Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Guerlain Nahema

Readers of this blog know that rose is probably one of my favorite perfume notes. I know it might be terribly old-fashioned and un-hip, but there you have it. Lucky for me, plenty of modern, hip, wonderful rose fragrances are available. Also lucky for me: classics never go out of style, and Nahema is most assuredly a classic.

I found this image, another old Guerlain advertisement from 1955, but I think it suits Nahema, released in 1979, perfectly. Does this not seem to be an image of Nahema, the heroine of Scheherazade's tale? I love her faraway look, both ethereal and intense. Even the colors perfectly reflect this scent.

Nahema is not strictly a rose scent, but every other note in it seems to serve the purpose of shining the spotlight on that single, glorious bloom. The hyacinth at the top starts it off sweetly, and the peach joins it to lend it soft, honeyed tones. Vanilla and woods are like soft embers that warm the fragrance and make it glow. It's lush, yet mysterious. I almost can't believe it survived the 1980s. Still, although it's hardly an in-your-face fragrance, it's certainly no wallflower. I tend to romanticize the 1970s, to think of nightclubs and decadence, excessive elegance. Nahema reminds me (note: by "reminds me" I do not mean "smells like") of Opium that way, intense and elegant, strong and sexy. What a difference from Jardins de Bagatelle, which represents to me that buttoned-up, Wall Street, go-get-'em powerhouse 80s thing. It's one thing to be a person of whom people take notice, and entirely another to be a person who demands people take notice. The woman who wears Nahema is the former.

*images are from escentual.co.uk and toutenparfum.com