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Originally launched in 1936, Véga, was the second Guerlain fragrance created by Jacques Guerlain to get in on the aldehydic floral craze created years earlier by Chanel No. 5. In 2006 it was recreated by Jean-Paul Guerlain for the launch of the newly renovated Guerlain store at the Champs-Élysées in Paris, but the changes weren’t dramatic. This is the version I have and love.

Jacques Guerlain, I learned, was fascinated by astronomy, so much so that in 1936 he created Véga - a floral aldehyde inspired by and named for Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra and one of the most luminous stars in the sky. Ptolemy considered Vega a beneficial star that gives refinement and mobility to those it influences, but also wantonness and immodesty. Guerlain knew how to take those exact same qualities and put them in an axis-shifting perfume.

Let me start with the opening. Fizzy aldehydes are right there with bergamot and orange blossom giving it a crisp floral start. There’s a fatty/soapy note here too, but overall the effect is luminous – the top notes that reveal a rich floral heart rather than yield to it. The heart - I can’t get enough of the heart notes - jasmine and ylang ylang, warm, wanton and narcotic pierced with metallic carnation. Oh, but wait, there’s rose too, a velvety, dark, rich note of rose. And then, just then, vanilla comes forward, and creamy and soft, it runs like a sweet thread through the scent while amber warms it up. Then there is the iris - powdery and dirty it gives Véga an animalic dimension, with a subtle woodines from rosewood and sandalwood, making the drydown sophisticated, dark and just dirty enough for whatever you have in mind.

And, by the way, I own the EdT and it is potent enough. I think I’d burst into a supernova if I wore a higher concentration.

Notes: aldehydes, bergamot and orange blossom. Heart: jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, blackcurrant blossom, carnation, iris and rosewood. Base: vanilla, sandalwood and amber.

Type: EdT

Parfumeur: Jacques Guerlain and Jean-Paul Guerlain

Price: $6.00