Thursday, December 10, 2009

Guerlain Parure (Vintage Extrait de Parfum)

It's interesting to note that Parure, the classic (and discontinued) Guerlain, was a 1975 creation. It smells and feels more iconic and timeless than a mid-seventies release, a contemporary of Charlie and not of Mitsouko.

If we must label Parure, it is a rose-leather chypre. A category that is most likely (and tragically)extinct in today's perfumery-according-to-IFRA. You can no longer find such abundance of oakmoss and gorgeous, opulent rose in perfume. Younger people (when did I turn into an old fart?) would most likely find it dated and unwearable. They probably haven't encountered so much oakmoss anywhere but on their grandmothers' dressers, so I doubt it would be revived anytime soon, even if we ever manage to kick IFRA bureaucrats out of our perfume bottles. But those of us with a longing for the real thing, for perfume that smells like perfume and makes us see and feels things (other than "fresh and clean"), need to at least sample this treasure.

Parure is dark and elegant. It wears a custom made hat and never leaves the house without lipstick. It has a plum-rose heart that allows the perfume and its wearer to feel all the joie de vivre in the world witout losing the backbone, the secrets and life experience of someone who has lived, loved and survived to tell about it. And have I mentioned the oakmoss?

Guerlain has reformulated, diluted and then discontinued Parure altogether. I remember reading it was Kim Cattrall's signature scent for years, who when heard it was being axed ordered and bought every single box she managed to find. Obviously, a few bottles managed to escape her, as I own a small bottle of the extrait (not in the gorgeous bottle you can see in the vintage ads, but in one similar to the classic Jicky), bought from a fellow blogger (thank you, Dane). I treasure and cherish every drop.

Vintage Parure ads:
Photo of Dovima by Norman Parkinson, 1952


  1. Parure was my wedding day scent. I'm on my last bottle, and it will be a sad day when I run out. I'm always excited to read how others appreciate this wonderful perfume. You've written beautifully about it.

  2. I'm so glad you're enjoying it! I do think it's a lovely scent, but alas, not for moi. I guess I found that it had all the right moves, but not the same swagger as Mitsouko.

    It's still sad to see that it's becoming so scarce...cherish your tiny little bottle!

  3. I'm so jealous. Parure gets complaints from my coworkers, though. : ( But there's always Rose de Nuit.

    Long time no comment. Hope you're well.


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