Guerlain Chamade: Surrender? In a Heartbeat!

When I started thinking about this post, I couldn’t remember the exact occasion when Chamade came into my life. I have a documented evidence of the time when I didn’t have a single bottle of Guerlain perfume in my collection and was looking for guidance and inspiration from my readers. Then in the post that I published just a week later to report the success of my search, I mentioned that Chamade was the most recommended perfume by my readers and that I liked it and considered it as a “back-up” purchase should I have not found something even more desirable. So I assume that Chamade won me over lighting fast (“in perfume years”, I mean). Looking back I think that I might have gone for Chamade for my-first-Guerlain-perfume quest (instead of Cruel Gardenia, which I still love), had I seen in that Las Vegas boutique the real Chamade bottle and not the standard square store tester. But once I saw it several months later, the resistance was futile.

There are many great reviews for Chamade out there, so if you somehow missed the story of the perfume, both romantic and not so much connotations of the name, origin of the bottle, revolutionary use of some ingredients and a lot more, I want to refer you to the comprehensive six-part series published on Perfume Shrine (start here), concise but informative entry on Monsieur Guerlain‘s site and poetic (and useful if you’re curious about different reformulations of this perfume) 5-star review on Bois de Jasmin.

I’m positive that I tried the EdT version at some point but since my heart was taken by the modern extrait, I’ve never pursued real testing of any other concentrations or vintages. Chamade extrait feels very refined, elegant and poised. And the bottle… Even after I already had the real one in my collection, I couldn’t pass a vintage mini bottle in an antique shop. Since the perfume in the mini was slightly off, first I used the bottle in my Thinking Outside the Box project. But recently I found an even better use for it.

Chamade & Zen Garden

For many-many years I pondered the idea of getting a desk Zen garden. The problem was that, while I liked the idea, I’d never seen any of them in real life, so fearing disappointment, I kept postponing an Internet purchase in hope to come across it in a B&M store one day. When I started in the new office earlier this year, I decided that after a leap of faith I’d taken with that move, I was desensitized enough to take a risk with Zen garden kit that I had in my Amazon wish list for the last decade.

The set that arrived promptly was exactly like I imagined it! I unpacked everything, raked sand into some waves and circles, and carefully placed six rocks and two plastic cranes that came in the box in some deeply meaningful arrangement. I was happy probably for a couple of weeks. But then those plastic cranes started annoying me: they felt completely foreign – wrong size, poor liking and, in general, too much “made in China.” And then I figured out that I didn’t have to be limited by the original kit – and that was when the fun really began.

Chamade & Zen Garden

I think Chamade looks very zen in my garden.

Images: my own

40 thoughts on “Guerlain Chamade: Surrender? In a Heartbeat!

  1. I see what you did there….:)

    I am not sure which version of Chamade I have – I have a couple in fact – but it is such a cheerful fragrance I should get it out more often. Your zen garden looks very calming, and I think I also recognise the provenance of one of the cats!

    • If you’re talking about Chamade being cheerful, I suspect you have the EdT version of it :)
      I think the cat on the picture that seems familiar is a relative of the one that I got from you (but that one is black and white and I’ve already featured it in another setup of this garden – I might publish it or one of the future arrangements one day).

  2. I can’t believe that I have never sampled Chamade. How’s that possible…but now I must. As for your zen garden, I like that for the office…but I can imagine that I would somehow manage to muck things up by spilling all of the sand on my keyboard or some other such nonsense.

    • I think you’ll like Chamade, maybe not to the extend to want to wear it but to appreciate the composition (though, in my opinion, it’s not feminine to the extreme where it requires any courage for a man to wear it).
      As to the Zen garden, I keep it far enough from the keyboard. So if I spill my morning cup of coffee, only the keyboard is at risk ;)

  3. I love that taking a risk with your career inspired you take another much smaller one with this zen garden. It paid off too! I’m sure it will continue to evolve.

    I wish I had bought the extrait instead of the edp but maybe one day.

    • I didn’t even know the EdP version existed until I read your review. I think it’s not sold in the U.S.

      I keep playing with the garden and I have at least a couple more ideas. I’ll be probably sharing the results with my readers from time to time.

  4. I have never tried Chamade either but i’m sure i will get round to it one day. Just a quick comment on your zen garden. I have worked with a larger version of this in Sandtray therapy, where the therapist invites the client to pick from a myriad of minature figures and place them in the sand. The whole process tells a story and the therapist and client talk about this. It basically helps to bring the unconscious to the surface and make sense of stuff. I’m sure your zen garden has the same calming qualities – don’t be afraid to ‘play’ with it.

    • So far the main players in my garden were four cats, a heart-shaped candy (Valentine’s theme) and a heart-shaped bottle of perfume. I wonder what it says about my subconscious? ;)

      • Ha! I will let you answer your own question…. but it looks like a lot of love going on there. I do like the little pattern that you have drawn in the sand in the middle of the tray! You have now put me in the mood to get my own zen garden ,,,, i look forward to analyzing my own creations soon!

