For my Escentual column this week, I have had the pleasure of reviewing the latest fragrance from Guerlain – the new masculine offering ‘L’Homme Idéal‘. The fragrance is accompanied by the tagline; “The ideal man is a myth. His fragrance, a reality” and is already dividing opinion amongst the perfume loving community – some love it and others see it as a commercial and unimpressive offering from the house. To read my in-depth thoughts you can click here to head on over to Escentual and peruse my review, but I will say now that I’m definitely in the ‘yes’ camp when it comes to L’Homme Idéal.
Created by Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s in-house perfumer, L’Homme Idéal strikes me as a more commercial offering for the house, yes, but it’s also excellently crafted, as one would expect, and grounded within the rich gourmand heritage that is oh so very ‘Guerlain’. Is it the ideal masculine fragrance? Well as I say in my review, the answer is entirely subjective, and whilst it isn’t as distinct as Habit Rouge or even Homme, Wasser’s first masculine for the brand, it is a robust masculine with a cheeky feminine twist. What’s not to like?
As I’ve reviewed the fragrance over at Escentual (who are going a bit L’Homme Idéal mad for a fragrant takeover), I thought I’d do something a little bit different here and share with you four things I enjoy about the fragrance. So gents (and ladies, because there are no gender barriers here), stick the kettle on, grab a slice of cake (always mandatory), sit back and enjoy my little fragrant guide to the very latest offering from the most important fragrance house in the world.
1. L’Homme Idéal pays Homage to La Petite Robe Noire
The relaunch of La Petite Robe Noire has been a huge success for Guerlain, and it’s not difficult to see why. Everything about Guerlain’s olfactory ode to the little black dress is spot on, from the cutesy take on the classic heart-stoppered bottle, to the exuberant cartoon used in the TV and print advertising, even the dress label tester strips were perfect. Oh and that’s not to mention the scent, which is a beautifully fizzy fruity floral with depth and brains.
So it’s quite novel to realise that, upon first sniff, L’Homme Idéal pays fragrant homage to his sister scent, La Petite Robe Noire, in the form of a feminine almond note with cherry nuances, that is both playful and rich. Perhaps Guerlain is presenting these two fragrances as the new guard for the house – the modern feminine and masculine that hint at how things will be from now on, mixing commercial appeal with the centuries of quality and expertise that make Guerlain the most venerable perfume house in the world. If this is the new standard, then colour me intrigued.
2. L’Homme Idéal is Big and Bold
Those of you who have visited this blog before will know that I like my fragrances loud and proud. In my mind (it’s a strange place, be warned), there’s nothing more enjoyable than a perfume with a bit of oomph (read: quite a lot of oomph), and whilst I don’t insist that a fragrance has the ability to stop a charging bull at 100 paces, it doesn’t hurt!
L’Homme Idéal has a robust and distinct signature. It is full of woods and leather in the base, to give a solid enough grounding for the fluffier gourmand notes such as almond and vanilla. Remarkably, L’Homme Idéal is edible, but not blatantly so, and it manages to displays sturdiness that never strays into anything remotely oppressive or cloying, which is quite a feat and a testament to Wasser’s incredible talent.
“This fragrance has been designed for the man who catches they eye of every woman.”
Thierry Wasser talks L’Homme Idéal
3. L’Homme Idéal Doesn’t Take Itself too Seriously, In Fact, It’s a Bit Cheeky!
Thierry Wasser seems like a guy that doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is a good thing in my book. He approaches interviews with a refreshing candour and isn’t afraid to discuss reformulations and successes/failures in a manner that is sure to make the Guerlain marketing team grit their teeth. He is also very charming and funny, by all accounts.
Like Wasser, L’Homme Idéal strikes me as relaxed kind-of-guy who is popular because of his inimitable sense of humour. The amaretto accord (the almond, tonka and cherries) is incredibly likeable and gives the impression of a character that is comfortable in his own skin and not afraid to be that little bit different. He looks, and smells (of course), utterly fabulous and whilst he may not be completely out there, he doesn’t exactly follow the crowd either – he is his own man.
4. L’Homme Idéal is Oh-So-Very Guerlain
Need I say more? L’Homme Idéal really is a ‘Guerlain’ fragrance right from its pastry-like signature to the fact that it borrows an almond note from Jicky (and as mentioned above, La Petite Robe Noire). It is also an incredibly French fragrance that feels like an extension of the warm and powdery masculine Guerlains, such as Habit Rouge and L’Instant Pour Homme, that precede it.
L’Homme Idéal struts his stuff around the room like a confident rooster, preened in a measured way to make his look appear effortless. There is a stark contrast to his confidence, in the form of a plush softness that shows a sensitive side. He is masculine and feminine, fun and fashionable, and a joy to be around, in a way that only a Guerlain fragrance can be.
Sample via Guerlain. Images via Escentual. Video via Escentual on YouTube. I write for Escentual as their Fragrance Expert, my views however, are my own.