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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Liu c1929

Liu: created in 1929 by Jacques Guerlain.

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is classified as an aldehydic floral fragrance for women.
  • Top notes: aldehydes
  • Middle notes: orange blossom, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang
  • Base notes: vanilla, sandalwood, amber

I tested a vintage 1990s sample and it started off with sharp aldehydes, then the jasmine and ylang ylang became more prominent followed by a drydown of vanilla and a woodsy note.

Harper's Bazaar, 1931:
"Liu whispers that her jests lack joy . . . that the sorrows of sophistry — dark as Erebus — cloud her heart. Yet for her glamour and her gallantry Liu is hers — by the genius of Guerlain."


The original presentation, in a black bottle known as the Tabatiere (snuff bottle) decorated with a gold label is inspired by Chinese tea caddies from the eighteenth century, designed by Raymond Guerlain and made by Cristalleries de Baccarat, design #679.

Flacon Tabatiere (Snuff) c1927-1972

Bottle designed by Bernard D'Escayrac (the then Vice President of Guerlain, Inc in New York) and produced by Baccarat to hold extraits of Liu. The bottle was molded after a Chinese snuff bottle and was made only in black crystal. Bottle also made by Pochet et du Courval over the years.

  • 80cc/80ml/2.7 oz - 7.8cm (limited edition of only 6000 Single copies, often unsigned) 

Pochet et du Courval:
  • 30cc/30ml/1 oz - 5.9cm/2.32" (1934, export version) 
  • 40cc/40ml/1.35 oz - 6.4cm/2.52" (1937) 
  • 80cc/80ml/2.7 oz - 7.8cm/3.07" - changed to 75ml/2.5 oz limited edition of 3000 copies (1994) 
  • 125cc/125ml/4.2 oz - 9cm/3.54" 
  • 250cc/250ml/8.4 oz - 11cm/4.33"

Presented in the Tabatiere flacon (parfum), the Montre flacon (eau de cologne), the Goutte flacon (eau de toilette), the quadrilobe flacon (parfum), the Amphore flacon (parfum), the parapluie flacon (parfum), the flacon de guerre (parfum) and various spray flacons over the years, also available in the ancillaries: talcum powder, lotion vegetale, stilboide fluide, soap, bath oil, etc.

photo by Rago Arts

vintage bottles of Liu, photo by bumchik

Fate of the Fragrance:

Still available for sale in the 1950s. Discontinued (date unknown).

In 1994, it was reissued as a limited edition in its original tabatiere bottle, but the juice was reformulated with modern notes of bergamot, neroli, jasmine, rose de mai, iris, amber, vanilla, woods.(75ml parfum). Then it was discontinued.

From Guerlain:
"The exotic inspired Shalimar, is a strong trend of the first quarter of the century. -Art Deco -introduces the taste of the addition, research; Asia fascinates as much as we gradually discover Japan, whose openness to the West began in the era Meiji period, at the end of the 19th century. Japanese and Chinese female silhouettes, and their clothes to straight cuts, will influence the Western fashion designers and artists, beginning with Puccini and Madame Butterfly.

The opera Turandot will confirm this fascination with Asian heroines, their sense of the sublime and the sacrifice, with the character of Liu. This young servant in love with Prince Calaf will prefer to die rather than reveal his nickname: -Love- It is in homage to this figure who embodies the virtues of women's only Jacques Guerlain created in 1929, the perfume Liu. Its Baccarat bottle, black glass, inspired by a Chinese tea box that once belonged to the Guerlain family, contains a delicately floral and powdery perfume."

In 2005, it was reissued as a limited edition in its original tabatiere bottle, but the juice was reformulated. It is classified as a green floral fragrance for women.
  • Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, neroli
  • heart notes: rose de mai, jasmine 
  • Base notes: vanilla, woods, iris, amber

From Guerlain:
"Liu is one of the Exclusive Collections, fragrances for perfume enthusiasts rare, sensitive to the noble materials and the refinement of the details. The Exclusive Collections are available in France exclusively in Parisian Guerlain Boutiques and now on your online shop Guerlain.  
A great lover of opera, Jacques Guerlain could only mesmerized by Puccini's Turandot. Difficult to resist the charm of Liu, a beautiful heroic wife, for whom he composed this poem olfactory aldehydes interpret one of their best roles. They dominate the head and announce such cymbals, the entrance to the rose and jasmine deploying brilliantly fresh air of sensuality. As a musical work, the fragrance has to have a calm and voluptuous extension. Pari held because very soon gives vanilla its carnal accents to those of the iris and wood.  
The fragrance is magnified in the iconic bottle with "Bees" in a proprietary format of 125ml.  Reissue of 1929.  Floral aldehyde. Rare, feminine, timeless. 
  • Top notes: aldehydes  
  • Heart notes: rose, jasmine 
  • Base notes: vanilla, woody, iris
After L'Heure Bleue which introduced for the first time aldehydes in the composition of perfumes, Jacques Guerlain again uses these synthetic molecules to compose Liu. A timeless and legendary fragrance, in which aldehydes are "singing white flowers".

It now only exists as an Eau de Parfum in the exclusive 'Les Parisiennes' collection, housed in a 125 ml bee bottle.

"A great lover of opera, Jacques Guerlain created Liu as an homage to Turandot in 1929. Liu was a beautiful and desirable young woman who, even under torture, will not reveal the secret of her master's name: Love ... Real poem dedicated olfactory femininity."

In 2012, Guerlain released, the Liu Perfumed Shimmer Powder for Face and Body (37.5g),
"The star product of the Guerlain Liu Christmas collection, this show-stopping, limited edition loose powder dresses the body with sensuality. Drawing its inspiration from Jacques Guerlain's iconic Liu Eau de Parfum from the 1920's, this precious beauty ritual softly illuminates the body with a mysterious, refined and festive air. The black lacquered bottle is a talisman all of its own. Styled in the image of the original Liu perfume bottle, which in turn was inspired by traditional Japanese tea trays, this legendary fragrance is transformed into a desirable objet d'art."

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