Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jean-Louis Scherrer Vintage Parfum

I love vintage chypers but they don't always love me back, leaving me with existential doubts about my skin, my nose and the freshness of the tested bottle. That's why finding one that works so perfectly for me as the classic Jean-Louis Scherrer is such a joy.

Scherrer is a green chypre in full glory. OsMoz lists the notes as-
top notes: Cassis, Hyacinth, Violet, Aldehydes
heart note: Tuberose, Rose, Gardenia, Carnation
base note: Sandal, Vetiver, Moss, Civet

Some of the notes above are making me raise an eyebrow, since for the life of me I can't detect violet or tuberose in the juice. I wouldn't put my money on gardenia, either. I could also swear there's galbanum somewhere in Scherrer, but it's not listed. My bottle is of the parfum, and what I get from it is a delicate spicy opening that quickly morphs into the green, dry base. The vetiver and oakmoss are very dominant, but not in an earthy or lush way. They are very crisp, very poised and elegant.

I love the classic, perfumy feel of this gem. It wasn't created to please focus groups that prefer "freshly showered" scents. It's the real thing, well-dressed and impeccably mannered, and if you are of a certain school of perfume lovers, also very sexy (and in a complete opposite of what "Very Sexy" means to the Victoria's Secret generation).

Jean-Louis Scherrer is fabulous to wear on a chilly fall or winter day, but my personal perversion about letting some potent scents bloom in the heat, worked well for me this summer. It's not a sillage monster (at least not in extrait) and mostly stays close to the skin and lasts for hours, as most good vetivers do.

While the parfum of Jean-Louis Scherrer has long been discontinued (I found mine sealed on eBay. Miracles do happen), the EDT is still around, and rumor has it that the demon of reformulation has not taken its soul just yet, though being so oakmossy you know its days are numbered. Almost every retailer, online and off has it in stock, and for a reasonable price. Definitely worth checking out.

top image: Jean-Louis Scherrer Couture, 1986
bottle: mine


  1. Wonderful review! JLS 1 has been a go-to scent for me since the launch. Even on a hot humid day, that green-chypre essence cuts through the murk perfectly, and in EDT has plenty of sillage.

    The thought of reformulation makes me sad, and mad. I guess we should all be collecting enough of these chypres to last forever, or at least to outlast us.

    JLS also makes a very rich and decadent "winter" perfume, # 2. It's dark and floral and a bit incensey and I'm not sure what else. Even it EDT, it has the most sillage and power of ANY fragrance I've ever worn. I'm sure it'll be hitting the reformulation chopping block, too.

    Both of these scents are the antithesis of the mass market gag-inducing fruit/floral.

  2. Fruity doesn't do it for me, either, but I'm still trying to figure out just which/what kind of chypre is in the range for me. Will need to scout an opportunity to try to Scherrer...

  3. "demon of reformulation" what a nice term!
    I must try some Scherrer finally. Thanks for a review.

  4. Oh, I LOVE this stuff, it was one of my first really good quality scents, and I just turned a friend on to it too. I never had the Parfum, but now I sure wish I had sprung for it. Great review!


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