I have yet to write the final instalment of the scented aspects of my Californian trip - at least I hope it is the final instalment, and I bet you do too! - but meanwhile I have just learnt officially of the sad demise of Guerlain Plus Que Jamais, and felt moved to write about that. Plus Que Jamais was the closest approximation to my Holy Grail Scent, and yet it is one I did not own. This is partly down to the extortionate retail price of knocking on for 300 euro for a 60ml bottle of the EDP, but may partly also have been an unconscious protest at Guerlain's absurd distribution policy. For you could buy Plus Que Jamais, along with other scents in the Exclusives line, in Paris and Montreal, but not in the UK. I have already vented my spleen about this in a previous post.
In my view, this latest news of the axing of Plus Que Jamais - to be known henceforward as "Plus Jamais" ("never more") - only confirms the folly of Guerlain's distribution policy. For I firmly believe that this scent, which had a foot in the both the vintage and modern Guerlain camps, as I mention in my other post about it, could have been a much bigger success.
"It has the trademark powdery trail of a classic Guerlain, but not cranked up to the max as with the sneezefest that is L'Heure Bleue. This is Guerlinade for the 21st century, which I would place in complexity somewhere between the behemoths of Mitsouko, L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar, and the rosy musk crowd-pleaser that is Idylle."
And I am not alone in thinking this - Marina of Perfumesmellingthings is another fan who believes Guerlain missed a major marketing opportunity with PQJ - see her full review here.
"Plus Que Jamais is the kind of scent, which, were Guerlain to release it for wide distribution alongside L’Instant and Insolence, could have become their biggest modern bestseller. There is nothing about it that 'an average customer' would not understand or like."
As well as opening up the distribution channels, they would probably have needed to bring the price point more within reach of the average customer to have truly kickstarted sales (and I am assuming of course that it IS lack of sales which has prompted the decision to discontinue PQJ). And maybe they couldn't have done that without compromising quality. But the other great classics like Mitsouko et al are all much more affordable ml for ml. So I don't know. But I do know that I am sad that Plus Que Jamais is no more, and I think Guerlain shot themselves in the foot there.
I should also give credit to my informant, my sister-in-law, Hazel, who was over in Paris last week, and whom I dispatched on a reconnaissance mission to Guerlain HQ. As well as finding out the current status on PQJ, she was also charged with the delicate task of tackling Guerlain staff about their non-commercialisation policy for 180 Ans de Création. Developed to commemorate 180 years of Guerlain scents, it is not unlike an innocuous version of Shalimar, which is probably why it appeals so much to me, the Queen of Bland and All Things Middle-Of-The-Road. This fragrance was never intended as a commercial release, but was given away to industry insiders and selected loyal customers. But some of us outsiders who have managed to get our hands on a small decant of it (thanks, lovethescents!) are disappointed at that decision too.
Interestingly, the sales assistant to whom my sister-in-law posed the question, was unaware of a scent called 180 Ans de Création, and pointed her instead in the direction of a boxed set, containing what Hazel described as a collection of Guerlain's "greatest hits". If it is the one pictured here, which retails in the US for a staggering $3,750 a pop, I think it may not be long before this release too is quietly withdrawn...
But going back to Plus Que Jamais, I think those who love it as much as I do should get together and lobby for its reinstatement. Not so much a case of "Guerlainade" as a call to arms for urgent Guerlain-AID.
Photo of Plus Que Jamais from fragrantica.com, photo of Père-Lachaise cemetry from theage.com.au, photo of Guerlain's commemorative scent collection from bergdorfgoodman.com