        • Thank you! I tried to do some liking of a bottle’s pattern – not sure if it’s obvious :)

          You should definitely do your own Zen garden! And then post pictures on your blog (if you decide to start it). Or I can invite you to one of the next posts I do in future when I have more pictures of my garden to share.

  5. Hello dear.
    Just like Houndie – I have never sampled Chamade but basing on the way you write about it, it must be a special perfume that I should try when I get a chance. So nice you could get a vintage mini bottle, even if it starts to be off. Was it a cheap thrill?
    Love your zen garden. And that bottle is so suitable there. You had a clever idea.
    By the way I always wanted to have a table top mini bonsai tree

    • Hi Lucas!
      I’m less surprised with you not trying it: the combination of your age and availability of this perfume where you live explain this omission. I hope you’ll get a chance to try it. I don’t remember if you like No 19, but if you do, you’ll like this one. Not that they smell alike, but I think of Chamade as of equivalent of No 19 for Guerlain.
      The mini was cheap: as much as I like the bottle, after paying almost a full price for the regular bottle, I wouldn’t have splurged on a too expensive decorative piece.

  6. Chamade was my first Guerlain love, at college I used to go and spray Chamade at the department store as I could not affordable to buy it. Don’t like it so much anymore as I used to, I have a bottle of modern extrait which I barely use. Have you tried Jardins de Bagatelle? Love your little Zen Garden.

    • So creative Undina. Great post. I have only recently fallen for Chamade. My sister wore it in the seventies though. I located a 30ml Extrait in Vienna but want the 15ml. I could order it but would sooner buy it in person. I can be patient. I have some of Tara’s EdP, which triggered this actually. The EdT is really lovely too. 💜

    • Thank you! It brings me joy, and I’m glad that others liked it as well.

      I tried Jardins de Bagatelle probably 7-8 years ago and I don’t think I liked it much then though, if I’m not mistaken, I did like it more than Shalimar and Mitsouko, which I tried then for the first time as well.
      I have some perfumes that I used to love but rarely use nowadays. But I still want to have them and wear from time to time.

  7. I absolutely love the bottle design for Chamade but I’ve never tested the juice! I will remedy that the next time I get near a Guerlain counter. I love your mini bottle and it fits perfectly with your zen garden. I used to have a zen garden in my bedroom when I was growing up. My little brother and sister would always sneak in to play with it – the sand got pretty messy!

    • I’m surprised how many people haven’t tried Chamade. I hope you’ll find it (at least in EdT form) at a Guerlain counter though sometimes you have to ask them since it’s not one of the current favorites.

  8. I think I’ve only tried EDT but, yes, I surrender too. :D I love wearing it especially in spring to early summer.
    I used to have a little Zen garden like yours too. I loved playing with it but when we decided to move to another country, I gave it away to my friend. I hope she is playing with it too. ;)

  9. It looks like we found our next sand artist! Nice tableau! A decade in your Amazon Wish List!!! I had a zen garden half the size of yours…way before I fell into the rabbit hole. I kept mine in the office and co-workers used it to relieve stress as I did. I left it in the office with a major move. Is yours at home or in the office? If at home, how do you keep Rusty away from it?

    • No Zen at home! Rusty wouldn’t tolerate it, I’m sure.
      A decade is probably not the longest time: spontaneous I’m not, if you haven’t noticed ;)

  10. I was just going to ask how Rusty deals with your Zen garden, when I saw your answer to magpie. :-)
    I have the edp which I love for spring and a vintage extrait in a delft canister. Although the bottle is gorgeous, it is actually great because Chamade extrait is notorious for not keeping well, as opposed to nearly all other Guerlains. I have t tried the new extrait but am sure it’s equally wonderful.

  11. I love how the pattern in the sand reflects the pattern on the bottle! I also love the idea of a scented zen garden, though maybe that would get to be too much on some days.

    • Thank you, Nemo!
      Scented Zen garden is an interesting idea but I should probably limit my co-workers’ exposure to my perfumes by only those that I wear :)

  12. I love the zen garden, the mirroring of the circles in the sand and bottle. And the little animals from collection are perfect.
    I wonder if you have heard of the jungian therapy that consists of a big sand table with a large selection of miniatures. The seeker chooses the objects and arranges them in the sand, and the guide/therapist talks with them. Often used with children. I had a friend who used this in her practice and I was mesmerized by the tiny room she had with the sand table and a wall of shelves filled with miniatures.
    it would be interesting to do this with scent…
    Well, great post! Thanks!

    • Thank you!

      I’ve never heard of that type of therapy but I would love to play with something like that! I can see how it can be both therapeutic and revealing. It would be interesting to do an experiment with scents, I agree – just not in the office, I think.

  13. I love Chamade for use in spring, I have the EdP and never tried the extrait. Chamade is more cheerful than some other green scents and seems to fit most occasions. I wish the perfume strength was available here, but I have only seen the EdT at the local Guerlain counter. That’s natural since most customers are looking for light scents anyway,

    • I’m glad you enjoy Chamade too because it was very unexpected for me that so many people hadn’t tried it yet.
      Extrait has less projection than EdT, I think, so it might be acceptable even among those who prefers light scents.

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