Derby was originally launched in 1985 and reformulated in 2005. Over the years, it has been available, then unavailable, then available, then available only in Paris, which can make it a trial to getting your hands on a bottle.
My bottle is from 2010.
The first time I smelled it was on a Sales Associate at the Guerlain store on the Champs-Élysées, and it immediately brought my father to mind. That first sniff so resonated with me that Derby became my ideal scent expression of what a man smells like.
Derby opens with a note of sweet orange blossom, bracketed with a bite of bergamot and a note of herbal artemesia. It smells familiar - well, it is a chypre - and comforting. Notes of pepper and nutmeg rise from my skin, heating things up with their spicy warmth. Then, shazam! Rose, lush and full, along with exotic, intoxicating jasmine adds a floral opulence that takes Derby from the familiar to the unexpected, chypre or no. But it is at the base where Derby really distinguishes itself with sandalwood blended deftly with patchouli, leather, musk and oakmoss, creating one of the best dry downs I know.
The Guerlain website says that Derby is the signature of assertive masculinity through a daring, impetuous and sophisticated fragrance. Sophisticated and daring but strikingly beautiful as well.
Derby is one of the great masculine fragrances of modern times. Period.
Inspired by the Roman-built El Djem amphitheatre in Tunisia, try it and see if you can’t make a little history.
Notes: orange blossom, bergamot, artemesia, pepper, nutmeg, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, patchouli, leather, musk and oakmoss.