Though Vol de Nuit and I got off to a rocky start, I’ve come to conclude that this amazing fragrance is the queen supreme of powdered iris, once you get to the dry down heart of the perfume. The opening galbanum is very strong, sharp, and metallic green, perfectly fitting the flacon, but once the opening phase is past, it transforms into the most beautiful powdery scent, that’s very, lightly sweetened so it’s not too dry. I was a bit challenged by the top notes as a novice perfumista starting out, but over the years I have come to appreciate the full development of this iconic fragrance. The art deco styled “propeller” flacon, inspired by the book of the same name, is to die for and is hands down my favorite bottle design out of everything in my entire wardrobe.
I have the EdT and Parfum concentrations but find the EdT easier to wear, and surprising, much more enjoyable, which is completly opposite to every other perfume I have since the parfum is usually the smoothest, richest, and least harsh. Both concentrations are more skin scents, with low projection. I find the edt projects more and seems much more powdery than the parfum. Not to mention the extreme difference in price between the two. Though I’m sure that propeller flacon counts towards much of the cost, a new retail bottle will put you back $350 USD before taxes, and there are only a handful of high end dept. stores that carry it. The edt on the other hand, in the new atomized bee bottles can be bought online from many different discounters for around $50.
VdN in both concentrations and I did get off to a rough start though. It took some time for me to really appreciate the beauty of this fragrance, as I, coming of age in the 90’s, really got my start with perfumes that were highly sweetened, aquatic floral bombs. And VdN is none of those. Or really, the opposite of those, being very green at first then very powdery dry. But it’s a sophisticated, mature fragrance that IS somewhat haughty, as iris fragrances tend to be since they are considered cold.
Another reason it took a while to really get this fragrance was because I didn’t give enough patience to wait for the dry down before passing judgment. The first 15 or so minutes, VdN is very shrill and metallic on my skin, in the same way that Nahema extrait is, and I had a hard time getting past that. I still haven’t got past it with Nahema but that’s another story for another day lol.
We live in an age of highly sugared, soapy clean, and fruity floral bombs. They are very easy to wear and require zero sophistication. They are a part of the “made for consumer market”, just as fast food and reality TV are. But there is no artistry involved in them, any of them. They’re easy to swallow, require no contemplation, easy to digest, and are created from a market tested approved cookie cutter production formula.
Vol de Nuit predates this method of creation. When Jacques Guerlain created this perfume, he had a vision and heart. He wasn’t looking for anyones’ approval in this creation. No true-to-self, authentic artist creates art for the sake of their audiences’ approval (commissions excluded, obviously). This perfume is authentic art.
I find myself coming back to revisit this one more and more frequently. In fact I’ve not only amassed a little collection of current and vintages, I’m going on my second bottle of edt! It’s really become a love.
Jacques Guerlain was a master perfumer who created some of the most iconic perfumes of all time, this being one of them. Just having the ability to experience that history is reason enough for me to want to wear it but I find it more enjoyable and lovely everytime I put it on.
Top notes: Orange, Orange blossom, Galbanum, Mandarin, Bergamot, Narcissus, Lemon
Heart notes: Aldehydes, Narcissus, Iris, Vanilla, Violet, Carnation, Jasmine, Rose
Base notes: Spices, Sandlewood, Musk, Orris, Oakmoss