade; it is a beautiful classic. Today I have been wearing my old favourite, “Oscar”, which I will probably wear to the funeral on Thursday, as Tony would have recognized it.

    I wish you and all the Bois de Jasmin community a Happy New Year!

    With love from
    Tourmaline
    xx December 27, 2021 at 6:27am Reply

    • Aurora: So sorry, dear Tourmaline, May the memories of happy holidays with your brother give you some comfort. Hugs. December 27, 2021 at 10:16am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Dear Aurora,

        Thank you for your kind words.

        Indeed, I have many happy memories of Tony at Christmas time.

        With kind regards,
        Tourmaline December 28, 2021 at 8:46am Reply

    • Victoria: My condolences to you and your family. Sending you the warmest thoughts during this very difficult time. Please take care of yourself and your father and may the new year be a better one. Once again, very sorry to hear these sad news. December 27, 2021 at 10:21am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Dear Victoria,

        Thank you so much for your kind wishes, and for remembering my father. One disadvantage of getting to age 93 was that he lived to see his eldest child die.

        Yes, I hope the new year brings happier times for us all.

        Thanks again.

        With kind regards,
        Tourmaline December 28, 2021 at 8:49am Reply

    • OperaFan: My condolences to you and your family, Tourmaline. It must be awfully difficult to lose a loved one during what should be the happiest time of year.
      Sending warm and comforting thoughts your way… December 29, 2021 at 10:39am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Dear Opera Fan,

        Thank you so much for your warm wishes.

        We had the funeral today, and it was a lovely send-off for Tony.

        Thanks again.

        With kind regards,
        Tourmaline December 30, 2021 at 7:33am Reply

  • Marianne: Dear Tourmaline. I’ve only just read this. A profound, holy time. Your love for your dear ones shines through your words. Thank you for the privilege of sharing in your and Tony’s journey xx December 28, 2021 at 1:33am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Dear Marianne,

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. What a generous way of looking at my disclosure!

      Thank you again.

      With kind regards,
      Tourmaline December 28, 2021 at 8:51am Reply

  • Frances: Dear Tourmaline, I’m sorry to hear of the sudden passing of your brother. I am alas well aware that the unexpected death of a very close and very loved one, especially in the family, is very difficult to overcome. However, I hope the deep affection you have for each other will help you through this sorrowful time.

    I am not a long standing commenter on Bois de Jasmin but I’ve been a silent reader for quite a while and I really appreciated reading your comments. As always, you managed to express your feelings and share them with us by finding the right words and, as always, you’ve been kind enough to think of others. Thank you for thinking of sending us your best wishes while you’re experiencing such a painful loss. December 28, 2021 at 8:47am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Dear Frances,

      I’m really bowled over by the kindness of Victoria and the BdJ commenters. Thank you very much for your kind words. I can see that you have been through similar times.

      Your wishes are indeed a comfort.

      Thanks again. Your words mean a lot to me.

      With kind regards,
      Tourmaline December 28, 2021 at 8:54am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Oh Tourmaline, what a sad news. I missed your comments already.. .such a sad reason.
    I wish you and your family strenght in this sorrowful time. December 28, 2021 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: Dear Cornelia,

      Thank you so much for your kind wishes.

      I hope you had a lovely Christmas and I wish you a very happy New Year.

      With kind regards,
      Tourmaline December 28, 2021 at 7:30pm Reply

  • Eudora: I send you my condolences and wish you good health for you and your dad. I lost my grandmother this year, she was 98. Until 95 she was in good health living by herself, wonderful woman. But the sudden death of my aunt, her daughter, was devastating. She did not recovered. As you say, living for so long…Rest in peace. I remember her a lot with gratitude. She was awesome, the best, so caring, so intuitively smart…and more.
    Hugs Tourmaline. December 30, 2021 at 5:11pm Reply

  • Tourmaline: Hi Eudora,

    Thank you for your kind wishes. I’m so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. It sounds as though she was a wonderful person. Dad could have a similar trajectory. but I guess it would be hard to know whether he would have deteriorated in that way anyway, or whether Tony’s death had exacerbated his decline.

    My younger brother and I will spend as much time with him as possible, to alleviate loneliness. His cat, Iggy (actually Tony’s, named after Iggy Pop), is a huge comfort to him, and should outlive him.

    Thanks again for your sentiments.

    With kind regards,
    Tourmaline December 31, 2021 at 3:48am Reply

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