Blog post by Gwen

1986 Éclectique – exciting and sexy and so much more

Sometimes the perfume gods smile upon us. It happened to me last autumn when I was in Paris. I was at perfume mecca Jovoy on the day 1986 Éclectique, from French niche line Les Bains Guerbois, was launched. One sniff and I was smitten, learning that Bertrand Duchaufour signed it, I was in love.

The Spa Les Bains Guerbois was founded in Paris, in 1885, by François Auguste Guerbois. This private thermal bathhouse soon attracted a clientele that included Parisian high society, artists like Manet, Monet, and Proust and local workers from nearby Les Halles, making it the place to be and to be seen. But times changed and the popularity of Spa Les Bains Guerbois waned.

Then, in 1978, the Spa Les Bains Guerbois was given a second life when it was redesigned by Philippe Starck and reborn as Les Bains Douches. It quickly became one of the most legendary nightclubs in the world. This is the era that 1986 Éclectique celebrates. The Les Bains Guerbois website sets the scene for the inspiration for the fragrance: ‘Nighttime. A procession of taxis. Amber lights. Car doors slam shut. At the foot of the stoop of Les Bains, they stir, and cluster. Leather jackets, double-breasted suits, ripped jeans, endless necklines, eighteen-, thirty-, sixty-year-olds. Presiding over the stairs, Marilyn selects. Who will she take from the street to create the eclectic tribe inside the wildest Parisian nightclub? Hearts beat. “Come in, yes, you. Enjoy your evening. Not you. It’s not gonna happen tonight.” You climb the steps, and then descend the arena.’ The tingle of anticipation, the thrill of being part of the scene, the excitement - it’s all in a bottle of 1986 Éclectique.
The excitement begins with a lively, fresh note of sharp, herbaceous davana. As it settles, the davana sweetens and is fortified with sweet, juicy apple and mandarin orange. Cardamom and black pepper counterbalance the succulent fruits with a warm spiciness. Then the davana reveals its dried fruit aspect, taking sweetness to the heart where out of nowhere comes a boozy note that’s heady, hazy, and exhilarating from the pulsating spiciness. This is set up against geranium and sweet, powdery-laced honey, which give 1986 Éclectiq sophistication and refinement. Broom, hay-like with neroli and leather facets, links the florals to a note of leather. It’s the smell of a well-worn, sweaty/sweet leather jacket. This jacket has the clandestine sexiness of a nightclub veteran and smells like it, thanks to honey and notes of warm clove and herbaceous clary sage. Hints of booze cling to the leather, and the scent of tobacco floats around it too. We’re at the base now, and it is intense. Tobacco rich and warm is here in full force; its caramel aspect heightened by sweet amber. Earthy, woody patchouli and oakmoss are dark and rich and add depth, just as mate reinforces the herbaceousness that runs through the scent. As it starts to drydown opoponax adds a smokey sensuality, while musk picks up the powdery aspect of the amber rounding out this sexy fragrance that lingers for hours and hours on my skin.

The beauty of 1986 Éclectique is the excitement that is created through contrasts, like floral sophistication and refinement mingling with the scents of well-worn leather, but the genius of this fragrance is that it evokes a particular time and place while it remains timeless - now that's impressive.
Check out 1986 Éclectique in our Shop.