Hello and welcome! Please understand that this website is not affiliated with Guerlain in any way, it is only a reference page for collectors and those who have enjoyed the classic fragrances of days gone by.

The main objective of this website is to chronicle the history of the Guerlain fragrances and showcase the bottles and advertising used throughout the years.

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Aux Bon Vieux Temps c1890

Au Bon Vieux Temps by Guerlain: launched in 1890. Created by Jacques Guerlain. The name means "The Good Old Times" and recalls the scents of the old potpourri jars (sweet jars) found in homes and the heavy musk worn by so many in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a unisex, deep oriental chypre with violet, rose, (potpourri jar scents) and amber notes. It was described as very "musky".
  • Top notes: bergamot
  • Middle notes: violet, rose
  • Base notes: amber, oakmoss, labdanum, patchouli, musk

Sweet jars, or potpourri jars as we call them today often contained a mixture of dried flowers and spices, including rose, orange blossom, orris root, cinnamon, cloves, lavender, verbena, geranium, bay leaves, myrtle leaves, syringa blossoms, violet, carnation, nutmeg, lemon thyme, marjoram, benzoin, storax, Seville oranges stuck with cloves, jasmine, angelica root, laurel leaves, balm of Gilead, frankincense, myrrh, patchouli leaves, bergamot, mace, peppermint, sandalwood, heliotrope, mignonette, rosemary, allspice, anise, musk, and other flowers and herbs.

Country Life, 1902:
"In the foyer there was a whiff of Guerlain's Le Bon Vieux Temps that recalled a summer breeze laden with the hearts of flowers. It is I hear the latest pleasure of Madame la Mode."

Rapports, 1902:
"The list would be too long of all specialties of the Guerlain house dating from 1788. We only mention among the many products that contained his living room the old creations: Excellence, Héliotrope Blanc, Impérial russe, Pré d'automne, Eau de Cologne Impériale, la Poudre de Cypris, la pâte royale, and among all the recent creations La Gavotte, summer scent, very fresh, Jardin de Mon Curé, Le Bon Vieux Temps, l'eau de Cologne hégémonienne, l'Extrait de pot pourri aux plantes marines, Voilà pourquoi j'aimais Rosine.  All these fragrances were exposed on consoles and pedestal tables and presented for some naked to show the intrinsic value of the products. Guerlain manufactures exclusively luxury perfumery. 
Awards to previous exhibitions: 
  • medal, London 1862 
  • medal, Paris 1867 
  • hors concours, Jury Member, Paris 1878 
  • hors concours, Jury member, Antwerp 1885 
  • hors concours, Jury Member, Paris 1889 
  • Grand Prize, Brussels, 1897."

La Semaine de l'Hippique, 1903, 1903:
'What a delicious fragrance', my dear, said I, because she smelled of that delightful perfume Bon Vieux Temps that I recognized immediately, as I use it myself.
'Yes, yes, my own special mixture', she answered condescendingly......
"My congratulations on your taste, dear friend, it is quite simply perfect. Do you like mine?" I added, shaking out my lace handkerchief, also perfumed with Bon Vieux Temps.
"My goodness, yes" she murmured, blushing, caught in her own trap.
"And I can't even hide from you where I bought it because you know I only wear Guerlain." 

La Ilustración española y americana, 1903:
"GUERLAIN with his Bon Vieux Temps has solved a very difficult puzzle which consisted in giving us a perfume well accentuated according to present day taste whilst its penetrative power is subdued by the subtle suave and agreeably mild qualities of the odor itself. These are the rare distinguishing features which account for the immense vogue in which Bon Vieux Temps is held and which have caused it to be adopted wholesale by the Parisian aristocracy."

 The Atlantic, 1917:
"Here is another perfume with the charming name Le Bon Vieux Temps. Are there more words needed to create for you great grandmother's time with its potpourri jars and its hoopskirts its little elegancies and its faded sweetnesses?"

Stage, 1937:
"With his most respectful compliments Guerlain calls the attention of his fashionable customers to the following list of his productions Parfums pour le Vaporisateur : Eau de Cologne Hégémonienne, Quand vient l'été, Eau de Cologne,  Eau de Toilette Gardénia. ... Après l'Ondée, Sillage, Bon Vieux Temps, Jicky, Chypre de Paris, Tsao-Ko.. Sapoceti, savon pour la toilette. Crème de fraises."


Housed in the Empire flacon (parfum), the Louis XVI flacon (parfum), and the Goutte flacon (eau de toilette).

Fate of the Fragrance:

Relaunched in 1901 and renamed Le Bon Vieux Temps, and still sold in 1946. Discontinued.

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