Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe: Jean-Louis Scherrer

Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe: Jean-Louis Scherrer

03/20/16 19:17:56 (11 comments)

by: Jodi Battershell


Welcome to another installment of Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe, in which we take a fresh look at fragrances that have been in our collections for some time. Join us for the journey and share your experiences of revisiting old favorites.

I was still in primary school when the original Jean-Louis Scherrer fragrance was introduced. Though I was an avid reader of fashion magazines until my late 20s, the haute couture designs of Scherrer were somehow never on my radar, so the fragrances certainly were not, either. Were these sold at American department stores? Did the brand advertise in the United States? I can honestly state that I never heard of the man, the brand or the fragrances until I joined Fragrantica in 2008. (My apologies to the late M. Scherrer, as I am 100% certain this was an oversight on my part and is in no way a reflection on his talent or legacy.)

Once I began learning about fragrances and swapping with Fragrantica members, I found myself gravitating toward a category that was largely out of fashion in 2008: the classic oakmoss-laden chypre. It began when I purchased Mitsouko, then progressed to include Niki de Saint Phalle, Ivoire de Balmain and newer but still classic-smelling chypre Cabaret de Grès. My fervent chypre obsession would continue for a couple years, and though I no longer pursue any category of fragrances with such intensity, the chypres are still a category I enjoy very much.

Sometime in 2008, I swapped for some samples of Jean-Louis Scherrer. I received three generous vials of the EDP, and I was smitten from the first sniff. My passionate review from 2008 is still up on the site:

(Ugh! Does anyone else cringe when they go back and read their earliest reviews?)

I hoarded those vials, dispensing the precious drops only for the most special occasions. I knew I wanted a full bottle, but by the time I was ready to buy in 2009, the EDP was scarce and my attention was constantly drifting elsewhere thanks to frequent sampling. The price and availability of Jean-Louis Scherrer EDP never hit the sweet spot when I had money to spend on fragrances and eventually I stopped looking for it.

As luck would have it, I acquired a partial bottle of the EDT in a swap sometime in 2010. I found it lacked the longevity and fullness of the EDP, but was still potent enough to get through the workday, and the scent was largely the same. I was a happy camper and the fragrance was worn frequently for the first year or so.

Over time, my nose and my interests changed. I stopped chasing the vintage scents that had fascinated me in my first few years as a Fragrantica member (though I acknowledge their role in educating my nose and helping me understand my own preferences) and began turning my focus towards new and modern fragrances. Scherrer remained a favorite, as did its sister scent Scherrer 2, but the original is one I was no longer reaching for with any frequency.

More than a year had gone by since I last tried it, and when I gave it a spritz one Saturday afternoon, I learned that absence does not always make the heart grow fonder. Oh, such an unpleasant and unfamiliar aroma! The flowers were too loud, with a big, honking carnation aroma overtaking all. The animalic notes were too strong. Gone were the soapy aldehydes, the musty oakmoss and the woody notes.

Perhaps my bottle had turned? I wondered. I believe the person who passed it to me in the swap had purchased it new, though who knows how long it may have sat in a warehouse somehwere... I held the bottle up to the light and no, it had not turned cloudy. There were no particulates floating. The color of the liquid was the same golden-green I remembered and it was uniform throughout.

I sprayed a bit on paper to test it. On the test strip, the complex aroma I had fallen in love with was still there.

Oh, Jean-Louis Scherrer! We're breaking up, but it's not you. It's me!

Or more specifically, my skin.

Some claim there is no science behind our perception that our personal skin chemistry alters fragrances. I cannot speak of such matters from a scientific point, but anecdotal evidence and my own personal experience lead me to believe skin chemistry plays some role. It was clear that Jean-Louis Scherrer and I were no longer compatible, so I put the bottle in the box of fragrances I was setting aside to give to friends or sell on the auction site.

But here is where the story takes a twist!

"What do you have in there? Let me smell those," Mr. NLS said. My husband's appreciation of fragrances has increased significantly in the last few years, thanks in part to all the sniffing we get to do in conjunction with my work on Fragrantica. We both smell any new fragrance that comes into our home and we have a large shelf of "shared" fragrances (not all of which were marketed as unisex scents) that we both enjoy. His personal fragrance shelf includes a few that others might identify as distinctly feminine, such as Fragonard Fragonard and Fragonard Capucine. He loves Hèrmes Eau des Merveilles—on himself!

He sprayed the Scherrer on the hairy part of his forearm, sniffed it, nodded and walked away.

The next morning, I noticed the bottle of Jean-Louis Scherrer had moved from the "outgoing" box to his fragrance shelf, where it sits alongside such masculine classics as Bill Blass Mr. Blass, Cumming and L'Occitane Eau de Toilette. He wears the Scherrer once a week and on him, thankfully, it smells as pleasant and balanced as the EDP smelled on me when I first fell in love with it in 2008. All's well that ends well!

What about you, dear readers? Have you ever revisited an old love and found it no longer works for you? Do you ever give fragrances that don't work for you to another family member? Tell us about your experiences of shopping your own fragrance wardrobes in the comments!

