Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guerlain Nahema (VIntage Extrait de Parfum)

Count on Guerlain to make one of the most beautiful and sensual rose perfume (and later, at least according to some rumors, to maim and reformulate it). My main complaint about most rose fragrances is that they're too literal, too cliché, too much like a "thing" and not a "person". Nahema is not like that at all.

When I wear Nahema I get a tactile feeling- something between the fuzziness of a peach skin and the smoothness of a rose petal. Smelling this 1979 Guerlain creation makes one understand why the image of  rose petals strewn on and around the bed  is romantic and sexy. It's usually red roses, but Nahema is a deep orange rose (my favorite, actually) with shades of peach and nectarine. It also makes me think of orange tulips, though the most distinct floral note I smell is  hyacinth- it's both sweet and bitter.

The sort-of-kind-of rose is very sweet, almost dessert like. It's a Guerlain, after all, so you must have some pastry in there. Maybe a buttery croissant with apricot preserves. I can't help it- it's that rich vanilla/tonka/benzoin thing in Guerlan perfumes that gets me very time. It's so sensual, especially in the very late dry-down when you no longer know if you smell skin or perfume. My very old bottle of Nahema parfum also offers some creamy sandalwood, the good stuff from the 1980s, which I'm guessing is the part that has changed most in recent batches.

I don't have a current sample of Nahema, so I can't comment on any changes. As far as I know, some of the other notes like Peru balsam, if they came from a natural source, are also on IFRA's blacklist, not to mention various rose molecules like damascone. All I can say is the vintage juice is achingly beautiful, romantic, nostalgic and sexy, while not filling up the room with a rose potpourri sillage. And that's a very good thing.

Top image: Orange Blog
Nahema ads from 1980 and 1981:


  1. Thanks for reviewing this. I've always been so curious. Thank you Guerlain for really knowing how to put PERFUME together (at least until very recently). Orange roses. Sigh.

  2. Gaia, I could swear that was you posing in the Nahema ad with one of your kitties!

  3. Gosh I love this stuff. I found three huge 6 oz bottles of parfum de toilette in an old store, 40 bucks or so each. I guess they must have been testers. They're pretty old, though not ancient. I guess mid eighties? I have a small stockpile of it and yet am scared of running out, so I horde.

  4. I agree with every detail of this review! and I love the images you chose. I have a circa-2000 bottle of the EDP, and it's gorgeous.

  5. I have the old EdP and love it. I passed the extrait since it is in 30ml and way too expensive, but it was teh extrait that the SA sprayed on my wrist.
    I have been wearing the scent to a party with "younger" people and someone asked: What smells like an old woman here?
    I went to the bathroom and sprayed half of the bottle ON TOP to make sure they smell IT'S ME. Fun!

  6. Does anyone know where I would be able to find the commercials for any of Guerlain's orientalist perfumes? I already have Samasara and Shalimar, but I am hoping to fnd Nahéma as well as Mitsouko. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!


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