Derby (1985)
    by Guerlain

    Average Rating: 4.5

    Based on 277 ratings
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    Derby Fragrance Notes

    Derby information

    Reissued in 2005 for the renovated flagship Guerlain store on the Champs-Elysees.

    Reviews of Derby

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    Showing 1 to 6 of 64 reviews.

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    My review is for the reissue of Derby (2012 version):

    At first sniff, I have to admit I thought this was intimidatingly masculine. Something about the bracing bergamot, muskiness, smoky birch tar, and bitter-ish moss made me think of these old-school fougeres or chypres that my father might have worn in the seventies. I also thought that I could smell quite a bit of my bête noire, vetiver, lurking around in there. But then immediately, I noticed that whereas it did indeed contain all of those traditionally masculine notes, the overall effect wasn't in the slightest bit harsh. In fact, the texture of Derby strikes me as being very smooth, well-blended, and even a bit powdery.

    As it dried down, I noticed a few other things. First of all, whereas I don’t pick out any of the patchouli that is said to be a significant component of Derby, I do in fact pick up on a lot of vetiver (not listed) – its dank, sour-ish twang is unmistakable to my nose. I can only imagine that vetiver is included in the ‘woods’ note that is listed. Second, the leather accord here is gently spiced, I suppose from the pepperiness from the carnation rather than from any overt spicing. This differentiates it (for me) from Bel Ami, whose leather is almost brutally doused with woody cinnamon. This is gentler, and perhaps, more refined.

    And although this is not a fougere, there is a significant musky, herbal barbershop vibe to this – detectable in the slight clean-soapiness lurking underneath the moss, the pleasingly herbal, saline-sweet smell of male skin freshly lathered and shaved with good, old-fashioned shaving soap. This adds a solid dose of nostalgia to my experience with the scent. I wouldn't object at all to my husband wearing this, as I imagine that this clean, leathery smell would be amazing on freshly shaved skin. However, the bastard decided to grow a beard lately, to spite me, so, you know - sorry darling. Oh well, that’s about two hundred euros saved.

    Lastly, the mossy aspects come forward a bit more as the scent dries down, and eventually it begins to resemble a drier, more austere Mitsouko. Was this perhaps the intention of Guerlain – to produce a version of Mitsouko for men? On the other hand, plenty of men wear Mitsouko, so perhaps I am just projecting here. All in all, I find Derby to be an exceedingly pleasant, old-fashioned, leathery-barbershop fragrance – reassuringly masculine and solid, and yet subtle and almost ‘light’. It has the distinct feel of a powerhouse male fragrance at the start, but the texture and subtlety of the drydown is such that I would call it refined and gentlemanly, rather than Alpha Male.

    05th December, 2014

    sjg3839's avatar

    United States United States

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    Smells kind of cheap to me.Seems like too much is going on with Derby. I get a touch of civet in this (not a bad thing in this case). Doesn't list it in the notes, but I get a touch of iris also. Smells a little better in the drydown. Definitely unisex. I actually think a woman would appreciate this more. Don't see what all the fuss is about with this one.

    18th November, 2014

    VanAllan's avatar

    Romania Romania

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    A woody-flowery-chypre masterpiece from the former times which managed to retain the glory of this genre: artemisia, rose, jasmine, oakmoss, patchouli and sandalwood are the most evident to my nose, all packed in a natural efortless blending to entertain your nostrils and reminds you how real men's fragrances used to be. Guerlain is one of my preffered houses and its releases never failed me. My humble rank 8/10

    31st July, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Leather

    When a scent is as universally praised as Derby, the obvious question is always “Could it really be that good?” In this case my answer is a resounding “You bet your backside it is!”

    Inside an hour’s acquaintance Derby arced into the lofty orbit of my esteem that's shared by Patou pour Homme and Knize Ten. Derby is a paragon among leather scents, and it may well be the most interesting Guerlain fragrance I’ve tried since Jicky and Mitsouko. With its barely revealed hints of civet and animalic musk (castoreum?), Derby is a sleek, well groomed animal in a custom tailored suit. It’s a very sophisticated scent, but it’s no less a power hitter than the more raucous Kouros and Yatagan. If Derby were a man, he’d be suave, cultured, and dignified, but he’d also really know his way around the bedroom.

    Along with power and complexity, another of Derby’s outstanding features is its blending. The accords are so seamless that I can’t determine where one ends and the next begins. Derby evolves through several fascinating stages on the skin, but the transitions are so smooth and gradual as to be undetectable. Derby is no scent for little boys (of any age). You must be self-assured, worldly, and well seasoned by life’s vicissitudes to carry this scent off convincingly. You won’t smell “like an old man” if you’re not qualified. You’ll just smell like you’re trying too hard.

    12th June, 2014

    Kain's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    Before saying anything about this fragrance, I must say that I'm not a fan of classic fragrances!
    I can't stand most of them at all!
    This fragrance made in 80's so I was expecting something old fashion and dated which remind me of my grandpa!
    After sniffing this, there was only one word in my mind....
    A masterpiece!
    Work of art by master Jean-Paul Guerlain!
    I haven't seen or it's better to say didn't sniff a fragrance that mix old fashion and modern scents perfectly like this before.
    In the opening I get a semi fresh scent with some green notes like vetiver mixed with smooth leather and hint of sweetness in the background.
    There are some floral notes in the background too.
    Very beautiful scent.
    In the mid woodsy notes joined in and give this beautiful scent much more masculine vibe.
    Every note mixed perfectly with other notes.
    Really complex scent and really well balanced.
    Good projection and longevity and extremely versatile.
    10/10 without any doubt!

    01st June, 2014

    G.M.K.'s avatar

    Pakistan Pakistan

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    It took so long to write about a fragrance of this calibre , Guerlain is the trend setter in perfumery for others and so is Derby and Jicky for Guerlains itself imho.

    Apart from the likings or dislikings (as it is a very subjective and vastly varies ) , Derby is a very very complex and rich fragrance which could not be evaluated in a few wearings, I have been wearing it since few months and I am still discovering something new in it on every wearing.

    This starts( don't enjoy the start a lot) very herbal and pungent due to so many spices but majorly i get mace and patchouli which remains so dominant till the drydown kicks in , the drydown is the part which i love , its very Guerlain , smooth , subtle , smokey leather and musky sandalwood with mesmerizing aura of Guerlain's signature.

    A Masterpiece but not for everyone

    20th May, 2014

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