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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blame it on the Scent Twin, Part Eleventy-Three: Guerlain Sous le Vent

By Tom

Well, blame it on her and a good friend with a great job who gave me a thumping gift certificate...

She is the person who introduced me to it on a trip back East when we traipsed all over the East Side sniffing things. I loved it at the time (amongst others) but was going through a period of voluntary austerity (as opposed to involuntary, my seemingly default setting, but I digress. Or I whine.).

As she wrote in Her 2009 post this stuff is fierce.. On me it starts with a super-bright green opening that goes to a marching band of lavender and carnation before settling into a spicy iris and oakmoss. It was meant to evoke the divine Josephine Baker, the first American-born woman to be awarded the Croix de Guerre (for her work against the Axis), entertainer, international sex-symbol, tireless worker for the cause of racial equality and loving mother of 12 adopted children, her multi-ethnic "Rainbow Tribe". I don't know it any scent could possibly capture the woman, but this certainly would be the closest. Nothing too literal (thank goodness no banana leaf), just a scent that sparkles like champagne, winks at the notion of the "jungle" with the green and finally tweaks the 20's notion of the "Créole Goddess" by showing you the sexy, suave yet supremely ladylike woody oakmoss drydown. Reading this you would think that it could be smelled from space: it is actually quite close in (as far as I can tell; I've worn it to work) and short of spraying it directly on clothing I don't think you'll be throwing off a lot of scent. But that fits: Josephine Baker in addition to being an artist, an icon, a hero and a cultural touchstone was above all a lady.

Of course if you do spritz with abandon, prepare to be followed..

Sous le Vent is $305 for 125ML at Bergdorf Goodman and selected Saks Fifth Avenue. My review is based upon my bottle. Thank you Bitsy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been on my to buy list for ages, I think you just pushed me over the edge. Lovely review, need to go perfume shopping now...

7:30 AM EST  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

I've also found it short on volume and sillage. I think it's a matter of concentration -- this was an edt, saying "was" because to the best of my knowledge it's no longer in production though stocks are still on sale.
I got the chance to smell it in parfum concentration because Guerlain had made a test batch of that, and in that form it's all about the leather. Sadly, that'll never be available (thank you IFRA). I do find even the edt gorgeous... it could be the faraway ancestor of Eau Sauvage.

8:56 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I try to not ever get into that nostalgic frame of mind in which the grass of the past is greener etc, but I have unfortunately tried a vintage sample of this, not going to go there. The current version is beautiful too.

9:32 AM EST  
Anonymous mocards said...

This is the one I didn't buy and have regretted since. When I was in Chicago I had the opportunity to test Sous le Vent. I opted for Angelique Noir instead. Might have to call that lovely SA at Neiman's and order the Sous le Vent after all. Beautiful review, Marina.

10:33 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Just wanted to point out, that the wonderful review is by Tom :)

10:37 AM EST  
Anonymous mocards said...

Tom! My apologies!! Your article was beautiful. :-) I should have read more carefully instead of going into my "woe is me" routine because I didn't buy Sous le Vent when I had a chance.

10:44 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Go. Purchase. Now.

11:47 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I know. I'm sure in perfume it's 90 times better. But we'll never get the perfume so I'm going to be happy with my bottle and let it go when it's empty.

11:48 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I've decided the same thing. I'll live with what I can get and anjoy it as it is.

11:49 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


it's still available at Bergdorfs. Just sayin'!

11:50 AM EST  
Anonymous Zazie said...

Don't know which version I tried this summer in Paris, at the Guerlain store. It was housed in the bottle you depict. I quite loved it, but I thought the price tag ridiculous, so I didn't purchase. Everyone mentions its "fierceness", but I found it very friendly, refreshing without being harsh, elegant and happy, and not too distance from a classic cologne. Hum, I must have tested the edt.

2:10 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think it's the same one. I meant "fierce" not in strength necessarily.

I was shocked at how much more it is now..

5:19 PM EST  
Anonymous hongkongmom said...

Beautiful article Tom...except HUGE problem you have created...have fallen in love and need Vegas already (also a ridiculous price tag) I first smelled SLV at Bergorfs a few yrs ago and felt it was too green! I ended up with Plus Que Jamais (am not really sure why. could have been pressed for time to get back to HK and there was that pushy blonde russian accented saleslady...and the rest is history) i will defininitely go and resmell SLV, thnx to u

11:47 PM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

I was looking for a green scent at BGs and got a trial spray of SlV. After sniffing I couldn't figure out why I'd ignored it for so long. Even though I think of it mroe as a Spring scent I've been wearing it every day for the past week or so. Your review makes me feel affirmed. Thank you, Tom!

10:15 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am in love with Vega as well. just not with the price..

11:11 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


who doesn't need a touch of spring right now?


11:12 AM EST  

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