Guerlain Mitsouko is the Guerlain scent that is the standard for uniqueness in perfumery. It was launched in 1919 (100 years ago!), created by Jacques Guerlain. The inspiration was "La Bataille," a story of an ill-fated love between Mitsouko (Japanese Admiral Togo's wife) and an unnamed British officer. Both men were in the war on opposite sides, they went into battle against each other, and Mitsouko waited to see who returned.
Mitsouko was much loved by stars of the era - Jean Harlow, Charlie Chaplin and Anais Nin. It is a deeply complicated perfume that is hard to love and also easy to love. Again, I will post snippets from a lot of reviews below, and they will conflict, and you will think, huh? But there are a thousand stories in Mitsouko, and it is different for each wearer.
Mitsouko is a chypre with notes of bergamot, peach, jasmine, rose, oakmoss, vetiver, pepper and cinnamon. It is an eau de parfum, edp. This has a code stamp dating it from May 1998, before many of the modern reformulations and IFRA. It is a gorgeous version!
From March at Perfume Posse (possibly the person who loves Mitsouko the mostest) - "In perfume circles, Mitsouko is one of those givens – like Mount Everest, or death. It exists in its timeless majesty, whether or not you appreciate it. It has an air of inevitability. I suppose my first tentative sniff of Mitsouko was like a budding oenophile´s first sip of wine that didn´t come in a gallon jug from the supermarket. Mitsouko was my gateway drug. It was my introduction to the kind of ecstasy a scent could provoke. I had no understanding of it; I had no concrete idea of what I was smelling. Mount Everest doesn´t care whether you understand it."
From Olfactoria's Travels - "Not so Mitsouko (at least for now). All I get is damp cellar and hot swamp. My nose is, for some reason yet to be determined, not able to smell the fabled peach, to smell any floralcy, nothing. All I get is the swamp. And I can’t find it in me to like the swamp. I almost see the stones flying at me from all directions, and isn’t that Luca Turin over there throwing his book at me?"
From Persolaise - "It remains pensive, mature and unreadable, but now, it also sparkles. Whereas in recent years, it had become somewhat more inward-looking, its current iteration gazes straight into the heart of the world with a smile that is welcoming and magnetic in equal measure. Mitsouko had started becoming all about breadth, but now its height has been restored, plunging from bergamot to woods to mosses with irresistible clarity. It is a multi-faceted shimmer of delight. Seek it out… and fall in love all over again. "