Long before Guerlain shifted into the famous address at 68 Champs Elysées, they had already long established their business on Rue de la Paix in the voguish 2nd arronissement of Paris. Nowadays perhaps best known for its jewellers, couturiers and milliners, Rue de la Paix has always existed as superlative shopping promenade for the well-heeled.
In 1908 Jacques Guerlain created Rue de la Paix: a perfume that paid hommage to the district and the haut monde that converged there. It was first presented in the Baccarat quadrilobe bottle, and later in the cobalt lantern bottle and goutte flacon. I can only suspect Jacques Guerlain's motivations in creating this scent might have been to meet the needs of those who frequented the area, (or indeed to sell the 'high society' lifestyle to those perhaps less affluent). This might account for why so few examples of this fragrance have survived until this day.
Rue de la Paix in vintage EDT form unfurls with sharp bergamot/citrus topnotes and dewy florals. There appears to be a crisp green floral accord just below the surface (muguet, perhaps?) and a shimmering peach-like aldehyde (that is not too far removed from that used in Mitsouko) in the opening. It is a rousing opening, but one crafted with a very measured hand (it is not as imposing as, for example, her aldehyde-rich floral younger sister Liu. But then Rue de la Paix, like the gentry who visited there, is perhaps more stately and refined). A lush rose heart and scattering of white florals furnishes the perfume with an appreciable air of femininity before the drydown reveals a very enjoyable bitter leather and musky base.
This is a perfume that embodies the vibrance of a Parisian cobbled shopping street, awash with colour and vivacity; and indeed one worthy of resurrection.
Tomorrow: Guerlain's Coque d'Or.