In my world, when you come of age you should receive a bottle of Jicky.
When discussing the perfume and the legend of Jicky, the idea of nobility plays a central part. For one, Jicky catapults itself into a realm of near aristocracy. It presented the beginnings of modern perfumery: grand works of real artistry tipping the natural into a new field where what is known and what is expected is blurred, achieving pleasing abstract results.
© 2015 Liam Sardea
To Corey – a lost cause. I owe you this!
Jicky. Jicky is cheeky.
Jicky is at first glance a lavender scent with its facets fleshed out and played with, achieving pleasing and realistic results. For one, the lavender at the top differs from the lavender that is then compounded at the heart of the scent. At the top, it has a meditative freshness; rich and toasty and drenched in warm sunlight. It can be sweet, almost to the point of sugariness, which highlights the initial realism of the scent – true to the profile of lavender.
Jicky then succumbs to the languidness of an oriental, that too doesn’t skip the richness of body and warmth found in an oriental’s depths. This is the marker of an aromatic fougere. Not exactly a chameleon of the scented spectrum, but instead it takes the good and the noteworthy from all parts of what we can call the continuum of scent. The fresh top notes of citrus – a rich, albeit brief arpeggio of a melange of citrus fruits, giving an oily lacquer at the top. The realistic floral notes to begin, a breeze of lavender providing fresh, anisic astringency, scaling down to then give a profound hum – existing uniquely at the fragrance’s many stages.
Slowly, comes abstraction. You can call Jicky a lavender perfume, but perhaps only initially. You must now call Jicky a fragrance focusing on the delectable 2H–chromen–2–one; pardon me, coumarin: the tonka bean. Combined with a dosing of a creamy, crazily animalic civet note, the fougere amalgam is made complex to levels that were then novel in perfumery – forming a scent now with an unhurried sexiness – an orchestrated symphony, boasting tautness when you first meet it, and of course a secret languidness when you get to know it well.
The tonka bean, which is culinarily delicious, nutty, and redolent of marzipan and the rich, unctuous sweetness of desserts cooked to a near burnt state, is underpinned generously: amber accords, patchouli, vanilla, incense, and perhaps with what we can call the sparkly luminescence of the Guerlainade. Imparting addiction with a wave of crisp rosemary.
There is a certain lift to this fragrance, and I am tempted to attribute this to the application of aldehydes (or, a term I call, ‘technical aldehydes’ … Meaning, that they are employed not for their smell, but more so for the space between the notes and the feeling of lightness on the nose one receives when smelling these compounds). This gives Jicky an omnipresent freshness whereas the 1925 Shalimar lacks this feature.
Jicky is a glamorous powder at the base, with the initially forceful bodily (or, less politely, fecal) lavender oscillations combine pleasingly, and evolve to a deepness grounded in its base note structure – best experienced in the parfum variant. From freshness and sparkle, comes a roasted, warm, encompassing, and most importantly accepting quality (sandalwood?). Substantial, yet fresh. Dirty, yet persistently sweet.
…And the Guerlain style? It has restraint, and an immense, towering structure. It is a grand, richly balsamic perfume.
A true great of the perfume world. It has a relevance even today, and with no reservations it is my favourite Guerlain (if we don’t count Habit Rouge).
1889: the erection of the Eiffel Tower and the creation of Jicky by Aimé Guerlain. It’s a symbolic new France …
Alternatives: Pour un Homme by Caron, and Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain.
The perfect citrus-floral-animalic – the balsamic perfume. Get the parfum if you can.
Subjective rating: 5/5
Objective rating: 5/5