Guerlain’s Jicky (1889)

Guerlain Jicky EDP. © Victor Wong
Guerlain Jicky EDP. © Victor Wong

Just before we entered the Ming Dynasty Tombs in Beijing, the tour guide told us what had happened shortly after the archeologists opened the tomb door: they saw many scrolls of calligraphy and painting hanging on the walls liked a gallery, all beautifully preserved. They immediately brought cameras in the room to take pictures of the artwork, but little did they know that the strength of the flashlights, together with the fresh air that rushed into the once zip-locked chambers, had caused instantaneous disintegration of the artwork – scrolls started splitting into halves and the ink writings and artworks had all irreversibly faded away. Real or not, I didn’t investigate further.

But I associate the lasting power of Guerlain’s Jicky (1889) on my skin to the quick disintegration of the artwork in the tomb. Jicky is beautiful, but in my case, once it is exposed to light and air, it’s almost gone. I know, the juice in my bottle is eau de toilette, and it was probably made in the 1990, not 1890, but the scent couldn’t last more than half an hour on my skin. May be I should get the parfum?

Depending on your mood, experiencing Jicky is like checking out a fancy old pocket watch; do you look at it to get the time (vivid lavender, lemon and civet boo-boo), or do you actually want to admire the craftsmanship of the watch from 1889 (sensual and classic base notes including tonka beans, spices, sandalwood)?

I personally find Jicky, Shalimar and Habit Rogue all share similarities. If Jicky lasts longer on my skin, it would be my favorite of the three because of the dirtiness of the musks.

On the Internet you can read a lot of information on Jicky, like how it initiated the creation of “abstract perfumery” as opposed to “figurative perfumery”, it’s the oldest perfume in continuous existence since 1889, and why Aimé Guerlain picked the name Jicky… Regardless, it’s almost astonishing to find Jicky still smelling modern, simple yet sophisticated.


Author: Victor Wong

A perfume lover - niche, designer, modern, vintage, I love them all. I am also the owner of Zoologist Perfumes, a small Canadian perfume house. Please visit or for more info!

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