Three vintage Guy Laroche's

Three gorgeous feminines from the golden era of Guy Laroche, in chronological order.

Fidji (1966)

Fidji by Guy Laroche opens as a fresh, green, dense and "botanical" floral chypre, deep and textured, on a superb base of velvety dust, slightly animalic but radiant and powdery, supported by a woody-spicy axe with almondy nuances (heliotropin, I guess). What strikes me is a splendid, general, chic luminosity all over, greenish and floral, which does not contrast with the darker woody-resinous-animalic side, but instead completes them, or better say, the visual impression is that is almost "arises" from them. The name fits perfectly the scent, you are transported into a chypresque exotic ambiance refreshed by a fresh breeze, shady and mysterious but bright and lively, earthy and raw. All beautifully blended with a more classic, Western carnal soapiness and powdery opulence filled with chic and austere elegance. It may look like a clashing contrast, but as I said, it's not: it smells perfectly compelling and "compact". As minutes pass Fidji warms and softens, a soapy-dusty woody accord emerges while the "fresh" green and zesty breeze tones down and vanishes. A pleasantly modern scent, clean but raw, unisex and "young" somehow. Nothing stunningly new, but a smart, unique, classy and timeless range of variations on a classic theme – the feminine chypre. Effortless, exotic, lively rawness, Another underrated vintage gem from Guy Laroche.



J'ai Osé (1978)

The original version of J'ai Osé is a great, innovative and respectable chypre, deep and herbal, with a silky and fresh floral breeze all over, perhaps also citrus/bergamot, woods (mostly sandalwood initially), darker and leathery shades of oak moss and perhaps also something like civet – it is not listed but I smell some sweet-sticky dark note hiding behind the oak moss. All rounded by a thin layer of vanilla, enriched by hints of tobacco, coffee, aldehydes. J'ai Osé is a peculiar kaleidoscope of nuances melting together in a way that for the first couple of hours, you almost basically smell something different at each sniff. Complex, enigmatic and fascinating. It reminds me of some classic chypres, but less bold, less leathery and less "predictable", less austere and less canonically "sumptuous" as many of them – J'ai Osé is more exotic, modern, original, apparently lighter but with more contrasts, from sweet to animalic. The sweet-exotic side is perhaps its most fascinating aspect – vetiver, sandalwood, fruity/citrus notes perfectly refresh all the more traditional chypre "dark" side of mossy-herbal aggressive notes. Gentle silky drydown. A great scent indeed, perhaps not that stunning masterpiece to me, but surely great: interesting, compelling, innovative. Quite hard to find, but a great addition to the collection of any fan of true good perfumery.



Clandestine (1986)

Clandestine is a peculiar sort of young and playful chypre, with naughty and dirty nuances made more "colourful" and light by a wild, teenish-irreverent soul. The structure itself is quite classic: the opening is fruity-plummy, suddenly darkening towards a warm floral-resinous accord with also benzoin, aldehydes, lavender, rose, carnation, herbs and the usual composition of chypres – just without leather (at least to me). The result is however more dry, metallic, "angular" if compared to more opulent chypres: to this extent, the bottle quite fits the scent. I appreciate the contrasts between the musky-dirty side and the flowers, it has a certain sensuality but as I said, somehow young, even "naif", like a young girl which wants to feel more mature and play the "lady" card. Carnal, but friendly and somehow fun too - I can't explain why I get this feeling, but as I said, this feels playful to me. I guess this may have to do with the era this went out – 1980's hedonism and the "discovery" of younger targets by brands and agencies, versus the mature, "vamp" lady of the '50s... I see why this chypre smells a bit different from the more classic and austere (or overly "sexy") ones. Finally a dark and long-lasting drydown. Not memorable to me, but nice. 


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