The Big Smooch – Guerlain French Kiss Perfume Review

Dare to be French Kissed
Dare to be French Kissed

“Dare the French Kiss! But watch out, this glossy floral fragrance is highly addictive”

– Guerlain

One could never accuse Guerlain of being inconsistent in terms of their olfactory output. For nearly 200 years the Parisian Patisserie has crafted some of the greatest olfactory delicacies in the world, and they show no signs of stopping. With La Petite Robe Noire (a cherry liqourice folly) and L’Homme Ideal (a robust masculine with an almond twist), i.e., their recent gourmand output, Guerlain have shown, not only their uniquely French sense of humour, frivolity and style, but also their penchant for all that is edible. They’ve taken it to the mainstream and shown the lesser mortals in the industry just how a gourmand is done, and by all accounts it has been a very successful move for them.

It is no surprise, then, that the latest addition to their Les Élixirs Charnels collection, ‘French Kiss’, displays the exact same sense of fun, foody humour and style as their mainstream launches however, this one is entirely more decadent and over the top in comparison. Created by in-house perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Guerlain’s French Kiss, which has been launched to celebrate 20 years of Guerlain KissKiss lipsticks, is described as a “glossy floral that celebrates the French art of kissing” and an “elixir as spellbinding as a sensuous kiss.” Ooh err, Mrs.

French Kiss, the Latest in Guerlain's Élixirs Charnels Collection
French Kiss, the Latest in Guerlain’s Élixirs Charnels Collection

The Notes

Top: Lychee and Raspberry
Heart: Rose and Violet
Base: Vanilla, Heliotrope, White Musks and Iris

How Does it Smell?

French Kiss opens vibrant and gutsy with brightly coloured fluorescent berries. It’s a dazzling cocktail of tart raspberry and blackcurrant, and juicy lychee that is a little bit too easy to slurp (as all good alcoholic beverages are). Not that that’s a bad thing, of course. There’s hints of cherry and bitter almond too, evoking shades of the cutesy, but gutsy La Petite Robe Noire. Everything smells bold and intensely coloured at first, casting fragrant streams in ruby red and shocking pink hues. French Kiss certainly knows how to make an entrance.

The rose and violet heart is decidedly lipstick-esque, sharing a vibe with fragrances such as Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille and 4160 Tuesday’s New York 1955, and to a lesser extent, Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose. There’s a holographic quality to the fragrance at this stage, where the cosmetic note of rose hovers over a dialled down version of the hairspray-like violet made infamous by Insolence, Guerlain’s most unabashedly over-the-top fragrance. It’s a bit of a greatest hits, to be honest – and the house certainly has a few of those to choose from.

In the base, French Kiss softens considerably. It becomes much wispier with musk, heliotrope and iris. There’s a delicate sweetness to this baby pink mist that is entirely evocative of cosmetic powder in pastel shades – Guerlain’s Meteorites, perhaps? The jammy sweetness of the rose never truly dissipates and right until the very end, it provides a glamorous feel that can’t help but make one smile. French Kiss is most definitely a happy fragrance.

Guerlain’s description of French Kiss as a “glossy floral” is spot on. It has an attractive, vinyl-like sheen that coats its vibrant berries and technicolor florals in a shimmering glaze. The result is a fun, frivolous and fabulous fragrance that displays the very best of Guerlain’s talent for the gourmand, but most importantly, celebrates the brand’s inimitable sense of fun. French Kiss is a tongue-in cheek lipstick floral that just begs to be smooched. I love it.


French Kiss is available as part of Guerlain’s Les Elixirs Charnels collection in 75ml Eau de Parfum.

Thanks to Tara for the sample. Notes and quotes via Guerlain. Image 1 via Image 2 via Guerlain.