Monday 14 December 2015


When Monsieur Guerlain started his website back in 2006 it was because there was so little information available about the company. Apart from a few books there was no dedicated site. A lifelong fan, he started to pull together every piece of information that he could find, and his impartiality meant that he has become the unofficial authority on Guerlain. Always writing under his nom de plume, what would we learn about him from "Stephan's Six"?

What is the first smell that you can remember?
I wish I could say, like Jean-Paul Guerlain, that my first olfactive memory was the scent of strawberry pie. However, I grew up in the Danish countryside during the seventies where no one was familiar with French pastries. Memory is highly susceptible to suggestion, but I don’t think it would be wrong to say that the first smells I recall are those of horse dung, rotten potatoes, boiled cabbage, and humid earth. In me, these smells elicit positive feelings, because they are linked to the beauty and serenity of the Scandinavian countryside. I do have childhood memories of the taste of strawberries as well though.

What perfume do you remember your mum or dad wearing?
I remember my mum wearing Magie Noire by Lancôme. When going to dinner parties with my parents, I remember everyone telling her that she smelled terrific. Back then, in a Danish village, wearing French perfume was considered unbelievably chic. I always thought of my parents as the most dashing couple in town.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
That’s an easy one: Habit Rouge. Before then, I had only known the Lacoste Cologne from 1984. It’s common for Danish youth to spend a few years traveling before going to university, and I was keen on going to Paris. My French classes in college were conducted by a young woman whose charm made me think that Paris must be the most exquisite place on earth. I must say that Paris fulfilled every dream I had. I met many interesting people, and the one who came to mean the most to me presented me with Habit Rouge on my 21st birthday. I still remember it clearly. The French just know how to make life elegant and exciting, and in that moment Habit Rouge became the essence of French elegance to me.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
My job, which is in the military, is a very virile environment. I remember the first time I wore L’Heure Bleue in the Parfum concentration, and the scent just grew stronger and more floral by the hour. I finally had to go to the washroom to try and remove some of the blatant femininity. The Guerlain style is so rich and sweet overall that I tell myself that going from Habit Rouge to Shalimar to L’Heure Bleue isn’t that much of a leap. Remember that Jean-Paul Guerlain’s manager found Habit Rouge inappropriately feminine when it launched in 1965. Today, I comfortably wear L’Heure Bleue.

You can only choose one perfume, what would it be?
Following my excitement about Habit Rouge, I soon discovered Vetiver and Héritage. Many years later, I made my way through to Mouchoir de Monsieur, Jicky, and the Jacques Guerlain classics. Even though Habit Rouge is my first love, I would choose Mitsouko if I only had one choice. It is simply the most perfect unisex fragrance I have ever tried, at once luminous and sombre, medicinal and amber sweet, both softly floral and assertive like a pair of tight black leather gloves.

What perfume should I try?
It won't come as a surprise that I would recommend you try any Guerlain perfume. With ten new launches each year it’s unlikely you won’t find one that you’ll love. We all accept that Guerlain is not only a museum of past achievements, but also a business that needs to keep attention alive with a constant flow of new ideas. However, I do understand why some Guerlain devotees find it odd to launch something like Le Bouquet de la Mariée while discontinuing Nahéma Parfum, one of perfumery’s most beautiful rose fragrances. Some IFRA issues are likely involved, but I think that Guerlain could avoid a lot of negative debate if we were informed of the reason behind discontinuations. I urge everyone to buy some Nahéma before it’s no longer available. It will soon become a rare and valuable collectible.

Monsieur Guerlain's website is a must if you like perfume and indispensable if you're researching Guerlain. Visit it at


  1. Strangely sad now that all his social media and blog channels have been closed down. Great article.

    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed it ... he was a hard man to pin down.