Saturday, March 11, 2006

Vol de Nuit

Vol de Nuit makes me think about the heroic women of the WWII era, namely my dear grandmother. It is her signature perfume for over 50 years, ever since my grandfather took her to the Guerlain boutique in Champs Elysees, where it was chosen for her by the fragrance consultant, as it complemented her independent and adventurous personality. The scent of Vol de Nuit dry down seem to kindly linger around her and in her home. Like a truly well fitted signature scent, it never occurred to me it could be a perfume, it is like her second skin and complements her beautifully.

I also associate it with the desert-dwelling heroine from The English Patient, Katherine, and the lost pilot in “The Little Prince”. Vol de Nuit sends a feeling of brave loneliness and secret stories that may never be told.

Once the propeller on the bottle settles down enough for you to unleash the scent, it shouts of freedom. Freedom that leads to unknown adventures, risks and perhaps even pain. Green galbanum, sage and bergamot are hint to the Chypre quality of this marvelous perfume. A a multi faceted olfactory adventure awaits you, and you'll need your courage and faith…

The green rush fades rather quickly, smoothing itself gradually into an almost powdery combination of jonquil and cedar wood, mellowed and warmed by powdery musk and the Guerlainade – orris root, tonka bean and vanilla. That is what makes the narcissus notes not so heady and overwhelming (reassuringly, this perfume is neither too floral nor overly sweet, maintaining an adventurous sophistication).

The smooth, somewhat powdery heart gradually evolves into a more sophisticated Woody-Chypre accord, based on Labdanum and Oakmoss and a noble Agarwood note that lends a somewhat sweet, somewhat sour undertone that is not unlike Mitsouko’s vetiver and agarwood base, but is richer and sweeter.

Than there is the next phase of heart notes – which is definitely the inspiration for Chant d’Aromes in my opinion, as it smells exactly like this lovely, bittersweet autumnal-spring-like perfume: the fresh white floral notes (honeysuckle, gardenia, narcissus) over a woody-light musky-chypre base, floral and deeply warm at once, fresh and young and at the same time thoughtful and deep.

The dry down echoes the earlier impression of the heart accord: woody and musky, with some amber-vanilla sweetness in the tradition of Guerlain (Which somewhat reminds me of Shalimar - only that Shalimar is a perfume worn to seduce, where as in Vol de Nuit the seduction is a lot more subtle, unintentional if you will – the seduction of others is only a side effect of one’s confidence and quiet mystique.

Like Shalimar, the Vol de Nuit dry down is somewhat resembling a natural skin scent (which is my own personal weakness...), only more dry, woody and powdery. Shalimar is ambery while Vol de Nuit is muskier.

Vol de Nuit is rich, complex, mysterious… A perfume of refinement and an understated, passionate approach to life. It should be worn with dignity and self-worth. In my mind it symbolizes independence and individuality in its most truthful meaning – facing adversity all by yourself, while maintaining your integrity and remembering who you are.

Top notes; Galbanum, Bergamot, Sage
Heart notes: Jonquil, Jasmine, Orris Root, Cedar wood, Musk
Base notes: Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Cedar wood, Agarwood, Labdanum, Oakmoss, Vetive

p.s. I couldn't possibly stress enough how important it is to find and wear this in the parfum. It's difficult but well worth the effort. The Eau de Toilette simply doesn’t cut it. And I feel this is true for Shalimar and l'Heure Bleue as well. Mitsouko is the one perfume from Jacques Guerlain’s “Grand Quartet” that I like in any shape, form or concentration.

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