VINTAGE - Guerlain Heliotrope Blanc 000 Extrait (Pure Parfum)

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Guerlain Rue de la Paix was created by Pierre Guerlain and launched in 1908. It is a soft floral amber fragrance features top notes of honey, lavender, rosemary, verbena and bergamot; middle notes of jasmine, violet, rose, ylang ylang, leather, woody notes, ambrette and spices; and base notes of musk, violet leaves and orris.

Heliotrope Blanc 000 was created in 1870 by Aime Guerlain. The three zeros after the name means that it is a triple-strength floral extract. It is a soliflore based on the scent of white heliotrope, probably made possible by using heliotropine (piperonal). (from Guerlain Perfumes Blogspot)

An excerpt from a review by The Sounds of Scent 

When spraying Heliotrope Blanc something instantly tickles my nose like little yellow sparkles, but mellower than a pure lemony feel, it feels like sniffing bubbles from a champagne coupe. I smell a soft bergamot and there’s that thing between hesperidic and medicinal, and somehow so much space between the notes, the top virtually springs off the skin and does all its sparkle on top on what can already be detected underneath as a slight powdery and a bit sweet undergrowth. There’s no sign of heavy woods or mosses and no sticky deepness as one might expect from such an old perfume, just pure fresh sun-kissed spring. There’s a sense of distant flowers, and perhaps some petit grain to keep the zesty feel. The powder here is dry like talc, and it rises up in puffs through the sparkle. Sometimes I detect an elusive whiff of lilac, which ties in nicely with making this a white heliotrope as opposed to a blue/purple one. Is it a bit of vetiver which adds to the green and fresh feel of this fragrance, and again balances sweet and fresh, dry and dewy moist in the most charmingly innocent way?

So much space and sparkle, how is that possible? The first association aldehydes of some sort. But here’s a problem; although aldehydes for medicinal purposes were discovered in 1859, for perfume they were not used until early 1900. Of course my bottle being from after 1900* could have had alterations done to the formula, but perhaps it’s the special no longer used softer bergamot and linalool with its floral, sweet and petit-grain scent in play (as it was possible to obtain naturally at this time). The fact that I’m reminded of good old-fashioned soap enhances this assumption, as linalool has been used in soap products in forever. Anyone who is familiar with heliotrope fragrances will know the typical odor profile; powder, fluffy, sweet, almondy, cherry pie. And yet, here it’s so much more discreet, almost as if the perfumer was scared to overuse this new compound, or perhaps the expression he wished was another. It is innocent and airy and the citruses have been used to even out the sweetness of the heliotrope to make this more about the sun than about the flower.

Heliotrope Blanc 000 is a window to another time in a way that I haven’t encountered with other vintages. I think most people associate vintage fragrances to be of that heavy mossy nature or perhaps with light colognes, simplistic and their citrus notes off long before your grandmother was born. Heliotrope Blanc 000 shows another side of the story: all the freshness of a perfect cologne yet powdery and easy on the nose with a real bouquet and longevity. And not least; not as much a melancholic sigh from time long past, as a happy spring greeting.

An excerpt from a review by The Non Blonde

Heliotrope Blanc, a long-forgotten Guerlain perfume, was one of my antique store finds. So, what does a heliotrope fragrance circa WWI smell like? Basically, like slightly sweet heliotrope talc. It's a pretty little thing, despite a certain medicinal note (more prominent in the brighter juice my friend sent). Heliotrope Blanc is like almond powder dusted lightly. It reminds me of old French sachets embroidered with a lilac colored thread. As a matter of fact, I might also be smelling something sort of lilac"y". Heliotrope Blanc is really pretty. The obvious almond scent of heliotrope is definitely there but at no point does it become even remotely gourmand, even as some vanilla kicks in. This is where Heliotrope Blanc differs greatly from its famous offspring, L'Heure Bleue. The latter takes the almond note and runs with it all the way to the pastry shop while Heliotrope Blanc smells more sheer and carefree, perhaps younger.

More about the composition of Heliotrope from Octavian:

"It was already sold by Guerlain in the 1890's and actually it represents one of the first perfumes based on the new synthetic molecule called heliotropine (it smells like almond and vanilla and many Guerlain perfumes used it). In those early days "heliotrope" became a type of perfume, and one of the first "fantasy" soliflore fragrances. L'Heure Bleue has an important heliotrope note (and heliotropine)."


This is the original vintage extrait (pure parfum).



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