Candy Perfume Girl – Guerlain Insolence Eau de Toilette Perfume Review


“This extreme freedom, indifference to commentary, spontaneity and even her excesses make her magnificent. She is who she is; she is irresistibly set against prejudice and convention and is unafraid to be unreasonable. Her motto: whoever loves me will follow!”  [1]

One thing that I absolutely pride myself upon is that when it comes to perfume the subject of gender means absolutely nothing to me. I’m as happy rocking YSL’s ‘so masculine it’ll put hairs on your chest’ M7 as I am splashing on Robert Piguet’s oestrogen-fuelled Fracas. But there is one perfume so feminine that even I, yes I with the pink stripy blog think twice about before spraying on. That perfume is Guerlain’s Insolence.

I’m not saying that I don’t wear it, that would be silly and against everything I have ever said about perfume and gender, but I do really have to be in the mood for it and there have been times when I’ve felt just a little self-conscious/Candy Perfume Girl-ish whilst wearing it. Insolence is unapologetic in its femininity, and why should it apologise? Insolence is a girl that knows what she wants and most importantly she knows how to have a good time.

Insolence, which was created by the great Maurice Roucel no less, was released in 2006 and is a fruity floral with a difference – it actually smells good. Roucel presented Insolence as an essay on Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, taking the classic anisic gourmand iris and giving it a modern twist. The result is an intelligent, yet ridiculously ditzy (how’s that for an oxymoron?) perfume that smells current whilst giving a firm nod to Guerlain’s esteemed heritage.

Insolence Flacon

“The radiance of a surprising, free, daring femininity. Everything about her is free, the world is her oyster. If the choices are not the ones others would make, no matter. She moves forward, her fragrance trail in her wake” [2]

The Notes

Top: Violet, Raspberry Pulp and Mixed Berries
Heart: Violet, Rose and Orange Blossom
Base: Iris, Tonka Bean and Resins [3]

How Does it Smell?

First things first – this review concerns the Eau de Toilette and not the Eau de Parfum. I mention this because both concentrations are VERY different and whilst I would definitely agree with the majority that the EDP is superior to the EDT, I cannot help but have a soft spot for the ridiculousness that is Insolence Eau de Toilette.

Insolence’s opening most certainly is a ‘brace yourself’ moment, it opens with a cacophony of violets, hairspray, berries, aldehydes and more hairspray. It is incredibly diffusive and has a half life of about 1 billion years. The opening is especially strong but it is just so pretty and girly you absolutely cannot help but smile.

The main structure of the fragrance relies on ‘the fruity’ (red berries) and ‘the floral’ (violet and iris). In the beginning the violet, which really does smell like Parma Violets is most definitely in charge and it literally swirls amongst the red berries switching between the varying sweet qualities of flowers and fruit. I remember reading somewhere that Insolence doesn’t follow the typical pyramid structure and instead opts for a spiral of accords that each take centre stage at different times, disappearing and reappearing at regular intervals. Insolence is a fragrance that keeps you on your toes!

Iris, the other floral aspect (and I know I may be shot for calling iris ‘floral’ but in Insolence it is), is detectable from the outset but it doesn’t become prominent until the the hairspray is popped firmly back into the drawer. I’m used to iris smelling rooty, vegetal and earthy but in Insolence it adds a layer of sweet, anisic powder with a floral tinge that gives it a wonderfully soft texture as well as harking back to the sweet, anisic powder of L’Heure Bleue.

Insolence does eventually settle down but when it does it hasn’t quite finished having it’s say. In the base it goes from being a frivolous yet clever fruity floral to an audacious gourmand. The earthy tones of the iris come through, albeit rather subtly and they harmonise with the violet and gorgeous creamy tonka so perfectly that all my ‘this is too girly for me’ fears are forgotten as I apologetically cozy up to the beautiful remnants languishing on my skin.

Maurice Roucel did something utterly fabulous with Insolence, not only did he create something so unapologetically girly it really should have its own feminist movement (one that I am more than happy to be a member of, just sign me up!) he also created a fragrance that is unapologetically Guerlain whilst bellowing at the world (in fab heels) “THIS is how you make a bloody good fruity floral!”

The BottleInsolence Flacon and Box

As far as bottles go there are very few that are as striking and individual as this one. It is one of Guerlain’s absolute best.

Designed by artist Serge Mansau the flacon for Insolence is a spiral of stacked semi-circles that perfectly represents the constant evolution of a fragrance that simply cannot sit still.


Insolence is available in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml Eau de Toilette (clear bottle) and Eau de Parfum (purple bottle), with prices ranging from £37-£87. A 7.5ml bottle of Parfum Extrait (£80), Body Lotion (£35.50) and Shower Gel (£30.50) are also available.


This review is based on a bottle of Insolence Eau de Toilette from my own collection.

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 [1] & [2]