Friday 16 October 2015

Sylvaine Delacourte's White Orchid

One thing that has always been at the very heart of every Guerlain product is the scent. Whether it's a lipstick, a compact powder or even a makeup primer, every one has a very definite fragrance. Now, finding that your makeup has a wonderful aroma is something which Guerlain have always excelled at, but their efforts in skincare scent really push the boundaries.

No one that has ever smelt them will forget the famous rose in the Super Aqua range, the freshness of the old Pure Dew Cleansing Foaming Gel, the delicate lily in the Secret de Purette collection, or the edible chocolate that accompanied the Happylogy series. However, the crowning glory must surely go to the White Orchid fragrance that is found inside Orchdée Impériale. Let's seperate the scent from the serum for once, and truly appreciate this intoxicating perfume that debuted in 2006.

When Sylvaine Delacourte, the creative director of Guerlain fragrances, was asked to devise the scent for their new premier skincare it could easily have ended up as a generic orchid perfume. Remember, at this point their top cream was Serenissima, and it used the standard Super Aqua rose. What Sylvaine did instead was to create a perfume in its own right and add it to the product. Taking the "orchid" as her inspiration she assembled ingredients that suggested the purity of the flower along with an ephemeral tropicality.

The thing to remember is that this perfume was not really designed to develop, but more to fade into the skin leaving a comforting scent. The fragrance opens with a fresh burst of rose petals but is immediately joined by the glorious white orchid accord. It is this orchid which gives the scent its character. You'll also detect a geranium in here as well, which subtly provides a body to the florals. The support is provided by the Guerlain favourites, cedarwood and vanilla, which provide a restrained creaminess.

You have, in essence, the beginnings of a floral oriental, and you wonder where Sylvaine could have taken it if she had developed the scent further. What Guerlain did do, however, was to use the perfume in two further products, the Orchdée Impériale Candle and the Room Fragrance. Only given to loyal customers, they are described as "Discreet and refined, luxurious and feminine", and the Room Fragrance is often found being worn on clothing in the same way as Eau de Cashmere.

If you are ever offered one of these then don't dismiss it as "just another free gift". They are luxurious products in their own right and once discovered you will cherish them forever.