The History Of Guerlain
"Glory is ephemeral, only distinction lasts."
- Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain, Founder, House of
Guerlain is one of the oldest perfume houses in the
world. Guerlain has a history of over 170 years and
has created perfumes and aftershaves for countless historical
figures and celebrities. These elites have flocked to
experience the traditional, quality and luxury of Guerlain
perfumes and aftershaves.
Guerlain perfumes have a distinctive and timeless quality
and are often said to be inspired by the scent of confections,
as a result of a common vanilla and amber accord in
many of their fragrances. This unique attribute is often
referred to as the "Guerlinade".
House of Guerlain has been a family run business
and was owned and managed by generations of the
Guerlain family from 1828 to 1994. More than 700
perfumes and aftershaves have been created by
Guerlain and many still survive today, even those
first created by Pierre-François Pascal
Guerlain, the first Guerlain perfumer.
Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his perfume
store on 42, rue de Rivoli in Paris in 1928. As a doctor
and chemist, he enjoyed immediate success thanks to
his revolutionary work, which led to many innovative
products and accolades.
Pierre-François composed and manufactured custom
fragrances with the help of his two sons, Aimé
and Gabriel. During this period Pierre-Francois established
the ethos of Guerlain, to make good products without
concessions in quality, an ethos which gained them ever
increasing numbers of clients and the patronage of members
in high society. This incredible early success allowed
Guerlain to open its flagship store at 15, rue de la
Paix in 1840, and put its mark on the Parisian fashion
of Guerlain's potential as a world leading perfume house
in this first generation was the creation of Guerlain
Eau de Cologne Imperiale in 1853. This
monumental fragrance was created in ode to Empress Euguine,
Napoleon's wife and on her first taste of this fragrance
she was seduced by its fresh and feminine charms. This
creation earnt Pierre-François the prestigious
title of being His Majesty's Official Perfumer in France,
which gave him an international name and commissions
to create perfumes for Queen Victoria of England and
Queen Isabella of Spain, amongst other royals.
Furthermore, Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain
was more than just a perfumer and had such a feel for
innovation and fashion that Guerlain became the first
to create scientifically based skincare, the first to
sell kohl eyeliner and mascara and in 1840, he introduced
the very first lipsticks.
With the death of Pierre-François in 1864, the
house was left to Aimé Guerlain and Gabriel Guerlain.
The roles of perfumer and manager were divided between
the two brothers, with Gabriel managing and further
expanding the house, and Aimé becoming the master
perfumer. Aimé was the creator of many classic
compositions, including Guerlain Fleur d'Italie (1884),
Guerlain Rococo (1887) and Guerlain Eau de cologne du
coq (1894). However, many would argue that his greatest
composition was Guerlain
Jicky is not only considered to be the first modern
fragrance through its invention of the now classic
3-tiered structure of head, heart, and base notes,
but also for the way in which it combined synthetic
notes with natural essences and went against the
traditional rigid categorisation of fragrances
The third generation of Guerlain perfumers were Gabriel
Guerlain's children, Jacques Guerlain and Pierre Guerlain.
Jacques became Guerlain's third master perfumer in line.
He was the author of many Guerlain classics, which are
still held in high esteem in the modern perfume industry.
The quality and timeless nature of these fragrances
is evident as most of his perfumes are still sold and
marketed today, a legacy that remains unmatched in the
changeable world of fragrance.
Jean-Paul Guerlain is currently Guerlain's master perfumer.
Under Jean-Paul's directorship the male fragrance lines
have been extended and embellished, to much acclaim.
Jean-Paul created Guerlain's classic men's fragrances
Vetiver (1959), Guerlain
Heritage and Guerlain
Habit Rouge (1965); the latter is considered
by many to be the first male oriental fragrance and
again affirms Guerlain's reputation for innovation.
This long-lasting and continuing success can be attributed
imagination, innovative and rigorous research, high-performance
production facilities where the human touch still has
its place, highly selective distribution, and meticulous
attention to the tiniest detail—these are the
strengths that have enabled Guerlain to enjoy phenomenal
international growth without ever losing sight of the
values it holds so dear.