October 25 2011
One of the most rewarding aspects of really great perfumes is their ability to transport the wearer into a different space. Those I encountered recently literally had wings. For The Penthouse at Harrods (that inner sanctum of By Appointment shopping tucked discreetly – or incongruously, some would say – behind the fifth-floor sports department) is currently showcasing a fragrant apiary.
Jewels by Guerlain is an exquisite collection of limited-edition scents (crafted by celebrated in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser) in truly mythical flacons. The most whimsical include the Bee Baccarat Bottle, with its faceted crystal wings and body honeyed with the sappy, mimosa-infused fragrance – named, appropriately, L’Abeille – created for it. The similarly endowed Bee With Golden Wings hosts Paradis Interdit, a rich, floral fragrance inspired by original formulas in the Guerlain archives.
I’m told that both these bee bottles – homages to the Napoleonic symbol awarded to Guerlain in 1853 – have already been hived off by a collector. But the queen is still securely in her glass cell. The Secret de la Reine Jewel Perfume (pictured; price on application) is an astounding, art-deco-style platinum brooch-pendant, studded with 14 carats of diamonds and sleek onyx. The dot-and-dash-designed chain encodes a “love to live, live to love” secret message. But the sensation’s in the spraying. Press the diamond on the bee’s neck and its wings unfurl to reveal a chamber, filled with the Guerlain fragrance that floats your own, private fantasy.