Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Guerlain Jicky. Because it’s summer and … need I say more?

No, probably I don’t, and obviously I shouldn’t, but this is a perfume post, so certainly I will.

Because I have a suspicion that people who really, really love perfume also love something else more than other people do: s-e-x. My thinking is, if you’re the type of person who is willing to spend the time and money to hunt down samples of every form of jasmine perfume, from the tenderly sweet to the dirty lowdown, then there’s a good chance you’ll bring that same curious, eager and indulgent mindset into the bedroom. That’s what I would like to think, anyway—although I also suspect there are more than a few people out there for whom perfume is an addiction not unlike drugs or alcohol or food or gambling, that titillates the senses to a degree that it becomes somewhat of a replacement for sex. But I don’t want to think about those people. Or maybe I do.

Yes, I suppose I’d rather think of them than that other small group of people (God, I hope it’s small) who are now rolling their eyes and listing the myriad reasons they love perfume that have nothing whatsoever to do with s-e-x. I’m sure their reasons are lovely and legitimate—and no doubt on most days I share some of them—but, c’mon!  It’s summer, people!  The wanton heart of summer. Time to proudly hang your “Perfumistas Make Better Lovers” banner on the wall and go dab on some Guerlain Jicky pure parfum.

(By the way, did you know that you can watch The Harrad Experiment in its entirety—the whole one-hour-and-thirty-seven-minutes of it—on the Internet?  Google Videos, you gotta love it. I’m sure Don Johnson does, because he really did look good in 1973.)

Anyhoo, Guerlain Jicky in the parfum concentration. Truth be told, I often go for months without wearing it, because the bracing combo of lavender and rosemary is a rather daunting masculine hurdle for me to clear. Others might disagree, but I find the lavender in Jicky to be quite manly: a forceful and unyielding note that recalls something cool and chiseled out of stone. Yet over time (in the course of this perfume's development on the skin) this lavender accord does finally relent a bit, and something wondrous happens when Jicky’s soiled and sensuous accords move in and soften the herbal astringency of this fragrance, turning what initially seemed flinty into flesh.

Civet, with its distinctive eau de derrière, puts a rakish smile on Jicky’s face (the kind of grin he makes at you when he’s about to get undressed). The vanillic Guerlinade base warms, sweetens and imparts body—not just complexity but something corporeal, the olfactory equivalent of skin, of breath. Ah, yesss!  It’s always at this juncture when I understand how Jicky’s arrangement of notes is pure genius and why the virile lavender, transformed but never fully tamed, is so crucial to the scent. Jicky evokes, in as much as a fragrance possibly can, a flesh-and-blood man. It’s like the perfume equivalent of Michaelangelo’s David: a gorgeous creature in marble, the male equivalent of Aphrodite that, from the moment you begin studying it, comes to life.

Of course, the Guerlain company chose to market Jicky with the romantic story that it was named for an English girl who broke Aimé Guerlain’s heart. English lavender, English girl. Good story, smart marketing. But take one sniff and I think you’ll find yourself trying to imagine the real Jicky for whom the perfume was named (supposedly, Jicky is the nickname Aimé Guerlain gave to his nephew, Jacques). Go ahead, inhale deeply and whisper the name in your best French accent. He’s so sexy, no? Much too sexy to be English, much too chiseled to be anything but male. A bit like having your own personal version of Michaelangelo’s David on your wrist…or wherever else you might like to take him.

Guerlain Jicky pure parfum can be purchased from, $315 for 30 ml (1 ounce).

The official list of notes for Jicky:
• Top Notes: Lavender, rosemary, and bergamot.
• Heart Notes: Rose, fern harmony (aromatic notes, earthy forest note and pelargonium), and tonka bean.
• Base Notes: Woody notes, vanilla, and opoponax.

Images: photo (top) of Michaelangelo's David is from; photo (bottom) detailing David's hand can be found at a number of websites, photo credit unknown.

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