Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Vere Novo

And now for something less obscure: Guerlain.

Vere Novo, the internets agree, was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1895. That's all I know and the rest is rants.

There is it, a two ounce 'apothecary' bottle, sitting on my table. The bottle was made by Pochet et du Courval until 1939, which is also the ante quem date for the content. I'm not that much of an expert to set a more exact date based on the label so I welcome any further clarification.

1895... back then, people used to put perfume on their gloves and handkerchiefs. There were only a few synthetic materials used in perfumery. Holy shit, this thing may have been made before my great-grandma was born!!! For some reason, I expected that Vere Novo would be something like Shalimar, just uglier. I'm not the biggest fan of Shalimar, it's somewhere between the I wouldn't mind it as a gift and Quite like it on my appreciation scale, which is probably why I have two bottles of it but that would be another story. Maybe later, and after all, everybody knows Shalimar. Back to the ancient Vere Novo, which is not similar to Shalimar.

It took me quite a time to get a grasp of this fragrance. It happens rather often with vintages, some are so well blended and matured that it is pretty hard to discern the perfume accords or ingredients. The same is happening again and again with Vere Novo: whatever was it made of, now it is a perfect unity. I dabbed it generously on my forearm and it surprised me again. Three words: galbanum, leather, vanilla. I'm sure there's more to that (I suspect some cade and vetiver at least, and anything that suppresses the annoying sweet facet of ethylvanilin) but there's a green blast of the top notes, which may rather be some aged citruses than actual galbanum, or citruses and galbanum. The first half an hour, there's even a teeny tiny touch of sillage, from two steps away, it may be supposed that I could be wearing a perfume. A bit later, when I moved my arm around, I'd stop and wonder how come I smell so nicely and now, in the afternoon, there's a spot that smells vaguely of vanilla. Or rather vanilla leather, don't you dare to think about in-your-face vanilla of a drugstore body lotion. If I understand what a skin scent is, then this is the skin scent.

I like quite an amount of fragrances and I don't have a strict preference, even if I rather dwell in the smoky resiny territory most of the time. The occasions when I get really enchanted are few and far between but this is one of them.

Mourn for this fragrance because it was discontinued a hundred years ago or around. However, in spirit, it is close to Vol de Nuit and less so in Shalimar (which is too sweet but there is something in common). Or believe in a stroke of luck.

A special message for the Guerlain headquarters: should you kindly revive this one, too, and preferably in an affordable presentation? With a nice skin product, preferably perfumed oil. Thank you very much.

My badly guessed notes for Guerlain's Vere Novo: lime, galbanum, leather, vanilla, touch of vetiver.

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