Friday, 6 August 2010

5 Rare Guerlains in 5 Days - Day V: Coque d'Or

Guerlain's Coque d'Or (Golden Shell) perfume was created in 1937 by Jacques Guerlain, and is easily recognisable for its beautiful gilded Baccarat blue bow-shaped flacon. It was created in the art deco age where lavishness and opulence was the norm, and its beautiful golden perfume presentation demonstrates this. Coque d'Or was additionally released in the quadrilobe flacon, as well as goutte and papillion bottles, and is a scent that typifies the glamour and mystique of this era.

Of all the rare Guerlain perfumes I've featured this week, this is the one I have been saving until last. Coque d'Or represents for me, some of Jacques Guerlain's most underappreciated work... it is a sensuous leathery fragrance that I feel might have been a pre-cursor to another much-loved men's Guerlain fragrance; but more on that later.

My vintage Coque d'Or eau de toilette reveals a citrus opening over an aromatic floral heart. I detect rose and something like soft iris or violets and a piquancy furnished by slightly peppery carnations and notes of nutmeg or mace. However, there is a beguiling buttery leather accord that features, and it is one that I've smelled before... it reminds me of paper-thin hand-made antique gloves of the most exceptional quality. As the perfume evolves further, curls of creamy sandalwood appear and an ambery facet (labdanum and vanilla?) brings with it a glowing sense of warmth. The whole composition rests on a glorious oakmoss base that rivals the best of other Guerlain greats. Coque d'Or is a sultry skinscent that gets better and better the longer it rests on the skin.

I would not be surprised if Jacques Guerlain's grandson Jean-Paul Guerlain perhaps drew upon the aromatic leather/oakmoss marriage of Coque d'Or as inspiration behind the mens aromatic leather fougère Derby. Whilst the two have topnotes that diverge in style and composition (florals in the former vs peppermint in the latter), their heart and basenotes run somewhat parallel. Derby is heralded as Guerlain's most revered male leather scent, and has qualities I find comparable to his Great Aunt.

I think many would welcome the return of Coque d'Or in the permanent perfume portfolio at 68 Champs Elysées. For my money, I find it a must-try for each and every Guerlainophile.


Mimi Gardenia said...

Yay ! I can leave a comment now ! Dimitri- I appreciate your wonderful postings this week ,honoring hisotric Guerlains. Damn ,they should re-issue some of these.
Coque d'Or- I hope there is Coque d'Or in heaven somewhere ......

Michael Mattison said...

Dimitri, what a way with words you have; here's hoping you do this for a living, because you really should. Your descriptions of scents like Cocque d'Or bring the fragrance to life, making me want to delve much deeper into the Guerlain oeuvre which up till now has interested me more out of respect than love. But you never know, the balance can still be tipped in the love direction!
Take care,

PS: Have you ever worn Derby for a extended periods? Would be curious to know what you think.

David Toms said...

I remember the first time I saw the Coque d'or bottle in a book on Art Deco and instantly fell in love with the bottle alone!

The Empty Bottle said...

Great review Dimi!

These bottles are amazing! yours?

I have to smell it absolutely.
It seems to be in the line of Scandal Lanvin.