Saturday, January 26, 2008

Napoleon III & Imperiale

Photo: A royal patent for Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain.

Louis Napoleon was the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, and was the first president and the last monarch of France. He lead the typical life of military adventure, occasional exile, sending men to Devil's Island, and dodging assassination attempts, but found ample time for his many mistresses. He claimed that women threw themselves at him: "It is usually the man who attacks. As for me, I defend myself, and I often capitulate." His wife was put off by these romances, and once her son was born, left him to his mistresses, to focus on the child. (Her son would predecease her, dying in battle in South Africa.)

Born on the 5th Day of May in 1826, Eugénie wife of Napoleon III was a Spanish Countess. She was educated, intelligent, and Napoleon III of France fell in love with her and would marry no other, even though she was not considered good enough for the House of Bonaparte. He asked her for her opinions and often would not make an important decision without her.

"I have preferred a woman whom I love and respect to a woman unknown to me." --Napoleon III

Eugénie was known for being fashionable and set the new standard for women --brains plus beauty. The City of Paris gave her a wedding gift of six hundred thousand francs, but at her request it was used to found a female college. Eugénie's favorite perfumer, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain created Eau de Cologne Imperiale for the House of Napoleon and received the title of His Majesty's Official Perfumer. After just thirteen years in business, Guerlain became one of the most fashionable perfume houses in the world.

One hundred and fifty five years later, Imperiale retains its status as a refined, well-loved cologne.

Imperiale (1853)
Head notes: lemon, bergamot
Heart notes: neroli, petitgrain
Bottom notes: cedar, tonka

A fresh, clean light cologne with a citrus head note. This is a subtle fragrance, and may only last for a few hours, but it is fresh and invigorating from start to finish. Some people find it a rather addictive morning ritual, spritzing a little on to the back of the neck. This is so light, you can re-spritz after lunch for a pick-me-up. Imperiale is such a timeless classic, it is elegance in a bottle.