George in Amber

George Sand

George Sand

Some folk leave a large sillage behind them.  They were not small characters try as they might to behave as though they were. The gale of life, as A.E. Housman wrote, blew high through them.  George Sand of course is a case in point.

It’s sort of too bad about George.  She was so famous in the 19th century for her writing and is now famous mostly for the unapologetic originality of her life.  She did not prosper at the career then considered appropriate for all women, marriage.  In her writing George has a great deal to say about bad marriages and the trouble they cause, and since she believed in the interconnectedness of human beings, the far reaching consequences of these troubles.  George was the first to point out that a society that is unhappy in its molecular form, is unhappy in the aggregate as well.

Georege Sand and Alfred de Musset

Georege Sand and Alfred de Musset

As to perfume George has been pegged as a wearer of amber.  I don’t know why. Possibly it’s the unisex quality of amber, or maybe one of her perfume recipes survives somewhere possibly at her home Nohant. In any event there are at least three versions of George’s perfume currently on the market, 1804 from Histoires de Parfums, George Sand from Maitre Parfumier et Gantier* and now this perfume from Nicolas de Barry also called George Sand.**

The perfume is one of the best from the set of samples I was sent by by the de Barry company and also one of the most lasting.  George is a a rich patchouli, amber, sandalwood and oud fragrance with lemon notes in the head.  There is also rose, which seems quite appropriate for George Sand romantic that she was.

George Sand: L'Amoureuse Nicolas de Barry

George Sand: L’Amoureuse
Nicolas de Barry

This kind of fragrance always runs the risk of treading on Opium territory and George does so but remains to my mind both more floral than Opium and also slightly more subtle.  This is a woody oriental that has something remarkably feminine about it, and I think the impression  might be due to what I do not see listed but smell,, namely a rose and aldehydic heart. The waxy aldehydic note reminds me of  George’s habit of scribbling her novels at night by candlelight, and gives the fragrance more delicacy and lift than you might expect from the list of ingredients.  Of the Nicolas de Barry scents I have smelled so far this one is my favorite.

The perfume manages to convey something of George’s career as a woman of passion, an adventuress.   But here, it’s clear that George’s heart ruled her head, and the subtitle of this perfume is L’Amoureuse which fits George the inveterate Lover very well.

I may not make it all the way through her novel Indiana, but I might well finish a bottle of this.  George would have understood the impulse.


* Undina has pointed out that in a Scented Hound post, old MPG perfumes are now credited to the Maison de Haute Parfumerie  Collection Nicolas de Barry label.  I stand corrected.

**Kafka of Kafkaesque has pointed out that there is a third George Sand inspired scent from Jardins d’Ecrivains: George, which she has reviewed.



Be Sociable, Share!

4 thoughts on “George in Amber

  1. Unless I’m mistaken, George Sand from Nicolas de Barry is the same perfume that had been sold previously under Maitre Parfumier et Gantier brand (see here). I tested it once before but haven’t revisited since then. It’ll be interesting to try it again.

    1. It did seem very similar to the Maitre Parfumier et Gantier perfume.
      Thanks for clearing up my confusion, which also means there are only two George Sand perfumes in production: 1804 and this one.

      This did remind me of Opium and I remember people saying about the MPG GS that it was Opium like, hm…I guess this figures.

  2. There is a third George Sand-inspired fragrance, too: Jardins d’Ecrivains George. It plays on her masculine/feminine sides by turning orange blossom dark and leathery with notes of heliotrope, tobacco, coffee (not really apparent on my skin), and other mixed elements.

    I was hugely annoyed, when reviewing it, to see some chap on Fragrantica make the most sexist, obnoxious comments about how no woman could wear George unless she were basically a caveman with hairy armpits and hairy legs who no man could possibly be attracted to. So obnoxious, not to mention untrue as the perfume is truly an equal blend of feminine and masculine notes. It’s actually a really lovely fragrance, and I think George herself would have liked it a lot.

    I have a sample of the original MPG George Sand scent, but I haven’t tried it. The fact that it is discontinued (and so hard to find in general) has put me off, as I don’t want to get frustrated if I like it. I hear it’s a great scent.

    I hope you try George one day, if only to complete your trip into G/S fragrances and to see how it stacks up as compared to the others in terms of embodying the essence of the woman herself. 🙂

    1. Who knew that George Sand was such a celebrity when it came to perfume? I mean I’ve always liked George (don’t you love Impromptu? Great film) but I’m surprised she’s such an inspiration for fragrances.

      Anyway, so now there are three George perfumes? JdE, 1804, and this George Sand. Okey dokey. I think that this de Barry one is pretty similar to the MPG GS because I did smell that and it was like a more rustic and more rose dominant Opium. However I do find your description of the JdE George pretty nice, coffee and tobacco sound appropriate notes for a writer who worked at night. I wonder if I’d catch more of the coffee?

      As to people thinking George was unattractively masculine like the poster you mentioned- they should look at her portrait. She’s stunning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *