Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette 
Guerlain (1933)

Average Rating:  90 User Reviews

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Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

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About Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

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Guerlain
Fragrance House

Named after the novel of the same name by poet and aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The perfume is "a tribute to women who like to take risks."

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

There are 90 reviews of Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette by Guerlain.


Muted shades of green and mauve, flecks of gold light, Vol de Nuit EDT is one that I've worn more than once on an introspective walk, setting the mood for when I'm feeling a bit wistful and vulnerable in the heart. A cool narcissus precedes a flash of galbanum, but what really is the spirit of the composition is this tender, warm, starchy iris. There is almost a cacao-like quality as it merges with the Guerlainade vanilla that runs from the heart through the base of the composition.

The gossamer quality of the EDT is what makes it so alluring to me, as if to pique yearning. It is just out of reach, haunting, like echoes from the past that bring a tear to the eye, as we know they inevitably fade from memory, until we ourselves cease to exist. As the Grass Roots once sang, "live for today." I am impressed with the oakmoss feel in spite of restrictions, it really is convincing and quite lovely at the very dry down, feeling almost gilded and opalescent.

I just had an epiphany: this dry down reminds me of the smell of a velvet-lined jewelry box my mother had when I was young. Now that is illumination through scent memory. I miss you, Mom.


My 2000 Review !

Fragrance for green-eyed witch,from a time long, long gone,when perfume was a companion and not a commodity.If Chanel 19 was a character in a silent film,Magie Noir,a gothic antihero,Bandit, a silver screen diva and Estée Lauder Youth Dew, a star in a Technicolor film,Vol de Nuit is the heroine in a great opera.vintage wow.a miracle in perfumery.like Shalimar,this is one of the great perfumes,suitable only for the ultimate seductive woman.this is a magnificent chypre that will take you back to silk dressing gowns,bakelite cigarette holders with rhinestones, smoky eyes and the mysterious look of the pencil-eyebrows of the 1930's. intimidating?of course.only in a cock of the eyebrow manner.this is not a sinister perfume.it is tperfume for the strong.Guerlain should forget all the obnoxious Mon,Le Petite Robe Noire... all these unremarkable flankers, clones of other already exciting fragrances and relaunch this absolute beauty.

Vol de Nuit,along with Miss Dior and Bandit:The queen mother to all the green/floral/chypres.this fragrance was quite innovative at the time. sharp,crisp aldehydic opening with green galbanum predominating, probably some bergamot.yes,the main culprit is galbanum,a note so common in classic perfumery,yet so rare nowadays.the melody itself is carried from the off by a charming iris that is filled out in the heart by a string section of narcissus with some support from attendant aromatics.the dry down is cool,dry,mossy freshness with a low glowing vegetal funk without smelling dirty.Vol de Nuit is the olfactory equivalent of lacy lingerie hidden underneath a from-fitting yet proper black dress and a stand of pearls.i imagine being stuck in some perverted Salvador Dali painting, surreal and sexual.Black Opium,Good Girl-these are all scents that will come and go.and VDN will outlive them all.she is sure of herself and has never needed to seek the approval of others, especially not the mass market.


I'm testing 80's vintage EDT.

This is a trip, because it's basically everything I associate with the best of old Guerlain, all happening at once and swirling in and out of focus. As such, it's really hard to explain.

It's got that spiced dough from Mitsouko/L'Heure Bleue, and the plasticky lavender poop of Jicky/Shalimar. It's got the greasy tarragon and greens of Chamade, and it all happens under a heavy cloud of benzoin baby powder.

This is a fun one to get to know because it never smells like the same thing twice, as the many themes interplay with and contradict each other. Sometimes it smells herbal, or green, or golden, or leathery, or spicy, or ambery. The only consistent thing is the heavy powder over everything.

This fully deserves a thumbs up - it's the kind of classic perfume masterwork that defines the best of the genre. That being said, if you're not into powdery classics, you'll probably dislike this. Personally, I wrote it off for years because I couldn't handle the powder/poop combination. This is definitely a smell I had to grow into and discover once I was ready for it.


A lot of people attribute the mastery of perfume Jacques Guerlain possessed to earlier classics like L'Heure Bleue (1912), Mitsouko (1919) or even the roaring 20's standard of Shalimar (1925), but to me his mastery was never more apparent than it is in Vol de Nuit (1933). The story goes that Vol de Nuit was inspired by the novel of the same name (titled "Night Flight" for English readers) by Jacques' friend Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, with a strong theme of the perfume being women in aviation, but more specifically flying through the cold of night. Because of this, Guerlain had to somehow capture the essence of cold air across aluminum wings, the dark expanse of ocean and forest below an aircraft traveling thus, and capture a strong female character "in a man's world" like aviation was at the time. By the way, he had to somehow do all this with the standard materials of the day, which did not include all the aromachemicals, captive molecules, and isolates from raw materials that perfumers in the 21st century have at their disposal, and also include the house "Guerlinade" accord somewhere in the mix. To say Jacques Guerlain's work was cut out for him is quite an understatement, but he somehow delivered in Vol de Nuit. Something like this may be hard to wear functionally in the 21st century, with the focus of modern perfume being on when it it appropriate to use (e.g. sport fragrances) or to earn social proof via compliments and sexual advance, but a die-hard individualist needs not context nor "purpose" for perfume. The kind of person wearing Vol de Nuit nowadays is likely not wanting nor caring for the attention from strangers.

I've smelled both modern EdT and a toilette from a 1989, and while differences exist, they are thankfully more alike than not. I have not smelled any extant parfum de toilettes, colognes, or eau de parfums if they exist, but have tried extrait; the latter being appropriately more dense and rich. The opening of Vol de Nuit comes across sweet, powdery, and tart with a familiar blend of bergamot, lemon, orange blossom, and petitgrain in the top. Anyone who has smelled classic perfumery from the first half of the 20th century will get this opening. Vol de Nuit quickly shifts into white florals for the initial transition to the heart, where a very old-school arrangement of daffodil, narcissus, violet, carnation, jasmine, and rose resides. These florals do the usual seamless Guerlain blending, especially when that almost gourmand-like "Guerlinade" enters the picture. What's funny here is a sharp galbanum note surfaces, but not in the top as you might expect; it does however provides a metallic gleam in this context when buttressed between sweet citrus, powdery florals, and a chypre base beneath. Oakmoss and orris butter mix with leathery castoreum to make a dry chypre savon accord that continues to sharpen and get a bit cold into the final dry down, smoothed by benzoin, vanilla, and rounded with spice (moreso in Extrait). Ambergris shows up last with a breathy musky facet but the chilled air aspects remain, with little sweetness beyond the vanilla and lingering "Guerlinade". Wear time is over eight hours (longer in extrait), and sillage can be terribly strong in the toilette formats, so be careful. Overall, this may not give your nose a feeling of air through plane propellers, but it does have an uncanny "coolness" you'd not expect from these materials.

Vol de Nuit is a statement perfume, at least as much of one as can be seen by 21st century eyes that have disdain for antique floral chypre arrangements, and probably reads very feminine due to the powder and floral aspects through the mid. I personally think the powdery leather takes after Knize Ten (1924) or informs the later English Leather (1949), but that's just me. The chypre finish reads dandy to my nose so a man could wear this with some confidence, and otherwise this is for the strong women that fancy themselves like Hélène Boucher or Marlene Deitrich. Suggested use would be fall through spring, as in summer this may wear too heavy, and since your tolerance of reformulations may depend on the prescription strength of your nostalgia goggles, you may want to sample it first if it's the modern route you take. I personally see this as a huge artist achievement since Guerlain basically made a bold and cool fragrance with a heavy aromatic background using bog-standard florals, citruses, woods, and basic aromachemicals of the day. In a world where most perfumes have chemicals as abstract as the concepts they try to create through scent, it's fun to see someone do the same thing in a decidedly "low-tech" manner, even if only because there was no other way to do it with perfume chemistry still being far then from what it is now. Vol de Nuit is wearable art from another time, worth smelling if only for the edification, and one of the greatest masterpieces from the house. Jacques Guerlain would continue to compose into the 50's before Jean-Paul would finally take over for him, but never again make something so poignant as this. Thumbs up.


I think this would be very sexy on a man.


wow...can see the love for this right from the 1st whiff...citrusy powdery vanilla with undertones of wood and flower...absolutely beautiful...seems kind of redundant to say anything else....I'd just be repeating things already said by others...I guess I can just sum it up with one word...masterpiece...

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