A combination of sandalwood and jasmine and one of the last "notable" Guerlain, the first to be "marketed" to an ever increasing competitive sales audience.
Guerlain used an overdose of sandalwood, thirty per cent, according to Roja Dove. Turin calls is "sandalwood jasmine" and gives it four stars, despite his admitting it was "so bad" when it premiered, "sweet, complicated and loud" in its attempt to win a niche in the successful oriental market of Opium and Cinnabar. Turin notes the "praline and coconut" effect.
Top notes: Peach, Lemon, Bergamot, Tarragon
Heart notes: Jasmine, Orris, Ylang, Rose, Narcissus, Violet, Carnation
Base notes: Amber, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Coumarin, Musk, Benzoin
My reaction: Harsh floral mothballs, ugly a sin. A true horror. It may have come a century after Guerlain's world-shattering Jicky, but it smells truly awful to my nose.
So, I'm a guy and I bought some of this recently...the current edt formula. I have never received so many compliments when I'm out and about as when I've had this on. At first I was hesitant in purchasing this b/c it's a women's fragrance, but then I figured, what the hell? It smelled really good on me when I sprayed it on at the counter. I chose the eau de toilette b/c of the top note clarity. To me, this is not an office perfume, not even for the ladies. I've only worn this in the evenings and only apply two spritzes. It definitely has a rich, warm, spiciness and evokes images far off lands. Using too much, however, I see it conjuring up images of your grandmother's best friend on Sunday morning.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Samsara coulda’ been a contender. Having long since established the genre benchmark in Shalimar, the house of Guerlain apparently felt compelled to compete in the Opium-fueled spicy oriental sweepstakes of the 1980s. In the bid to outdo Opium, Cinnabar, and Coco, Guerlain employed what has to be the loudest synthetic woody note I’ve ever smelled. Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez identify it as Polysantol, but whatever its name, it manages not only to smell like an industrial petrochemical, but to do so at a crushing volume. The grievously misguided IFRA should be banning stuff like this, rather than hobbling the art of perfumery by regulating hydroxycitronellal and oakmoss.
All the more pity, since besides the monstrous pseudo-wood, Samsara gets everything right. The spice blend is beguiling, the amber is perfectly balanced between sweetness and animal warmth, and the floral notes blend into a bouquet that’s sensuous without being oppressively heady. If ever there was case for constructive reformulation, surely this is it. I’d love to smell the result were someone to take the Samsara formula and remove perhaps 75% of its synthetic wood. As it stands, I find Samsara harder to stomach than its heavyweight predecessors from Yves St. Laurent, Lauder, and Chanel.
Review for the current Eau de Toilette.
Wow... definitely quite something to behold!
Probably one of the most sensual fragrances I have ever come across. It's almost as if every single sensual and tropical aroma was combined together in a single bottle!
This one is almost intoxicating from the start. For me, it's kind of a very grown-up mixture of rich, creamy white floral and dry, sheer-like Sandalwood, the overall result striking me as unmistakably feminine. Guerlain's perfumes are not always easy ones to like upon initial spray, you really need to give them time to fully appreciate their significance, and for me Samsara was no exception. The story goes that Jean-Paul Guerlain came up with this inspiration partly due to a woman he admired who only liked the notes of Rose, Jasmine and Sandalwood, and he decided to create a fragrance around these three very sensual notes. The result is incredible...
What I get upon initial spray is a very tropical-like, almost overripe fruit smell with a heavy dose of Ylang-Ylang which very much reminds me of banana. This is coupled with heady, indolic, almost fecal-like opulent Jasmine (one of my favourite notes in perfume), joined by a very fresh rose note, and all resting on a huge base of sheer, silky, creamy Sandalwood. This isn't a dry Sandalwood, like Tam Dao by Diptyque. This is a very creamy Sandalwood supported by the heavy white floral Jasmine and the creamy, banana-like Ylang-Ylang, giving a hint of an almost coconut-like vibe. The overall impression could also be a little soapy at immediate impression, but once you spend time with it you really get the full experience of a rich, tropical garden in bloom.
Because of the Jasmine/Ylang-Ylang combination, Samsara really gives me the impression of being almost in a tropical forest on a hot night, with the warm, heady aroma of sweet creamy coconut, green banana, Rose, and dry Sandalwood incense burning at a nearby Buddhist shrine. It really gives me one of the most exotic impressions I've ever smelt coming out of a bottle.
Speaking of the bottle, the Chinese-style red & gold finish really give it the impression of a precious urn filled with something valuable, or maybe even spiritual. It really highlights Guerlain's obsession with Asia (similar to the way the Shalimar bottle represented a clear fountain of water in the gardens of an Indian Palace), this one looks like it came out of a Buddhist Temple. I find that the bottle certainly fits the marketing really well...
I would say that this is very grown up, but not so strong or overpowering a scent, just very evocative and incredibly sensual. Wear it when you want to smell unlike anything else, just very feminine, sensual and exotic. Close your eyes and you just may find it transporting you to a faraway place, and a whole different experience. Personally I would find this incredibly sensual on a woman (as long as applied lightly as it can be strong in the opening).
A recommended must try... A special, exotic one from Guerlain.
Only 2 words to describe this one: Timeless fragrance. It never gets old. It's classic and elegant yet modern. sweet, floral, warm and rich, without being overpowering. One of Guerlain's best. Makes you feel like a million dollars.