I find the older Guerlain compositions, particularly of parfum concentration, to be similar in their opening. What I smell is a sharp, fresh, slightly bitter and somewhat medicinal note in L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, and, to a lesser extent, in Nahema. After about an hour, this scent reveals other notes, but in L’Heure Bleue it remains until the dusk of the fragrance.
Once this overwhelming sharpness airs out, Vol de Nuit becomes a decidedly woody and somewhat green composition, opening with a blast of galbanum. It then slowly (after an hour or so on my skin) settles into powdery floral domain with iris and aldehydes. Oakmoss is in the base with vanilla.
A fragrance best for winter, autumn, or the night. It lasts approximately 5 hours, surrounding the wearer. I like Vol de Nuit for its ability to stay woody on my skin. I have tried other woody fragrances, but their arborous notes tend to hide from my olfactory receptors.
Guerlain Vol de Nuit Perfume: 30ml spray bottle for £181.80 @ Escentual.com.