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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouquet de la Contesse d'Edla c1873

Bouquet de la Contesse d'Edla by Guerlain: launched in 1873. Created by Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain. Composed especially for Elise Hensler, countess d’Edla, Queen of Portugal, based on the old castle of Cintra (Sintra), a favorite residence of the Portuguese Royal family, also known as the Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros).

Elise Friedericke Hensler (in Portuguese, Elisa) was born on 22 May 1836 at La Chaux-de-Fonds, in the Neuchâtel Canton, Switzerland, the daughter of Johann Friederich Conrad Hensler and his wife Louise Josephe Hechelbacher. Her family was Swiss-German. When she was twelve, her family moved to Boston in the United States, where she was given a remarkable education, with the arts and languages playing an important role. She finished her studies in Paris and as an adult could easily speak seven languages.

Following her studies, Elise joined the Teatro alla Scala of Milan with an easygoing life. In 1855, when she was nineteen, she had a daughter, Alice Hensler, from an unknown father. The father was certainly a member of the Milanese nobility. Alice Hensler later married a Portuguese officer, Manuel de Azevedo Gomes (1847–1907).

On 2 February 1860, Elise arrived in Portugal and sang at the Teatro Nacional São João in Oporto and then at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, where she performed in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera.

On 15 April 1860, King Ferdinand II of Portugal, widower of Queen Maria Cristina II, watched the play and was seduced by Elise’s voice and beauty; she was then 24 years old. Their relationship deepened rapidly because, just like the King, the singer has a passion for sculpture, ceramics, painting, architecture and gardening.

On 10 June 1869, Elise married morganatically, in Benfica (Lisbon), the former king Ferdinand II of Portugal, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Just before the ceremony, the duke Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a cousin of Ferdinand and the Head of the House of Saxe-Coburg, granted to Elise the title of Countess d’Edla. The marriage was childless.

In Portugal, the couple lived a discreet life in Sintra, where the former king occupied the Palácio da Pena. As a hobby, both Ferdinand and Elise loved botanica, and in the middle of their park Elise built a marvelous cottage which she designed herself, inspired by Swiss chalets and rural houses of the United States.

In 1885, king Ferdinand II died and in his will left all his households to his second wife, including the Castelo dos Mouros and the Palácio da Pena. In order for the Countess to keep these estates, King Charles I had to pay her the amount of 410 millions escudos.

As a widow, Elise abandoned Sintra and settled with her daughter Alice and her daughter's husband, Manuel de Azevedo Gomes. She died of uremia on 21 May 1929 in Lisbon, Portugal. At her funeral, the dowager queen Amélie of Orléans and the ex-king Manuel II of Portugal were represented by the Viscount of Asseca.

photo by gerardo borbolla

Fragrance Composition:

So what did it smell like? It was blended with the odors of the flowers from Portugal and flowers of the mountains on which rises the old castle of Cintra. Mosses are abundantly found on the castle and its surroundings. Lavender is the national flower of Portugal so I imagine this odor would be present in the perfume. Other plants and flowers of the region include euphorbia, nettle, acacia, elderflower, myrtle, marigold, rockrose, pine, tangerine, mint, lime, reseda, oak, clover, orange blossom, cypress, mimosa, almond, pomegranate, quince, fig, arbutus and others. Any of these could have been used in the perfume.

photo by uxarts


Presented in the Carre flacon.

Fate of the Fragrance:

Discontinued, date unknown.

La Moda elegante ilustrada: periódico de las familias -, 1879:
 "El éxito de los productos de la casa Guerlain 15 rué de la Paix en Paris ha concluido de afirmarse en el pasado año Durante la Expos cion Universal como después de cerrada ésta Monsieur Guerlain ha visto duplicarse los pedidos de sus artículos merecida recompensa de un trabajo continuo y de experiencias renovadas sin cesar El bouquet de la Condesa Edla acaba de ser compuesto por el reputado perfumista á instancias de SM la Reina de Portugal con flores del vecino reino y la flora de las montañas sobre las cuales se eleva el antiguo castillo de Cintra residencia favorita de la Real familia portuguesa ha suministrado á Mr Guerlain la base del más exquisito de sus perfumes el extracto de Cintra Recomendamos particularmente el agua de Colonia de Guerlain de un perfum fresco y agradable y excelente para el uso diario Este odorífico líquido reúne ademas la cualidad de disipar el dolor de cabeza si se frotan con él las sienes."

"Successful products Guerlain 15 Rue de la Paix in Paris concluded to assert in the past year during the Universal Exhibition and after it closed, Monsieur Guerlain has seen orders double. Articles deserved reward for a continuous job and constantly renewed experience of the Bouquet de la Contesse d'Edla just been composed by renowned perfumer at the instance of Her Majesty the Queen of Portugal with flowers from the neighboring kingdom and flora of the mountains on which rises the old castle of Cintra, favorite residence of the Portuguese Royal family. Mr Guerlain has provided the basis of the most exquisite Cintra perfume extract particularly recommend Guerlain perfumed cologne, a cool and pleasant, and excellent for everyday use, this also brings the liquid quality odor dispel headache if rubbed his temples with it."

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