Today is the day! Guerlain’s hotly anticipated new feminine fragrance launches and it’s a a big one! Mon Guerlain is the brand’s first feminine pillar since La Petite Robe Noire in 2012 and Guerlain are pulling out all of the stops, placing their new scent in a sprayable version of their famous quadrille bottle for the very first time. Oh and they’ve recruited none other than Hollywood actress, director and UN special-envoy Angelina Jolie (who is donating her fee to charity, I should add) as the face of their brand new fragrance: Mon Guerlain.
When I think of neroli I don’t necessarily think of the colour black, in fact, my mind wanders to shades of white, orange, gold and yellow – hues that are as far from ‘noir’ as they possibly can be. But it is the ingredient neroli and the idea of ‘outrenoir’ or beyond black (a concept created by artist Pierre Soulages) that serves as inspiration for the very latest addition to Guerlain’s L’Art et la Matiére (‘The Art and the Material’) collection: Néroli Outrenoir – neroli beyond black.
“I wanted all of its facets to be expressed: zesty, orangey neroli essence; woody, aromatic petitgrain essence; and orange blossom absolute.”
– Thierry Wasser
Created by Guerlain’s in-house Perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Néroli Outrenoir is described by Guerlain as being a fragrance that “draws on the contrast between the luminescence of neroli and the obscurity of much darker and more mysterious notes”. Coming from a collection that boasts bold compositions such as Spiritueuse Double Vanille (the booziest, biggest and baddest vanilla around) and Rose Barbare (the rose chypre to end all rose chypres), to name just two, it’s fair to say that Néroli Outrenoir has stiff composition, but it has many a trick and a surprise up its pretty little sleeves to allow it to earn its place in the collection.
Before we take a dive into the petitgrain pools of Néroli Outrenoir, it’s important to take a few moments to discuss packaging because the entire L’Art et la Matiére collection has been beautifully repackaged. The fragrances now come in a beautiful leatherette box shaded in a deep purple, but most importantly the bulb atomisers which have always been known to aid evaporation have been niftily remade (again in a beautiful purple shade) with an on-and-off mechanism to prevent fragrance-loss. The packaging is sublime, but how does the scent match-up? All shall be revealed…
“Shalimar” – just the utterance of its name sends shivers down my spine. Whenever I feel tired of overwhelmed with the onslaught of perfumery today, I often spritz on a touch of Shalimar to recalibrate. It refreshes my nose and reminds me of what ‘great’ smells like. But what makes Shalimar so wonderful? What makes it more than a classic – a legend? Well, for my Escentual column this week I’ve written about The Legend of Shalimar to coincide with the launch of the Shalimar Holiday Makeup Collection, which is currently Exclusive to Escentual for two weeks. To read my column click here, but also don’t forget to check out Emma’s piece on the swatches from the collection and Ceryn’s on the collection’s look.
GUERLAIN’S La Petite Robe Noire has quickly become a part of the fabric of the brand, taking its place next to the likes of icons such as Shalimar,Mitsouko and Samsara, and deservedly so. With LPRN, GUERLAIN took the fruity floral genre and showed everybody else just how it should be done, specifically with fizz, flair and a shedload of fun. The fragrance has been a huge hit, and whilst marketing may have played a big part in this, one cannot deny that La Petite Robe Noire is; a) an excellent fragrance (that fizzy cherry juxtaposed against that smoky black tea is just gorgeous); and b) a GUERLAIN fragrance through and through.
So with success come flankers and GUERLAIN have served us a number of delectable noire treats since LPRN’s launch in 2012 (well it’s mainstream launch, that is, the scent was a boutique exclusive launched in 2009 that was subsequently remixed for the wider market). The latest of which is La Petite Robe Noire Intense, a fragrance that evokes the idea of a breeze billowing though the pleats of a dress as it is transported around the world. That’s right, Miss La Petite Robe Noire is globetrotting and she has packed a brand new dress for her journey. But what does this particular garment smell like? Well, the answer is simple: it smells like fun!
There is an ever-growing trend within perfumery for intense sweetness. I’m not talking about your everyday gourmands, because those have been around forever, I’m referring to scents that offer up pure, unrefined sugar by the ton, not say, the likes of MUGLER’s Angelwhich inspired the gourmand trend, but ultimately was an essay in tension between sugar and patchouli. In the mainstream, it all started in 2004 with Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb, a nuclear candy floss scent that contains as much ethyl maltol as is possible to shoehorn into a bottle, presenting sugar toasted at the edges without any dark contrasts to temper it. Ever since, fragrance houses have been stumbling over themselves to see who can make the sweetest, most obnoxious fragrance, well that was until Lancôme came along with La Vie est Belle – officially the world’s most tooth-achingly sweet, toasted candy floss scent. It’s also an international best seller – go figure.
