Mitsouko is a perfume, a classic, a legend by French house Guerlain, which has turned 100 years on this year. When it appeared, back in 1919, in post-war Europe, a Europe that was ready for a change in all fields: philosophical, artistic, fashion and perfume-wise, the eyes of perfumers gazed towards the mysterious and mystical Far East, to the land of the rising Sun – enigmatic Japan. It is in Japan, and some say, the heroine of La Bataille – Mitsouko, Jacques Guerlain has found inspiration for this timeless perfume. A young woman who has waited for the British officer, the love of her life, for years, skillfully hiding her pain and suffering. Mitsouko perfume also does not reveal itself to everyone, only to those who are willing to wait for hours, days, and maybe months and years to fully understand and appreciate it.
The word Mitsouko also means magic, and what this perfume is and how it works on our skin is, without doubt, magic. Like transfiguration lessons in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, Mitsouko transforms, in a new and unusual way, every time you smell it. It tells a story, inspire, evoke feelings and thoughts, and change your experience hour by hour. You have to be very present and aware, sharp-witted, an of quick mind and eager nose to enjoy Mitsouko and have a charming and humorous conversation with her. She’s not one of those dull, vain girls who, beneath a pretty shell, offers only endless emptiness and boredom. If I can say anything with certainty, it is that with Mitsouko – you will never be bored.
How can one perfume contain all the magic of perfumery? If we dwell on the analogy with the world of magic, as many magicians of the modern age draw their magic from old books, so too does Mitsouko derive its power from Coty’s Chypre, the first perfume of chypre structure ever. Who would say that bergamot, labdanum, and oakmoss, the backbone of every chypre perfume, will form such a fragrant angelic harmony, which does not exist in nature, but is solely part of the creative genius of one man? And who would have guessed that by adding one element, a peach note, Jacques Guerlain would make something breathtaking, which gives pleasure to perfume lovers for a whole century?
Peach note, more specifically the C14 aldehyde, has, in addition to its fresh, juicy peachy scent, milky undertones mixed with apricot, mango, and apple. It has become so popular that it became an integral part of many perfume classics like Chanel Cristalle and others for decades to come. It has also inspired ubiquitous fruit-flower-gourmet combinations like Thierry Mugler Angel and all the latter endless clones.
The composition of Mitsouko perfume is impeccable, and unlike most modern fragrances that reveal all their beauty in the first few minutes, Mitsouko shows its charm only after a few hours. Initially, sparkling fresh bergamot reveals a mix of fruits and flowers, peaches, roses, and jasmine, resting on a base composed of patchouli, oakmoss, and ambergris. The cinnamon note is sensible throughout the composition, as well as the peach note. Drydown is so seductive that Sergei Diaghilev sprayed the theatre curtains with Mitsouko. Mitsouko also had many fans among the public figures: Charlie Chaplin, Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot, Ingrid Bergman, and Kiri Te Kanawa. Just from this list, we can presume that such a special perfume also requires a unique personality that could wear it the right way. Fortunately, even today, those brave enough can get Mitsouko, those who do not seek the perfume to seduce the masses, but that one, special person. Like that hearty enough and willing, to not only evaluate the perfume themselves but let perfume evaluate them as well in return. I’ll come back once more to the comparison with Harry Potter: It is a wand that chooses a wizard, not the other way around. Same as the copy from an old advertising campaign for this enchanting perfume: Are you her type? Mitsouko belongs to the daring.[Fragrance notes] top notes: peach, bergamot, lemon, mandarine, neroli; middle notes: rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, clove; base notes: cinnamon, ambergris, oakmoss, patchouli, cedarwood, pepper, musk, amber, sandalwood, myrrh. [Fragrance group] fruity chypre.
Perfume creator is Jacques Guerlain.