At first sniff Ode, the 1955 Guerlain fragrance, seems more related to other houses, mostly Jean Patou, than it is to Guerlain with the magical oriental perfumes. Ode is definitely different, but it shares some DNA with the 1929 Liu, a much earlier Jacques Guerlain creation that was rumored to be heavily influenced by Chanel No. 5. Both are light and delicate, but where Liu is warm and sunny, Ode is very much a creature of early spring.
I have a 1960s bottle of Ode EDC. It doesn't seem to have lost even a drop of freshness. The overall impression is gauzy and frilly, very innocent. While I doubt today's high-school girls would approve, I do see Ode as youthful, or at least trying to be so. Elena of Perfume Shrine wisely commented in her review that Ode is a typical product of the 1950s feminine imagery. After the tumultuous years of the 1920s, 1930s, and the women empowerment of the war years, here we are back in nylons, girdles, being coyer than ever, playing Beaver's mom and smiling sweetly. Yes, I can see and smell that: pastel colors, flowers (the jasmine takes forever to gain some teeth), a hint of powder and very mild sweetness.
Were I blind-testing I doubt I'd ever recognize Ode as a Guerlain fragrance, at least in this eau de cologne form. That's not to say I don't wear it on early mornings. It fades by the time I'm more awake and ready for something bigger, and always leaves me in a good mood.
Added a year later, March 2013:
I'm now the happy owner of the extrait version (above), and it's smoother, sweeter and utterly charming. The orris and sandalwood have stronger presence. I layer both concentrations and feel prettier than ever...
Notes: aldehydes, rose, jasmine absolute, orris, sandalwood, musk
Vintage Ode ads: hprints.com
1955 Crescendoe ad: myvintagevogue.com