L'Abeille de Guerlain
SEPTEMBER 2010. 1853: Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain presents his Eau de Cologne to the French empress in a bottle shaped like a beehive and covered with 69 gilded bees — the Napoleonic emblem of efficiency and productivity. 2010: The bee is more central than ever in Guerlain's presentation designs, honoured as the symbol that links new creations to the House's proud history. This year's exclusive Guerlain launch is ultra-exclusive: Guerlain has asked Baccarat to manufacture the biggest perfume bottle ever done by the distingué crystal works firm, an immense handblown crystal sculpture in shape of a more than thirty centimetres tall bee with wings as faceted as diamonds. Fashioned by jewellery designer Lorenz Bäume, who is also behind the look of the Rouge G lipstick, and named L'Abeille de Guerlain, "the Guerlain Bee", just 46 numbered pieces has been made, each one containing 245 ml of Parfum at the luxurious price of 12.500 Euros, destined for only the most affluent collectors. The juice is composed by Thierry Wasser who explains that he has tried to "view a garden from a bee's perspective", sweet pollen, chlorophyllic greens, that vegetal accord that by now has become Wasser's hallmark, a blend of sunny flowers: Mimosa, orange blossom, jasmine. And a scent of golden honey which "marries so well with summer flowers" as puts it Wasser who also admits that this mix risks smelling syrupy thick if treated badly, but he assures that his creation "flies like an angel, diffuses without suffocating, twines around the marvellous iris, so precisely powdery". The result is as classic as it is narcotic, not unlike Jean-Paul Guerlain's Les Secrets de Sophie or Jacques' Candide Effluve, or even Wasser's own Flora Nymphéa. L'Abeille has jasmine intense and carnal, it's hazily powdered, with the illuminating, slightly innocent effect of mimosa, and with a honey that indeed is not too sweet, but aromatically herbal and buoyant.