Researching The Book of Lost Fragrances was a labor of love. One of the most wonderful parts was working with a famous blogger, Dimi of The Sorcery of Scent. He helped me find out about fragrances that have been lost to us and what they smelled like.
I thought it would interesting for us to tell you about some of them.
Guerlain first focused on verveine (verbena) varieties to use in perfumes in the mid-late 1800’s. Eau de Verveine was released first in the 1870’s and made brief reappearances in the 1950s and the 1980s before being retired from Guerlain’s perfume portfolio. Eau de Verveine is the scent of high summer… sharp, uplifting notes of citrus-green lemon verbena flood the mouth with saliva with their crisp, energising aroma. Below is a prickle of something darker – perhaps carnation or clove – which adds incredible depth. There is a dry, tea-like quality that emerges as the scent dries on the skin. This impossibly rare scent evokes feelings of long days at the summer’s end with the chirrup of cicadas ringing in the ears.
The most coveted and rare perfume from the Guerlain portfolio, Djedi was launched in 1926, right on the heels of Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Presented in a flacon resembling a golden sarcophagus with its lid being raised, Djedi is an exploration into decomposition and decay. Gloomy and desolate, Djedi has a dry, arid quality like the shifting desert sands… a “closed over the ages” feel furnished by dry vetiver, oakmoss, musk, and leather. This olfactory requiem pays hommage to fallen ancient Egyptian dynasties that have been lost to the sands of time.
COQUE D’OR is an exceptionally beautiful leather chypre created in 1937 by Jacques Guerlain.Soft florals tumble over a buttery leather accord which evoke thoughts of paper-thin hand-made gloves of extraordinary quality. Built over a classic Guerlain chypre base of sandalwood, amber and oakmoss… this perfume is pre-WWII finery at its best. A scent to be worn with cashmere, pearls and soft furs, but sadly one that has been out of production for the last 60 years.