Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Guerlain Sous Le Vent

The first whiff of Sous Le Vent by Guerlain is so fiercely chyper it's hard to believe one is experiencing a 2006 re-issue. This androgynous creation smells mossy, classic and very dry.

Originally created by Jacques Guerlain in 1933, the same year Vol de Nuit was released, the muse for this scent was Josephine Baker, which in her early career was more of a cabaret dancer (often wearing very little), than a celebrated singer. But even back then, Ms. Baker had an iconic style and a larger than life personality, allowing her to unleash her pet leopard on the orchestra pit to the dismay of the musicians accompanying the performance.

Sous Le Vent is my pet tiger. It starts with a sharp green citrus note with quite a bit of lavender, mellows into an ambiguous spicy floral (I've heard rumors of jasmine, but I get more carnation than anything, with a hint of cinnamon and clove). The scent becomes dusty, earthy and powdery once the iris takes center stage and morphs into the promised oakmoss, which is probably more of an illusion, given the strict regulations on its use.

The current release of Sous Le Vent from 2006 is an EDT. I should try to get my hands on some of the vintage parfum, which in my fantasies is more of a green velvet scent. I dearly wish someone up there at LVMH would consider a heavier concentration. As it is, the scent is very light, especially if you dab from the splash bottle. My solution is to decant into a sprayer and spritz with abandon. When properly saturated with the juice, it lasts for several hours, though it stays close to the skin.

Sous Le Vent is in very limited distribution. You can find it at the Guerlain Champs-Elysees store, Bergdorf and Saks flagship in NYC and a handful of Guerlain boutiques around the world. I bought my bottle last summer in Paris, because after sampling almost every one of the typical sweet gourmands they offer, SLV was a welcome change. Sometimes I think I should have gotten Derby instead, but then I take another hit of this green wonder and all is well.

Images: Josephine Baker- somewhere on the web (sorry, I saved it ages ago). Bottle: mine


  1. Oh, I adore this scent! I bought it recently at a Guerlain trunk show at Saks in Houston. I was utterly seduced by it and I also love the bottle. I'm going to try the spritz method you recommended, too. Thanks!!


  2. Oooh, I love that photo of Josephine Baker! And Sous La Vent sounds stunning.

  3. I just wanted to let you know that I adore your blog. I am so charmed by your writing and it is a bright spot of my day when I stop by to read. I don't know half of what you're speaking of when it comes to fragrance, but I love to read anyway- I feel are charming! Even for this West Texas country gal- keep it up!

  4. C.- I'm glad that you like it! Did you trt Derby?

  5. Suzanne, it's a great photo. That big kitty is the cutest. Sous le Vent is, indeed, stunning. There aren't many perfumes like that still standing...

  6. Sassy Gal, thank you so much! There's nothing like getting this kind of feedback to make a blogger deliriously happy :)

  7. Gaia,
    I purchased a bottle of Sous Le Vent , after making several phone calls and finally finding a last bottle in a dept. store.
    The perfume has been discontinued. I had not given it much thought that perhaps it might not be available for me to purchase it in a later time.
    Many, many perfumes in the market place this days. is very hard to keep up with all the news .
    Thank you for your reviews , I enjoy them very much .


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