Jodi Battershell (NebraskaLovesScent or "NLS") is a lifelong Nebraskan who transplanted herself to Philadelphia after a lifetime on the Great Plains. An appreciator of fine fragrances since childhood, she tried her hand at natural perfumery and fragrance-mixing for a number of years, ultimately concluding she was better suited to appreciating the fragrance creations of others. She is pleased to finally be putting her English degree to use as a writer and editor for Fragrantica.com.

 

 



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theLady
theLady

Oh dear, I was entranced by reading about Scherrer earlier this year, to the point of hunting it down on Ebay - but I think the mini I received was from a con artist! I figured it out when I later purchased two 1/4oz bottles of Shalimar from the same seller at a price that was too good to be true - the "Shalimar" smelled exactly like the "Scherrer" !! I was horrified. I know what Shalimar smells like (owning a few bottles already), but alas, I still do not know what Scherrer smells like.

I like your first review! I'm all for passion and enjoyment. It's what gives joy to our perfume obsessions, right?

Dec
11
2016
Macassar
Macassar

One of my favourite Chypre , a very cold and distant one ( i could easily imagine Grace Kelly wearing it , it's that kind of personnality ) . I know it since 1985 , it's always love with it . Very , very nice on a man too

Mar
21
2016
wagner`s erda
wagner`s erda

Thank you for this Jodi. I enjoyed reading it. I love J.L. Scherrer, but I don't wear it often enough. I was given K. de Krizia by a friend, but it really didn't work on me. However, it smells great on my husband. I used to love Estee Lauder Cinnabar and wore it loads in the 80s. A few years ago I bought a new bottle and I just couldn't wear it. I was allergic to something in it. It was possibly a reformulation, but it didn't smell that much different from the original.Needless to say I had to pass that on to a friend and it seems to work for her. So as you say Jodi, all's well that ends well.

Mar
21
2016
Elena Vosnaki
Elena Vosnaki

I always loved Scherrer, the first one, the crushed emeralds one. It's both cool and aloof and at the same time very sensuous in a non-cliche way. No wonder you write about it so beautifully, Jodi (and your earlier review is just fine). It's inspiring!

Mar
21
2016
hills by the sea
hills by the sea

Loved this article! I can't believe I have never tried Jean Louis Scherrer's perfume. Or perhaps, its not so surprising since I tend to struggle with chypre's in general. Nonetheless, I am curious to sniff this so I will be looking out for a sample soon.

Mar
21
2016
migueldematos
migueldematos

And now I need to buy me some Scherrer. I only have Nuits Indiennes and I have never smelled this one. Thank you Jodi for a wonderful article and the power of enabling a necessity.

Mar
21
2016
johngreenink
johngreenink

One of the most fun reads I've had in a while - "Oh, Jean-Louis Scherrer! We're breaking up, but it's not you. It's me!" I did LOL at this (well played, Nebraska...) Isn't it funny the way this can happen, though? I wonder if somehow we're just not as impressed with something that had enraptured us before; or as you said, you simply moved on. What an amazing stroke of luck that your Mr. found a new love in Scherrer! All's well that ends well. Great article, thanks for this!

Mar
21
2016
SolangeN
SolangeN

Best green chypre, period. I have vintage EDP, EDT and parfum and reformulated EDP and EDT.

The reformulated EDP is very close to the old EDT. The moss is less dense and dusky, which allows the violet floral to come through. But overall the modern composition is still beautiful.

The vintage parfum is exquisite. Nothing else comes close. I got into essential oils and aromachemicals primarily to try to reproduce it.

Mar
21
2016
ysatis
ysatis

The same beautiful story had happened to me!! But with Estee Lauder's Cinnabar. Now it's my husband fave! And its play on his skin is amazing!!

Mar
20
2016
Flora55
Flora55

After more than 30 years, Scherrer is still my favorite chypre of all time, my "armor" of choice. I am so sorry that it no longer works on you Jodi! I keep myself supplied with the vintage and in my opinion it can stand with the best of modern niche fragrances.I love oakmoss - in fact, Scherrer is probably responsible for that all by itself - and to my nose it has some of the best quality oakmoss to be found in all of perfumery. The modern version is fine, but not as good as the vintage.

I have a hard time letting go of perfumes, but not long ago I found a great solution for re-homing my unloved bottles that were not desirable enough to sell or swap with my fellow perfumista friends. A friend was collecting items for poor women in Africa who had nothing in the way of nice things -mostly they needed clothing and other necessities, but little luxuries were also welcome. Some of these women had never owned a bottle of perfume or anything pretty, so it was my great pleasure to donate all the summer clothes I never wore and a sizable collection of perfume. After that I found that it is now easier to let go of things, and not just perfume!

Mar
20
2016
MattChartier
MattChartier

Thanks for sharing this article Jodi! It made me laugh, and it also made me wish I had somebody to share my fragrance collection with. Glad to hear that your Scherrer found a new fan in your husband! I received a bottle of Scherrer 2 from my favorite Fragrantica swap buddy / perfume pen pal, and I am sad to say that it nauseates me! I love the art-deco bottle, though, so I am holding onto it in hope that maybe someday I will sniff it again and fall in love.

That video is fabulous by the way. I love watching old fashion shows, from back when models strutted with personality and the styles were more theatrical. My favorite is a Mugler show from Spring/Summer 1997, you can find it on YouTube since we're not allowed to post links here. It's titled "Thierry Mugler Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1997 Full Show | EXCLUSIVE | HQ"

Mar
20
2016

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