The bee symbol and the house of Guerlain have been inextricably linked since 1853, when Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain created Eau de Cologne Impériale for Empress Eugenie and her husband, French Emperor Napoleon III. In a nod to the Napoleonic bee, Guerlain commissioned a flacon covered with a swarm of 69 golden bees with a top that resembles the tiled Vendôme column.
The latest homage to the iconic bee symbol is Paradis Interdit, a marriage of the luxe French houses Guerlain and Baccarat. The sculptural, hand-blown crystal bottle created by Baccarat balances delicately on handgilded 24 kt wings. Only 57 numbered bottles have been created worldwide, and at $24,000 a bottle, the golden bee represents the ultimate in luxury fragrance.
Created by Guerlain “Nose” Thierry Wasser, Paradis Interdit has a honey patina to accompany Guerlain’s silky, powdery DNA — the Guerlinade. An accord of bergamot, tonka bean, vanilla and other secret notes, it continues to set the luxury brand apart. “In the same way that you recognize the origin of a great wine, or the composer of a symphony, you perceive the Guerlain stamp which persists even today,” says Jean-Paul Guerlain, the family’s fourth-generation master perfumer.
For those who prefer cool metal, Rêve de Lune rests in a silver bee’s faceted diamond wings, laden with touches of silver to accent the icy Baccarat crystal. Both bee bottles bear a telltale fan of silk threads, a trademark of Guerlain’s Dames de Table, who embellish each bottle by hand.