Jicky: purchasing my priciest perfume


This post is a little bit of a follow-up to my previous one, which contained a mini-rant about the skyrocketing price points on the niche fragrance market, in particular. The difficult thing about it is: perfumery is an art. It truly is. But the fragrance industry is a business. Art and business are always tough to reconcile when questions of value and worth arise. It’s all good fun smelling beautiful creations from the likes of Kilian and Amouage. It’s not always so fun when it comes time to make a purchase.

I thought I would share my own experience with purchasing the most expensive fragrance I own: Jicky in the parfum extrait. I first encountered Jicky when I was in New York with my grandparents. I was lucky, we were staying at the Waldorf, where there’s a Guerlain boutique in the lobby. I first tested the Jicky EdT and fell in love with the stark, shimmering lavender note. I didn’t yet know the history behind Jicky or that there was a parfum extrait. I just knew that I was magnetically drawn what I was smelling, and that I needed to keep smelling it.

Over the course of the next few months I did a lot of reading up on Jicky. I read every review I could find online. I learned about the extrait, the bottle design, the (likely invented) story of Aimé Guerlain and his first love. My reading also taught me a lot about the history of Guerlain in general. It was exhilarating in a way, learning so much about the history of perfumery. It made me hungry to try more from Guerlain. It also made me desperately want to *purchase* more from Guerlain, which I’m sure makes the business execs happy to hear.

Fast forward several more months. I had now been accepted to grad school. I should’ve been saving my money. Instead, I took a weekend trip to New York and made a beeline straight for the beauty department at Bergdorf’s. I walked right over to the Guerlain counter (which is strangely sort of hidden away in a corner) and announced to the sales associate that I wanted to purchase Jicky.

I had a wavering moment of panic, as the sales associate produced the luxe gold box that houses the parfum extrait. Surely I should ask for the canister EdT bottle? Well, yes, I should have done that! But I was swayed by the decadence of it all. Instead I reached for my wallet and paid $300 plus tax for my prize, my treasure, my very own bottle of Jicky.

Immediately upon leaving Bergdorf’s, my phone rang with a call from my bank wanting to know if I had just made a $300 purchase in New York City myself, or if my card had been stolen.

What did I learn from this experience? Notify my bank ahead of time when I’m traveling. Don’t spend $300 on a fragrance when you should be planning for grad school. Also, that it’s simply not necessary to own every single perfume, even when you feel that magnetic pull of “I want this.”

I still own my bottle of Jicky and I absolutely love it, and probably fawn over it more than is normal. I still wear it. I will always wear Jicky in some form. Jicky is a piece of art, and a piece of Guerlain history. I’m really lucky to own it. But is any fragrance worth over $300? The Guerlain parfums are $350, and I feel like they could (and will) go even higher with that price point. All I can say is, I hope that I’m a little wiser with age now. And I hope that I can balance that sense of wisdom and responsibility with my passion for perfume.

4 thoughts on “Jicky: purchasing my priciest perfume

  1. Amen. That is all I can say. Amen. Even if I were fortunate enough to win lotto I don’t think I would ever feel comfortable paying the exorbitant prices that are being charged nowadays for some of the niche perfumes, especially when we all know that most of the stuff that is out there costs pennies (or at most a few dollars) to make. Chanel is also notorious for high prices and to be honest, while some of the exclusives are nice for me they are not swoon worthy enough to justify the significant recent increase in price. Food on the table or a bottle of perfume? I would rather eat 🙂

    I have come to realize recently that I can be just as satisfied with a drugstore or discontinued fragrance that sells online for a reduced price. There is SO MUCH OUT THERE in a highly saturated market that there is plenty for me to enjoy and appreciate without breaking the bank.

    Caitlyn, thank you so much for this post and for reminding us about the fine balance between passion and pragmatics.

    1. I think everyone is unhappy with Chanel and the Exclusifs right now. This whole business of reformulating the Exclusifs from EdTs to EdPs is so blatantly a cash grab. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth (and the nose).

      You’re right, there are just SO MANY options these days in the fragrance world. I’ve noticed even stores like Target and Kohl’s carrying a wider selection of perfumes. If brands want to charge $600 a bottle, that’s their choice. But I think the majority of consumers will find what they want elsewhere.

  2. I’m glad that you got that Jicky bottle. Why? Not just because it’s a beautiful perfume (which it is!). But I think that it prevented you from making the same mistake as many perfume enthusiasts are making again and again: buying multiple “cheap thrills,” “bargains” and “nice perfumes” instead of spending the same amount of money on one bottle that might be really worth it.

    At this point of my life theoretically I could probably buy any of “regular” perfume bottles (as an opposite to bespoke, one-of-a-kind, gemstone-encrusted bottles, etc.). But most of the perfumes that I test and like and wouldn’t mind to wear are not worth for me more than $150-$220. I actually would love to find perfume, which I’d love so much that I would consider paying more: it would mean that I found a new love.

    1. I never thought about it, but you’re probably right. Cheap thrills are fun but, at the time, I couldn’t afford to purchase any other perfumes for awhile after getting Jicky. Not even a bargain! Also I was so satisfied with what I had gotten, I wasn’t feeling that desire to buy anything else.

      I hope you find a new perfume love, but I do not hope that it’s super expensive!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.