Of the Guerlain fragrances I own this is probably my least favorite. It is nice enough just nothing spectacular IMHO. Nice enough for spring / summer wear to the office. The scent is not offensive. Fleeting projection and longevity.
This is an exquisite lime-based eau de cologne housed in an exquisite bottle that fades depressingly quickly. I spray this on hard (12-15 times on skin and clothes) and the scent might last two hours. Because of the terrible longevity, I cannot recommend Eau de Cologne Imperiale over comparable (in price and style) scents that last longer or otherwise perform better. Said another way, Eau de Cologne Imperiale does not hold a candle to Eau de Guerlain, which can be obtained at the same price point, packaged in a similar bottle, and lasts 8-10 hours with 3-6 sprays. Nor can Imperiale compete with Santa Maria Novella's signature scent or Aqua di Sicilia, both of which are EDCs like Imperiale, but which last leagues better.
After a few wearings, I think Imperiale's best use may be as a fragrance to layer with others. I've used it to brighten Smell Bent's Dark Green Citrus (a Frankensmellie) and Santa Maria Novella's Verbena (the combination smells quite a bit like Eau de Guerlain), and I've enjoyed these combinations better than I enjoy Imperiale by itself.
EDC Imperiale is a pleasant enough cologne that is pretty reminiscent of 4711, but not quite as astringent. The opening is sweet and sour citrus, much like a lemon lime soda with a hint of spice in the background. It was never meant to last very long or to have any significant sillage, but just as a refresher for the wearer. It's easily unisex, and pretty interesting IMO just from a historical standpoint, but it has such limited use when there are so many more better performing options that fit the bright, clean and refreshing category.
This is one of the finest eau de colognes you will find today.
The classic formula of bergamot, neroli, verbena, lemon and orange are supported in the dry down by lavender with cedar and tonka providing a warm woody vanilla base.
The addition of citrus-smelling herbs (bergamot, verbena) and flowers (neroli) to the basic lemon and orange pure citrus scents ups the ante and the lavender secures the scent, but discreetly never overpowers its delicacy.
An improvement over their original eau de cologne and the preferable of the two to add to your scent library.
Fleeting luxury of the highest order...
<i>Eau de Cologne Impériale</i> by Pierre Francios Pascal Guerlain, was created and presented to the Empress Eugenie of France as a cure for her headaches, or so the story goes. As with all "Eau de Colognes", the effect is a bright, refreshing citrus wakeup call which awakens the senses and refreshes the body... like a tonic.
The formula is an old one. Citrus, Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain, some light florals, and some green moss usually at the base (sometimes very light musk). But ultimately, this is a luxurious but fleeting experience. It is designed to be applied at different occasions, such as at the beginning of the day, after the morning bathing ritual, or throughout the day, when the weather is hot or when the humidity is overbearing. In all these situations, <i>Eau de Cologne Impériale</i> succeeds.
Where it does not succeed however is if you want it as a perfume for the entire day. It is not meant to be used as such. Because of this, I think if you are looking to buy a similar (to me nose extremely similar)fragrance... and if money is an issue, then go for <i>4711</i>. Because the formula is almost the same, and the drydown is almost identical on many levels. I agree that the Guerlain smells different in the opening (more natural and citric), but only for the first 5-10 mins, after which they are hard to tell apart.
Ultimately, I would suggest this to anyone with money to spend on the "luxury" of an established, elegant fragrance meant for royalty (and for the history and prestige associated with the house of Guerlain). Otherwise, if money is an issue to you, there are other options out there which do similar things for a much cheaper price. In my opinion <i>Eau de Cologne Impériale</i> is one for the collectors, for those who appreciate history and tradition... and generally for those who have good taste!