Now, I mention all of this not to moan, but instead to say that despite this ever popular trend, a house is yet to make a deliciously sweet overdose of a scent that doesn’t cause olfactory diabetes with one sniff. Well, that is until GUERLAIN threw their hat into the ring with Mon Exclusif, which turns out to be a decadent little treat that knows exactly when to say ‘no more for me, thank you’. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that GUERLAIN have been the brand to hit the nail on the head here, they are, after all half-perfumer and half-perume-patissiere, churning out some of the world’s most delicious morsels in fragrant form. So it’s no surprise then, that Mon Exclusif is a delightful bon bon that has depth and contrast to its sugar overload.
GUERLAIN launched Mon Exclusif in 2015. Created by Thierry Wasser, GUERLAIN’s in-house perfumer, the novel aspect of the fragrance is that it technically comes with no name, allowing the wearer to select their own title by placing the sticky silver letters on the bottle, which itself is a reinterpretation of the house’s famous Coque d’Or bow flacon. “Because your relationship with your fragrance is very intimate” GUERLAIN says, “it’s up to you to name this partner by your side”. So Mon Exclusif can be whatever one wants it to be: Jack, Tyler or Pierre. The choices are infinite and for many reasons, which I’m sure you’ll be able to guess, I decided to call mine ‘CANDY’.
I was a big fan of Guerlain’s L’Homme Idéal when in launched in 2014, mainly because it was a cheekily masculine interpretation of the effervescent cherry accord that made La Petite Robe Noire so popular, albeit with a woody 80s vibe. I was even quite fond of 2015’s L’Homme Idéal Colognewhich was all grapefruit and almond in a molecular cocktail that was wonderfully zingy. This year we are treated to L’Homme Idéal Eau de Parfum, which I’d describe as being a little bit more refined, suave and addictive than the original. Oh, and it has the vanilla dry down to end all vanilla dry downs too. Check out my Escentual review here.
It’s spring, which means that it’s Aqua Allegoria season! I always enjoy Guerlain’s mini-line of simplistic, nature inspired fragrant ditties because they are easy breezy wears that are such fun in the summer. They showcase fruits and flowers in an intelligent and high quality manner but with a sense of style and fun. This year, the mainstream AA is Pera Granita – a sweet little daydream that feels more like a scoop of ice cold pear sorbet than it does a fragrance. Click here to head on over to Escentual to read my review in full.
I think most perfume lovers have a soft spot for the house of Guerlain. Their fragrances have an undeniably coquettish spirit and often, a wonderfully delicious sensibility as well. Guerlain makes fragrances with humour that smell good enough to eat, but with just enough abstraction to prevent them from being literal gourmands. The history of the house is rich and varied, spanning almost 200 years and boasting a lineage of fragrances that range from the animalic wonder of Jicky to the playful glacier fruit of the unapologetic La Petite Robe Noire.
For my Escentual column this week I have put together a piece that looks at Guerlain’s fragrance icons – 12 fragrances that demonstrate just how important, classic and innovative the legendary Parisian house is. It was difficult not to include absolute every fragrance in Guerlain’s back catalogue, I tell you, but I think the 12 included are some of the absolute best that the house has to offer. Click here to head over to Escentual to read the piece and do leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts on which Guerlain fragrances are iconic to you.
An army of amorous brides chase a practically terrified Jon Kortajarena through city streets in the advert for Guerlain’s latest fragrance, L’Homme Idéal Cologne, and who can blame them? After all, Kortajarena isn’t exactly harsh on the eyes now, is he? But these ladies (who are all Guerlain employees, FYI, and include a few Guerlain gents in the mix too because marriage equality is real, people) aren’t really chasing the handsome model, they are after the ideal husband and, more importantly, his fragrance.
With last year’s L’Homme Idéal, Guerlain presented their idea of the ideal man – a cheeky yet suave woody gourmand that boasted more than a small nod to the house’s extremely successful La Petite Robe Noire. This time around, and for L’Homme Ideal’s first flanker, that naughty little scamp of a man has grown up a bit, gone on a diet and switched out his black tux for white linen. The result is a lighter version of the original that still maintains the almond signature that is integral to ‘L’Homme Idéal’. Click here to check out my review over at Escentual.
One of my favourite non-perfume smell is Earl Grey tea. There is nothing quite like opening a brand new box of tea bags and inhaling the dusty green scent of tea leaves infused with the sweet and fragrant smell of bergamot. Few fragrances are able to capture this smell, and in general, good tea fragrances are hard to find. That said, Spring 2015 has seen the launch of two very competent tea scents; Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra from Guerlain and L’Ile au Thé by Annick Goutal, both of which are the subject of my Escentual column this week.
Teazzurra is a more abstract take on tea that uses a green tea note alongside vanilla and citrus to paint the image of an idillic lakeside resort. L’Ile au Thé however, feels more grounded in nature and instead, evokes the smell of a soft breeze moving through the plentiful leaves of an exotic tea plantation. Both are light and wistful creations that set the mood for summer. Click here to head on over to the Escentual blog to read my review. Oh, and pop the kettle on!